New iPhone SE 2022: Apple also launches iPad, Mac and super-fast chip

At $429, the third-generation iPhone SE is the company's cheapest smartphone

Apple chief executive Tim Cook announces a new line-up of products during a special event at Apple Park in Cupertino, California, on Tuesday. AFP
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Apple launched on Tuesday new products including its cheapest iPhone, an improved tablet, the company’s most powerful chip for personal computers and a new Mac Studio for professional users.

The company held its first product launch of the year online at Apple Park in Cupertino, California, because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new 11.9-centimetre iPhone SE comes with 5G connectivity, better battery life, improved durability, a new camera system and an in-house A15 bionic chip, the company said.

Customers can place orders for the new phone, which starts at $429, from Friday and it will be available from March 18.

“iPhone SE has been an incredibly popular choice with our existing users and for new iPhone customers,” said Kaiann Drance, Apple’s vice president of worldwide iPhone product marketing.

"This year we have built the most powerful and durable iPhone SE yet."

It will be the third-generation iPhone SE. The first model was launched in 2016 with a starting price of $399, but was discontinued in September 2018.

The second was introduced in April 2020 at $463 and is one of Apple's biggest-selling products.

The A15 bionic chip, which Apple used in iPhone 13 series, packs a powerful six-core central processing unit, the fastest CPU in a smartphone.

It has two high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores, making the new iPhone SE up to 1.8 times faster than iPhone 8, and even faster than older models.

Apple launched its first 5G-enabled smartphones (iPhone 13 series) in September, pushing phone sales in the holiday quarter.

The company held top position among the top five smartphone sellers, helped by strong demand for its 5G-enabled iPhones.

The company, which sold almost 83 million phones between October and December, grabbed 21.9 per cent of market share in the fourth quarter of last year, according to Gartner.

It was followed by South Korea’s Samsung (18.2 per cent) and China’s Xiaomi (11.8 per cent).

Apple also unveiled a new iPad Air that features the company’s own M1 chip, 5G connectivity and a new front camera with centre stage feature that ensures users are in the right frame even if they are walking or moving around in the room.

The M1 chip delivers a high performance even while operating the most demanding apps and workflows, the company said.

It comes with an eight-core CPU and graphics processing unit that delivers up to 60 per cent quicker performance and nearly two times faster graphics performance than the previous iPad Air.

“Whether it’s a college student taking elaborate notes, a content creator working on latest project, or a gamer playing graphics-intensive titles, users love iPad Air for its amazing performance and versatility in such a portable design,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing.

The tablet was the only product segment that experienced a decline in sales in the last quarter. iPad sales dropped about 14 per cent year on year to a little over $7.2 billion in the holiday quarter that ended on December 25.

The new iPad Air will be in stores from March 18.

To reduce its dependence on other chip makers such as Intel and to avoid supply chain disruptions, Apple unveiled M1 Ultra, which the company claimed to be the world’s most powerful chip for a personal computer.

It introduced its own M1 chip in November 2020, which was followed by the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips in October 2021.

“M1 Ultra is another game-changer for Apple silicon that once again will shock the PC industry,” said Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware technology.

"By connecting two M1 Max die with our ultra-fusion packaging architecture, we are able to scale Apple silicon to unprecedented new heights."

The M1 Ultra features a 20-core CPU with 16 high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores.

It delivers 90 per cent higher performance than the fastest available 16-core PC desktop chip in the same power envelope, Apple said.

To attract professional users, Apple unveiled new Mac Studio and Studio Display.

Mac Studio, which will come with M1 Max and M1 Ultra chips, aims to deliver “unprecedented performance and extensive connectivity” in a compact design, the company said.

It is 19.5 centimetres square at the base and 9.3cm tall.

Studio display includes 68.5cm screen with a built-in stand that allows the user to tilt the display up to 30 degrees. It also offers a height-adjustable stand option with a counter-balancing arm.

M1 Max Mac Studio starts at $1,999, M1 Max Ultra Mac Studio starts at $3,999 and Mac studio display will cost $1,599.

Updated: March 09, 2022, 5:28 AM