Welcome to our weekly collection of all the Apple news you missed this week, in a handy bite-sized roundup. We call it Apple Breakfast because we think it goes great with a morning cup of coffee or tea, but it’s cool if you want to give it a read during lunch or dinner hours too.
The Mac Studio is a compelling launch, and we have few complaints on that score. But the iPhone and iPad announcements were each, in their own way, reminders of roads not taken, of opportunities missed. Observers were left to wonder what could have been, if Apple had made slightly different choices.
The third-gen iPhone SE, as I’ve argued at length elsewhere, is a budget phone that’s nowhere near as budget-minded as it should be. With a a mixed bag of tech specs and a design that pre-dates “Schitt’s Creek,” the SE should be sliding out at comfortably sub-$400 prices. Instead, the device got a price bump (which Apple presumably feels is justified by the inclusion of 5G support), and millions of potential sales in a market Apple has never successfully catered for vanished into the ether.
The iPad Air, meanwhile, is an object lesson in the problems that can arise when one part of a company is worried about treading on the toes of another. When the last Air launched, back in 2020, it instantly ate the 11-inch iPad Pro’s lunch: why would someone buy a Pro when the Air was available, with most of the premium features at a far lower price? And when Apple refused to update the Air for the entirety of 2021 it was difficult to escape the suspicion that the company wanted to give the next iPad Pro model a chance, like the anxious parent who makes their older child wait 10 minutes before joining the Easter egg hunt.
Second-guessing Apple is a fool’s errand, and it’s entirely possible that the alternate universe where Apple released an iPad Air in 2021 and priced the new iPhone SE below $400 is also one where a penniless Craig Federighi has to cut his own hair. Focusing on premium products has always been a lucrative strategy for Cupertino. But there’s also room for the big-selling budget device, and it’s intriguing to imagine a world in which Apple makes a real attempt at conquering that market.