Hello everyone! There has not been much new product news from Apple since the last time we checked in, until yesterday. We’re here to share the details with you! But first:
If you want to go ahead and update to macOS Monterey, it is fine for most people at this point. We still very strongly advise making sure you have a current Time Machine or Carbon Copy Cloner backup before you kick it off, just in case. And, if you are currently using macOS 10.14 Mojave or earlier (you can check under Apple Menu > About This Mac), the safest route is to first upgrade to macOS Catalina. Ask us if you need help!
Now, to the news. We’ll lead off with the small stuff.
iPhone SE, third generation: Apple has updated their lowest-cost, smallest iPhone. On the outside, it looks and behaves exactly like an iPhone 6 through 8, or previous generation SE. On the inside, it’s got the power of an iPhone 13 series, including 5G cellular speeds. The starting price has snuck up to $429, but it still represents one of Apple’s very best values; it may not have the best camera or largest screen or Face ID, but it runs every app, and it’s speedy, and it does pretty much everything an iPhone needs to do. It’s available in black, white, and red. Also, Amazon, Best Buy, and Target have all periodically offered the iPhone SE at sale prices, so keep your eyes open.
iPad Air, now with M1 chip: The iPad Air has now been given the same Apple M1 chip on the inside that is the heart of the iPad Pro and many Mac computers. It’s pretty much the same size and now has most of the same capabilities as the 11″ iPad Pro, so I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it over that model if you don’t want to spend an extra $200 for Face ID.
iPhone 13 and 13 Pro: Now also available in green. I think it’s ugly, but your mileage may vary.
I know a lot of you have been waiting for a new 27″ iMac with an Apple-made chip. Depending on your disposition, I have either good news or bad news for you.
There’s not going to be a new 27″ iMac with an Apple-made chip. The 24″ iMac is now your only option for a desktop all-in-one Mac.
New Apple Monitor
Instead of a new 27″ iMac, Apple introduced a new 27″ monitor called the Apple Studio Display, which can be attached to a Mac mini — an ultra-compact desktop Mac about 8″ square and 1.5″ high, and which has had an Apple chip since 2020. (The 2018 Intel-based Mac mini remains available for sale as well, if you have a specialty need for it.) This is Apple’s first standalone monitor they have sold in many years, and the first new design in over a decade.
The Apple Studio Display is a 5K display, like the 27″ iMac used to be, and, according to Apple, in addition to a superior image, it has a top-tier webcam, microphone, and speaker system, as well as USB-C ports on the back. It’s quite pricey, starting at $1,599, so while it is certainly more deluxe than most other monitors on the market, you can consider whether you’d rather spend less, and have more size and shape options, with another brand. (There are shockingly few models that have integrated microphone, speaker, and webcam, however, and most of those are not very good.) It goes on sale March 18th and can be pre-ordered now.
Apple also introduced an all-new Mac model, called the Mac Studio, which is like a Mac mini on steroids. It’s got the same footprint, but is over twice as high — a futuristic looking aluminum block on your desk. The Mac Studio is either powered by the same M1 Max processor found in the top of the line MacBook Pro models they introduced late last year, or, optionally, a brand new M1 Ultra chip, which is literally two M1 Max chips working together for close to twice the performance.
For creative professionals, or anyone willing to spare no cost for the best performance, the new Mac Studio is an exciting product. If you elect for the M1 Ultra chip, you’ll have a machine that should blow any other Mac, or Windows PC, out of the water.
In its minimum configuration, the Mac Studio comes with an M1 Max processor, 32 GB of memory, and 512 GB of storage, and costs $1,999. Maximum GPU is 64-core, maximum memory is 128 GB, and maximum storage is 8 TB; the price for this maxed-out Mac Studio is $7,999. It also goes on sale March 18th and can be pre-ordered now.
Keyboard and mouse/trackpad are sold separately, and there are new black variants of the Magic Mouse, Magic Trackpad, and Magic Keyboard (with numeric keypad, but seemingly not the smaller one). These, obnoxiously, cost $20 more than their usual white counterparts, but, hey, they do look cool.
For power users, I’m very enthused about the Mac Studio and Mac Studio Display. It should delight them. But I’m also disappointed that Apple is no longer offering an all-in-one desktop Mac with a large screen. For one, it’s simply less clunky; having the computer self-contained means fewer cables, more real estate on your desk, and obvious minimalist appeal. Also, compared to the base 27″ iMac, the entry price is now over $700 more, for a basic-configuration Mac mini, Studio Display, keyboard, and mouse. Of course, you can buy a cheaper monitor from another vendor, but then you won’t get a 5K display with a metal chassis. And you could bring your previous keyboard and mouse, or get them from another vendor, but then you won’t get Touch ID. I also don’t love that all these items must be purchased separately; a single bundle that gives you everything you need in one box would seem more in keeping with Apple simplicity. Finally, I wonder, if Apple is making a separate large monitor, why not make it even larger than 27 inches?
Apple’s response would probably be that if an all-in-one is what you want, the 24″ iMac has a 4.5K display, and is still plenty large — and they’re not wrong. But, no matter what I think, and what I think Apple thinks, it’s their world, and we just live in it. So if you’ve been holding off, you now get to make a decision as to whether you want the 24″ iMac, which is certainly a great computer at a great price, or whether you want to go a la carte and get the Studio Display, and a Mac mini (performance same as iMac) or Mac Studio (hot rod) to go with it. Or whether you’d prefer to buy some other brand of monitor entirely. If you’d like us to help you talk it through, give us a shout!