Apple announced it's adding 5G connectivity to its low-cost iPhone SE and iPad Air. The iPhone maker also announced a high-performance chip for its new Mac Studio, a desktop aimed at creative professionals.
Apple slightly hiked the price on the iPhone SE to $429 from $399 for the previous model. The new phone starts shipping March 18.
The iPhone SE comes with an A15 Bionic chip, which Apple says is the fastest among competition, a 4.7-inch retina display and a home button with touch ID.
"This is important for our existing users who want a smaller iPhone at a great value," Chief Executive Tim Cook said.
Apple announced a new chip called M1 Ultra to enhance performance for Mac desktops. The M1 Ultra is made by connecting two M1 Max chips and is eight times faster than M1 chips.
To house the new chip, Apple unveiled a desktop Mac Studio and a new monitor called Studio Display that can be paired with any Mac, including Macbook Air and Macbook Pro models.
Apple will offer two versions of the Mac Studio, one with the M1 Max chip and the other utilizing the M1 Ultra chip.
Mac Studio with M1 Ultra is 80% faster than its fastest MacBook Pro.
Mac Studio pricing starts at $1,999 for the version with the M1 Max chip and $3,999 for the M1 Ultra loaded computer. Studio Display is priced at $1,599.
Shares of Apple turned negative during the product launch and were down a few cents per share after about an hour.
iPad tune up
The new iPad Air gets its first refresh in two years with a new design, 5G connectivity and a faster M1 chipset, popular in MacBooks. The starting price remained $599 and it will be available starting March 18.
The new iPad Air also features a 12-megapixel front camera.
Apple also announced new iPhone 13 models in two new finishes, including alpine green.
The company which has been broadening its services and other products also said its Apple TV+ product would begin showing Major League Baseball games on Friday nights. The weekly double header will be available in eight countries.
5G capabilities have been a big part of Apple's focus for the high end of its flagship product as customers look for powerful devices with better connectivity, with the iPhone 13 showing off custom 5G antennas and radio components for faster speeds.
Now, Apple's cheaper SE model is getting a 5G update, which may entice cost-conscious consumers to get new phones. 5G service is spotty in many areas around the world, but the capability gives buyers some "future-proof" protection for when the service becomes stronger.
"Since iPhone users hold on to their phone for more than 2.5 years, including 5G capability would be an attractive feature for users to upgrade their older 4G iPhone," said analyst Neil Shah of Counterpoint Research.
The United States, Japan and Western Europe have been the top markets for iPhone SE sales in recent years, according to researcher IDC.
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