Welcome to our coverage of Apple's March 8th Event. It was Apple's first event of 2022, and it brought us a new iPhone, a new iPad, a new Mac and a new Apple display – not a bad mix!
The big product announcements were:
New iPhone SE: Same design, updated with 5G, A15 processor, tougher glass. $429/£419/AU$719. Pre-order Friday, out March 18th.
New iPad Air: Same design, updated with Apple M1 chip, 5G, new front camera. $599/£569/AU$929. Pre-order Friday, out March 18th.
Mac Studio: An all-new Mac with M1 Max or new M1 Ultra chip, which is double the power of M1 Max. From $1,999/£1,999/AU$3,099. Order today, out March 18th.
Studio Display: A new 27-inch 5K display, with 600 nits of brightness, P3 colour support. Features an A-series processor, to support a Centre Stage webcam, plus Spatial Audio/Dolby Atmos speakers.
iPhone 13: Now comes in fetching green colours!
We'll have all the best new iPhone SE pre-order deals right here when they're announced!
You read more about the products below…
Mac Studio (and M1 Ultra)
Wow. This thing is an F1 car disguised as a hatchback. At 7.7 inches square and 3.7 inches tall, it's tiny… but inside, you get either the M1 Max chip or the ridiculous new M1 Ultra, which we'll come to in a second.
The Mac Studio is really designed as a pro machine, with tons of connectivity – six Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports, an HDMI port, 2x USB-A ports, Gigabit Ethernet, SD card reader and a high-power headphone jack for sensitive headphones (as well as more regular ones).
About half of its interior is dedicated to airflow, which means it can be relatively quiet, even when at full speed – based on our testing of the MacBook Pros, we expect that it's going to be even quieter than you're imagining.
Which is wild, because there's SO. MUCH. POWER in here. The M1 Max chip, with its 10 processor cores, up to 64GB of memory, and up to 32 GPU cores (with 10TB of computing power – the same as a PS5) was already a ridiculous beast.
But the the M1 Ultra is two M1 Max chips combined into one. That's not a simplification: Apple has a developed a unique way for chips to pass information between them at never-before-seen speeds, so the Ultra is two Max chips acting like a single unit. That means 20 cores of CPU power, 64 GPU cores and 128GB of memory shared between it all. There's never been anything quite like it available to just buy and put on your desk in a unit the size of your average smart speaker.
It starts from from $1,999/£1,999/AU$3,099 with the M1 Max, or $3,999/£3,999/AU$6,099. Order today, out March 18th.
This new display from Apple is 27 inches, with a resolution of 5120x2880 – just like the 5K display on the iMac 27-inch (which Apple has quietly killed off today). It offers brightness of 600 nits (which is brighter than almost any consumer display), and supports the P3 wide colour gamut. All good specs – nothing very surprising.
But it's got extra smarts, too. There's an Apple A-series chip inside, which provides power for some extra tricks. There's True Tone support, making it easier on the eyes; there's a Centre Stage webcam, which means it has an ultra-wide lens that it can use to frame just on you, but can follow if you move around the room; and it has Apple's best speaker system yet, with support for Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos 3D sound.
It's not cheap, though. $1,599/£1,499/AU$2,499 – that's without a special height-adjustable stand or nano-texture reflection-busting coating. You can order today for a March 8th release.
iPhone SE (3rd Gen)
The new iPhone SE comes in the same basic design as it did before, but there are lots of changes going on with it. For a start, you get same A15 processor as you do in the iPhone 13, so this thing is fast and future-proof. That brings camera improvements with it too – better low-light performance, more advanced processing and the fun Photography Styles feature. You've also got 5G, crucially, so it's ready for the new era of connectivity.
Apple also promises better battery life, thanks to a new battery itself, plus the more efficient A15 processor.
And while it looks the same outside, there's lots of change there too. It now comes in Starlight, Midnight and Red colours, and the glass is tougher than before.
It looks like a good update. It costs $429/£419/AU$719. Pre-order Friday, out March 18th.
iPad Air (5th Gen)
Well, when the rumour came out today that Apple would put the M1 chip in the iPad Air, I said it would be madness – because it would make the 11-inch iPad Pro look kind of pointless. They'd be too similar.
