Everything Apple announced at its “Peek Performance” event
From new iPhone SE 5G to the incredibly powerful Mac Studio desktops, here's everything Apple showed off at its Peek Performance launch event.
As expected, Apple unveiled a range of new products at its "Peek Performance" event in the early hours of Wednesday morning Australian time. The star of the show was either the iPhone SE, if you're after a less pricey iPhone variant, or the new Mac Studio desktop if you have a serious need for power and a bank balance to match it.
We'll be bringing you comprehensive breakdowns and hands-on reviews soon. In the meantime, here's everything Apple announced in detail.
iPhone SE goes 5G
It's been 2 years since the iPhone SE range was updated, so it was little surprise to see the iPhone SE get a refresh. It's still substantially built around the body of the iPhone 8 chassis, a design that Apple seems to seriously love for its most affordable iPhone range.
However, this isn't an iPhone 8, but instead the glorious Frankenchild of the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 13, because it's packing the same A15 Bionic processor that you'll find in the iPhone 13 range. That gives it some serious power boost from the prior generation, with Apple claiming that it's up to 1.8 times faster than the iPhone 8 with a 2.2x faster GPU. Those are rather specifically chosen examples of course, but if you were updating from that model you would certainly see a jump in performance.
Apple says the iPhone SE will be more battery efficient than the prior models thanks to the A15 Bionic chip, with a claimed bump up to 15 hours of video playback locally and 10 hours of streamed video. Those aren't huge figures, but it's a pleasing improvement over the 13/8 hour figure of the previous model.
Given that our experiences with the prior model suggested battery life was a serious problem, it will be fascinating to see how that plays out in real world usage situations, especially as the iPhone SE is now 5G capable.
The Apple iPhone SE will ship in Midnight (black), Starlight (Silver/White) or (PRODUCT) RED finishes. It will go on pre-order in Australia from 12:00 am AEDT on 12 March 2022, with actual availability from 18 March 2022. Pricing sits at $719 for the 64GB model, $799 for the 128GB model or $969 for the 256GB model.
A new iPhone 13… sort of
Apple only announced the iPhone 13 range a few months ago, so actual new premium iPhones were never likely to be on the table. Instead, Apple is upping its colour range, adding a new Green and Alpine Green options to the range.
The darker Green hue will be iPhone 13/iPhone 13 Mini only, while the lighter Alpine Green will come to the iPhone 13 Pro/Pro Max phones. Like the iPhone SE, they'll go on pre-order in Australia from 12:00 am AEDT on 12 March 2022, with actual availability from 18 March 2022.
iPad Air goes M1
Up until today, Apple's iPad Air sat in an awkward position, with the smaller iPad Mini and iPad Pro both enjoying the performance of the M1 processor, leaving the Air rather more akin to the regular (and much less expensive) Apple iPad.
That changes with Apple bringing both the M1 processor and 5G connectivity to the iPad Air. The claims here are that it gives the Air line a boost in power, up to 60% faster than the prior generation in processor terms, and up to 2x faster for GPU calculations. It also gains Center Stage compatibility for Apple's ultra-wide zooming group video chat features.
The iPad Air will ship in Space Grey, Starlight, Pink, Purple and Blue finishes.
Pricing in Australia sits at $929 for 64GB or $1,129 for 256GB in Wi-Fi models, or $1,159/$1,389 for the 5G capable 64GB and 256GB models respectively. Like the new iPhone SE and green iPhone 13 models, they will go on pre-order in Australia from 12:00 am AEDT on 12 March 2022, with actual availability from 18 March 2022.
Mac Studio and Studio Display: Serious performance, serious price
It turns out that Apple's whole "Peek Performance" line was fundamentally related to the launch of new Macs and displays, as well as a new member of its M1 processor family.
Rumours suggested that Apple would launch a new display at the Peek Performance event, but it did a bit more than that. Rather than announce an M2 processor, it instead added a new member of the M1 family of processors. The M1 Ultra chip will at first ship in the new Mac Studio desktop, which is rather like a fat Mac Mini, although it's a Mac Mini with a rocket engine strapped to it.
The extra size allows Apple to throw in more ports, with 4 rear Thunderbolt 4 ports, 10GB ethernet, dual USB A ports and headphone ports at the rear, while at the front you'll find dual USB-C and SDXC ports. Mac Studio will ship with either the new M1 Ultra or existing M1 Max processor, but the Ultra will also get Thunderbolt 4 at the front on its ports.
Like other M1 Macs, it's an entirely fixed system, so you can't upgrade the memory, storage or processor after the fact. Pricing in Australia starts at $3,099 for the M1 Max variant, while the top tier M1 Ultra model will set you back at least $6,099. Although if you do have a very obliging boss with deep pockets, a fully specced-out Mac Studio with with a 64-core CPU, 128GB of RAM and 8TB of storage will empty somebody's wallet to the tune of $12,099.
Then there's the Studio Display. Apple has a long, if somewhat inconsistent history in developing and selling premium monitors, but the Studio Display is something that's both different and seemingly familiar at the same time.
The Apple Studio Display looks somewhat like an M1 iMac, albeit without the iMac parts within it. Sort of, because while it lacks any kind of M1 chip, it is based around the A13 Bionic Chip.
The A13 Bionic is used to run its 5K 27-inch display, but also the front-facing 13MP wide camera that will bring Center Stage capabilities to the Mac platform for the first time. It also has its own array of ports, although you'll need some kind of Mac for them to make much sense. At the rear (because who needs easily accessible ports, really?) there are 3 USB C ports and a single Thunderbolt port for Mac connectivity and charging.
That Thunderbolt port can deliver 96W of power, which means that it can also be the power supply for a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air laptop. It's possible, although pricey, to connect up to 3 Studio Displays in sequence.
Studio Display pricing starts at $2,499 with standard glass, or at $2,999 with a nano-textured glass designed to reduce reflectivity.
Surprisingly, you don't have to wait until the early hours of Saturday morning to pre-order the Mac Studio or Studio Display, which go on pre-order from today. However, you won't be enjoying their power until (you guessed it) 18 March 2022.
Apple TV: Take me out to the ballgame
So with all that hardware on display, that's what Apple opened its event with, right?
Wrong. Apple CEO Tim Cook actually opened up the event talking about Apple TV+ and its range of movies, noting that it was up for academy awards for a number of its exclusive Apple Original Films, including Coda and The Tragedy of Macbeth and trailers for new movies.
Apple TV+ will also get Friday night US baseball games, which will be available to watch without an additional subscription for "a limited time", which suggests that at a point in the future it will become an add-on price feature if baseball is important to you.
It's not quite a global launch for the service either, with Apple noting that it will be available "in the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Kingdom" at launch, with other countries able to access it later on.
Apple iPhone deals
The 2022 iPhone SE isn't out yet, but you can snap up some pretty decent bargains on previous models. Here are a few online deals for those who don't want to wait.
This phone was a great deal when it was released, and it's an even better one now. As exciting as the Apple release cycle is, you can get a shocking amount of functionality on older, more affordable models such as the XR. Face ID, Qi wireless charging and more are available for this great deal. (Works and looks like new. Backed by a 180-day supplier warranty.)
Buy now for $447 (was $819)
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