Apple: Mac 'n' Chips

Was what? Apple presented a cheaper iPhone, a 5G-enabled tablet and a more powerful Mac in the evening. But the star of the evening was a "monster chip".

There are things that seem more irrelevant in these times than perhaps in others. Marketing events, for example, where companies advertise their latest products. Even when Apple announced its Peek Performance event for Tuesday evening, some criticized it as tactless given the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine.

And what did Apple do? Walked through the product presentation as if everything was the same as always, not a word about Ukraine or Russia. That can again be found tactless. But perhaps it would have been more tactless to squeeze expressions of sympathy towards Ukraine between the product praise and to pretend that one would not simply try to get the countless fans willing to pay for the new products enthusiastic.

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So it was just an ordinary, pre-produced product presentation that Apple, as usual, staged as conspicuously as possible: with rapid tracking shots, detailed graphics and customers who were allowed to praise the Apple products, the company announced a new iPhone SE, a new iPad Air, a new one Mac and a new chip. Because their own processors are now part of the portfolio of many manufacturers.

Expensive cheap smartphone

As so often, observers had already speculated in advance about what Apple would probably present this time. As is so often the case, they were at least partially correct. So it should hardly have surprised anyone that Apple presented a new iPhone SE in three colors, which is now also 5G-capable. The company does not price the iPhones of the SE series as high as its other models; they are also considered entry-level models for people who are not yet submissive Apple users.

The new iPhone SE comes with a 4.7-inch screen, a home button with a fingerprint sensor and is said to be protected against water and dust. It also includes some features that fans already know from the current iPhone 13 models: The front and back are made of roughly the same glass. And the iPhone SE contains Apple's self-made A15 bionic chip, which also powers the latest iPhones and which Apple advertised back in September. The company promises that almost everything will be better as a result: you can scroll through photos faster, apps load faster and video games also run more smoothly.

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Comparatively little was said about the camera, probably because it is rather sparsely equipped compared to Apple's other devices, despite the twelve-megapixel wide-angle camera. In other words, it will take good pictures, but perhaps not quite as impressive as the 13 series. The cheapest iPhone should not even cost that cheap 519 euros.

5G for the iPad Air

A new iPad Air was also expected by Apple fans. It also now has 5G support and five different colors. The highlight of the new device is said to be the M1 chip that Apple has installed: compared to the previous iPad Air version, the processor is said to be up to 60 percent faster and the graphics performance is twice as fast. If you're wondering what you need it for: According to Apple, gamers can also play graphics-intensive video games on it, creative people can edit several high-resolution 4K video streams and designers can redesign rooms in 3D.

Prices for the tablet with a 10.9-inch display and twelve-megapixel camera start at 679 euros; if you also want to use mobile communications, you have to budget at least 849 euros. Both the new iPhone SE and the new iPad Air can be pre-ordered from March 11th and will be available from March 18th.

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The only thing that was really new on Tuesday evening was a series of desktop computers, called Mac Studio and Studio Display. Of course, the focus was also on their own chips. After the M1, M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, the M1 Ultra was presented. According to Apple, this is supposed to be a "monster" from a chip, the most powerful in a personal computer. In principle, it consists of two interconnected M1 Max chips that are already installed in the current Macbook Pros. The M1 Ultra is said to offer more memory (up to 128 gigabytes), a more powerful processor (a 20-core CPU) and better graphics performance (a 64-core GPU).

The new chip will be found first in the Mac Studio, a computer with a square base, 20 centimeters long and 9.5 centimeters high. In terms of looks, the Mac Studio is like a big brother to the Mac Mini. Studio Display is the screen for it, but it can also be combined with other Macs. The Retina screen measures 27 inches with more than 14.7 million pixels. You have to shell out at least 2,299 euros for the Mac Studio and at least 1,749 euros for the Studio Display. The hefty prices alone show that Apple is targeting the business world rather than private users. The devices can be ordered immediately and, like the other products presented, will be available from March 18th. 

For the sake of completeness, it should also be mentioned that the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro will soon be available in green and that US users can look forward to Friday night baseball on Apple TV+.

Focus on the chips

The presentation shows once again how important the in-house chip series is for Apple: They also want to make the products more powerful with better processors that can process more data. The chips are a "huge success," recently judged analyst Kevin Krewell . Many are satisfied with the performance, the compatibility and the battery performance.

For Apple, however, the effort is probably also worthwhile because the company can earn more money with it than with chips purchased from other manufacturers. Apple now installs its own chips in smartphones, tablets, smartwatches and computers. The company can thus decide for itself which capabilities a chip should have and adapt it specifically to the desired requirements.

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