Well, here we are: the iPad Air has the hugely powerful M1 chip in, and I look silly. This means 8 CPU cores, 8 GPU cores and 8GB of RAM – this thing puts 90% of laptops to shame for power.
Other upgrades include a Centre Stage front camera (like all other iPads), and the option for 5G connectivity. Otherwise, nothing major has changed! There are some new colours. But nothing major needed to change – I actually expected a milder upgrade than we got, in the end.
It costs $599/£569/AU$929. You can pre-order Friday, and it's out March 18th.
The event will be streamed live from Apple HQ to YouTube and apple.com, or the Apple Events channel on Apple TV, if you have one. In fact, you can watch it right here, when the time comes, using the video above!
What are we expecting for today? Well, we've already put together our Apple Event predictions already, where we rate the likelihood of different products appearing, with our reasons as to why.
But otherwise, the menu for today is expected to include a new iPad Air, a new iPhone SE with 5G, a handful of Macs, and perhaps even a new Apple-made display. Which Macs, though, and what processors they'll include is the really open question here.
The iPad Air is now the oldest product in the iPad range. Today we expect the fifth-generation model to be announced, which probably won't be a ground-breaking upgrade (the iPad Air (2020) included a radical redesign, after all).
But we're likely to see a 5G connectivity option, an updated processor (probably the Apple A15 as used in the iPad Mini 6th Gen), and the new features we have seen in other recent iPad releases, such as a Centre Stage front camera that can follow you around the room on video calls, plus updated rear cameras.
The iPhone SE 3 is the other thing that feels like a dead cert today. The SE models have always launched in spring, there've been a ton of leaks about what to expect, a phone has been spotted in a regulator's database… add it all up and this isn't so much a "where there's smoke there's fire" situation as a "look at all the fire, forget the smoke, there's visible fire here" situation.
We're expecting it to keep the same design as it has now – including 4.7-inch screen and physical home button – but it'll swap its older processor for a new Apple A15, and it'll include 5G connectivity for the first time.
I think the camera will be the big question mark here: it'll almost certainly still be a single-lens affair, and it'll be improved simply because the image processing in the A15 chip is better. But will Apple upgrade the sensor as well, or just use the newer processing to give it an upgrade?
Ah, but what about Macs then? Well, let's start with the rumour that appeared the latest, but looks the most likely: the Mac Studio. Apparently, this will the name for the device I've been calling the 'Mac Mini Pro'. Now, given Apple is the company that makes the iPhone 13 Pro Max, I don't think Mac Mini Pro is totally out-there name, but it looks like Apple has decided on something simpler – and I love the name, actually.
The Mac Studio itself will be relatively simple, too – at least, to describe. What if you took the small size of the Mac Mini, and put the ridiculously powerful M1 Pro and M1 Max chips from the MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch (2021) in it? You'd get one hell of a powerful machine for creatives that can be paired with the pro display of your choice.
The rumours say that it might be designed like a taller version of the Mac Mini, which seems a little unnecessary to me: if the MacBook Pro can be 1.55cm deep and fit a chip with the GPU power of a PlayStation 5 in, surely that chip can fit in the existing Mac Mini frame too? But maybe Apple can use a larger enclosure to make it a little cheaper and easier to cool the new chips, or maybe even to improve performance compared to the MacBook Pros.
Apparently, the Mac Studio won't be the only use of this new 'Studio' branding. Another rumour that's really exploded in the last week is that Apple is planning a new Apple Studio display to pair with its latest Mac (and, one assumes, MacBook Pros and so on).
The claim (via MacRumors) is that the screen will have a 27-inch display, but won't include the mini-LED tech from the latest MacBook Pros (which is also expected to be used in a 27-inch iMac refresh coming soon).
In that case, I think the screen panel will pretty much be exactly what you get from the current iMac 27-inch: 5120x2880 5K resolution, 500 nits of brightness and P3 wide colour support.
It's said that there'll be an Apple A-series chip inside, though there's no clear reason why – I doubt it will run any kind of meaningful operating system, but it might make some useful features possible. For example, it might enable True Tone colour adjustments to run within the display (so the feature would work even when connected to a PC rather than a Mac), or it might add image processing to a built-in webcam (if it has one).
