Apple has finally completed the three-year-long transition away from the Intel platform by releasing the M2 Mac Pro powered by an M2 Ultra processor.
The company also upgraded last year’s premiere Mac Studio to the M2 platform, released a 15” Mac Air notebook, and has finally launched their hyped AR headset, the Apple Vision Pro. Let’s take a look.
A larger Mac Air
Apple got the ball rolling by introducing a 15” MacBook Air. At 11.5mm thin and weighing just 3.3 pounds, a ½ pound lighter than the lightest laptops.
The MacAir is powered by the M2 Apple Silicon chip and has a 15.3” retina screen with a brightness of 500 nits, with over 1 billion colors. The 15” Mac Air is twice as fast as the previous Mac Air, with twice the resolution, and is 25% brighter.
With up to 18 hours of battery life, the Mac Air will last 50% longer between charges. Other features include MagSafe charging, 2 Thunderbolt 4, a 1080P Webcam, and a headphone jack.
Spatial audio is also delivered through six speakers with force-canceling woofers. $1,299, or $1,199 with an educational discount.
The 13” Mac Air gets a performance boost at $1,099, and $999 for education. There are four finishes including Midnight and Starlight. It will be shipping on June 13th.
The second generation Mac Studio gets the M2 Max Apple Silicon Chip which provides up to 25% faster performance overall, and 50% faster video rendering speeds. Apple Studio offers a 24 Core CPU and 76 GPU with support of up to 192 GB of Unified Memory.
Users can also opt to boost performance by choosing the M2 Ultra processor, which doubles the already improved performance of the M2 Max.
The Studio Ultra can playback up to 22 8K ProRes Streams and also up to six Pro HDR displays. MacStudio starts at $1999 with M2 Max and will be available next week.
Apple Silicon Finally comes to the Mac Pro
The Apple Silicon transition is finally complete with the launch of the new M2 Ultra Mac Pro with PCI Expansion.
The M2 Ultra Mac Pro is expected to deliver up to 3 times faster performance than the current Intel-based model and supports up to 192GB of Unified RAM memory.
The media engine accelerates using Apple’s latest Afterburner video GPUs for up to 3X streaming of 8K video and up to 7 Afterburner cards, as well as ingesting up to 24 4K streams.
The Mac Pro also comes with eight Thunderbolt 4 ports and six Gen 4 PCIe slots. The new M2 Ultra Mac Pro is now also available in a rack-mounted configuration, as well as the traditional cheesegrater tower design.
But here’s the headscratcher. The M2 Ultra Mac Pro is essentially a Mac Studio with a few extra PCI slots and Thunderbolt 4 slots tossed in.
For a cost of four times more than the best Mac Studio, will Apple really sell that many? They haven’t with the M1 Ultra variant, that’s for sure.
Maybe for studios doing serious 8K streaming and broadcasting, an M2 Ultra Mac Pro is a convenient option, but that’s going to be few and far between, as more production teams opt for the more affordable Mac Studio that they can trick out.
The M2 Ultra Mac Pro starts at $6999 and will be available next week.
One more thing … Apple Vision Pro
Apple brought back their infamous “One more thing …” to finally announce their long-awaited, and much-hyped AR Headset. The Apple Vision Pro. Apple calls Vision Pro a spatial computer, and not an AR headset.
Apple Vision Pro is an AR-based device with its own computer processor on board. Total immersion complete with spatial audio. Tim Cook says you look through the Vision Pro, not at it. Making your surroundings an infinite canvas.
The headset has a micro OLED display with a lenticular design that packs 23 million pixels that are just 7 microns wide into each eye. More than a 4K TV.
With three-element lenses for sharpness and quality, the eyes are not fatigued by continuous use. Fine text is super share from any angle.
Vision Pro is driven by dual Apple M2 chips and an R1 sensor processor that gets information from twelve cameras that watch the eyes and can determine what the user wants to access.
Think of it as your Mac in mid-air when using the AR headset. Unconstrained by the boundaries of a display. Environments extend the display space even further.
Vision Pro also follows eye movements to isolate and trigger apps. The headset also responds to gestures of your hands. Vision Pro also moves through the Windows interface as your head turns. Siri offers voice-controlled features.
The see-through design means you’re not isolated from those around you. It reveals your eyes so people know you’re listening to them or that you know they are there. Or the headset can be occluded so they know not to bother you.
Spatial Audio. Vision Pro turns your at-home movie experience into a movie theater with a super cinematic experience through the Cinema Environment feature.
It will even dim your lights. Apple used an advanced sensor array that provides “advanced audio raytracing” to make the sound appear to come from the environment around you.
The battery is cabled so it doesn’t weigh down the head and offers all-day battery life (why would you want to wear that thing all day, though).
Vision Pro also syncs with your other Apple devices. Included Magic Trackpad, Mouse, and Keyboard. Can also bring your Mac into Vision Pro by just looking at it.
The Apple Vision Pro starts at a retail price of $3499.
In spite of the fact Apple is hoping that through slick design and the power of the Apple Silicon M2 processor, they will make AR and VR cool, where other companies have virtually failed (no pun intended).
It’s hard to imagine a video editor wearing this thing for eight to ten hours a day while editing. When all is said and done, Apple cannot be serious that Vision Pro will have any appeal beyond large professional applications.
That MSRP simply isn’t tenable to grab the market with any long-term effect, like the company implies in the video above.
But it would be cool to watch a movie with it.
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