Apple’s latest product launch event was headlined by the Mac Studio, a new Apple Silicon-powered Mac Pro replacement containing yet another variant of the M1 chip, this time known as the M1 Ultra.
Apple also introduced a new display designed to be paired with the Studio, as well as new generations of the iPhone SE and iPad Air, with the latter both set at bargain prices despite their up-to-date internals.
All of the devices that Apple launched today could have business applications, but for Apple users desperately searching for something newer than the 2019 Mac Pro there’s nothing more attractive than the Mac Studio. Apple even said as much in its presentation when it described the Studio as a way for Mac Pro users to move to Apple Silicon.
The Mac Studio: What it offers
Before getting into what is available on the Mac Studio and its accompanying Studio Display, let’s talk about the new M1 Ultra, which is only available in the Studio.
The M1 Ultra is a pretty massive chip able to support up to 128 GB of unified memory, has a 20-core CPU, a 64GB GPU, a 32-core neural engine, 114 billion transistors and can move 800 GB/s, and it does it all by chaining two M1 Max chips together.
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One of the features of the M1 Max that Apple apparently forgot to mention is the fact that it came with a die-to-die bridge so a pair of Maxes could be linked without having to use the motherboard. Apple calls this bridging Ultra Fusion, and it results in a pair of chips that act as a single chip, are seen as a single chip by software and have an interprocessor bandwidth of 2.5 TB/s. It’s this chip that is one of the two options for the Mac Studio, the other being an M1 Max.
At 7.7” square and 3” tall, the Mac Studio looks like a fattened up version of the Mac Mini. Based on Apple’s presentation, a good portion of its internal space is occupied by its cooling system, which draws air from below the case to cool it before expelling heat out the back.
The Mac Studio has connectivity in abundance, with four Thunderbolt 4 ports, a 10GB ethernet port, two USB-A ports, an HDMI port and a pro audio jack. On its front, the Studio has two USB-C ports (both Thunderbolt 4 ports on the Studio with the M1 Ultra) and an SD card slot.
In terms of performance, the M1 Ultra Mac Studio is impressive if Apple’s benchmarks are accurate. If so, get ready for 90% faster performance over a Mac Pro with a 16-core Intel Xeon, and a 60% performance increase over the 28-core version. Additionally, the Mac Studio can play up to 18 simultaneous streams of 8K video, has up to an 8TB SSD that can move 7.4 GB/s, and with the M1 Ultra has up to 128 GB of unified memory.
All of that performance comes with a statistic that businesses looking for multiple machines will be sure to love: The Mac Studio reportedly uses 1,000 fewer kWh of energy per year than a comparable high-end desktop PC.
The 27” Studio Display also promises to be a hit for professional users. It can tilt up to 30 degrees, has a 5K retina display with 14.7 million pixels, three USB-C ports and one Thunderbolt 4 port that Apple said can output 96w of power so the monitor can be used to charge devices up to a Macbook Pro.
The new iPhone SE
The new SE, like previous models, is designed to be the entry-level iPhone device, and this latest one was billed by Apple during its presentation as “faster than all the competition at any price.”
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With that in mind, Apple put the A15 Bionic, the same chip that’s in the iPhone 13 series, into the new iPhone SE. Additionally, the SE retains the home button and the classic look of the iPhone a few generations back, while adding 5G, Wi-Fi 6 and a new 12MP rear camera. To make it appealing to those looking to get a feel for the Apple environment without the associated costs, the device is priced at just $429.
The new iPad Air
The new iPad Air got a similar set of feature bumps, with its A-series processor getting replaced with an M1, bringing it in line with the iPad Pro series. The new Air also gets support for the second generation Apple Pencil, 5G and Wi-Fi 6, and support for Apple’s Magic Keyboard case and Smart Keyboard Folios. The new Air is also priced cheaply, and will be available starting at $599.
Pricing and availability of Apple’s newest hardware
Every single device that Apple launched on March 8 will be available in stores starting on March 18 2022. Preorders for all devices begin on Friday, March 11, with the exception of the Mac Studio and Studio Display, which can be preordered now.
As mentioned above, the iPhone SE will start at $429, and the iPad Air will start at $599. The Studio Display is $1,599, while the Mac Studio with the M1 Max starts at $1,999 and the Mac Studio with M1 Ultra starts at $3,999.