Meet the new member of the Mac family

Last week we got the big performance, the fanfare, and glowing words at Apple's Peek Performance event. But this week we got the reality. The company's new products, the new iPhone SE, the fifth-gen iPad Air, the Mac Studio, and the Studio Display, dropped into the hands of reviewers, influencers, and the lucky (in some cases very lucky) first wave of customers, and will now have to prove their worth in the real world.

Roman Loyola has been putting the Mac Studio (in our case an M1 Max model) through its paces in the Macworld labs and posted his 4.5-star review on Thursday. It's a favorable write-up, extolling the machine's versatility, quiet operation, and exciting processing prowess. One could reasonably criticize Apple's lack of originality in design terms, but this is a serious step up in power from the basic M1 chip.

But the best thing about the Mac Studio might be what it isn't. This isn't an upgrade of the Mac mini, or the iMac, or the Mac Pro; this is something new. It sits in a category that Apple hadn't yet catered for. As Roman observes, it's a slab of processing muscle that's perfect for the YouTuber or independent app developer, without being as expensive as the media-creation setups used in large-scale professional production houses.

We've heard many times over the past few years that creative professionals feel Apple has abandoned them, and perhaps that is fair. But a bigger problem has been the company's rigid adherence to a consumer/pro dichotomy that no longer makes sense. (By what criteria, other than high price, do the iPhone 13 Pro and AirPods Pro cater to the same market as the Mac Pro? For that matter, does anyone seriously think the two sizes of MacBook Pro are both targeted at creative professionals?)

So as well as being a high-quality Mac, the Studio represents something more. It's an acknowledgment that in 2022, Mac buyers don't fit so neatly in two boxes and that the Mac range should reflect that.

The Mac Studio nestling beneath Apple's new Studio Display. Image: Willis Lai/Foundry

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The rumor mill

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Podcast of the week

Life just got a lot easier, because iOS 15.4 is here! Jason, Michael, and Roman talk about the top features in the iPhone operating system, along with macOS, tvOS, and more in this episode of the Macworld Podcast.


iCloud Private Relay has come under fire in the UK as a supposed safety threat. But we're not convinced.

macOS Big Sur and Catalina updates this week brought a bundle of critical security fixes. We recommend installing them at your earliest convenience.

Talking of updates, here are three reasons to upgrade to iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4 right away.

Apple ditched the optical drive from most Macs about a decade ago. You could still buy an Apple-branded USB SuperDrive for reading and burning CDs and DVDs, but the maker never updated it for more modern Macs and interfaces. With all this in mind, here's how to connect an Apple USB SuperDrive to a newer Mac.

And with that, we're done for this week. If you'd like to get regular roundups, sign up for our newsletters. You can also follow us on Twitter for breaking news stories. See you next Saturday, enjoy your weekend, and stay Appley!