Apple doubles its chip strategy with new premium-priced MacBooks

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Oct. 18 (Reuters) – Apple Inc (AAPL.O) on Monday announced two new MacBook Pro models running on more powerful internal chips, reinforcing its break with previous vendor Intel Corp (INTC.O) and showing its strategy of setting its machines apart from the rest of the PC industry.

The new 14-inch and 16-inch models start at $ 1,999 and go up to $ 6,099 in their more expensive variants. Using two new chips called M1 Pro and M1 Max, Apple says they will far outperform competing Intel-based machines and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD.O), especially when newer laptops are used only on battery power.

With the measures announced at an online event on Monday, Apple is courting a user group including professional photographers, filmmakers and audio producers in search of a powerful tool – a premium segment that rivals such as Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) have in recent years tried to pull away from its Surface hardware line.

But it also charts a course for what Apple’s computers will look like when it completes its two-year transition away from Intel chips next year. Chips helped propel Mac sales, which rose 32% to $ 26 billion in Apple’s first nine months of fiscal 2021.

Apple’s first laptop chip – last year’s M1, used in consumer MacBook Air models and the company’s cheaper Pro models – had some advantages over Intel’s chips. But these have become more striking with professional-grade chips, the features of which will likely be incorporated into low-end models over the next several years, said Ben Bajarin, head of consumer technology at Creative Strategies.

“This is the first plinth that has been architecturally laid, and in many ways it is unprecedented to see this level of performance at this level of energy efficiency,” he said.

Apple Chips Manager Johny Srouji said the M1 Max chip consumes up to 100 watts less than other high-end laptop chips, resulting in better battery life.

“It’s the most powerful chip we’ve ever built,” Srouji said of the M1 Max.

Apple said the 14-inch model will start at $ 1,999 and the 16-inch model will start at $ 2,499. Both computers will start shipping next week, Apple said.

Apple also announced several new music-related products at its Monday event. The company has announced a $ 5-per-month version of its music streaming service that will allow access to its entire catalog of music on Apple devices using its voice assistant Siri. Apple’s full service remains at $ 10 a month, and shares of streaming music rival Spotify Technology SA (SPOT.N) rose 0.4% on the news, suggesting Spotify investors are not considering the new service as a major threat.

Apple also introduced a third generation of its AirPods wireless earphones. Apple’s new AirPods are sweat and water resistant for use with workouts and will have some sound features previously found in high-end AirPods Pro, Apple said at the launch event. Apple said the new AirPods will cost $ 179 and start shipping next week.

Add-on devices such as AirPods tend to be big sellers during holiday shopping periods and have become one of Apple’s fastest growing categories, with its home and accessories segment increasing by 25%. % to $ 30.6 billion in Apple’s fiscal year 2020.

Apple shares rose about 0.8% on Monday afternoon.

Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco and Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Nishara Karuvalli Pathikkal, Karina Dsouza, Ahmed Farhatha and Shivansh Tiwary Writing by Bernard Orr; Editing by Peter Henderson and Matthew Lewis

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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