Looking at Apple's Peek Performance Event (March 2022)

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Peek Performance

Apple's first major media event of 2022 has just concluded, and there were a surprising number of big announcements. A new iPhone, new Macs, new iPad, and a new professional monitor--and the year isn't even a quarter over! You can watch it here, or read on for our summary of what was announced.

iPhone SE 3

Let's go straight to the new iPhone SE, since I'm going to guess that most of you are more interested in that than anything else. To answer the big question: yes, it still uses Touch ID, and yes, it's still about the size and shape of an iPhone 8. Now, let's go over the details.

Despite being similar to an iPhone 8 in appearance, the new SE sports Apple's A15 Bionic chip. This is the same as is used in iPhone 13, so you're not missing out on any performance. You're also not being left out of the 5G cellular world, as the SE has support for 5G. That said, not all 5G bands are supported. Oh, and the glass is as tough as the glass on the back of iPhone 13, making it less likely that your precious phone will break if dropped.

Given all these features, why would anyone get an iPhone 13 ever again? Well, the SE form factor does lack a few things. First, while the battery life is better than that of the SE 2, it's still not quite on par with Apple's flagship devices. Second, the screen remains at 4.7 inches with the large forehead and chin of the iPhone 8 design, which not everyone is into. Third, the cameras aren't as good, though they should still be more than adequate for OCR work. There are other trade-offs, such as a lack of MagSafe. Still, if you want Touch ID and don't mind giving up some battery life and a few other things to get it, the new SE is a great option. The latest Apple processor means this device will get iOS updates for years, the glass on the back lets you charge it wirelessly, and the rest of the hardware will be more than enough for many people.

The new iPhone SE comes in Midnight, Starlight, and Product Red. It starts at $429 for the 64GB version. And did I mention that it has Touch ID? It has Touch ID!

iPad Air 5

Before we move away from the mobile products, we have to talk about the fifth generation iPad Air. Surprisingly, it now uses the same M1 chip found in the MacBook Air, Mac Mini, and low-spec MacBook Pro. This brings the Air in line with the iPad Pro, which was updated to use the M1 chip in 2021. The M1 will, if Apple is correct, offer up to 60% more performance than the A14 chip found in the previous Air.

That's the big feature here. The only other notable changes are the inclusion of an ultrawide front camera, letting the new Air support Apple's Center Stage video conferencing feature, and support for 5G cellular networks.

iPad Air starts at $599 for 64GB of storage, with the option to bump that to 256GB (no, there's no 128GB option). Your color choices are Starlight, blue, space gray, pink, and purple.

Mac Studio and M1 Ultra

There's a new Apple desktop, and it's called Mac Studio. It's the same square shape as a Mac Mini (7.7 inches per side), but is around twice as thick. It offers a lot of connectivity options, such as USB, SD cards, professional audio jack, and more. At its heart is an M1 processor.

The low end configuration uses the M1 Max, which is the top-of-the-line chip available for MacBook Pro. This chip already beats out many Mac Pro machines, or so Apple claims, but the story doesn't end there. The high end of the Mac Studio lineup uses a new processor, the M1 Ultra.

The M1 Ultra is, basically, two M1 Max processors stuck together. It has sixteen performance cores and four efficiency cores, with up to 64 video cores. Thanks to the expanded bandwidth from the two processors, it can support up to 128GB of ram. Apple says it has almost eight times the performance of the basic M1 chip, and is able to easily outstrip just about any configuration of the Mac Pro.

To accompany this new desktop, Apple released the Mac Studio Display, a monitor so advanced they stuck an iPhone CPU in it. This 27-inch, 5K display has extremely accurate colors. The glass has an anti-glare treatment, which can be enhanced with a nano texturing process for an extra fee. You can choose from two stands, or use vesa to mount it to third-party stands or arms (I think--it has vesa, but I don't know for sure that it works with all vesa mounts).

