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Everything Announced at the March 8th, 2022 Apple Infomercial

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.

Mac Studio

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.

Mac Pro

The Mac Pro was mentioned, but for “another day.” That day will probably be the World-Wide Developer Conference infomercial.

Overall

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.

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Apple Retail Workers Unionizing

I’m not sure if they’re happy to have their plans leaked to the press, but it is tremendous news (from last month) that workers at some of Apple’s retail stores are working on unionizing according to Reed Albergotti at the Washington Post:

Employees at several Apple Stores across the country are quietly working to unionize, according to people familiar with the efforts, as growing dissent among hourly workers threatens to disrupt one of the most stolid tech giants.

Groups at at least two Apple retail stores are backed by major national unions and are preparing to file paperwork with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in the near future, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential plans. At least a half dozen more locations are at less-advanced stages in the unionization process, these people say.

A little odd to not mention the security checks that held workers up without pay for years in the article, but otherwise this is such great news.

Tim Cook’s compensation was $98.73 million in 2021, hourly workers at Apple retail stores in the United States earn between $17-$30 an hour or more, which means they’re bringing home between about $25,500 to $45,000 a year. An average 1 bedroom apartment in San Francisco is $3,304 a month according to ApartmentList.com, that’s almost $40k a year on an apartment to live near your work if you’re employed at Apple’s retail store in Union Square.

Tim Cook doesn’t make the products, doesn’t sell them, but he takes the profits for the labor of the people working at these stores and is “thankful” that he gets to exploit their labor as he announces on stage any time he talks about the workers in the stores, factories, and the white collar jobs.

I’ve worked retail, and at tech jobs, and I can tell you that I’ve never had to work harder than when I worked retail jobs. The hours are rough, the pay is miserable, and many of the bigger stores force workers to watch anti-union videos and attend meetings that lie about how unions operate. That seems to be the kind of tactic Apple takes as well, which is incredibly shameful. If Tim Cook is truly thankful to the workers at Apple they should be represented on the board of the company and unionized.

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Apple Infomercial Announced for March 8th at 10AM Pacific Time

Apple is titling the infomercial “Peek Performance.” Rumored to be there are updates to the iPhone SE, iPad Mini, MacBook Air, and the Mac Mini. The remaining computers that still ship with Intel processors instead of Apple’s M1 series of chips are the Mac Pro and the 27-inch iMac.  Here’s the link to Apple’s website for the event. I will have a write-up of it on the day of the infomercial.

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Snell on the 2021 MacBook Pro’s Ports

Jason Snell has words about the new 2021 MacBook Pro lineup, highly recommended if you’d like to reminisce about Apple’s walk back of most of their laptop decisions:

If Mac laptops come in eras, one just ended.

It started in 2016 with the release of MacBook Pro models featuring butterfly keyboards, the Touch Bar, and a minimal selection of USB-C ports. It ended on Monday with the announcement of new MacBook Pro models that roll back most of the major changes introduced in 2016, putting the MacBook Pro in a new state of grace that recalls the middle of the last decade.

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Everything Announced at Apple’s October 2021 Infomercial

Apple just had their iPhone infomercial in September and launched new versions of their Apple Watch and iPhone. Now in October they have an infomercial for Mac updates. Here’s everything they announced including new MacBook Pros.

Apple Music Voice
Zane Lowe announced new playlists and a new cheaper $5 monthly subscription for Apple Music that seemingly only lets users play music through Siri on Apple’s devices and not the Music apps which have been on more than Apple devices for a while now. The cheaper plan also can’t use Spatial Audio or Lossless Audio. The regular Apple Music plan is still $10 and it’s $15 for a family plan. This cheap plan might crush Spotify if it were available on more devices and let you use the regular Music app, as it is, it seems weird and bad to force people to use Siri only.

New HomePod Mini Colors
New Homepod Mini colors in blue, orange, and yellow in addition to the old black and white options. Same $100 price, no other updates. Dave Wilkes Jr introduced the new devices.

Third Generation AirPods get Spatial Audio
That’s basically it, the non-Pro and non-Max AirPods are getting Spatial Audio, longer battery life, adaptive EQ, and a redesign to bring them a little closer to the AirPods Pro headphones design with a wide case but without noise cancellation. The default price goes up to $180 to get that noise cancellation and includes the wireless charging case, but you can still get the 2nd gen version without wireless charging and without the new features for $130.

New m1s

New Apple Silicon
Johny Srouji introduced the new M1 Pro chip that supposedly gets 70% faster CPU performance and 2 times the graphics performance.

Srouji also introduced the M1 Max with an even larger chip that has more cores for everything and supports up to 64 gigs of RAM. Srouji went over how the new variations on the M1 supposedly get incredible performance with low power consumption.

Craig Federighi introduced other features of the new chips, and then a montage of third-party developers talking about the new performance.

Macbook pro without ui
New MacBook Pros
John Ternus introduced new 14 and 16 inch Macbook Pros that get their first redesigned appearance since 2016. The controversial touchbar touch screen that replaced the F-row of keys on the keyboard is gone, but Touch ID remains, and Shruti Haldea introduced more of the new features like the return of the SD Card port, HDMI, and Magsafe 3 for power in addition to power through the thunderbolt ports. Kate Bergeron introduced the new displays on these laptops with thinner borders, ProMotion variable-refresh rate and the rumored notch that holds the camera along the menu bar area in macOS. Trevor McLeod introduced new features like the notch holds a better 1080p webcam, better speakers, and better microphones. There’s no Face ID.

Notch

Haldea returned to further throw Intel under the bus with comparisons to previous generations of Intel MacBook Pros in performance and battery life. The performance improvements sound sick. Prices start at $2000 for the 14 inch, and $2500 for the 16 inch versions. The 13 inch M1 MacBook Pro sticks around for a cheaper, touchbar equipped, option.

Overall
The new laptops are great for people who need the performance or have an older MacBook Pro and have been waiting for a bigger update.

Still to get the Apple Silicon treatment are the bigger iMacs and the Mac Pro. The Mac Mini is also rumored to receive another update but I doubt it’ll happen before the end of the year at this point.

The cheaper Apple Music plan seems punishing that users can’t seem to use the Music app. I’ll update this post if I’ve gotten that wrong but it’s gross.