Spring is the season of new beginnings, renewal, hope, and joy. Temperatures are slowing warming up, fresh buds bloom, the earth comes alive again. With Spring also comes Apple’s new product line up – and the hope we will see the upgrades we would like to see in the company’s lineup (USB C anyone?). It is well-known Apple saves the upgrade to the flagship product line – the iPhone – to later in the year. The Spring product line up is reserved to spec updates and lower impact products. However, that presumes we understand how Apple operates, which we don’t.
This season we saw five new products: a new iPhone SE with 5G, a new ultra-chip M1, a new version of the iPad Air, a Mac Studio, a whole new desktop PC. Nothing super exciting at first glance. If you’re looking for the new iPhone and the cool features it will have, well, you need to wait a few months. Come back later.
Although we didn’t see any exciting new shinning features in this Spring product release, the M1 upgrade got us intrigued. The fact the M1 is starting to show up in both mobile and desktop products is the hopeful sign that an operational system (OS) unification is ahead of us. That’s the holy grail every company in this vertical has been after. Remember Microsoft’s failed attempt to mimic a desktop experience on the Windows Phone? Or vice versa, not sure what they tried there. The fact is that they failed and the Windows Phone (even after acquiring the all mighty Nokia) is no more. Or Google’s attempt to “Chromitize” the laptop experience, which produced some lower performance hardware with limited audience. Most users today use an OS in their phone (Android or iOS) and a different OS in their laptops or desktops (Windows or Apple’s OS). Yes, you can argue the platforms talk to each other and integrate, but that’s very different to a true common platform that can share file and app structures. Apple, on the other hand, has slowly taking users in that direction. Instead of a drastic change in the way we use our devices, Apple has been inching away at the iOS/OS unification. If we have the same hardware architecture running on our phones, laptops, and desktops, well, that makes it all come together! We expect this great unification to finally happen from Apple in the coming years. The final goal? The one device that does it all, so we can stop having a phone, a laptop, a desktop, and a watch to having a single device. But that’s a topic for later.
For now, let’s dig a bit deeper.
The iPhone SE has become the corporate workhorse, so it makes sense to offer it in 5G. One may say “what took them so long”. Sure, it doesn’t have MagSafe or FaceID, but corporate users don’t care about it. Apple is getting the SE right. The A15 Bionic now in the SE bring it to a whole new performance level to take full advantage of the 5G capability. The ceramic shield previously reserved to the flagship iPhones is now available to the SE. Our team uses the SE, so hopefully that’ll reduce our screen repair bills. The iPhone SE is a sign that Apple gets the B2B vs B2C product development strategy. Thus, we don’t expect huge technological advances in the SE lineup, but a steady set of spec upgrades over time as the SE gets the relevant upgrades their B2C cousins get first. Like when the younger kids inherit the clothing of older siblings. This trend is verified in the following X-ray image, which will show you the new iPhone SE wearing the camera and a few other featured of its older siblings. Our friends at iFixit did a great job tearing it apart, so please check it out!
The cool thing to notice is the introduction of the M1 in the iPad Air, which goes back to our previous theme of the unification of the operational systems. Other than that, this generation of the iPad Air with 5G and all is another spec upgrade of Apple’s workhorse tablet. Reasonable price for all the features you get. And what better than a beautiful x-ray image of the Air?
Not sure about the name here, Mac Studio? Oh well, it is a Mac desktop. Guess what chip they put in it? Guessed right, the M1! The perfect (and only?) solution if you need, hmmm, a desktop running Apple’s OS? Anyway, our iFixit friend will take this one apart good, so check it out for details… for now, check out the cool X-ray image. If you are wondering, the things on the top hovering like a spaceship are in fact cooling fans.
Apple is back at making displays, for now of course. As our good friend Joanna Stern explains in her awesome review of the Studio Display, you do not get what you pay for.
For now, here is a free X-ray image of the display for your amusement. In this case, you do get what you paid for…