Why mention a display here on AppleVis, though? I usually skip over the entirely visual stuff, given our audience. Well, here's the cool part: this display includes speakers, microphones, and a camera, which is where that A13 processor comes in. The Studio Display sports the same ultrawide camera found in modern iPads, bringing Center Stage to the Mac for the first time. It also has six speakers and an array of high-quality microphones. Handling the camera Ai and sound is an A13 Bionic chip, which was used in iPhones and iPads just a few years ago. There are even a few USB ports, letting you connect to the monitor instead of the computer. The whole thing can be fed power and data by a single cable, thanks to Thunderbolt.

Apple clearly intends these two products to go together. In fact, they've discontinued the 27-inch iMac, at least for now. The new display should work with other Macs, of course, but pair it with a Mac Studio and you have a true powerhouse for image or video work, or just about anything else you might need to do.

Mac Studio starts at $1999 with the M1 Max, and $3999 with the M1 Ultra. The Studio Display is $1599, with optional upgrades like the fancier mount or the nano coating on the glass.

Performanced Peeked

That was it. Okay, iPhone 13 is now offered in green, and Apple TV Plus is streaming a couple exclusive baseball games every Friday, but we've covered everything else. There's a new iPhone SE, iPad Air is using the M1 processor, and the new Mac Studio desktop runs the M1 Max or the all-new M1 Ultra for amazing performance. The new Studio Display rounds out the announcements, with a high-quality, 5K panel, Center Stage camera support, and great-sounding microphones and speakers built in.

Did anything peek your interest? I imagine many of us are excited about the update to iPhone SE, and I can see some iPad users looking forward to the new iPad Air. Do you plan to get the Mac Studio? What about the new display?

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Comments

Submitted by Jeff on Wednesday, March 9, 2022

They anounced the starting price of the new iPhone SE as $429, not $399. Can you explain this discrepancy?

Submitted by Jo Billard on Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Not interested in the new SE, except as a last resort. I'd rather have a 13 Mini, if I can still get one. I doubt even the new SE will let me use my AirTag to its full potential, as I can't see them including precision finding with this model.

Submitted by mehgcap on Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Thanks to @Jeff for pointing out my pricing error in the section about iPhone SE 3. I've fixed the price and noted the starting storage capacity. All I can say is I was writing quickly, and the price of the previous SE was on my mind. I'd even read about the price increase, but I wrote the old price and didn't realize the problem.

Submitted by Siobhan on Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Hi Joe. According to a recent article I read somewhere, any model of phone after the eight plus I think, will use percissionfeedback when locating an item. I'll never understand why they went back to the home button. what's the use of creating a new pretty flawless technology like face ID, mask not withstanding, only to fall back to something you got rid of three or four models prior? Plus, that's like saying we won't include a headphone jack with any model except this one. It's almost like when you had to adopt a thirty pin connector if you didn't have one for older devices. anyone else not miss those? Didn't think so. all in all, I can see where the prices are at least pretty reasonable although I'm jealous a little you have to shell out crazy amounts of cash for a great sounding thing when i wish they would be a little better in the audio department with phone speakers and Mac speakers. Yes, I realize the form factor of a laptop inhibits things.

Submitted by Skippy on Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Hi,
I was intrigued by the iPad Air five.
At present, I have an 11 inch iPad Pro from 2020.
Do you guys think this new iPad Air would be worth the upgrade?

