Apple aired yet another pre-recorded Apple Informercial. Surprisingly, the event started without mentioning the Russian invasion of the Ukraine. Supposedly Tim Cook was wearing colors that matched the Ukrainian flag.
Here’s everything Apple announced.
Apple TV+ gets Friday Night Baseball
Tim Cook opened the infomercial by talking about awards that Apple’s subscription service has received. Just as ever, this makes no sense and seems to have nothing to do with Apple except that they’re the ones pumping money into this to boost the income they take in from subscriptions. Apple getting two MLB games on one night only exemplifies this. The presentation format will probably be technically great, but more exclusivity locking people out of games is dumb as hell and isn’t something Apple needs to do. Major League Baseball is also currently in a team-owner imposed lockout because the owners are babies who will still be rich if their teams don’t play.
Green Color Options for the iPhone 13 lineup.
As rumored the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro have new green colors. They look fine if you’re into green.
iPhone SE 2022
The new iPhone SE for 2022 Still has the same Touch ID home button and an older look with a big thumb area for the Touch ID home button and the speaker area at the top. Apple also said that the 2022 iPhone SE has an A15 Bionic. 6-cores for general processing and a 4-core GPU. Apple compared performance to the iPhone 8. The 2022 iPhone SE gets upgraded durability according to Apple with the same glass as the 13 lineup. It also gets 5G. The camera on the back is supposedly updated as well. As always, the professional photography Apple shows off is unrealistic for most users to expect out of the phone when the results aren’t typical for them. Cost starts at $430, about $30 more than the previous model of the iPhone SE. “Available on March 18th”
iPad Air 2022
The iPad Air is getting its first update since 2020. The 2022 iPad Air gets the M1 from last year’s iPad Pros, 8 cores for general processing, 8 GPU cores. Apple emphasized that the front camera is upgraded and gets the wide-angle center stage automated focus features for video calls. Apple also said the 2022 iPad Air gets 5G, and USB-C upgrades that deliver twice the performance over a wire. It seems like the main difference now between the iPad Pro devices and the iPad Air is the lack of a variable refresh rate display (Apple calls that feature ProMotion). Space Gray, Starlight, Pink, Purple, Blue. $600 at 64 GB and upgradable to 256GB of storage. March 15th release, pre-orders today.
Mac Updates: M1 Ultra
M1 Ultra. After the M1, M1 Pro and M1 Max, they’ve got another variation on the same bucket o silicon. M1 Ultra is two M1 Max chips with an interconnect that Apple is calling Ultra Fusion. Apple compared the combination to big discrete GPUs and CPUs and said it delivered similar performance with less power. Hilariously, one of the developers in a montage of people making use of the new chip talked of more people “…having a seat at the table” because apparently that’s what Apple’s often inaccessibly expensive products do.
The Mac Studio is a new Mac Mini-esque device but with a taller profile. Two USB-C ports on the front next to an SD card reader. 7.7 inches square. 4 Thunderbolt-4 USB-C ports on the back, ethernet, two USB-A jacks. HDMI. The front ports are faster with the M1 Ultra chips. Apple compared the M1 lineup in the Mac Studio to chips in the top end Intel machines they still sell. Up to 128GB of RAM in the M1 Ultra configuration, and up to 8TB of SSD storage. Starts at $2000, M1 Ultra versions start at $4000. Pre-orders today. March 18th ship dates.
Post-event update: Base model has 512GB of SSD and 32GB of RAM for that $2k.
Mac Studio Display
The Mac Studio Display is 27 inches. It has a built-in camera at the top, unlike the Pro Display XDR which has no camera. The design is very clearly in the same ballpark as the Pro Display XDR. There are a variety of mounting options, VESA, height-adjustable, height-adjustable and tiltable. 5K resolution. True-tone. Has an A13 chip inside, and a speaker array. 3 USB-C ports, one thunderbolt port. Charges Apple laptops. Silver and Black color options for the mouse, keyboard, and trackpad that Apple says match the silver and black display but no other design updates to those input devices. The design experts at Apple still make users plug a cable into the bottom of the mouse to charge it. The Mac Studio Display Starts at $1600. Pre-orders today. March 18th ship dates. No price was mentioned for the cost of the different mounting options.
Post-event update: There’s a “Nano-texture glass” option on the store for $300 more. The base $1600 price for the regular glass includes a stand, or the VESA-mount option. It’s a $400 upgrade to get the tilt-and-height adjustable stand. The display is also definitely locked at 60hz as it ships, there is no support for variable refresh rates or what Apple calls ProMotion.
The Mac Pro was mentioned, but for “another day.” That day will probably be the World-Wide Developer Conference infomercial.
These are good updates for high-end Mac users who needed something modular in-between the Mac Mini and the Mac Pro. As it is, almost no-one should buy the current Mac Pro. According to Apple, the Intel-based Mac Pro is outperformed by this new Mac Studio lineup of small computers so unless you need even more modularity (or x64 Windows) the Intel Mac Pro is not a good choice.
There were no updates for the 27-inch iMac, which is no-longer on Apple’s website, or they’re simply attempting to replace it with the 27-inch Mac Studio Display and Mac Studio combination. This will, of course, cost more than the previous 27-inch iMac which started at $1800, Apple now gets to bring the price for a 27-inch display and computer up to $3600. It will be a much more competent machine that Apple conveniently gets to charge exactly double the price for. There are still older (M1 and Intel) models of the Mac Mini around, so theoretically you could also pair the $1600 display with a $700 Mac Mini and it’ll cost $2300 before tax. This is the same event where they played a developer video talking about how more people will be able to have “…a seat at the table.” Apple’s products are technologically impressive, but their prices are getting higher despite switching to their own processors which they control the prices for.
Having a standalone monitor with roughly equivalent specifications to the now-retired 5K 27-inch iMac at a lower price than the Pro Display XDR’s $5000 (without a stand) is good, it is something a lot of Mac users seem to want. However, neither monitor includes a variable refresh rate when you can get that functionality at $300 from almost any other manufacturer and that’s pretty disappointing.
I’m glad there is still a Touch ID-based iPhone for people who don’t want, or can’t have, facial recognition on their devices, but it would have been good to move the fingerprint reader to the sleep/wake button on the side if that were possible in order to open up more space and that might have made the higher price of this year’s iPhone SE a little bit more reasonable.