Apple unveils new MacBooks

By Samantha Kelly, Aditi Sangal, Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 3:25 p.m. ET, October 18, 2021
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1:32 p.m. ET, October 18, 2021

Apple unveils third-generation AirPods

From CNN Business' Samantha Murphy Kelly

Apple showed off its third-generation AirPods, which borrows some of the best features from its higher-end AirPods Pro.

AirPods 3 comes with spatial audio, better sound quality -- providing a more powerful bass and crisp high frequency -- and is sweat and water resistant for workouts. It also comes with a new contour design and adaptive EQ -- a feature previously found on AirPods Pro. The wireless earbuds customize sound in real time by adjusting frequencies based on what your ear is hearing.

The latest model touts improved battery life, promising up to 6 hours of battery life -- and 5 minutes of charge time will get an hour of use. Apple is also adding MagSafe and wireless charging to the case.

AirPods 3, which are available for pre-order starting today, cost $179, while AirPods 2 is now $129. AirPods Pro will remain at $249 and its over-the0ear headphones, AirPods Max, cost $549.

3:21 p.m. ET, October 18, 2021

HomePod mini will be available in new colors

New colors are coming to Apple's HomePod mini speaker.

In addition to black and white, HomePod mini will soon be available in orange, yellow and dark blue for $99, starting in November.

3:20 p.m. ET, October 18, 2021

Apple Music will introduce a cheaper "Voice Plan"

The company introduced a voice plan within Apple Music. For about $5 each month, subscribers can ask Siri to pull up playlists, songs and radio stations. The voice-only option is cheaper than its existing plan $9.99/month and the Family Plan at $14.99/month.

The Apple Music Voice Plan will be available later this fall in 17 countries.

3:20 p.m. ET, October 18, 2021

The Apple event is underway

Apple's second product launch event of the fall has started. This comes a month after it unveiled the new iPhone 13 lineup.

The company is expected to unveil two high-end MacBook Pro laptops, marking its first major design update in five years. Apple may also introduce the third-generation version of AirPods.

You can watch the event on Apple's website as well as through the Apple TV app. It will also be broadcast on Apple's YouTube page.

1:31 p.m. ET, October 18, 2021

Apple will likely announce a launch date for macOS Monterrey

From CNN Business' Samantha Murphy Kelly

Universal Control was teased during Apple's WWDC in June.
Universal Control was teased during Apple's WWDC in June.

Apple teased new macOS Monterrey features for its Mac computers at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference in June. On Monday, Apple will likely reveal when users will be able to download the software.

Here are a few of the key features:

  • FaceTime updates: Portrait Mode, which creates a bokeh effect that blurs out the background, is coming to FaceTime. Android and Windows users will be able to join FaceTime calls for the first time, and a new tool called SharePlay will let users watch TV shows and movies, listen to music or share screens in real time on FaceTime.
  • AirPlay support: Users will be able to share, play or present content from one Apple device directly to their Mac
  • Safari upgrades: Apple’s web browser has a new minimalist look and the ability to access tab groups from any Apple device
  • "Focus Mode": Apple’s new Focus feature helps you stay, well, focused on whatever you’re working on, allowing you to receive only the notifications you want
  • Universal Control: macOS users will be able to control an iPad or other Apple device (even another Mac) directly from their computer
12:46 p.m. ET, October 18, 2021

Today's Apple event kicks off big week for tech product launches

From CNN Business' Samantha Murphy Kelly

Apple's event Monday is the first in what promises to be a busy week for tech product launches as companies push out new gadgets ahead of the holiday season.

On Tuesday, Google will unveil its Pixel 6 smartphone, which is expected to have an updated camera system, new metallic and pastel colors and could feature an in-house chip from Google, potentially taking a page out of Apple's playbook.

On Wednesday, Samsung is hosting a mysterious press event that the rumor mill didn't even see coming. Some rumors have suggested the Samsung could introduce the Galaxy S21 Fan Edition.

12:36 p.m. ET, October 18, 2021

How to watch the Apple event

From CNN Business' Samantha Murphy Kelly

Apple CEO Tim Cook during the last Apple keynote virtual event on September 14.
Apple CEO Tim Cook during the last Apple keynote virtual event on September 14.

Apple's product launch event will once again be taking place virtually.

The event will stream on Apple's website as well as through the Apple TV app. It will also be broadcast on Apple's YouTube page.

1:31 p.m. ET, October 18, 2021

Apple's latest product launch comes as the world faces supply chain concerns

From CNN Business' Samantha Murphy Kelly

Container ships are anchored by the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles as they wait to offload on September 20, 2021 near Los Angeles, California. 
Container ships are anchored by the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles as they wait to offload on September 20, 2021 near Los Angeles, California. 

Apple's latest products will launch amid ongoing concerns about global component shortages and logistics issues. Even Apple, which is known for having a sophisticated global supply chain to make its products, may not be totally immune.

The company confronted supply constraints earlier this year mainly impacting the iPad and Mac. It's now reportedly considering cutting its iPhone production goals for the year because of the chip shortage. (Apple declined to comment on the report.)

Some people who pre-ordered new iPhones last month complained on social media about longer than usual wait times. In an investor note last week, analysts with Goldman Sachs said: "We believe longer lead times could be as easily explained by constrained supply as by higher than expected demand."

On an earnings call in July, Apple CEO Tim Cook referenced supply constraints and said, "We'll do everything we can to mitigate whatever set of circumstances we're dealt."

Dan Ives, an analyst with Wedbush, said Apple's decision to push forward with new product launches this week speaks to "the company's confidence" in getting its devices "into customer hands by holiday season despite the doomsday supply chain skeptics."

1:31 p.m. ET, October 18, 2021

Next-generation AirPods could be coming, too

From CNN Business' Samantha Murphy Kelly

Apple's first AirPods debuted in 2016.
Apple's first AirPods debuted in 2016.

While the centerpiece of the event is widely expected to be the MacBook, Apple may also show off its first update to AirPods in two years. Since its 2016 debut, the wireless earbuds have emerged as a surprise status symbol and a runaway hit for the company.

The third-generation AirPods will likely borrow some features from the more premium AirPods Pro line, including shorter stems and a case with longer-lasting battery life. (The entry-level version currently costs $159 and the Pro is $259.)

Because Apple has long leaned on offering tiers for products like its iPhones and Apple Watches — often referred to as the good, better, best model — it's possible the latest AirPods will come without active noise cancellation or spatial audio support so the Pro line can still differentiate itself. (Apple's over-the-ear headset, the AirPods Max, is its priciest option at $550).