Submitted by Voracious P. Brain on Wednesday, March 9, 2022

I have a 2020 SE and my two phones before that were both the original SE. But I'm skipping this SE for a few reasons, which is not at all to say I wouldn't happily buy one otherwise.
1) No, the new SE does not have the U1 chip to offer precise directional finding of AirTags. You can find this on the compare features page (sorry, I've lost the link). What I dislike most about the AirTags is that the chime, in addition to being much softer than a Tile, only plays for a minute or so before having to be restarted. So I'd like to play with the directional thing. I have one on my dog, which is really just to annoy her, and I stick one on things like the handle of my forever-misplaced coffee mug.
2) I'm so over the home button now. I was waiting for this event with bated breath because I bumped very unluckily into the corner of the bathroom sink and cracked the home button of my phone. I had to create work-arounds using back tap and disabling passcoes. But it was a stop-gap. Not interested in that happening again. Even more, though, is the fact that touchID doesn't work when my finger is damp from washing dishes, sweating, washing my hands, eating like a barbarian, etc. I end up entering the passcode a *lot*, which puts greasy barbarian fingerprints on the screen.
3) 5G drains the battery of the 12 somewhat quickly, and I shudder to think what the impact will be on the already-strained SE form factor, even if it's better than the 2020. They're talking about a special 5G chip in the iphone 14 to overcome this. But I'm talking out of my hat on this one, since I have no experience. I don't do anything on my phone that requires high speed. The phone has a 2x2 MIMO antenna and works below 6GHz, both of which do not appear to be best specs.
4) Processor speed hasn't been an issue for a long time. Finger input and speech output are the bottlenecks. I can only read the newspaper so fast, and I have no complaints about the A13. I would certainly expect the 11 to receive updates for the next couple of years.
I just pressed the pay button on a refurb 11 with 128Gb for $40 more than the SE. I tend to buy a phone every two years out of pocket, so I buy whatever is least expensive, give or take. 5G can wait until 2024, but finding my dang coffee cup can't.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Thanks for reminding me about the ultra wide band chip for accurate location. Though it's not something I use much I think not to have it when I actually need it might be a bit of a kick in the teeth.

Regarding touch ID, I don't know about you guys, but I find face ID to be pretty flakey and end up having to put my pin code in to unlock. It seems it will give it a couple of goes then lock out that feature for a time, which is no help. It's the whole not looking at our phones to unlock them issue, I really like it on my iPad mini which hasn't faltered.

Maybe the next SE will go down the iPhone mini with touch ID route, but that won't be for a good few years now.

Regarding the air, I'm sorely tempted. Aside from the M1 chip it seems to be exactly the same as the iPad mini 6. The superlatives were coming thick and fast as it was introduced in a desperate attempt to not state the obvious, it's exactly the same as the iPad mini but bigger with an M1 chip. the appeal with all the larger form factor iPads for me is the possibility of a keyboard. don't get me wrong, I love my mini, it's awesome, but with no real option for either a clam shell accessory or any other keyboard that doesn't ruin the point of it being mini, we're stuck with a full sized keyboard which kinda sucks and doesn't quite make it the iPad to rule them all... And before anyone says a keyboard the size of the mini would be too small, I disagree, I can touch-type on the mini's screen though without using my little fingers, it would just be good to have that tactile feedback. Side note, speed dots will be bringing out screen protecters for the mini and the air at some point according to them, which might be the solution to a point... Anyway, the air and keyboard combo is compelling, though it is also around the £800 mark with the magic keyboard which isn't far off a base spec MacBook air... Even if I prefer the more tranquil environment of iPad os.

Why don't they ever make the exact product I want? Monsters.

As for the studio line, pretty cool if you like that sort of thing. Find it hilarious that the 27 inch monitor is being touted as 'affordable'. It's only affordable compared with their £5000 offering, it's still super expensive. The Mac studio is cool and I could imagine those recording engineers will jump at such a beast. On the reddit forums it's being called the big mac... I like that.

Submitted by Jeff on Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Even at the slightly higher price, I'm seriously considering upgrading to the new iPhone SE from my iPhone 8. Personally, I like the fingerprint ID and have good results using it on my 8.

But I'd like to be able to use screen recognition, or at least have the option of controlling whether I use it or not.

I'm satisfied with the battery life of my iPhone 8, even though it's almost down to 80% battery health. The new SE is supposed to have slightly longer battery life than the 8, so that's not likely to be an issue for me.

I do want more storage this time around, though.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Does the SE3 not have screen recognition? I'd have assumed it has as it's got the most current processor under the hood. Accessibility features should never be leveraged for the sake of 'up stepping' a customer.