It might even function a bit like a HomePod, with Siri built in – the HomePod Mini uses an Apple A-series chip to run its software side. The screen might even include Wi-Fi and give you the ability to stream video to it over AirPlay even when it's not connected to a Mac. There have been rumours for a while of Apple working on a HomePod with a screen – perhaps this screen is also that, essentially.
That's all speculation from me, rather than anything concrete we have to go on – perhaps it will just be a plain display with USB-C.
Up next in my carefully curated Gallery Of Things Apple Might Do is the possible launch of the M2 processor, with a couple of Macs to actually house it in.
The story goes: Apple is ready to launch its M2 chip at this event, and it'll go into new models of MacBook Pro 13-inch and Mac Mini with unchanged designs.
This is the rumour that's had the biggest rollercoaster journey in terms of likelihood. It first started with the idea that Apple would launch its next MacBook Air at a spring event, with the M2 chip debuting at the same time. This MacBook Air is said to be getting a drastic redesign, to become even thinner, and to come in colours similar to the iMac 24-inch (2021), including a white keyboard.
Then we heard that the MacBook Air wouldn't be ready until later in the year, which made me think the M2 chip probably wouldn't be launched yet either – the MacBook Air is so huge for Apple that I thought it would want to debut the new chip with that update.
Then, more recently, we saw a new Apple laptop appear in a regulatory database, and the idea of a spring M2 launch started feeling more likely – just not with the MacBook Air.
That momentum kept building, with leaks about the new MacBook Pro and Mac Mini models mentioned above. It still seems odd to me – won't people be put off the current MacBook Air if there's blatantly another come with this new chip that's just been announced? – but apparently testing of a new chip has been spotted by developers (via MacRumors), so again it just keeps feeling more and more likely.
But now the sudden talk of the Mac Studio has me wondering whether that will be the Mac reveal, and M2 will have to wait. It's interesting that the Mac Studio rumours appeared suddenly as the M2 rumours kept building – it's been claimed in the past that Apple occasionally leaks certain things itself in order to manage expectations.
I would say the odds of both the M2 Macs and the Mac Studio appearing together are better than 50/50 – but I've certainly had my wobbles back and forth on just how likely the M2 chips are.
Even if we know what kind of Macs the new M2 processor might appear in, you're probably also wondering what it's actually expected to do better than the M1.
The information we have about it (even from rumours and leaks) is very limited, but we can make some pretty good educated guesses.
For a start, it will apparently be produced using a 4nm production process, compared to 5nm for the M1 chip. For those who don't follow the intricacies of semiconductor manufacturing (you big losers), this refers to how small the transistors that make up a chip are produced and packed – it's 4 nanometres vs 5 nanometres. Smaller transistors means you can fit more of them in the same amount of space, meaning that you can make a chip more powerful, or more energy efficient… or even both.
The same developer sources who say that Apple has been testing new chips say that the M2 will include 8 processors cores, with 4 high-power cores and 4 energy-efficient cores (all just like the M1). However, it will apparently have up to 10 graphics cores, whereas the M1 peaks at 8 graphics cores.
So what can we judge from this info? Well, the graphics part is easy: more GPU means more power, and it's pretty linear, meaning that going from 8 to 10 could give you 25% more grunt in some tasks. The downside to adding more GPU cores is usually size, heat and power consumption – but the move to 4nm processing might mean that Apple can make this change without impacting any of these.
The CPU side is the big question mark. It might be Apple will use pretty much the same design as the M1, but will use the efficiency of the M2's 4nm construction to increase the frequency of the chip. Easy!
Too easy. Apple's chip design team rarely rests on its laurels like this. More likely is that the cores will be redesigned a little in order to increase performance. But I've no idea how much that could be – 20% or so should be enough to keep Apple steadily ahead of Intel, though.
Then there's secret option #3: HyperThreading. Apple might take a leaf out of Intel's book by making its 4 performance cores capable of acting as 2 'virtual' cores each, giving an instant and major boost to complex tasks. Again, the extra saved space from the 4nm process might enable this.
Sorry, I promise* future updates will be less nerdy.
*Promise is not legally binding
Speaking of Apple's M1 chips, there's a fresh rumour erupting that the new iPad Air could actually get the M1 processor instead of the A15 (as used in the iPad mini 6th Gen). We… don't think that makes a lot of sense – and here's why.
'Hey Matt,' you say. 'What would you most like to see Apple announce today?'
