Mac Pro woes
Plus Zuckerberg's take on the Apple Vision Pro
Welcome back to Multicore for Thursday, June 8th.
As expected, this week in tech has been dominated by Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference. You may have heard that a VR headset was announced. Today, let's focus on the rest of the hardware news.
First up, a bunch of new Macs headlined by the 15-inch MacBook Air. There's really very little to say about it on a technical level — it has the same M2 chip as the 13-inch model, the same thickness within a fraction of a millimetre, and apparently the same battery life (rated at 18 hours) because of a larger cell that offsets the bigger screen. It does have a six-speaker array versus the smaller model's four, which makes sense given the extra space.
At $1,300, which would've been just $100 more than the 13-inch model had that not been slashed to $1,100 this week, I think the 15-inch Air will be incredibly popular. The Windows market has long shown that casual users appreciate big, affordable screens, and the M2 is powerful enough to serve the needs of almost anyone who couldn't justify dropping $2,500-plus on a 16-inch MacBook Pro. I'm not in the market for a laptop right now, but if I were, this would be the one.
Next up is the Mac Studio, which got upgraded to the M2 generation of chips, including the debut of the M2 Ultra — the fastest Mac processor yet. It's basically two M2 Max chips bolted together, with a 24-core CPU, up to 76 GPU cores, and as much as 192GB of unified memory. The Studio is an unparalleled computer for its size, heat, and noise, and while this update is what you'd expect, it's good to know that it wasn't a one-and-done stopgap like the iMac Pro turned out to be.
That brings me to the last Mac to make the move from Intel to ARM: the Mac Pro. Apple teased an M-series Mac Pro more than a year ago when the original Studio was introduced, and ended up missing its own two-year target for transitioning the whole Mac lineup to ARM. Unfortunately, the final result is about as underwhelming as it possibly could have been given the long wait.
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