So here they are: our first new Apple products of the year. At this week’s media event, the Cupertino company unveiled a range of new devices, including an upgraded-spec iPhone SE, a moderately upgraded iPad Air, and an all-new Mac lineup.
In the company’s recent history, March isn’t usually when Apple makes blockbuster announcements (those are saved for the fall), but there haven’t been many Apple events. which took place without anything arousing my interest. However, Apple’s “Peek Performance” event held relatively little interest for most people.
Apple TV+ at bat
In an hour-long event, there’s not too much time for fluff, so Apple spared little energy on the banter and dove straight into a sizzle reel of upcoming Apple TV+ content to open. its event.
I’ve been closely following every release on our full list of Apple TV+ shows and movies for months now and the batch featured included some of the most exciting titles to date. There’s never been a better time to use your Apple TV+ free trial, really.
That wasn’t all, however, as Tim Cook announced that Friday Night Baseball would be coming to Apple TV+. It will even be available “for a limited time, without the need for a subscription”, according to the press release that followed the event. We will soon have more details on this.
Being British I’m not particularly interested in baseball but Friday Night Baseball East is going to be made available here, so I’ll definitely check it out. This announcement is likely a big deal for those who are into the sport, but it will get through to those who aren’t.
Green with envy, but not for the iPhone SE
Next up was an update for the iPhone 13 in the form of a new color for the regular and Pro models. We’ve now seen green iPhone 13 unboxings and, frankly, I’m very jealous.
As our own Christine Romero-Chan pointed out, it’s annoying for early adopters that we can’t have every color iPhone on day one, because we’ll never buy a mid-cycle iPhone. Apple has surely crunched the numbers and knows that a new iPhone color in spring juice sales (see purple iPhone 12), but it’s mostly frustrating that the iPhone 13 Pro I got a new shade this spring because I would have totally gone for this green model last fall.
One phone that debuted that I wasn’t at all jealous of was the updated iPhone SE 2022. This third-generation version of Apple’s affordable phone offers a few technical upgrades to bring it up to modern standards, like the speedy A15 Bionic chip and 5G support, but the design is still straight out of 2014. isn’t intended for me, and I know it’s a solid upgrade for those who still have an older phone, but it’s not a device worth getting excited about.
iPad Air 5 is okay I guess
Another product unveil that impressed me a little less was the iPad Air 5. For most people, the iPad Air 5 will be the best iPad to buy, but that’s not because this latest iteration is particularly exciting. As I wrote after the event, the device checks many boxes, but not all.
The fifth-generation model gets 5G to bring it in line with 2021’s iPad mini as well as upgraded front-facing camera hardware to support Center Stage, which all iPads from last year also have.
The new iPad Air leapfrogs the mini in terms of power thanks to the adoption of the previously Pro-exclusive M1 chip, although the iPadOS still can’t make full use of this chip in its current form anyway.
Other than those spec bumps, it’s basically the same as the iPad Air 4 that came before it. It still occupies that delicate spot in Apple’s tablet lineup, rubbing shoulders with the more price-advanced 11-inch iPad Pro the moment you adjust the configuration. There may be an argument that the iPad Air should no longer exist, but that’s a column idea for another day.
M1 Ultra, Mac Studio and Studio Display
When Cook ushered us into the Mac section of the presentation, things got more interesting with the ultra-powerful M1 Ultra chip, the all-new Mac Studio product line, and ultimately an Apple-made display for those who don’t want to spend $5,000 on a Pro Display XDR.
But, again, these products are not for everyone. As John Ternus, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering, put it, the studio is “where creators like designers, scientists, and developers change the world.” The Mac Studio and Studio Display are for those people.
I have the impression that if these products speak to you it is that they really talk to you, but it was obvious from his speech that they are not consumer-focused. I’m really glad both products exist, and Apple actually made some function-focused design choices that are nice to see. However, I feel bad for 2019 Mac Pro owners right now.
Long live WWDC
As I said at the start, spring isn’t really peak announcement time, so expectations should always be lower before an Apple event in March. The fun really begins in a few months at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, when we’ll get our first look at the software that will power Apple’s top iPhone, iPad and Mac devices later this year and maybe even a preview of an all-new platform in the form of Apple VR.
Even if none of Apple’s March event announcements were for you, there’s still plenty to look forward to later this year. And we’ll be there to cover it all!