Well, 1) thank you for your consideration, it's very kind of you to ask. 2) The thing I'd like to see most of all is not, in fact, a new product at all.
Ever since Apple was first said to be planning to move to its own chips instead of Intel's, the thought that always got me excited about that wasn't performance… it was price.
Intel's chips are pretty expensive, with official prices (for manufacturers, not retail) costing hundreds of dollars. Much like my friend whose dad owns a burger van, there's no way Apple pays full price for its chips – but it's still surely paying Intel far more than it costs to make its own processors.
It's estimated that an M1 chip costs around $50 to produce, and that's at the upper end of the estimate – though that price wouldn't include an amount to recoup the research costs spent to create it. But still – far, far cheaper than Intel's chips.
I hoped that this would mean a chance to lower the price of Macs. And this could still happen, though it's maybe no surprise that Apple didn't do this with literally the first generation of its new chips.
But what I'd really love to see is Apple keep the M1 Mac Mini around, even if an M2 version arrives, and lower the price to £499/$499. This would be an amazing way for people to get into creative software on a much lower budget, because an Intel PC at this price wouldn't have anywhere close to the performance.
I don't really think it will happen (especially if the M2 isn't much of a jump over the M1, because then surely most people would go for the one that's cheaper but is easily 'good enough') – but I think it's a great opportunity for Apple to reach more people.
We're officially in Apple Event Day territory now: the Apple Store is down. Many years from now, digital scholars will wonder why this particular ritual is continually observed when website technology has advanced slightly beyond needing to take a whole site down in order to stop people buying certain things. Though I suppose if Apple just stopped you buying iPad Airs and MacBook Pros, it'd give the game away slightly.
Still I hope you weren't hoping to buy a new charger urgently before you train journey to give a huge presentation!
A few more claimed details about the iPhone SE 5G have appeared (via 9to5Mac). Apparently, it might feature Apple's MagSafe wireless charging system, its Ceramic Shield glass, and better battery life.
The battery life feels like a given: the Apple A15 chip seems to have been one key part of the huge battery life improvements in the iPhone 13 over the iPhone 12, so some improvement here simply from its inclusion seems likely.
I think the inclusion of MagSafe charging also seems like a fair bet – I'm not certain of it, but I think MagSafe has got off to a slow start in terms of popularity, and including it on the low-cost model seems like a good way to get more people into it.
The Ceramic Shield glass feels like a bit more of a push, even though in some ways it's the simplest change to make. Same design, new glass, right? The thing is, Ceramic Shield has only been used on the iPhone 12 and 13 models, where the glass is totally flat. The iPhone SE design includes a little curve/bevelling on the glass where it joins the frame. Is this easy/cheap to do? Can it even be done? We don't know – so while I hope the toughness of the Ceramic Shield comes to iPhone SE, I'd say that's very much a wildcard rumour right now.
One thing I don't think we'll be seeing is 'Apple Glasses', or any kind of Apple AR/VR headset. If this happens in 2022, it'll almost certainly be at WWDC, which is Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference, and takes place in June. Apple will need lots of support from apps and developers to make any AR/VR headset work, so it makes the most sense to announce it at the developer event, where it can then talk to these people about their follow-up questions.
That said, I don't expect to see this product in 2022 at all, unless it's much less complex than most rumours say. It keeps being predicted to use micro-OLED or advanced tech like that, and these things just aren't ready yet.
In any case, I don't think there's any chance of seeing it today, even though some people think the "Peek Performance" name of event hints at it.
Let's look at a new update to the rumour that the iPad Air will include the M1 chip. The same supposed leaker (via 9to5Mac) is saying that the iPad Air will include 8GB of RAM (which sort of went without saying, because that's the minimum the M1 comes with), and will double its base storage level from the previous model, now starting from 128GB. And that this will all come at the same price as the previous model.
We've already said that we think the M1 won't happen, and nothing so far has changed that in my mind. Especially if the new model is going to be the same price – the M1 surely costs Apple more to make than the A15, and in the current era of inflation, it'll want to keep costs down if it's not going to put the price up.
The amount of storage is a very interesting question, though. I'm totally on the fence about whether Apple will increase it. In the last year or so, Apple has doubled the base storage on loads of its products, including iPads. So with that in mind, it would make sense to happen here too, right?
