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AirPods 2, iMac update, new iPad Mini and everything else Apple announced

A look at all the new Apple products launched this week and what other device the company could still roll out before the end of the month.

This week Apple released major updates to three of its products: two new iPads (Air and Mini) on Monday, an upgrade to its iMacs on Tuesday, and second-generation AirPods on Wednesday, all this before its actual launch event set for Monday March 25. With hardware out of the way, it would seem like the Cupertino giant is setting the stage to focus on its services next Monday, but there is still one product left in the mix that might make an appearance: the AirPower charging mat. 

Here's a look at what you may have missed from Apple this week and the new hints that an AirPower launch could be close. 

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Second-gen AirPods

The new AirPods didn't get a full redesign -- in fact they look exactly the same on the outside -- but they did get a brand-new H1 chip that would enable a faster connection and better battery life, hands-free Siri  for things like volume control using your voice, and a wireless charging case option that can hold more juice. Apple also states that this version has custom audio architecture for higher-quality sound, but we haven't yet tested this out for ourselves. 

AirPods are available to order online right now, or to pick up at the Apple Store next week. The new pods with a standard charging case costs $159, the same price as the original AirPods, or $199 for the wireless charging option. The wireless charging case on its own, which is backward-compatible with the first-gen AirPods, is $79.

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New iPad Mini and iPad Air

The new iPads didn't get the full Cinderella treatment either, unlike last year's Pros, which flaunted a sleeker design with flattened edges, barely there bezels, FaceID and USB-C port. But at least they both got to keep the headphone jack.

After a four-year hiatus, the new iPad Mini, which was most in need of a refresh, looks pretty much the same as before: with a 7.9-inch screen, thicker bezels, and home button, but the tech inside has gotten an upgrade. It has True Tone retina display, A12 Bionic chip with an M12 coprocessor and Apple Pencil support (the original though, not the new one). 

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The iPad Air has similar specs with the same processor and screen tech as the Mini, but with a larger 10.5-inch Retina display. It still keeps its crown as the lightest of the larger models, weighing in at just 1 pound, but it's lost the "slimmest" tittle to the 2018 iPad Pros.  

And while they're both significantly cheaper than the iPad Pros, $399 for the 64GB Mini and $499 for the 64GB Air, they're still more expensive than last year's 9.7-inch model, which starts at $329 for 32GB.

iMac updates under the hood

Lastly, Apple's iMacs were also due for an update. They still look exactly the same as previous generations, but they did get significant performance upgrades under the hood: eighth- and ninth-generation Intel Core CPUs and new AMD Radeon GPUs.

This will likely result in a big performance boost for the iMacs in terms of clock speeds, but pro users are still waiting for that massive overhaul of Apple's desktop line that would bring forth a redesign in addition to these improvements under the hood. 

The base 21.5-inch, non-Retina model remains the same price at $1,099, but you can spend as much as $5,250 if you max out all the specs.

The AirPower charging mat could be next 

And then there was one... At this point most of the rumors regarding Apple's spring product lineup have been on point, save for one: the AirPower. There have been multiple clues in the last few weeks that might suggest that Apple is finally gearing up to launch its wireless charging mat, which it first announced almost two years ago. 

apple-airpower
Apple

This week the company accidentally leaked a new promotional image of the new AirPower in the source code of its Australian site as discovered by 9to5Mac. The image, which has since been removed from Apple's servers, shows an iPhone XS (the old one had an iPhone X) and an AirPod case charging on top of the mat. 

Earlier this month Guilherme Rambo, also from 9to5Mac, found yet another clue hidden in the beta for iOS 12.2. According to his report, the sixth developer's beta brings changes to the wireless charging code that allude to the charging mat. The original listing for the iPhone XS Smart Battery Case which went live in January, also noted it was "compatible with AirPower Wireless Charging Mat and other Qi‑certified chargers." 

So at this point, it seems to be a matter of when rather than if. One option is that the AirPower could be that "one more thing..." at the end of Monday's launch event. It could also could come as a press release later in the week as with the rest of the new products, which seems most likely based on this week's launches. Or Apple could just start selling it next week on the site without an official mention. The absolute worst-case scenario: the rumors have again steered us wrong and we wont see it anytime soon. 

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