Apple Event – Performance and Efficiency

Screenshot/ Apple

By Nikolai Perebinos

On March 8th, Apple held a “Peak Performance” event. As the name suggests, the main focus of the event was performance and efficiency upgrades for Apple devices. Apple revealed a new iPhone SE, a new more powerful version of the M1 processor, a new iPad Air, and a Studio Display monitor.

The presentation started with minor announcements. Apple revealed new Alpine Green and Green colors for iPhone 13 lineup. Tim Cook also announced new Apple TV+ original films such as Swan Song, Tragedy Of MacBeth, CODA, Spirited, Luck, Argylle, and Cha Cha Real Smooth.

Then Tim Cook announced a new version of Apple SE. It received a 6-core A15 Bionic chip, the most powerful smartphone processor on the market that beats any competitors such as the Snapdragon 888+, Google Tensor, and Samsung Exynos 2200. “Apple A15 Bionic makes nearly every experience better, from simple things like launching apps and scrolling through photos to intense workloads like processing depth information on the fly” Francesca Sweet, iPhone Product Line Manager, said during the Apple Event. A15 Bionic will also be used for photo enhancing algorithms, filters, and increasing image quality. Another improvement includes 5G, which brings higher-speed mobile internet to the new iPhone SE. 5G internet speed and latency will improve FaceTime, online gaming, and download and video streaming experience. The new iPhone SE will have the same 4.7-inch screen and 12-megapixel camera, Touch ID, and similar design as its predecessor iPhone SE 2020. The new iPhone price is $429, which is 30 dollars higher than its predecessor. I am eager to see the third-party performance and camera tests of the new iPhone SE, but the A15 Bionic will probably give it significantly better performance and competitive camera quality compared to other 5G smartphones in its price range. 

The next announcement was the new iPad Air with the same M1 processor as the iPad Pro. With this major upgrade, the new iPad Air will have the best performance within its price range. New iPad Air will also receive 5G connectivity, and a new ultrawide 12-megapixel front camera that supports Center Stage, a feature that keeps the user in the center of the frame. It will support Apple Pencil making it a good creativity tool.  It is designed for work and studying, as well as entertainment and gaming. The video of the event showed Genshin Impact and Apex Legends Mobile gameplay with decently looking graphics. iPad Air also received a faster USB-C port that enables faster files and photo transfers.  The new iPad Air starts at 599$ for 64-gigabyte storage and  WiFi-only connectivity configuration.

Apple’s next new announcement was the M1 Ultra chip. This chip is created with Apple’s innovative architecture UltraFusion, that connects two M1 Max chips – M1 Ultra predecessors- and connects them into one single chip with 20 core CPU, 64-core GPU, and 32-core Neural Engine.”The new SoC consists of 114 billion transistors, the most ever in a personal computer chip.” – Apple says on their website. M1 Ultra will be used in Mac Studio, Apple’s high-performance desktop computer. The new chip is not just powerful, but also extremely energy efficient. However, Apple was very vague and generic in their comparison of M1 Ultra and competitors, showing graphs comparing “relative performance” and power consumption. Once again, we will have to wait for third-party reviews and tests to see exactly Apple’s most powerful processor better than its competitors.

Apple finished the event by revealing Mac Studio’s new accessory- Studio Display. This big 27-inch 5K Retina display has a 12-megapixel camera with Center Stage, studio-quality microphone array, and a six-speaker system. It also has 3 USB-C ports for connecting peripherals, storage, and networking. Studio Display is equipped with an A13 processor that enables features like Center Stage, Spatial Audio, and “Hey Siri.” The screen has standart for modern displays 60-hertz refresh rate, which is much lower than some of the high-end competitors, however, it is still enough for most of the tasks excluding gaming.