Except that I'd argue that the last iPad Air started the trend of doubling storage, so it's already at the level Apple thinks is appropriate, maybe. The iPad Mini 6th Gen was updated at the end of last year, and increased storage to the same amount as the last iPad Air, so I think Apple will be happy leaving it as is. However, the other changes to the iPad Air this year are fairly minor, so if Apple does want to make it more appealing, it's an easy win.
And speaking of iPad rumours that won't happen today, you may have read recently about Apple planning to launch an OLED iPad. There's effectively zero chance of that happening today: the current info is that Apple wants a next-gen 'tandem' structure OLED screen – which provides better brightness and a longer lifespan – for its tablets and laptops, and that won't be possible until 2023 at the earliest.
Though OLED tablets are around now – including the fantastic (and LARGE) Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra – they use a single layer of OLED pixels, which leaves them prone to burn-in, shorter lifespans for the display, and with more limited brightness. The 'tandem' OLED screens will offer two layers of OLED pixels, meaning more brightness but also less pressure on the pixels, so less chance of burn-in and early failure.
Currently, it's said that LG Display is creating the first 'tandem' OLED screens for iPad (via TheElec) aimed at 2023, with Samsung Display to help out with more screens in 2024. So you'll have to hang on for that.
Last year, Apple used its spring event to introduce a new colour of iPhone 12: a very fetching purple. There's talk that we might see the same today, of a nice forest-y green colour, shown above – but I should say that this comes from YouTuber Luke Miani (via TechRadar) who apparently has "sources", but doesn't have a track record of accurate leaks.
I wouldn't be surprised at all to see something like this – and there's talk of a new purple iPad Air colour as well, which also sounds great.
One element of the iPhone SE 5G we haven't talked about is the price. I'd expect it to launch at the same price as the current model, but there's talk that it could be as cheap as £299/$299 – a drop in price of around 25% despite all the upgrades.
Not only that, but Apple might keep the current iPhone SE (2020) around and drop that price to around £199/$199. These prices would really set the Apple cat among the cheap Android pigeons. You'd get newer specs from a budget Android phone, but the reliability, smooth performance and regular security updates you get from iPhones is well-known, and with a lot of budget Android handsets, you don't have the same reputation from the manufacturers.
Plus, when your iPhone breaks, you can just walk into an Apple Store and demand some answers, like the wronged party in a courtroom drama. Kids and teens often already want iPhones, but don't get them because of prices; this might mean they all actually get them. It'll be interesting to see if it happens!
One on-going rumour I haven't mentioned yet is Apple AirPods Pro 2. There's been talk of them arriving in 2022, but I don't think you should expect a launch until close to Christmas. Most AirPods models launch at that time (including the original AirPods Pro, the most recent AirPods 3rd Gen, and 2020's AirPods Max), and the most recent leaks suggest that Apple is only going to start mass production of them soon.
When they do arrive, we're expecting them to have a smaller design, lossless wireless audio and improved sound quality overall – with better active noise cancellation. But not today.
With around two hours to go, here's my rating on the products to expect from the event:
iPad Air: 10/10
iPhone SE 5G: 9/10
Mac Studio: 8/10
Studio Display: 7/10
M2 MacBook Pro: 6/10
M2 Mac Mini: 6/10
M2 MacBook Air: 4/10
iMac Pro: 3/10
AirPods Pro 2: 2/10
Apple Glasses: 1/10
Here's a very cool touch for today's event: if you have AirPods Pro, AirPods Max or AirPods 3rd Gen, you can listen to today's event in Spatial Audio! I'm not sure that'll you much out of hearing Tim Cook or Craig Federighi's speeches in 3D sound, but I'll bet you anything that the sound design of Apple's flashy product announcement videos has been created with this in mind – it could be a really fun showcase for what this tech can do.
Pro tip! 👂 🎶 Use the TV App on iPhone/iPad/Mac/Apple TV with AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, or recent MacBook Pro speakers and you’ll be able to hear the #AppleEvent in Spatial Audio! pic.twitter.com/o31iB352IOMarch 7, 2022
You know, Apple has released a small computer aimed at creative pros alongside a matching display before… here's hoping that Mac Studio fares at least a little better than the ill-fated G4 Cube. One of the most clever computer designs of all time, unless you had high-heat, high-power components in it. Which it did.
