Okay, creative professionals or itinerant machine art producers or escaping bohemian digital technomusicologists or whatever we call ourselves – a lot of news has just appeared at WWDC, but here are the things that probably matter most to you.
M2 architecture – and a new MacBook Pro 13″ and MacBook Air. The M1 was the first generation Mac and felt a little like early adopter technology compared to the M1 Pro and M1 MAX. Now there is both a new architecture – the Baseline M2 – as well as updated MacBook Air and 13″ MacBook Pro. I expect this will make the budget conscious entries a lot more competitive and of course we’ll be on the lookout for Pro and MAX versions and other updates to the M2 Pro and M2 MAX. You also get the stuff I loved about the high-end models at an entry-level price. For now, check out the 13-inch models while we wait to see what the bigger siblings will bring.
The MacBook Air also gets a very enticing hardware redesign. You get a dedicated MagSafe charging port, two Thunderbolt ports, a full-height feature row on the keyboard with Touch ID, and generally the form factor and touchpad you’re familiar with from the higher-end models.
Big surprise – both the new Air and new 13″ Pro models are slated to be available next month, although we’ll see in what quantities. (Surprise as in — despite the ongoing pandemic.)
And I’m still excited to see what the MAX can do with Houdini. (Right now, while these performance gains are cool, they’re mostly beating out competing PCs in the same price range, as well as the previous Macs at this tier, while they’re impressive.)
Oh, also 13.6″ display and better camera and battery on the air?
Above M2 – new features. Apple promises 40% more operations per second for the Neural Engine, a new higher-bandwidth video decoder supporting 8K H.264 and HEVC (hey VJs!), ProRes playback of multiple streams of 4K and 8K video, and new improved image noise reduction supports .
On the CPU side, you get 18% more multi-threaded performance than M1, Apple says, and… it crushes PCs in terms of efficiency and performance compared to the latest 10-core PCs, but I’ll let you read the claimed stats.
The GPU has a larger cache and memory bandwidth with up to 25% faster graphics performance.
I still like the Pro as a sweet spot, but the Pro and MAX also ironed out some of the glitches of the original M1, so I’m bullish on the base M2 as well.
macOS Ventura. Spotlight has some cool new tricks that remind me of third-party stuff I’ve used over the years. Stage Manager – uh, hot take, can we finally just tile? But yes, there are now some flashy ways to move windows around. I think the big bonus here is that there is built-in, internal support for using it iPhones as webcams (and microphones), which has always been a bit tricky with third-party utilities. You also get camera centering and clever special effects like “Studio Light” with the Ultra Wide camera. camera improvements I was very pleased.
The other things we need to delve deep into – think about it accelerated visual performancewhich they tout for games but potentially apply to a lot of live creative and visual apps.
There are also new ones Accessibility Features I’m curious about to creative apps. Apple has really been the industry leader in accessibility in many ways, and a lot of musicians and artists use this every day.
I am sure that maybe I can be sold on Stage Manager. I also love what Apple has (finally) done with Focus on iOS, so I’m excited to see that on desktop too.
And um – they have the option to tag favorite musicians and get notifications when I put a record down. Sorry, I mean when an artist you actually listen to puts out a record.
Current list of changes, overview.
iPad OS 16 + iOS 16. iPadOS 16 is interesting from a collaborative point of view. Both look like worthy updates, but what’s new for developers, advanced graphics and music we have to repeat again.
What we Not see: Not a widely anticipated Augmented Reality / Mixed Reality announcement. But I suspect that “we haven’t seen the new hardware that we expected” could well be the theme of 2022 given the ongoing major supply chain disruptions. Read: COVID-19 means people in China and elsewhere can’t get to work, goods can’t be transported, and the war in Ukraine means raw materials from Ukraine and Russia can’t get to their destinations. Not to dampen spirits, but we really need to get out of the sense of entitlement we tend to have.
Of course, the lack of the rumored augmented reality stuff might have nothing to do with it either. Apple tends to only show things when they’re finished and done. And this is new technology for them. I would say wait and see.
In the meantime, the Mac sure remains a healthy platform, with speed, battery life, and features straight out of many users’ imaginations. Stay tuned to learn more about the new operating systems and silicon. Personally, I’m going to focus on boosting my brain and learning more about Houdini and such, and…resting my brain at the lake, too.
And the editing of Verge:
One more thing: Yes, we better finally call it “Apple Silicon”, not “M1”.
Or just – Mac.