Apple’s latest product showcase Tuesday had all the hallmarks of a typical launch for the world’s most valuable public company: vibrant colors, upbeat music, a slate of incremental product improvements, and a surprise.
In a video presentation, the company unveiled a new, faster iPhone SE, the entry-level version of its flagship product, bumping the price to $429 from the older version’s $399. Apple also introduced a speedier iPad Air tablet for $599. And it announced the Mac Studio, a powerful desktop computer that is like an upgraded version of the Mac Mini. The cheapest version of the computer retails at $1,999, plus $1,599 for the display screen.
The surprise was the M1 Ultra processing chip, the latest and most powerful version in the line of Apple-produced chips, which rolled out in 2020 when the company stopped relying on Intel.
Apple also said that two weekly Friday night MLB games would begin airing exclusively on Apple TV+, the company’s streaming service. MLB has begun canceling games for the upcoming season after failing to forge a new collective bargaining agreement with its player's union, possibly impacting those plans.
Apple’s event Tuesday comes months after its fall product updates when it introduced a new line of computers with processors made by Apple, a third generation of AirPods, the iPhone 13, and a new Apple Watch and iPad.
Over the years, as Apple has grown, the company’s list of product offerings has ballooned, from a handful of iconic devices to several dozen pieces of hardware, some with only minor differences from one another.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
Apple Inc on Tuesday added 5G connectivity to its low-costiphoneSE and iPad Air and introduced a faster chip for a new desktop, a high point in Apple's move to power its devices with microprocessors designed in-house.
The new Studio desktop starts at $3,999 with the new M1 Ultra chip. The iPad Air also got Apple's M1 chip that was developed for laptops.
"Apple Silicon strategy is the key highlight," said analyst Neil Shah of Counterpoint Research. "Apple is scaling the portfolio of its in-house semiconductor capabilities to power a broader set of richer devices from affordable phones to the most powerful product Mac Studio."
Apple's Mac Pro still runs on Intel Corp microprocessors.
Apple slightly hiked the price on the iPhone SE to $429 from $399 for the previous model. The new phone starts shipping on March 18.
TheiphoneSE comes with an A15 Bionic chip, which Apple says is the fastest among the competition, a 4.7-inch retina display, and a home button with Touch ID.
"This is important for our existing users who want a smaller iPhone at a great value," Chief Executive Tim Cook said.
Nabila Popal, an analyst at IDC, said the new iPhones will cater to consumers looking for a budget 5G device, and it could be particularly popular given the economic uncertainty caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
"A cheaper iPhone with 5G is good news for Apple, especially in these times of uncertainty," Popal said.
But demand for larger screens could negatively impact phones sales, Popal added. Some consumers might instead opt for older iPhone models with bigger screens in the same price range.
The M1 Ultra is made by connecting two M1 Max chips and is eight times faster than M1 chips. Its first use will be in the creative professional-focused Mac Studio computer.
Apple will offer two versions of the Mac Studio, one with the M1 Max chip and the other utilizing the M1 Ultra chip.
Mac Studio pricing starts at $1,999 for the version with the M1 Max chip and $3,999 for the M1 Ultra-loaded computer.
Apple also debuted a new monitor called Studio Display that can be paired with any Mac, including Macbook Air and Macbook Pro models, and which is priced at $1,599.
Apple shares were about flat for the day in mid-afternoon trading.
The company which has been broadening its services and other products also said its Apple TV+ product would begin showing Major League Baseball games on Friday nights. The weekly doubleheader will be available in eight countries.
The new iPad Air gets its first refresh in two years with a new design, 5G connectivity and the M1, popular in MacBooks. The starting price remained $599 and it will be available starting March 18.
The new iPad Air also features a 12-megapixel front camera.
Apple also announced newiphone13 models in two new finishes, including alpine green.
During the presentation, Cook made no mention of the conflict in Ukraine. Apple said on March 1 it had paused all product sales in Russia in response to the Russian invasion.