Throwback ahead of today’s #AppleEvent pic.twitter.com/miA7PUL19XMarch 8, 2022
There's under an hour to go now, so if there are any wild last-minute leaks, speak now or forever hold your peace. New iPod Shuffle? iMac Mini? That TV they always said Apple was making that never actually appeared?
We've talked about the Mac Studio a lot, which is essentially a tweaked Mac Mini with the power of the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips used in the latest MacBook Pros… but according to a report from 9to5Mac, this might not be the Mac Studio's final form.
A super-powered version could be the replacement for the Mac Pro, with up to 40 processor cores and up to 128 GPU cores in one hugely powerful, monstrous chip.
For comparison, that is four times the processor cores and four times the GPU cores of the M1 Max – Apple's most powerful option currently.
I absolutely don't expect that to make an appearance today – I wouldn't say it's even a certainty to appear in 2022 at all.
What if the new MacBook Air with M2 chip does make an appearance today? What should we expect from it?
Well, thinness and colours are the big things that the leaks have promised. The renders above are claimed to be based on images of the new design that leaked out, and assuming they're remotely accurate, the USB-C port is the thing that gives us some kind of scale to work with. It makes the body look about as thick as the current iPad Pro, which is 64mm. So including the screen, we could be talking a total thickness of 70-75mm at most.
The current MacBook Air is 161mm at its thickest point, so this new version would feel almost impossible next to it. Not only will it be so much thinner, it'll be less voluminous – it'll be like slipping an A4 notepad into your bag. You won't even notice you have it.
It'll come in a range of colours, with a white keyboard and trackpad – just like the 24-inch iMac.
But I still don't think we'll see this machine today – though it's easily the Mac I'm most excited about this year, so I'll be very happy to be proven wrong.
10 minutes, people! Stock up now on Appletinis, Appletiser, apple crisps, apple pie, apple juice… any related apple snack really. I have banana bread, so I've already let the side down, sorry.
Here we go! Tim Cook is out and promising some products. That'll be nice, Tim, thanks!
Tim is pointing out that Apple TV+ has had a very good year for movie award nominations, including 3 Oscar noms each for The Tragedy Of Macbeth and CODA.
We're also learning about a Ryan Reynolds Christmas Carol adaptation. And an animated film about an unlucky lady with a talking cat. And a spy film.
Apple TV+ is now getting Friday Night Baseball, two exclusive games per week.
And now we're on to iPhone! No time wasted.
iPhone 13 is coming in a new Forest Green, iPhone 13 Pro is coming in Alpine Green. Both look nice! Pre-order on Friday, out later in March.
New iPhone SE is official! With Apple A15 processor as predicted. In white, black and red finishes.
As expected, the design of the new iPhone SE looks pretty much exactly the same as the previous version. The colours have changed slightly: Midnight, Starlight and Red – the first two are also available in the iPhone 13.
The glass has been updated with the same glass on the back of the iPhone 13 and Pro – but not Ceramic Shield.
Battery life is improved, and yes, it's getting 5G support.
The camera is still one lens, 12MP sensor. There are lots of new photo improvements, but they're powered by the A15 – better low-light photos and videos, Photographic Styles and all that jazz.
The price is $429, and it's available on March 18th, with pre-orders starting this Friday.
Looks like what we expected – a nice update. No price crash, but I didn't really expect that the way things are going at the moment!
Here we are with iPad Air! And yes, it has a new purple colour.
The M1 chip is coming to iPad Air! I said this wouldn't happen in a million years, so joke's on me. 60% faster CPU performance, double the graphics performance.
This really puts the squeeze on the 11-inch iPad Pro, which has most of the same specs…
Centre Stage front camera comes to iPad Air – this is the camera that follows you around the room if you move, thanks to an ultra-wide lens. It's already on the cheapest iPad, iPad Mini and iPad Pro, so no surprise here.
5G connectivity is here too – again, no surprise, but great to see.
The new iPad Air will be available in Space Grey, Starlight (white), Pink, Purple and a new blue. It's still $599, somehow. It's available in 64GB or 256GB – the same as before.
It's out March 18th, pre-order on Friday.
