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Apple made revamped video-chatting a main selling point with its new MacBook lineup, emphasizing features like better camera quality and high-end microphones

  • Apple emphasized improved video-chatting features, including better camera quality and microphones, during Tuesday's virtual event.
  • Its new $999 MacBook Air is equipped with Apple's new homemade silicon chip, a feature that it said will extend FaceTime and video calls for up to twice as long as its predecessors on a single charge.
  • Apple's new $1,299 Macbook Pro will feature new microphones for improved sound quality during video chats.
  • However, the FaceTime cameras on the new MacBooks will still run with a 720p resolution, which is lower than what is included in some iPads and iPhones.
  • The revamped video-chat features come as office workers, including those at Apple, and students continue to adapt to remote work and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Apple is using some features that improve video-chat quality as a selling point for its new MacBook computers, which the company unveiled at a virtual Tuesday event.

The company's MacBook lineup announced Tuesday includes Apple's first computers that will run on the highly anticipated homemade M1 chip. Apple's new $999 MacBook Air is powered by the chip, which the company said will extend FaceTime and video calls for up to twice as long on a single charge. It's also equipped with the company's latest image signal processor, a move that should improve camera image quality.

Apple's new $1,299 13-inch MacBook Pro, the company's most popular notebook, will feature studio-quality microphones for improved sound experience during video calls. The Macbook Pro will also include Apple's latest image signal processor and its new M1 chip that will sharpen images with more detail during video conferences.

However, the FaceTime cameras on the new MacBooks will still run with a 720p resolution, a level of quality that is still not as good as some iPads and iPhones. It's a grievance that Mac users have long been airing.

The MacBook lineup rollout also largely focused on remote learning, as students of all ages continue to adjust to at-home education. 

The emphasis on improved video-chatting features signals how the iPhone giant is catering to demand for desktop and laptop features drummed up by a widespread shift to remote work and learning, one in which people are relying heavily on video-conferencing tools. 

Apple's own workforce has been no exception to that transition. CEO Tim Cook said in July that the company would extend its work-from-home policy for US workers until early 2021. Other tech firms, like Google, have announced that employees will likely work from home through summer 2021.

Cook said in late September that Apple employees have proven to be successful while working remotely and that the company would not "return to the way we were." However, he said there are limits to virtual workplaces, like the lack of in-person meetings with coworkers.

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