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10 Mar 2022

From iPhones to Ultra processors, here are five exciting announcements from Apple

Rumours are rampant before any Apple event, but there were still some surprises on show at Apple's Peek Performance conference
Apple M1 Ultra processor logo

The third generation of the iPhone SE, a new iPad Air, a monitor that probably costs more than your TV and a new Apple desktop computer were all on show at Apple's first big event of 2022.

It was a night of some surprises, which is always nice when the world of tech can be so predictable, and Apple's unexpected new Mac Studio desktop (which looks like a Mac Mini had a growth spurt) shows it hasn't given up on the micro-desktop market just yet.

The big news, though, is the new iPhone SE. Apple's cheaper iPhone may lack the latest features of the iPhone 13, but has some potentially impressive new tech on board to help it compete at the more affordable end of the smartphone market.

Keep reading to see more details on everything Apple announced at its Peek Performance 2022 event.

If you're here for the cheaper iPhone, then take a look at our favourite phones under £500 and £250

iPhone SE third generation has a more powerful chip

iPhone SE in white, black and red

We had to start here, it's the headline news from the event and Apple has made some significant changes to its cheapest handset.

The main thing is the new chip. The SE uses the A15 Bionic chip, which is the same one you'll find in an iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Max, both of which cost twice as much as the new SE.

This advanced processor is fast... really fast, and the SE should load apps, even demanding ones, faster than you can say 'Peek Performance'.

What else is new with the iPhone SE?

It's the first SE to support 5G. So if you have the right data plan and you live in an area with 5G coverage, then you'll get faster internet and download speeds.

The 12MP camera appears to be the same as the 2020 predecessor, but Apple has added 'Deep Fusion'. 'What's Deep Fusion?', you cry. Why, it's software that should improve detail in all lighting conditions of course.

Aside from that the 2022 SE appears to be similar to the 2020 SE in most aspects. The screen size and resolution is unchanged, and the phone still has that iPhone 8 look with the softer rounded edges and the home button.

Specs don't tell the whole story though, and Apple may well have made numerous tweaks that don't reveal themselves on a long list of components.

How much does the new iPhone SE cost and when does it come out?

It's due out on March 18 and comes with three storage options and three colours: midnight (black), starlight (white) and red (red).

The new iPhone SE costs:

  • £419 for the 64GB
  • £469 for the 128GB version
  • £569 for the 256GB version.

Will we test it?

Of course we will. We'll get this into our lab as soon as it's available, so you won't need to wait long to find out if it's better than the 2020 SE and the numerous Android phones that cost less than £500.

Head to our iPhone SE review to see how the 2020 version fared in our expert lab tests

New iPad Air gets the same chip as the iPad Pro

Five iPad Air 2022 tablets in purple, grey, pink a

It's all about chips with Apple. The iPhone SE got the A15 and the new iPad Air is getting the M1. It's the same one powering the iPad Pro and some of the top-tier Apple MacBooks.

Apple said the M1 is 60% faster than the A14 chip that was in the older iPad Air. It also claimed the Air was twice as fast as any Windows laptop in the same price bracket. It's a difficult claim to back up, but we have been impressed with the M1 wherever it's cropped up.

What else is new with the iPad Air?

There's a 5G version available if you often use your tablet out and about, and it's the first iPad Air with a liquid retina display.

We've found these screens to be more vibrant and less reflective than cheaper iPad screens, so it's a big tick in the plus column for the 2022 Air.

All these enhancements are to make sure the Air still keeps pace with the other Apple iPads. With the traditional iPad, Mini and Pro ranges all getting updates in 2021, the Air was left behind. But these changes should once again make it a viable choice.

How much does the new iPad Air cost and when does it come out?

Just like the iPhone SE, the new iPad Air is being released on 18 March.

There are five colours to choose from: grey, pink, purple, blue and starlight white. There are two storage sizes 64GB (£569) and 256GB (£719) - which is around £100 more than the iPad Mini and £200 more than standard iPad.

If you want 5G, then you need to pay £150 more; regardless of what storage size you go for.

Will we test it?

Absolutely. As with the SE, we'll purchase the iPad Air as soon as it's available and get it into our lab for testing.

Mini, Pro, Air? Use our guide to find out which iPad you should buy

Apple Mac Studio is a taller Mac Mini

Reverse of new Mac Studio pro

It may look like two Mac Minis stacked on top of each other, but this is a beefy little computer, with an M1 Max or M1 Ultra processor, depending which spec you go for.

Whether you end up with a Max or Ultra, the Mac Studio should be an impressive machine, particularly when you consider how small it is. This computer is for people with demanding needs, such as video editors and software designers. The sorts of speeds Apple is promising from a desktop that's only 19.7cm wide and 9.5cm tall is staggering.

You need to fork out a lot of money for this compact power, though. The M1 Max version costs £1,999 and the M1 Ultra model is double that at £3,999.

Bear in mind, too, that's without a monitor, keyboard or mouse.

These supremely expensive little computers are available from 18 March.

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Apple Studio Display

Apple Studio display with mac studio next to it

Speaking of monitors, how about an Apple Studio Display to pair with your Mac Studio? After all, what's a £1,499 for a monitor when you're already paying £3,999 for your computer?

Oh right, yeah, it's still a huge investment. But you are getting a 27-inch 5K monitor that should look spectacular. Apple is good with screens and while this may be its biggest one, there's no reason to think the quality of its smaller screens won't translate to this one.

There are speakers built-in, too, and a 12MP webcam that has its own A13 processor (that was in the 2020 iPhone SE).

You do get the impression Apple is taking the mick a bit with this thing, though. The base model is £1,499, but to get the nano-texture glass to reduce glare it costs an extra £250. Fancy a stand where you can adjust height and not just tilt? That's another £400 for a grand total of £2,149.

You could get a top of the range 55-inch OLED TV for less.

M1 Ultra processor

Finally, we have the M1 Ultra processor. It's currently only found in the Mac Studio, but it won't be long before we see some MacBooks and maybe even an iPad Pro with one of these chips.

It has cores galore (20 to be exact) and Apple reckons it's twice as powerful as the M1 Max. There shouldn't be any task that a device with this thing inside can't handle, all while using less energy than Apple's older 16-core chips.