Apple goes back to its roots
Photo: Apple

Apple goes back to its roots

Source Code

Good morning! Apple just took the wraps off its first new gadgets of 2022, setting the stage for what looks to be a major year for Macs. iPhone? What iPhone? I’m Caitlin McGarry, and I think we should bring back translucent computers.

Return of the Mac

Apple’s annual spring event is usually used to announce iterative updates on devices like the iPad and Mac. Yesterday’s product launch seemed pretty routine: Tim Cook announced an updated iPad Air and a third-gen 5G iPhone SE (that’s the inexpensive one with the fingerprint sensor).

But then the event swiftly turned into a Mac showcase with the announcement of Mac Studio, which is powered by a supercharged new M1 Ultra processor. Altogether the announcements indicate that reinventing the Mac continues to be a high priority for Apple — perhaps more so than even the iPhone.

The new devices are a huge deal for creative pros. After years of making underwhelming Macs that sacrificed useful features — like ports! — in the name of sleek design, Apple’s Mac announcements were aimed directly at its most die-hard users.

  • The M1 Ultra chip fuses two powerful M1 Max processors together to make one super system-on-chip, which will power the new Mac Studio. Well, at least the pricier $3,999 model.
  • The Mac Studio starts at $1,999 for a version with a not-quite-as-powerful (but still pretty impressive) M1 Max chip. The desktop machine slots in between the Mac Mini and Mac Pro in Apple’s product lineup, though the Pro hasn’t yet been upgraded with custom silicon, a move that Apple teased would come soon.
  • The third machine, the $1,599 27-inch Studio Display, is pretty affordable compared to the $5,000 Pro Display XDR it currently sells.

The return of the Mac was already well underway. In November 2020, Apple took the wraps off the M1, its first custom Mac chip developed in-house. The announcement had huge implications, too: Not only was Apple transitioning away from Intel, its component provider for more than a decade, but it was using the move to overhaul its Mac lineup from top to bottom.

  • Switching to custom silicon was likely in the works for years prior, but the timing — nine months into a pandemic when people were buying laptops in droves — worked in Apple’s favor.
  • Delivering powerful performance and lengthy battery life gave buyers more good reasons to upgrade to the M1 MacBook Air or 13-inch MacBook Pro beyond pure desperation.
  • Apple has since moved almost its entire Mac lineup over to custom silicon, and it’s expected to announce a new M2 chip later this year alongside a slate of upgraded Macs. Apple discontinued the 27-inch iMac after yesterday’s event; could its largest desktop be gone forever, or will it get an M1 upgrade?

Apple's prioritization of the Mac is clearly paying off: The company reported its highest Mac revenue ever, $10.8 billion, during the first quarter of 2022, up from $8.6 billion a year earlier and from $7.2 billion in the first quarter of 2017. The iPhone still runs laps around the Mac, with revenue of $71.6 billion in Q1 2022, but Apple’s event this week proves that it doesn't have to sacrifice one product for another to succeed.

— Caitlin McGarry (email | twitter)

A MESSAGE FROM 4-H

Gen Z is poised to help everyone - from a rural small business to a tech giant - rethink how their business operations can help alleviate the digital divide. It’s time to give Gen Z a seat at the table for the generation that sees how tech can be a benefit but often is the barrier for advancement.

Learn more

People are talking

Morgan Stanley’s James Gorman said it’s time to go back to “careerland”:

  • “A lot of us have gone into the mindset of ‘Jobland.’ Well if you’re in ‘Careerland,’ you need to be around other people to learn from them a bit.”

Ads on Netflix? Not yet, but maybe someday, CFO Spencer Neumann said:

  • "It's not like we have religion against advertising ... It's hard for us to ignore that others are doing it, but for now it doesn't make sense for us."

Elon Musk claims he “never lied to shareholders” in 2018:

  • “I entered the consent decree for the survival of Tesla, for the sake of its shareholders.”

Ruth Porat said Alphabet’s purchase of Mandiant will help the company stay competitive:

  • “The way we look at it [investments] is we’re obviously not competing with our peers at the scale they were then, we are competing at the scale they are now in a market that is accelerating.”

Sheryl Sandberg said Russia blocked Facebook for one main reason:

  • “Social media is bad for dictators.”

Making moves

LanzaTech is going public via a SPAC. The deal would value the carbon-capture and transformation firm at $2.2 billion.

Reid Hoffman co-founded a new company, called Inflection AI. It's the first time he's launched a company since he sold LinkedIn in 2016.

Twitter promoted TJ Adeshola and Sarah Rosen to head of global content partnerships and U.S. content partnerships, respectively.

Nick Myers joined Patreon as head of design. Myers led design for companies like Facebook and Fitbit for 20 years.

Carol Carpenter is Unity’s new CMO. She previously held the same role at VMware and has led marketing for Google Cloud.

In other news

Twitter launched a Tor service. Its onion address will let Twitter users browse more privately, and access it in places the service is blocked.

Amazon is going all in on live audio. Its new app, Amp, lets people host radio-style shows and access tons of music for free.

AWS stopped taking new customers in Russia and Belarus. The company said it doesn’t have any data centers, infrastructure or offices in Russia.

A shareholder is suing Rivian, claiming the company failed to say it needed to raise the prices of its vehicles after its market debut, misleading investors.

Tech companies have stayed quiet about Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The state is about to pass the legislation, which limits lessons about sexual orientation or gender identity in the classroom through third grade.

Instagram creators can now get credited. The platform introduced a feature that lets people indicate how they contributed to a project, like marking themselves as a “stylist” or “model.”

Crypto lobbying is getting bigger. A Public Citizen report found that the number of lobbyists representing the crypto industry soared, and spending on behalf of the industry quadrupled compared to three years ago.

Two siblings were charged in a crypto fraud operation. The SEC is accusing John and Tina Barksdale of defrauding retail investors who bought or invested in the Ormeus Coin cryptocurrency.

LimeWire is back — as an NFT platform. It'll be focused on all things digital music. There's a joke to be made here about the state of the internet, but we won't. It's too easy.

Would you work from a van?

Some take working vacations. Others embrace the #vanlife. People are buying vans, transforming them into homes, and getting their work done from the road. If your company is returning to the office, this lifestyle might not be for you. But if you’re still into remote work, and working out of a van sounds awesome, here’s some advice from people who’ve tried it:

  • Plan ahead. Think through your health care, meal planning, showering and other necessities.
  • Schedule your day. You’re not always going to have Wi-Fi or even a reliable hot spot.
  • Think about meetings. Taking a Zoom call from a van isn’t a great experience. Phone calls might work, but try it out first.
  • Set goals. When you’re camping, it’s hard to stay motivated. Set a few goals per day, and allot specific time to spend in the great outdoors. That’s why you’re living in a van, after all!

A MESSAGE FROM 4-H

People often think of the digital divide as being just about broadband access, but it is also about understanding the needs and tech literacy levels across roughly six generations. Gen Z could help companies develop products and apps that better serve the needs of our communities, our country and our world.

Learn more

Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to sourcecode@protocol.com, or our tips line, tips@protocol.com. Enjoy your day, see you tomorrow.

Recent Issues