Apple is in a slow period between major product launches, but Tuesday marked the launch of a few peripherals and add-ons that might be of interest to certain Mac users. The products include a Touch ID-equipped Magic Keyboard (previously only packaged with the 24-inch iMac) and three new graphics card modules for the Mac Pro desktop.
You’ll also find updated versions of the Magic Mouse ($79) and Magic Trackpad ($129) at Apple’s store, but these are not dramatically different. For example, the Magic Trackpad simply has a subtly different shape to better match the more significantly changed Magic Keyboard. Each of the updated accessories comes with a USB-C-to-Lightning cable for charging.
The keyboard has a completely new shape and added features, including a Touch ID fingerprint reader. Touch ID is a biometric authentication feature previously seen only in Apple’s laptops and mobile devices.
The new Magic Keyboard design was introduced as an exclusive for the M1-equipped, 24-inch iMac that debuted this spring. Since that all-in-one desktop came in a variety of colors, the keyboard is available in the same shades. But it seems that the standalone Magic Keyboard just comes in the standard silver and white motif seen in so many Apple accessories.
The Magic Keyboard with Touch ID costs $149, and a variant without Touch ID goes for $99. There are also numeric keypad-equipped versions of both the non-Touch ID and Touch ID keyboards ($129 and $179, respectively).
New Mac Pro MPX modules
The Mac Pro is far from a mass-market consumer product; it’s primarily meant for professional video editing bays and the like. But if you’re among the few people who own one (or if you manage IT for a team that does), you now have some new upgrade options.
The Mac Pro has an upgradeable graphics card, but it uses preconfigured modules rather than off-the-shelf consumer GPUs. There are three new graphics modules available to purchase for the Mac Pro starting today.
Each carries the Radeon Pro name. Here are the names and prices:
They can be purchased individually or as part of a new Mac Pro configuration.
We’ll have to wait for some benchmarks to emerge to get reliable insights on performance, but each module includes 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports and one HDMI 2.0 port. The Mac Pro can accommodate two modules, so you could have as many as 4 GPUs if you use a Duo module like the one listed above.
With the introduction of these new modules, Apple will no longer offer the AMD Radeon Pro Vega II or AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Duo modules as configuration options for new Mac Pros at the time of purchase. However, they will still be available as standalone options for Apple’s existing customers.
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Listing image by Samuel Axon