Apple derives most of its revenue from sales of the iPhone, a device that improves reliably and incrementally each September. But if the first product launch event of the year is to be believed, Apple’s founding product is the most exciting. The Mac is getting more innovation — and more attention — than since the iPhone launched in 2007.
Apple’s spring event usually boils down to a handful of new releases, mostly iterative updates, and Tuesday morning’s news from Cupertino seemed to fit nicely into that vein. Tim Cook and a stream of executives showcased Apple TV+ content, showed off not one, but two shades of green for the iPhone 13 lineup, and unveiled a third-generation iPhone SE (the one with the fingerprint sensor). digital), now equipped with an A15 Bionic chip, 5G, a better camera, and greater autonomy. Apple also announced a new iPad Air, featuring an M1 chip, which brings the power of an iPad Pro to the company’s mid-range tablet.
But, the event quickly turned into a Mac presentation. A new M1 Ultra chip will power Apple’s most advanced computer: a square aluminum box called the Mac Studio, designed to be paired with the new Studio Display, the first relatively affordable external monitor (at $1,749, the emphasis being put on the relative) that Apple has been manufacturing for years. Taken together, these announcements indicate that reinventing the Mac remains a priority for Apple, perhaps even more so than the iPhone.
Until Apple introduced its own M1 chip in 2020, its computers languished. Apple continued to release new models with slightly improved specs each year, but “innovated” Mac design with almost universally hated butterfly-switch keyboards, odd Touch Bar functionality, and frames so thin they didn’t have virtually no ports, requiring users to purchase dongles to link various peripherals.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and buyers started snapping up laptops in droves, Apple took upgrading the Mac seriously. The company had long been rumored to be planning to move away from Intel, in a bid to build on its chip development for iPhones with custom Mac processors. Bringing all its chips in-house marked a turning point The company was able to use this redesign to address years of criticism of Macs’ insufficient (or downright bad) features and also to wow laptop buyers with bold claims about performance and battery life. While the iPhone will remain the company’s biggest moneymaker for the foreseeable future, Apple knows it needs to diversify: with more affordable products, subscription services, and Macs people actually want to use. .
The Turning Point in 2020
Since then, the company has revamped its Mac lineup with its line of Apple Silicon chips, making entry-level MacBooks more useful with significantly longer battery life and more powerful pro-level Macs. Case in point: the new Mac Studio with the M1 Ultra chip promises 3.8 times the processing power of the 27-inch iMac with an Intel processor and launched in 2020.
iPhone upgrades in recent years have brought useful features — better cameras, 5G connectivity, and MagSafe wireless charging, to name a few — but they’re nowhere near as good. spectacular than those we have seen on the Mac side.
This week’s trio of Mac announcements is just the start of what promises to be a huge year for Apple computers. The company is rumored to be planning to complete the third phase of Intel’s move from Macs to in-house processors and is expected to introduce an M2 chip to power the new MacBooks and iMacs that will launch later this year.
Apple’s focus on the Mac is clearly paying off: the company reported the highest-ever Mac revenue of $10.8 billion in the first quarter of 2022, up from $8.6 billion. billion a year earlier and $7.2 billion in the first quarter of 2017. The iPhone is still racing around the Mac, with revenue of $71.6 billion in the first quarter of 2022, but Apple hasn’t needed to sacrifice one product for another to be successful.