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Apple Event: Peek Performance

Last updated on March 10, 2022

OK, so here’s what happened: Apple gave us another streaming event, and this one started pretty quickly with a shoutout to TV+ and all the awards and star power on the service at the moment. This was followed up with an announcement about Friday Night Baseball coming* to TV+, two games selected weekly that will be on TV+ as a live broadcast. Nothing was said about watching later, or about TV+ getting tiered pricing, so the same $5 you’re paying now just comes with more content.

*As of now there is no baseball coming, so this announcement may age very poorly depending on whether or not there’s a full-blown strike.

Then we spent a moment on iPhone updates: Now the 13 and 13 Pro/Max come in a really nice green, and the SE got a third revision. TL;DR: iPhone 8 chassis complete with home button, iPhone 13 processor and camera (with fewer lens options). Black/White/Red, 64GB for $429, 128GB for $479, 256GB for $579. Order this Friday 3/11, available next Friday 3/18.

We got a nice update to the iPad Air: It’s got new colors, square sides, and M1 Inside, so now the iPad Pro and iPad Air are both at the party wearing the same outfit, so it’s gonna be a real awkward summer until we get the updated iPad Pro which usually happens in the fall…

Now we see what Apple has really been up to: The Big Mac! OK, it’s the “Mac Studio” which looks at first glance like a real tall Mac mini:

It’s three Apple (computer)s high. Like a Smurf.

This marks the debut of a new machine, and a new processor too: The M1 Ultra which is two M1 Max processors hooked together with some sort of magic. Right now the M1 Max still has that “fresh off the showroom floor” smell, and this processor simply lays waste to any previous expectation of what kind of performance you could get from Apple Silicon. When I talked to Tom Bridge about it, he described the M1 Ultra as “leaving a smoking crater where previous Geekbench scores used to be.”

Of course to go along with this new machine, Apple has (almost) gotten back into the Monitors For Mere Mortals game:

Aren’t they a cute couple?

Almost, because it’s a 5K Display, and it’s $1599. But it contains a 12MP Ultra Wide camera that supports Center Stage, a three-mic array, six speaker sound system with something called “force cancelling woofers” and of course, Spatial Audio. Yeah, it does Siri too. And there’s a Thunderbolt 3 port on the back that supports 96W charging, and 3 USB-C ports. So it’s also a USB hub that can charge your laptop if that’s how you roll.

This new machine looks really solid and will definitely serve the needs of the people who need a little more than the M1 mini gives them, but don’t need the five digit price of a Mac Pro and a screen and a stand for the screen. I think Mike Rose called it on MacVoices Live: If you can’t write this off on your taxes, it might not be the machine for you. But if you are that person, or aspire to be that person and your bank account can take the hit, this is the kind of machine a lot of Apple users have been clamoring to buy, and now they can.

A side note to the event was the casual mention of “yeah, the transition away from Intel is almost done, the Mac Pro is all that’s left and that’s for another day.” Given that the first Apple Silicon machines were made available to the public in late 2020 and this third iteration is still referred to as M1, I can’t even imagine what we’ll get under the M2 label. But I am very much looking forward to finding out!

If you want to hear a discussion about the event, you can check out my chat with Tom Bridge, or my event breakdown with Jay Miller and Jeff Gamet.

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