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Apple…so fast – but not so scary

As the coffee takes effect after a late night, let’s take a look back at Apple’s Scary Fast event together…

Apple M3 iMac

When Apple announced this event last week speculation was high about what or rather how they would deliver whatever it was we were about to be getting.

First I guess I need to put my hands up and wipe the egg from my face! Yesterday I was pretty cock-sure that we’d be getting more than just Macs, but clearly, I was proven wrong. All the added glitz and sparkle that Apple dusted the event with was purely to create more interest in the event.

Clearly, I am not a man to be trusted – but if I can worm my way back and you can give me one more chance, I’d love to run through what my take was on last night’s Scary Fast event – and I promise, I’ll try to be as quick as Apple were!

The easter egg

If you watched the event through to the end card, you will have seen them mention the bit that made my jaw drop more than for any of the devices we got, when they casually threw in that the entire event was shot on iPhone 15 Pro Max & obviously edited on a Mac too! Damn – they have put their money where their mouth is. I have often wondered why they didn’t showcase just what their flagship phone was capable of – well now they have.

I’ve no reason to doubt their claim that all presenters, locations and drones were shot with the 15 Pro Max – but what I’d love to see now is a behind-the-scenes of how they shot, edited and colour-graded it. I wrote a few weeks ago about how I set up a rig to turn the 15 Pro Max into a professional set-up – well Apple has taken that notion and turned up the heat! I so hope Apple post a video showing the making of the event – but enough of that, let’s unpack what we got.

Hopefully, you’re enjoying this story  -  if you wanted to say ‘thank you’, the best way is simply to clap, highlight and get involved in the comments. And my promise to you…If you get in touch I will answer! So clap, highlight and comment away…

Apple on speed

For all of us, myself included, who have moaned that recent events have become too bloated, long and staged Apple listened and trimmed most of the fat and just got straight to the meat – I approve…

The filming transitions and production qualities were still sky-high but this event was pretty much just factual. The ‘how hard can it be’ themed intro was a tad too long and there were way too many incomprehensible graphs, but other than that I thought Apple nailed it. 30 minutes in and out is the way forward if you ask me.

It was a pure Mac event that spent 90% of the time covering the MacBook Pros. Apple silicon is now established enough and with supply issues behind them that this time they launched all three tiers of the chip at the same event – M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max will all be available within weeks of the event.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro has been culled so the range now is trimmed to just the 14-inch & 16-inch models. That’s a good move as we have all been saying the 13-inch seemed oddly placed and there was just no need for it.

With the M3 chips now here, we’ll get to find out if the hype was true about the 3-nanometer technology and what we can expect from it. Sure the facts trotted out sounded impressive – a new Dynamic Caching GPU, mesh shading, improved performance per watt a 30% faster CPU and faster Ray Tracing. It all sounds pretty impressive – but how it shakes down in the real world is what will matter the most.

Reading between the lines

A couple of points did strike me though. Firstly, Apple is now squarely and openly gunning for the gaming and 3D-render markets. They are confident that the 3-nanometer M3 version of Apple silicon is up to the challenge of winning over gamers.

Watching the event live I couldn’t help but think that it was as if M2 never happened though! There was no mention of it at all. You know the way that the uncle who disgraced himself never gets mentioned at the Christmas table – well, it was just like that when it came to the M2. All the comparisons they made were against M1.

I am guessing if you bought an M2 MacBook Pro earlier this year you’re gonna be feeling pretty pissed off this morning! At the time we all thought M2 was a stop-gap but – but damn…that was a brief moment in the sun, wasn’t it? As of this morning, the M2 MacBook Pros have vanished!

A fully tripped-out M3 Max MacBook Pro with 128 GB of unified memory & 8 TB of SSD storage will cost you…£7299! As much as Apple reckon that Mac will be 80% faster than my humble 18-month old M1 Max model – this thing ain’t no slouch and munches up almost everything I throw at it and it’s not about to be replaced.

Impressive as the new MacBooks sound – they are not what interests me the most. Nope, the iMacs are more my currency.

Time to talk iMac

My love of iMac is well known – although I’ve never used or owned an Apple silicon model I think that’s about to change!

This M3 version is 2x faster than the two-year-old M1 iMac that it replaces and all this chat means I now find myself sitting here with the ‘buy me’ page open on my MacBook Air! I’m seriously tempted and doubt I can last the day without giving in!

I’m guessing you’re probably the same – you start off looking at the base model but then your eyes start to wander to the right and before you know it you are starting to spec your next Mac up! Apple are little buggers for making you spend your money, aren’t they?

But no – I am going to stick to my guns this time. Prices range from £1399 for which you get an 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU machine with 256 GB of SSD storage & 8 GB of unified memory – and you what, I think that will do me. The next one up costs £1599 with the only benefits being two extra USB 3 ports, an ethernet port and the Magic Keyboard with Touch ID. The final model starts at £1799 which has a 10-core GPU and 512 GB of storage.

I must stay strong…this iMac will not be put to hard work that often so the fact I’ll be missing out on some ports isn’t a problem and neither is the 256 GB of storage as pretty much anything I use this iMac for will be either cloud-based or using external drives. Most crucially both of the ports I do get are Thunderbolt 4 ports which will support 40Gb/s transfer speeds.

The main reason I want to buy this base M3 iMac is to see how it compares against my £4000 M1 Max MacBook Pro. I want to do some basic video editing on it and exporting on and see if a base M3 iMac can keep pace with my ‘older’ M1 Max machine. If it can, then I might be joining those poor M2 souls and be found crying in the corner of a dark room!

Can Apple silicon honestly have come that far in such a short space of time? I guess there’s only one way to find out right…

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