Weekly News Summary for Admins — 2022-03-11

Apple’s “Peek Performance” event this week, delivered plenty of great news. A new iPhone SE, which is mostly identical to the 2020 model, but now uses the A15 chip. Green color choices for the iPhones 13 and 13 Pro. A new iPad Air, using the M1 chip. And then… a new desktop Mac model called “Mac Studio” using the M1 Max or a doubled up M1 Mac chip which Apple calls the “M1 Ultra.” And a new 27″ 5K Studio Display to go along with the Mac Studio.

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These are great products that will certainly fill many checkboxes in many people’s and organization’s wish lists. Untypically for Apple, there were a few hints on what is yet to come. At the end of the video, John Ternus (SVP of Hardware Engineering) mentions, there is “just one more product to go: the Mac Pro, but that is for another day.” Earlier in the event, John says the M1 Ultra will be the last chip added to the M1 family.

This sets up the intriguing question on how an Apple silicon based Mac Pro will exceed the performance set by the Mac Studio. Some speculate the Mac Pro will be the first Mac to get the next generation Apple silicon chip. However, announcing the M2 with the Mac Pro, would stifle demand on all the other Mac models though, as people will hold off purchases until those product lines are updated, as well. Apple runs a risk of “Osborning” their most popular Mac product lines. It is more likely the M2 will be introduced with the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, or a successor model to one of these.

We also learned which Mac model will not transition: The 27″ iMac disappeared from the Apple Store this week. Apple seems to consider the Mac Studio with Studio Display a valid replacement. This combo may seem much more expensive than the base iMac 27″, but the Studio Display will likely outlive the Mac it is purchased with, making the direct comparison difficult.

Interestingly, the Intel Mac mini is still available. Keep in mind that if you need an Intel Mac for Bootcamp or compatibility testing on the Intel platform and older versions of macOS, you should either make plans to retain Intel Macs past the usual lifetime in your organization or puchase a Mac mini or Mac Pro now.

The persistence of the Intel Mac mini calls attention to a strange omission in Apple’s Macs with Apple silicon product line: there is no Mac desktop using the M1 Pro. You can get the iMac 24″ and Mac mini with M1. Mac Studio comes with M1 Max and M1 Ultra. The Intel Mac mini sort of fills the spot where a Mac mini or Mac Studio with the M1 Pro would be. (Both price and feature wise.) It might be that Apple needs all the M1 Pro chips they produce to satisfy demand of the MacBook Pro and we will have to wait for more availability until we see desktop Macs with that chip. This gap is even more annoying beacuse it matches the needs of MacAdmins very well.

Either way, exciting times for the Mac, with more interesting things to come!

Oh, the new Mac Studio will require macOS 12.3 and ship next week, so we will also get the macOS 12.3 update next week, which should not come as a huge suprise as Apple released 12.3 RC to AppleSeed this week.

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