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Apple's March Event: Mac Studio and Co.

Updated: .

Going into the "Peek performance" event, I didn't really know what to expect to come. Maybe some updates on digital IDs, maybe a new Mac with Apple Silicon. After they finished waffling about Apple TV+, Apple unveiled some hardware updates that were pretty mediocre, new content to Apple TV+ that should improve its competitiveness with other streaming platforms, and a new Mac with new Apple Silicon. Overall: a cool event.

Apple TV+: Actually Becoming Competitive#

Apple TV+ is getting exclusive games live from the MLB and actually means that the service is getting more competetive. It sounds as if these games will be watchable outside the States as well, which is neat for foreign U.S. baseball fans. This could be the start of their service becoming a real option for people. Imagine if your 5$ subscription gave you all MLB games, or all NFL games, or, hell, live TV in general. Even if it jumps up to 10$ to have live content in the future, it still will make

iPhone SE: Disappointing (still)#

I get it: some people like the smaller size, the familiar home button, et al. But, it still needs some more loving. It got updated with the A15 Bionic chip, the same in the iPhone 13. I can see the appeal, but, to me at least, it needs to get a fresher design and upgrades outside of just chip performance.

The thing I hate the most of this segment is that it's really just repeating things that they've said every year with minor tweaks. Same old display, but uses the same glass at the flagships. With the addition of 5G, at least this phone won't age too fast and will still be practical for many years to come. Starts at 499$.

iPad Air: Not much to say#

The iPad Air now has M1. It was given comparisons to vague Windows laptops, but the main point I missed is that: it's still not a laptop. It gets pretty blocked by iOS/iPadOS, but that's something that likely won't change anytime soon.

There were also updates to the front camera by replacing the old front camera with one ultrawide camera. This should be useful to huddle around if very needed. Support for 5G and a "2x faster" USB-C port is here, whatever the last bit means. Support for first-party keyboards is also pretty neat.

I liked the purple and blue colours that they showed off. Starting at 599$ with a 64Go and 256Go models.

M1 Ultra: F*ck these names, man.#

I was basically shouting when they announced this chip. I hated the name of the Pro and Max, but kind of saw it coming. Ultra was the most steaming pile of BS I've seen in a hot minute though. The chip itself, however, is pretty great.

They targeted Xeon chips by saying that to get even greater performance they need two chips. They basically said they fixed this problem by just connecting the two chips like LEGO: UltraFusion is the name. Inter-processor bandwidth is crazy fast however (2.5To/s). Memory is also now at a bandwidth of 800Go/s, which is nuts to say the least. The unified memory has jumped to 128Go which is insane as well.

They advertise the same performance to the "fastest 16-core chip" and nets 90% performance in the window and by using 100W less. They also advertise a third of the power usage of the "leading desktop GPU." Overall, it's a lot. More vague graphs and comparisons, but it's still sounds like it will be impressive.

Mac Studio: I (mildly) wish I didn't buy a Mac Mini now#

I'll preface by saying the computer itself is ugly, but that's more than okay. It's way larger, likely to fit cooling for this beefier cooling. When they cut away the side, it was clear that it was the case. Huge fans, huge heatsink. It's almost like using cooling helps performance. Probably going to be as quiet as their other computers.

The I/O on the Mac Studio is kind of insane, but shouldn't have needed to be: HDMI, 2 USB-A, audio, 4 Thunderbolt 4. Why there couldn't have been similar I/O on the Mac Mini is sadly beyond me They also brought back an SD card reader and 2 USB-C ports on the front; assuming you get the M1 Ultra SKU, those USB-C ports are Thunderbolt 4 as well, with support for 4 Pro Displays and 1 TV. This is bonkers.

Comparing the chips to ohter computers, they showed off how they beat the Mac Pro and iMac Pro in both GPU and CPU performance for their popular configurations. This gets better because these numbers were dwarfed by the Ultra chips even further. Curiously enough, in the beginning of the intro they mentioned that modularity would be included.

The Mac Studio makes buying the Mac Mini seem kind of useless if you need a small computer for serious work. I'd like to see M1 Ultra get support for WINE and the Linux kernel: imaging the performance that they boast, it seems like it will be an awesome experience. M1 Max starts at 2999$, M1 Ultra starts at 3999$

Studio Display: Pro Display sans Grater#

The best way to describe this display is that it should have been what the iMac looked like. Supports the Pro Display Stand and has a VESA adapter. It comes with the same coating options as the Pro Display. Curiously enough, it has an A13 chip inside for dedicated image and sound processing. Why it started to a "prosumer" device is beyond me: it would likely have been ideal to be started in a MacBook of some sort.

3 USB-C ports and a Thunderbolt port, with the latter meant to connect between your Mac and the display, with fast charge support for MacBook Pro (96W of charging). They also finally released the black colour schemes for the Pro devices for the Studio Display to pair nicely.

I'm actually not really sold on the display; maybe it's because I've already caibrated my display to be decently colour accurate for it to not matter to me. Maybe it's becauase I need to still use a Windows desktop with this display. It still seems like a cool thing regardless. Starts at 1599$.

Minor things#

P.S. While watching, I did a live playlist of the music that played. Hilariously enough, Spotify actually went down mid-playlist creation.

This post was edited once to add the name of the Apple Arcade game. I had forgotten the name.