Apple unveils new iPad Air, budget iPhone SE and redesigned desktop Mac


By Mark Gurman | Bloomberg

Apple Inc. showed off 5G versions of its low-end iPhone SE and iPad Air tablets, along with a redesigned Mac desktop and faster processor, kicking off what will likely be its biggest year yet. prolific to date for new product releases.

Apple unveiled the devices at a virtual event on Tuesday it called “Peek performance,” looking to maintain momentum after a record-breaking holiday quarter that beat Wall Street expectations. CEO Tim Cook also announced plans to bring Major League Baseball games to the company’s TV+ streaming service.

The presentation included a new Apple processor named M1 Ultra which the company called the most powerful personal computer chip ever. The product is part of Apple’s years-long shift from using Intel Corp. processors. in favor of its own components.

The new desktop computer, called Mac Studio, features the M1 Ultra chip and is aimed at application developers, photo editors and video creators. Apple also unveiled a 27-inch separate monitor that’s significantly cheaper than the current model, at $1,599.

There were few major surprises at the event and shares fell less than 1% to $158 after its conclusion. They’ve fallen about 10% this year, in line with a broader stock slump.

Bloomberg News first reported on the new iPhone SE and iPad Air in January this year and the lower-cost Mac Studio computer and monitor in January 2021.

The event was the first of what are expected to be several product launches this year, with Apple also readying additional Macs and iPads, as well as the iPhone 14 and new smartwatches. And the company could preview its first mixed augmented and virtual reality headset later this year.

The new iPhone is Apple’s first update to the SE lineup since 2020. The model, which will continue to be available in black, white and red, will be priced slightly higher: $429, up from $399. But it supports 5G network, faster A15 processor and other features.

The iPhone SE continues to resemble 2017’s iPhone 8, including a home button with Touch ID – rather than the Face ID used by higher-end models. It has a 4.7-inch screen, making it the smallest iPhone available. But the addition of 5G makes the device much more competitive in the market and may help the company attract Android users and consumers with older iPhones.

Apple doesn’t detail sales of individual iPhone models, but the smartphone represents its biggest moneymaker overall, generating more than half of its revenue last fiscal year, or about $192 billion.

The older SE accounted for 12% of iPhone sales since its launch in 2020, with three-quarters of demand coming from outside the United States, according to data from Counterpoint. As consumers seek out 5G devices, the new model could make its way to Europe, Southeast Asia and South Korea, analyst Sujeong Lim said in a report.

The SE debuted in 2016 amid calls for a smaller, cheaper iPhone, and was already updated at the start of the pandemic. On Tuesday, Apple also added new green color options to the iPhone 13, helping to keep this model in the news until the iPhone 14 with an updated design arrives later this year.

The new iPhone SE and the $599 iPad Air, which sports an M1 chip, will be available to order on March 11, before hitting stores a week later.

Apple began taking orders for the Mac Studio and monitor on Tuesday, ahead of its March 18 release. The version with the M1 Ultra chip starts at $3,999, while a low-end version costs $1,999.

The chip features 20 CPU cores, 64 graphics processing cores and a 32-core neural engine, designed to make it easier for developers to compile code, render 3D graphics and work with video, a said Apple.

(Updates with market data in 11th paragraph.)

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