APPLE has unveiled a host of new products – including colourful iMacs, which contain the firm’s own- design M1 chip.
Plus an easier remote for Apple TV, a new iPad and AirTags to help find your keys . . . and dog.
iMac and chips
GEEKS are raving about the M1 chip on the iMacs — but what’s going to sell the revamped desktop is the stunningly sleek design in bright colours.
The screen is big at 24in but still flat and skinny — like a big iPad — attached to a base that matches one of the seven colours, blue, green, orange, red, yellow, silver and purple.
The colours are a throwback to the original iMacs from the late 90s, which came in 14 bright colours — but those had a small screen that came in a bulky case like old TVs.
You can get it with a wireless keyboard that has a fingerprint scanner.
OK, we need to talk about Apple’s own-design M1 chips.
That computer chip is said to give devices a “gigantic leap forward” in terms of performance — up to 85 per cent faster computing performance than previously
And we have to give the chip credit for the gorgeous design.
It uses less power and so stays cooler than the old model using Intel brains, so it only needs “two small fans” rather than the “bulky thermal system” of old.
Unlike PCs, there’s still no touchscreen — nor facial recognition to unlock the device, something that is super-handy on Microsoft computers.
The iMac will start at £1,249 and will go on sale in the second half of May, the same time as the iPad Pro and Apple TV.
iPad for video calls
THE latest iPad Pro also has the new M1 — but its best new feature is the front-facing camera that will follow you around the room on video calls.
Centre Stage will also zoom in and out to fit everyone in when a pal or family member joins the call.
The M1 chip means it’s as powerful as laptops, and it is still the top tablet.
But at £749 for the 11in and £999 for the 12.9in you need to be using them as a laptop to justify buying one over the great-value entry-level iPad from £329.
Find my keys . . . or dog
ALWAYS losing your keys, wallet or dog?
Apple has launched a new product to help you find them.
You attach an AirTag to items you don’t want to lose and you can track its location.
The water and dust-proof discs could be clipped to a keyring, stuck to a laptop or bike or placed inside a handbag, rucksack or suitcase, for example.
They could even be put on the collar of an adventurous dog.
You get the location using Find My app — which Apple users will probably have used already to track their iPhone.
If nearby, AirTags talk directly to your Apple gadget, but they will also work if you leave them further afield.
AirTags — £29 each or £99 for a four-pack, on sale this Friday — anonymously speak to the huge Find My network of a billion iPhones and iPads dotted around the world to relay the location back.
If you have an iPhone 11 or 12 — with a so-called U1 chip — it can even direct you right to the AirTag with arrows on the screen that point you left or right, forward or back, until you are a few inches away.
On older devices, it still gives you the location on a map, though not as precisely, but the discs play a sound to help you find them.
Old remote is back
APPLE loves to bring back old features it should never have dropped.
It’s done it again with the “all-new” remote control on the sixth-generation Apple TV, which “features an innovative clickpad control for better accuracy”.
It is just like the old remote phased out six years ago.
That was also silver and had the iPod-style click wheel that was a million times easier to use than the fiddly touchpad that replaced it.
The Apple TV, from £169, has few other major upgrades but is still the best streaming box.
95% Loans to get you on ladder
RENTERS might finally be able to get on the property ladder thanks to new Government-backed mortgages launched this week.
Buyers scrabbling to build up their savings can now put down a deposit of just five per cent on a home worth up to £600,000.
Lloyds, Santander, Barclays, HSBC and NatWest already offer them, while Virgin Money is launching one next month.
But buyers need to check they can afford the higher interest rates.
The average five-year fixed- rate mortgage for buyers with a 20 per cent deposit is 2.82 per cent but rates are around 4.17 per cent for people with a five per cent deposit.
Rachel Springall, finance expert at Moneyfacts, advises it may be cheaper in the long run to save for a bigger deposit.
She said: “It continues to be the case that if borrowers can afford to stretch their deposit to ten per cent they will find many more deals at lower rates – but understandably this may not be an option for some.”
During the pandemic banks scrapped most mortgages for people with small deposits.
In early 2020, there were 405 mortgages for buyers with five per cent deposits but by March 1 this year there were only five, according to Moneyfacts.
Now, thanks to the new scheme, announced in last month’s Budget, there are 112
Banks don’t like to lend to people with small deposits because they are more likely to lose money if the borrower misses payments and the house has to be sold quickly.
A crisis like Covid makes it more likely they will default.
But the Government has guaranteed to cover a percentage of a lender’s losses if homeowners cannot afford repayments and their home is repossessed.
You’re most likely to benefit from the scheme buying where houses are cheap.
A couple would need to save around £8,000 to pay a five per cent deposit in the North of England where first-time buyers typically pay £175,000, according to Barclays.
They would also need to earn around £37,000 a year between them.
But a couple in London will need around £29,000 for a five per cent deposit on the average £585,000 first home.
And they would have to earn roughly £123,500 combined.
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