Editor's Desk: New product week; iPad Air 5, Mac Studio, iPhone SE, and more
There are very few days more exciting at iMore, and for Apple fans everywhere than new product launch day. This past Friday, March 18, was the official launch of all the products Apple announced at its event earlier this month. That means a new iPhone SE, the iPad Air 5, the brand-new Mac the Mac Studio, and a new monitor called the Studio Display are officially out in the wild.
Naturally, the last few weeks have been focused on the new products, but now that they are finally here, there's been a ton of reactions, so let's get into it!
iPhone SE 3 (2022)
For everyone who doesn't like paying near $800 - $1000 for an iPhone or anyone who just loves small iPhones with Touch ID, the iPhone SE 3 is here to make you happy.
Just like the previous iPhone Se before it, it features the same old design you know and love (or hate), but this time Apple's newest A-series chip is powering the device. The A15 Bionic is the exact same chip powering the current iPhone 13 lineup, so you know the iPhone SE has the brains and brawn to power through all your iPhone tasks with ease.
It also included 5G compatibility, but only for Sub-6 and not mmWave, meaning it can't take advantage of the best 5G networks but will still be faster than 4G LTE connections.
I don't want to spoil too much about the iPhone SE 3, as our very own Christine will be having a review on the device going up sometime this week. So stay tuned to iMore to see if she thinks the new SE is worth the new $429 price tag.
iPad Air 5
The iPad Air finally got the upgrade we were expecting. I actually have had the chance to review it — I love it.
The M1 chip brings all the power and performance you could hope for in an iPad; it might even be a little overkill. Still, any GPU-intensive tasks like heavy photo-editing, music production, or even 3D animating can be tackled on the iPad Air 5. Nothing I threw at it was too much for it to handle, and it made moving throughout iPadOS 15 feel so buttery-smooth.
The front-facing camera is now a 12MP ultra-wide camera that features Center Stage, which is a very noticeable upgrade over the previous model. The picture is much clear, and I've been raving about Center Stage since it was first introduced, so I'm glad to see that the iPad Air 5 finally has a front-facing camera that doesn't suck.
While I strongly suggest reading my full iPad Air 5 review, here's the bottom line.
The iPad Air 5 has the almighty trifecta that every tech user wants; power, performance, and a reasonable price. It's hard not to recommend the iPad Air 5 as the best iPad for most people — especially if you want to hold onto it for several years. The M1 offers so much power that it will likely keep your workflow moving at a brisk pace for years to come, making it a great tablet to get for anyone looking to upgrade from an older model.
Still, While the M1 is impressive and makes the iPad Air 5 perform very similarly to the iPad Pro, there are still features only on the iPad Pro. Whether it's the Thunderbolt port that allows faster data transfer speeds, the ProMotion display that makes the screen much more fluid and improves the visuals, the better speaker array that gets louder than the Air, or just more storage options, there are just some things that iPad Air doesn't offer.
Mac Studio and Studio Display
Apple surprised us at the spring event this year when it got to the Mac section of the presentation because they announced an entirely new computer. Things got even more interesting Apple announced the Mac Studio would be the first Mac to use the new M1 Ultra chip, the fastest and beefiest chip of the M1 series to date.
As the Mac Studio reviews have been rolling in, we've seen a lot of positive reactions around the net, although some reviewers have been very concerned about the secure enclosure. There appears to be no way to open it yourself, which means getting inside to clean the fan inside might not be possible. Apple isn't really known for making their Macs easy to repair, but keeping the M1 Ultra cool is imperative for maximum performance.
It seems like a little bit of a misstep on Apple's part, but perhaps with AppleCare+ service, getting your Mac cleaned often won't be a big problem.
Perhaps more shocking were the reactions to the Studio Display, which appear to be mixed.
Many reviewers mention that the lack of a 120Hz refresh rate is a bit of a miss, but some reviews haven't mentioned that 5K displays at 120Hz just aren't possible with current technology. If you were hoping for a 120Hz display from Apple, this would disappoint you, but Apple's displays are super sharp and crisp, and 60Hz is a reasonable refresh rate for many uses.
The biggest blunder is the included webcam, which I've seen from reviewers in pictures and video looks quite bad. Apple has said that there is a software bug that seems to be causing an issue, and considering how the monitor itself has an A13 chip to handle the camera and other things, it's entirely possible that true. Hopefully, a software update gets pushed out sooner rather than later so we can see what kind of difference that makes.
More info as we dive deeper
As always, we at iMore are working hard to put these products to the test and discover even more about the new devices. With more reviews coming this week, and possible new developer betas for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac, and Apple Watch on the way, I'm sure there will be lots of interesting news to discuss for quite some time!
Have a good one!
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Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way.
Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.