I now wonder if Apple will pull out an iPad Pro update today – I wasn't expecting it before, but the iPad Air really steps on the 11-inch iPad Pro's toes. Or maybe the 11-inch iPad Pro will quietly retire.
Anyway, we're on to Macs now – if we get the M2 chip, maybe Apple will circle back to an iPad Pro announcement with it in.
Oh boy. M1 Ultra. An EVEN MORE POWERFUL chip.
M1 Ultra is two M1 Max chips taped together. But by taped, I mean a new connection technology called 'Ultrafusion', unlike anything else on the market (Apple says). So they look like a single chip to software, and run just likes one utterly colossal processor.
20-core CPU, 64-core GPU. Memory bandwidth is 800GB/s, which is just… ridiculous. 128GB of maximum memory.
As with all the other M1 chips, it uses a fraction of the power to reach the same performance as equivalent Intel chips or competing GPUs… at least, the ones Apple is comparing it to.
Mac Studio is real! As is the Studio Display. Mac Studio includes M1 Max and M1 Ultra – it looks like a very tall Mac mini, with some ports on the front. That's kind of shocking for Apple!
7.7 inches square, 3.7 inches tall. It's not… a looker. Bit forehead-y. To be fair, that's because about 50% of the inside is for cooling – but Apple says it'll be near-silent.
On the back, you get 4x Thunderbolt 4, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, 2x USB-A ports, and a high-impedance headphone jack. Two more Thunderbolt 4 ports and SD card slot on the front.
Apple says it's 2.5x faster than the best 27-inch iMac available now, with 3.4x faster GPU – and that's just with the M1 Max, not the Ultra…
With he Ultra, it's 3.8x faster than the 27-inch iMac, and a ridiculous 60% faster than the Intel Mac Pro with 28 cores (though neither of these is using the latest Intel chips). The GPU is 80% faster than the best Mac Pro GPU, even.
Now let's talk about the Studio Display. It's a 27-inch screen, with 5K resolution and 600 nits of brightness. P3 wide colour support is here, along with Apple's True Tone tech to make it easier on the eye. There's a nano-texture glass option for pro-level reflection control too.
As promised, there's an A-series chip inside. The 12MP ultra-wide camera supports Centre Stage, so it can follow you if you move – with image processing from the A-series chip. There are studio mics, like MacBook Pros.
There's a multi-speaker system with Spatial Audio support, including Dolby Atmos. Apple says they're the best Mac speakers they've ever made – and Apple's made some surprisingly good speakers.
It's got three USB-C ports and one Thunderbolt 4 connection, which you'll connect to the Mac – with 96W of power.
(Sorry for any technical issues you saw on the site during that section, folks. If only Apple had given me a Mac Studio to work on, eh?)
Mac Studio with M1 Max is $1,999. With M1 Ultra, it's $3,999. That made me exhale very loudly here, but for pros needing this performance, it won't look so bad.
Mac Studio will be $1,599.
Apple just said there's only one Mac type yet to convert to Apple Silicon, which is the Mac Pro – and that will come another day.
But what does that mean for the 27-inch iMac!? Is it just quietly going away, replaced by Mac Mini with Studio Display? Or is Apple fudging it a bit, and the bigger iMac is still coming in a few months, as promised?
And that's everything! The thing I saw in this briefing that I most want for myself is this lady's incredible gold blazer, but the Mac Studio and iPad Air both really surprised me.
The Mac Studio was even more powerful than expected. The rumour was for a super-powerful new chip, but I thought they'd save that for the Mac Pro announcement. But then, who needs a Mac Pro when you can fit this much power into something the size of a piece of Tupperware?
But I do think it's a bit of a shame that Apple has no mid-tier desktop. There's either the M1, or the M1 Max – no M1 Pro. You can pay either $699 for a Mac Mini or $1,999 for a Mac Studio – that leaves a pretty big gap for something to fill.
And as mentioned, I thought is would be madness for Apple to put the M1 in the iPad Air, because then it would stamp all over the iPad Pro 11-inch. And it does! The iPad Pro offers some extras – a slightly brighter screen, 120Hz support and more storage – but I wouldn't have been surprised at all if Apple had just killed it off today, since the iPad Air is now so close to it.
Maybe Apple will add a mini-LED screen to it with the next update, but for how long will the 11-inch iPad Pro just have to limp on without a clear purpose? Until the M2 comes out?