Apple Announces New Mac Studio PC, Studio Display, iPhone SE
At yesterday’s Peek Performance event Apple pulled the wraps off an all-new “desktop” PC, the Mac Studio. Aesthetically, it looks like a Mac Mini that gained a few quarantine pounds. The company also unveiled a new 27″ display to go with it, with both products landing in a new “studio” category. Both new pieces of hardware drop into the chasm that exists between the company’s Pro hardware and entry-level offerings, creating a new category for Apple that caters to performance-hungry users who don’t work at Lucasfilm or have $10,000 to spend on a computer and monitor. The new Mac Studio PC will be offered with the existing M1 Max CPU, or with the new double-wide M1 Ultra, which we’ll cover in a separate article. Along the way Apple also unveiled a new iPhone SE as well.
Meet the Apple Mac Studio
The Apple Mac Studio is the most interesting of the three, in our humble opinion. It’s always intriguing when Apple decides to reinvent the computer chassis, which it has done several times unsuccessfully. Who can forget the notorious trash can design of the 2013 Mac Pro, after all? That said, this time around Apple has gone with a much more traditional design that looks like a thickened Mac Mini. According to transparent shots of the thing, it sits on a slightly elevated circular base platform that allows dual internal fans to suck air into the chassis. That air then flows over the power supply, which sits at the base of the unit, then up and over the CPU/chipset area, before being exhausted out the back through 2,000 holes in the aluminum shell. Apple says it’s so quiet you will barely hear it, and based on what we’ve seen with their previous computers, we believe it.
The Mac Studio measures 7.7″ across and 3.7″ tall, which should be small enough to squeeze under your monitor. It also has dual USB-C ports on the front as well as an SDXC card reader. Apple is paying attention to removable storage once again, having brought back similar ports on the MacBook Pro.
The Mac Studio will be offered with either the M1 Max or the M1 Ultra CPU, with 64GB or 128GB of memory respectively. Storage for either version tops out at 8TB of SSD storage with 7.4GB/s transfer rates. The rear offers four Thunderbolt 4 ports, 10GB Ethernet, dual USB-A, HDMI, and a headphone jack. Why they didn’t put the headphone jack on the front is beyond us though. Apple claims the M1 ultra version has has “60 percent more CPU performance” than its Mac Pro with a 28-core Xeon CPU, but we’ll have to wait for independent benchmarks on that one. Both are available for pre-order today (shipping March 18th) for $1,999 with the M1 Max and $3,999 with the M1 Ultra.
The new Studio display doesn’t really have any “never before seen features” per se, but is a much more modestly priced panel at $1,499 than its $5,000 Pro Display XDR big brother. The 27″ display features a 5K resolution, which is 5,120 by 2,880 with 218 pixels per inch. This is the same pixel pitch as the XDR model, but with a slightly lower resolution, and 27″ compared to 32.” It’s also not as bright, with a maximum brightness of just 600 nits compared to 1,600 for the big boy. It still supports P3 wide color gamut and True Tone though, and has a six speaker sound system with four woofers and dual tweeters.
Unlike the Pro Display, Apple has made this for people who work from home and need a webcam and microphone, so it boasts a 12MP ultrawide camera along with a three-mic array as well as its Center Stage technology that can follow you around. The webcam and microphones are powered by an A13 Bionic chip, which powers the Center Stage tech and also allows Siri to operate. It sports one Thunderbolt port that can charge a MacBook (or iPhone), and three 10Gb/s USB-C ports. The only options when ordering it are a nano-glass option for reduced glare, a height-adjusting bevel, and a VESA mount. It will be available March 18th.
The iPhone SE got a fairly major overhaul, with Apple breaking the trend of just mixing together a bunch of older parts and calling it a “new” phone. Instead, the SE gets the latest Apple SoC from the iPhone 13, the A15 Bionic. The previous version, released in 2020, featured the semi-ancient A13 Bionic chip that debuted in the iPhone 11, so this marks the first time Apple has put its flagship silicon into a budget device. It also received 5G support, which is quite notable for a budget device as well. It still comes in a now-quaint 4.7″ Retina HD display along with a pandemic-friendly home button for TouchID instead of FaceID. Only one camera adorns the backside, and it’s a 12MP f/1.8 shooter from the days of yore. The front-facing selfie camera is 7.7MP with an f/2.2 aperture. It’s available in black or white, which are now called Midnight and Starlight, or Product Red with capacities including 64GB, 128GB, and (surprise) 256GB. Pricing is $429, $479, and $579 for the various capacities.