Submitted by Mister Kayne on Wednesday, March 9, 2022

I currently own a SE2 and am happy with it but although I am excited about the SE3 I am not tempted to upgrade yet. If I did it would be a really tough choice between the 13 mini and the SE3. The price is no longer a deciding factor between the 2 models as of now. I might need a little getting used to not having the convenience of the finger ID/ Home button but I can bet that the battery life would be way better than the SE3 and the feel of having the whole screen is something I am looking forward to. However, I invite other thoughts on my comment to give me a fresh perspective on my decision; much appreciated!

Submitted by Clare Page on Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Hi! I own an iPhone SE 2020 which is still working well, so I'm not ready to buy another iPhone right now. However, I've always preferred phones with smaller screens, as I have small hands, so, if the SE 3 is still around when my current phone needs replacing, that would probably be the one I'll choose. That's not because I'm scared of Face ID: I can't comment on that, I've never used it. I simply don't see the point in having a bigger phone when I have small hands and can't see the screen, especially as the bigger phones are mostly more expensive anyway.

Submitted by Ekaj on Wednesday, March 9, 2022

I was unable to watch live yesterday due to being out of the building with my mother, but it sounds like Apple is not stopping anytime soon. I'm looking forward to next week's software updates to the Mac and iPhone. I'm typing this response on the M1 MBA which I got for Christmas, and I'm very happy with it. I think I'll have my iPhone 7 for a little while longer, and I'm looking forward to getting a new one when the time comes.

Submitted by Scott Davert on Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

First, thank you Alex for a great recap!
I'm the lone wolf getting an SE 3 I suppose. Touch ID just makes way more sense for my use case, although I can take or leave the Home button itself. If they had gone with putting the Touch ID in the power button like on some iPad moddles and removed the Home button, that would have been fine also.

Submitted by Rob on Wednesday, March 9, 2022

The colors of the new iPhone SE3 are listed as Midnight, Starlight, and Product Red. Can someone translae thse color names into English? I can guess that Product Red is red. I guess that Midnight is black, but I'm not sure.

Submitted by OldBear on Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Midnight is an almost black kind of blue. Starlight is a warm white, like cream or pearl. I read somewhere starlight will have a bit of gold for the metal parts around the sides.
I don't like the concept of face ID. I don't even want to try it, and I haven't upgraded from a 7 because of it. So I'll be getting a S E 3 some time this year. I don't care about the home button one way or the other, and I'm starting to lean toward the starlight color, though I'll have a case on it of some other color.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Wednesday, March 9, 2022

I think is the 6 and not 5. Also if someone has the iPad 2020, do not upgrade. Your would do what you need. New iPhone is similar to the iPhone 8.Enjoy for those who are planning to get it. I will wait for the iPhone 14 pro max.

Submitted by Matthew Whitaker on Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Personally, I'm super excited for the Mac Studio. I currently have a 2018 Mac mini, and having the Studio would be amazing! I use Logic Pro and different audio equipment for composing and arranging music.

Submitted by Jeff on Wednesday, March 9, 2022

I think Oliver misunderstood my comment about screen recognition. I'm assuming the new iPhone SE 3 has screen recognition, since it has upgraded hardware. My current phone, an iPhone 8, does not have screen recognition, so upgrading to the new SE 3 would give me that feature. That and low-band 5G along with slightly better battery life and more storage are the reasons I'm seriously considering upgrading from my iPhone 8 to the new iPhone SE 3rd generation.

Submitted by Skippy on Thursday, March 10, 2022

Hi,
For those who are curious, this link, from Cult of Mac, provides a breakdown of the major differences between the 11-inch iPad pro, and the new iPad Air 5.
The Air 5 gives you more bang for your buck, according to the article.
The link is:
https://www.cultofmac.com/769081/why-ipad-air-5-is-a-better-choice-than-11-inch-ipad-pro/?fbclid=IwAR1wU1z8Y7jJYW9S5wm2q07WiO4Zec0RgrxsagrrpQnKbfCkhmH1CjPRglE

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Thursday, March 10, 2022

Just checking, sorry, the pro has it with 11 inches whilst the air is 10.86. The pro obviiously has slightly thinner bezels as the form factor is pretty much exactly the same.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Thursday, March 10, 2022

For my part I think the pro is better value, double the base storage, better speakers, face ID, thunderbolt, faster 5g, ( you go for that), and a better refresh rate, thought not really important to me.

