• notebookcomputer
  • 09/12/2022
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Apple hits a milestone with M1 Ultra

Apple’s first event of the year will be remembered for a long time because of the pace at which the company is reaching milestones. This time, there are two significant moments — the launch of Apple M1 Ultra, the world’s most powerful chip for a personal computer, and Mac Studio, a new desktop PC with a powerful new processor. Also launched, the new iPhone SE and the iPad Air but all eyes are on the new chip, which uses something called UltraFusion packaging architecture to scale Apple silicon. Here’s the low-down on the new goodies from Apple.

iPhone SE (2022): Uncompromised power

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The SE may reuse the design of the iPhone 8 but under the hood, it will be packed with roars provided by Apple’s A15 Bionic processor, which is the same one used in the iPhone 13 series. The SE has always been an interesting member in the line-up. When it made its debut in 2016, analysts felt it was a device that will do well outside the US, instead it did well globally. The follow-up was in 2020 when the pandemic had just set in. The SE once again became a hit and sales of the device approached 25 million, or 12 per cent of the company’s estimated global smartphone shipments, in 2020, according to researcher IDC.

Here’s the new version, which has a way faster processor and Apple-standard camera system, even though the screen size remains 4.7 inches. Unlike other companies, Apple has gone in with an aerospace-grade aluminium and glass design, and with the toughest glass in a smartphone on the front and back — the same as on the back of iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13. Rated IP67 for water and dust resistance, iPhone SE is designed to protect against spills.

The camera system has a 12MP f/1.8 aperture wide camera that offers computational photography benefits, including Smart HDR 4, Photographic Styles, Deep Fusion, and Portrait mode.

The 2020 version of the SE didn’t do as much business last year compared to 2020, probably because 5G is taking over the US. This time, it comes with 5G. Since the phone doesn’t get a new version every year, it makes sense launching it in 2022 because India should be on the road to 5G by the end of the year.

iPad Air: Speed meets apps

The last update to the iPad Air came in September 2020, so an overhaul was needed and it has been given. What made it a success was the usage of the latest chip at the moment and the ability to work with accessory keyboards. The same thing is happening again.

The latest iteration is powered by Apple’s custom-designed M1 chip in the tablet—the same chip that’s in iPad Pros (and some MacBooks). The eight-core CPU delivers up to 60 per cent faster performance, and the eight-core GPU delivers up to 2x faster graphics performance compared to the previous iPad Air. Question: If the new iPad Air is so powerful, will it affect the sale of the iPad Pro? Apple continues to lead the overall tablet market with nearly 40 per cent market share. The new device will ensure that the march continues.

Mac Studio with M1 Ultra: All muscles

Apple hits a milestone with M1 Ultra

Call it curveball or the failure of “Apple insiders”, the biggest surprise from Apple is a new desktop PC called the Mac Studio, which looks an elder brother of the Mac Mini. The most powerful desktop computer from Apple, it measures 9.5cm in height and 19.7cm in width and depth, making it very portable but the processor it can support includes the new M1 Ultra (or you can go for M1 Max).

This is a machine that targets music studio owners, designers, videographers and creative professionals who do not want a built-in screen and are always in want of more power. With the M1 Max, you can expect 3.4x faster GPU performance compared to the Radeon Pro W5700X in the Mac Pro while the M1 Ultra is supposed to be 80 per cent faster than the fastest Mac Pro. And it supports up to 128GB of memory. The M1 Max is limited to 64GB of memory.

The M1 Ultra has a unique design. To build it, the die of two M1 Max are connected using UltraFusion, Apple’s custom-built packaging architecture. The most common way to scale performance is to connect two chips through a motherboard, which typically brings significant trade-offs. With UltraFusion, M1 Ultra will behave and be recognised by software as one chip, so developers don’t need to rewrite code to take advantage of its performance.

Studio Display: Picture perfect

It is probably the addition to the Apple range that is attracting a lot of queries. The display packs a processor, high-quality speakers, a microphone array, a high-quality camera, three USB-C ports and 96 Watts of power delivery over Thunderbolt. Yes, it comes with the A13 Bionic chip. The 27-inch, 5K screen can reach up to 600 nits of brightness, supports P3 wide color, and also works with macOS’s TrueTone feature. There is a studio-quality, three-microphone array, a high-fidelity six-speaker sound system, four force-cancelling woofers, and two high-performance tweeters. The speakers also support spatial audio for music and video with Dolby Atmos. It is meant primarily for creative professionals.

A new version of iMovie

Scheduled to release in April, the new iMovie takes on-the-move video editing to a new level. One of the things coming with the new version of iMovie is Magic Movie, which requires very little effort to intelligently assemble “styled, edited videos complete with titles, transitions, even music”. Select media or an album from your library, then Magic Movie identifies the best parts of the footage and automatically creates an edit. Experiment with different video looks by choosing from 20 different styles. Also coming to iMovie is Storyboards, which are video templates.

This past fall we’ve added more new users to the iPhone 13 line-up than each of the past launches

At a glance

iPad Air: Priced upwards of Rs 54,900; will be available to order beginning March 11.

iPhone SE: Priced upwards of Rs 43,900 (64GB, 128GB, and 256GB models in midnight, starlight, and Product RED); pre-order begins March 11, with availability on March 18.

Mac Studio: Priced upwards of Rs 189,900.

Studio Display: Priced upwards of Rs 159,900.