Apple Rolls Out 5G iPhone SE, iPad Air, Mac Studio Desktop

Wearing a blue sweater and yellow Apple Watch in solidarity with Ukraine, Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled the budget 5G iPhone SE during a “Peek Performance” virtual event streamed live Tuesday morning. In addition, Apple revealed an M1-powered iPad Air, the sizzling Mac Studio for professionals and a 27-inch studio monitor to go with it. The event concluded with a teaser for the new Mac Pro. Cook also announced “Friday Night Baseball” is coming to Apple TV+ (“a weekly doubleheader with live pre- and post-game shows”) and said the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro will come in green and alpine green, respectively. The new gear hits the market March 18.

Positioned as a device for people who like smaller phones, the iPhone SE “brings the advanced features and exceptional performance of A15 to our most affordable iPhone,” Cook said of the $429 5G entry. The new SE has “enhanced computational photography” thanks to Apple’s A15 Bionic chipset, packing “deep fusion, smart HDR, and other AI-enhanced technologies to the camera system for low light photography, accurate skin tone, and better photos,” says Digital Trends.

Reconfigured with an M1 chip, the new iPad Air is up to 2x faster than the top Windows laptop in its price range, according to Apple, turning the iPad Air into what Digital Trends calls “a machine learning and gaming powerhouse.” The iPad Air also gets a front-facing 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera that supports Center Stage, which uses machine learning to adjust the camera using video apps like FaceTime.

The new iPhone and iPad models support the latest iOS 15.4 update, which is expected to have a new face ID feature that recognizes users even while masked, and a payment update that natively accepts third-party credit card payments (a development that should go over well with lawmakers targeting the previously siloed Apple payment ecosystem).

The new iPad Air “has a USB-C port for file transfers, and accessories include the second-gen Apple Pencil, a keyboard folio, and Apple’s Magic Keyboard with the trackpad built-in. Prices start at $599, and it will be available in both 5G cellular and Wi-Fi models, Apple said. Capacities include either 64GB or 256GB of storage,” Digital Trends writes.

The Mac Studio desktop system “looks like the Mac Mini on the outside but packs a lot more power,” according to The Verge.

In addition to a base M1 Max model, “buyers will be able to configure the product with the new M1 Ultra chip, Apple’s latest Arm-based processor for Macs, which promises to beat Xeon processors from Intel,” writes PC Magazine, explaining “the M1 Ultra chip is essentially two M1 Max processors linked together through a die-to-die interconnect called UltraFusion, which allows the CPUs to communicate with each other over 2.5Tb/s of bandwidth.”

Apple says either configuration makes the Mac Studio faster than the Mac Pro. Features include four Thunderbolt 4 ports, a 10Gb Ethernet port, two USB-A ports, HDMI connectivity and an audio jack. Both Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 are supported.

Apple product line manager Colleen Novielli calls the Mac Studio “a breakthrough in personal computing” as “the first computer to put out outrageous performance, extensive connectivity and entirely new capabilities into an unbelievably compact form” that measures only 7.7 inches on each side and 3.7 inches high.

Pricing for the Mac Studio with M1 Max starts at $1,999, while the M1 Ultra models start at $3,999. The studio display monitor carries a $1,599 retail price. All the new products are available for preorder now.

Apple March Event Recap – iPhone SE 3, Mac Studio, iPad Air 5 and More, Tom’s Guide, 3/9/22
Apple Unveils the M1 Ultra, Its Most Powerful Chip Yet, Engadget, 3/8/22
Apple’s Mac Studio Is a Tiny Pro-Level Desktop Powered by M1 Ultra, Engadget, 3/8/22
Apple Takes Swing at Sports with Major League Baseball Rights Deal, Variety, 3/8/22

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