Trick is, if you want more than 64 GB storage on the air, you have to jump to 256 GB which takes you past the cost a base model 11 inch pro which has 128 GB, which I consider the sweet-spot for most.

Apple are clever, of course, they ladder it so that, unless you spend more,, for the average person, you can't check every box.

Submitted by Borostar on Thursday, March 10, 2022

Well it seems most of the rumours were correct and I was hoping that the touchID button was relocated to the side of the phone which would give the phone a more modern look.

Submitted by Ramy on Thursday, March 10, 2022

Am very happy to see this product, i have mac-mini 2012, and consider upgrading,
Seems expensive but very promising.

Submitted by Bruce Harrell on Thursday, March 10, 2022

That's what you're getting. Faster bugs? A wondeful, incredibly accurate display of inaccessibility?

Anyone know when all the accessibility bugs will be fixed, or if all we have to look forward to is more and more inaccessibility?

Put another way, if you had the choice, would you go back to IOS 14 or Big Sur?

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Friday, March 11, 2022

I'd be hard pressed to say that the matured versions of the previous IOS and mac OS were any less buggy that what we have now. I'd also be hard pressed to say that there has been any improvement.

As someone said over on twitter, if apple spent a fraction of the time on voiceover as it does on trying to make faster processors...

Anyway. Don't forget the audio on the studio monitors. I'd very much like to hear what they sound like. There may be a use case, a couple or a family maybe, where the visual and audio are important.

Submitted by Bruce Harrell on Friday, March 11, 2022

Hey Oliver,

Your point is well taken. My perspective is different since I never upgraded to Monterey or IOS 15. However, I did regret upgrading to big sur and IOS 14, partly because of what I saw as more bugs in Big Sur and IOS 14 than the number of bugs in Catalina, Sierra, High Sierra, or IOS 13. More importantly to me, when I upgraded to Big Sur I discovered to my horror that the upgrade rendered my DAW (digital audio workstation) inoperative until the manufacturer finally fixed the conflict almost a year later. I normally use my DAW for hours every day. Not being able to use it was a big blow.

Anyway, this time around, I figured I'd wait for when the final Apple bug fix comes along, usually in August, before I upgrade. My thought is that the August final version) is usually the version that has the fewest bugs.

Joy!

Bruce

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Friday, March 11, 2022

FYI. It does not make any difference if the chip can do more than anything out there. If theOS does not allow it. Specially if OS has more bugs than a NY hotel. Right now iPad pro and iPad Air have great chip if OS is limited. Wish Apple focus on bugs and not in adding new features in OS be it Mac or iPhone or iPad. Want bugs address. Hope iOS 16 will just focus on bugs.

Submitted by Jenna Pepper on Saturday, March 12, 2022

Club AppleVis Member

The new SE seems like a nice little upgrade, but I'm not happy about the price creep.
The Mac studio is a cool piece of kit. I'm genuinely impressed, though my m1 Mac Mini is serving me just fine for audio production. Perhaps if I ever start doing larger scores, the extra power and RAM might come in handy.
I couldn't give less of a toss about anything else, especially the iPad Air: fantastic hardware paired with kneecapped software as usual. I also see that Apple is pushing the old "slightly not enough storage so we'll force you to upgrade to way too much storage" trick. Now if they could just fix all the Voiceover bugs, that'd be great.

Am I being overly negative? Yeah, probably. Using Mac OS on a daily basis for production has definitely put me into a sour mood over Apple product updates.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Saturday, March 12, 2022

We pay a lot for an apple device compare to other so we demand the best. If we got them for free would be different. I pay for my iPhone 12 pro and my iPad 9 gen. I spect them to work well and not to have more bugs than a hotel in New York.