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  • Cheryl Tan

Apple Announces New Mac Studio, Studio Display, iPhone SE, iPad Air, M1 Ultra Chip & More

Updated: Mar 6, 2023

What an event. Apple's first launch event of the year has just finished airing and there's plenty to unpack, so let's jump straight into it.

New iPhone 13 colours

Credit: Apple

As was the case with the iPhone 12 purple at the 2021 Spring event, Apple is introducing a new green colourway for the iPhone 13 and an Alpine Green for the 13 Pro. The new colours will be available from 18 March onwards.

iPhone SE

Credit: Apple

This was the announcement that was the most widely leaked, and for good reason. After two years, the iPhone SE was in desperate need of a refresh and this new model provides a timely update to keep up with the market.

There's now 5G capability, which is definitely an upgrade, but the big improvement is the 6-core A15 Bionic chip that's going to be included here. Apple says we're looking at 1.8x faster performance compared to the iPhone 8, with the 4-core GPU delivering 2.2x better performance than the iPhone 8 as well.

Credit: Apple

The phone should be relatively durable, with the same glass on the front and back as the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro. There's also an IP67 dust and water resistance. With rumours that the iPhone 14 will not be having a Mini model, this 4.7-inch phone might be a great option to consider.

Battery life is also improved, according to Apple, although no figures were shared. The phone will come in three colours, Midnight, Starlight and (PRODUCT)RED.

The camera on the phone is a 12MP camera with Deep Fusion, and photographic styles, Smart HDR 4 and more will be available here as well. The phone will come with iOS 15, so you get features like Focus modes, Live Text and all. Unfortunately, there's no real radical design change here, with the new SE looking like the iPhone 8.

Preorders start Friday with general availability from 18 March. Prices start at US$429 or S$699.

iPad Air

With the iPhone SE getting a refresh, the iPad Air has followed along after two years of waiting, now with the same M1 chip that's in the iPad Pro. Thanks to the M1 chip, the new iPad Air has up to 60% better performance than the iPad Air with the A14 chip.

The iPad Air will get a Liquid Retina display but without ProMotion. Brightness is capped at 500 nits with HDR, and the new iPad Air will also be compatible with Apple Pencil 2nd Gen, Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard.

Finally, the front camera has been updated with a 12MP ultrawide camera, and Centre Stage has now been introduced here, which is a fantastic feature that makes video calls much more enjoyable. There's also 5G support for those who need internet on the go.

The new iPad Air will come in five colours, purple, blue, pink, starlight and space grey. Starting at US$599 or S$879, it will be available from 18 March, with preorders starting on Friday.

M1 Ultra

Credit: Apple

It's crazy that Apple is still adding to the M1 chip lineup, especially when you consider how powerful the M1 Pro and M1 Max already are. But the new M1 Ultra takes it to a whole new level.

Apple revealed the M1 Max actually has a die-to-die silicon interposer connection that allows two chips to be connected with Apple's custom-built packaging architecture called UltraFusion, allowing the company to put two chips together while behaving as a single chip.

The memory bandwidth is increased to 800GB/s and the chip supports up to 128GB of unified memory for people who need that amount of RAM. It's a 20-core CPU chip with a 64-core GPU, and 8x faster performance than the M1 chip. And of course, since it's essentially two M1 Max chips placed together, the physical footprint in the computer is twice the size of a single M1 Max chip.

Mac Studio

This is a completely new Mac that Apple is introducing today with the new M1 Ultra chip as well as the M1 Max chip. It looks like a taller Mac Mini, and it's definitely something that professionals will be happy with because there are an incredible amount of ports here. In fact, you get an SD card slot and two USB-C ports on the front of the device, how great is that?

It's just 7.7-inches long and 3.7-inches tall, so it'll fit under your monitors or even a desk stand. There's also a custom circular power supply unit above two fans that pull cool air in from the bottom before blowing the hot air out through 2000 perforations on the rear of the unit.

On the back, you get four USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports, a 10Gb Ethernet port, two USB-A ports, HDMI and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There's also Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 support built-in. There's even support for outputting to four Pro Display XDR monitors at once along with a 4K TV.

Apple is claiming 50% faster CPU performance with the M1 Max Mac Studio than the 16-Core Xeon Mac Pro and 2.5x faster than the 27-inch iMac with a 10-core i9 processor, although there aren't any real figures or units provided here either. What's really cool for videographers and video editors, though, is the ability to play 18 streams of 8K ProRes 422 video at once.

There's support for up to 8TB of SSD storage, and the M1 Ultra model will allow for up to 128GB of unified memory. Starting at US$1,999 or at S$2,899 for the M1 Max model and US$3,999 or S$5,899 for the M1 Ultra model, the Mac Studio can be preordered today and will be available from 18 March onwards.

Studio Display

This is actually one of the most recent rumours that only just surfaced a night or two before the event, but it seems like the leakers got it right this time around. The new 27-inch display is the companion to the new Mac Studio, and it's definitely more targeted towards the general consumer rather than the professionals.

With work-from-home becoming the norm for many, plenty of Mac users will be sure to welcome this new monitor. The basic stand looks a lot like the one provided with the iMac 24-inch, but there's also a new stand option with a counterbalancing arm that allows for tilt and height adjustment, in addition to VESA mounting options.

It's a 5K Retina display with 600 nits max brightness, TrueTone and anti-reflective coating, with a nano-texture glass option like the Pro Display XDR. There's an A13 Bionic chip inside, with a 12MP ultrawide camera that supports Centre Stage, six speakers that support Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos as well as a three mic array.

There are three USB-C ports on the rear, with a Thunderbolt port that allows for Studio Display to be connected to a separate Mac notebook and delivers 96W of power for charging if needed. Up to three Studio Displays can be connected to a MacBook Pro, which is pretty incredible.

Credit: Apple

There are also new black options for the Magic Keyboard, trackpad and mouse, which look great. The Studio Display starts at US$1,599 or S$2,299 and will be available from 18 March onwards with preorders starting today.

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