Posts about iPhone

Apple’s spooky M3 event

Three things struck me while watching Apple’s Halloween-themed M3 event last night.

The first observation: while Apple unveiled three chips last night, they did a better job clarifying who each machine is for than they’ve ever done before.

There are three new chips, unsurprisingly called the M3, the M3 Pro, and the M3 Max. Here’s what Apple said about the audience for each one when introducing the laptops that use them. 

For the basic M3, Apple said:

Whether you’re a student, entrepreneur, creator, or combination of all three, you’ll find everyday tasks lightning fast. And when you’re using pro apps or playing games, the advanced thermal system allows you to sustain the phenomenal performance of M3… It’s great for working with demanding content across a variety of workflows. Such as making intricate 3D models in Sketchup faster than before. Or viewing and interacting with large medical images in SurgicalAR.

This is pretty clearcut to me: machines equipped with the base-level M3 are great for aspiring creative pros, students, and entrepreneurs (which, in Apple’s parlance, I think means new business owners outside the tech sector).

For the M3 Pro, which is the next step up, Apple said the following:

(The M3 Pro) provides even greater performance and additional unified memory for users with more demanding workflows like coders, creative pros, and researchers… Stitching together and manipulating enormous panoramic photos in Photoshop is much quicker, working on large and complex data models in MATLAB is more fluid, and compiling and testing millions of lines of code in Xcode is even faster.

I think this is pretty clear too, but there are several caveats here that are worth mentioning a little later. (I look forward to Austin Mann and Tyler Stalman testing this machine though, since it seems aimed at photographers, designers, and developers.)

In theory, the M3 Pro is aimed at me. At first, I thought this was great news, because my current machine is an M1 Max, and it’d be nice to shift downmarket if I could. (Again, more on this later.)

Apple had this to say about the M3 Max:

For users with extreme workflows like AI developers, 3D artists, and video professionals, it’s an absolute beast… You can model and iterate remarkably complex 3D content in Cinema 4D with Redshift… And video post-production work on the highest resolution content is an absolute breeze thanks to two ProRes engines… M3 Max also supports up to an enormous 128GB of unified memory… This enables creators to easily work on large and complex projects spanning multiple pro apps and plugins, like Substance 3D Painter, Maya, and Arnold. Or compose huge film scores with Pro Tools, where entire orchestra libraries are instantly available from memory. 

This also seems clear cut to me. To be perfectly blunt, I am no longer the target market for these machines. The target market is well above what I do, even when I’m doing my own recording and video production.

The second observation: The configurations are weird. 

First, RAM comes in 18GB, 36GB, 48GB, 64GB, 96GB, and 128GB allotments. If you want 48GB, 64GB, or 128GB of RAM, you need the most expensive M3 Max chip. If you want 96GB of RAM, you need the least expensive M3 Max chip. It works out so that 96GB of RAM is only $100 more than 64GB, but you don’t get as many CPU cores.

This is very weird to me. Does Apple have multiple RAM providers or something? Why don’t these varieties match up? Why do I have to make this choice?

The M3 Pro, as I noted above, is the chip aimed for people like me: creative pros. But a lot of people like me need more than 36GB of RAM, which is the limit of the M3 Pro, and getting more requires a large upfront investment. The 64GB model is more expensive than my M1 Max, at least in Canada, so while you can order up to 128GB, the addition of the higher memory option hasn’t resulted in a reduction of prices elsewhere in the lineup.

I’m glad I’m not in the market for a machine right now, because I’d have to make some odd choices. This reminds me of the Intel Mac Pro configuration flow, and that’s not a compliment. It’s too complicated. I am grateful for the options, but I wish they moved in a straight line from the cheapest to the most expensive.

I’m looking forward to Anandtech’s review of these chips.

Finally, the third observation: The Apple event was shot on an iPhone. The footage looked great. Nobody knew until the credits rolled. But The Verge ran an article about how that marketing line is deceptive because of all the other pro gear involved.

On one hand, I get it. Lighting, drones, gimbals, and everything else you need for a pro setup like this isn’t cheap. There were also a wealth of special effects employed throughout the event.

But on the other hand, The Verge’s article seems to suggest that consumers will think their footage will automatically look that good without additional gear. I don’t know if that’s the case. Thanks to decades of marketing from Hollywood, I think most people who care even a little know that there’s a lot of gear involved in making stuff look good. The fog machines alone in the opening of Apple’s event make it clear that their budget goes beyond the average bedroom Youtuber’s. I don’t see how there’s a negative story here, apart from clickbait.

The bottom line is simple: the event looked great, and the iPhone is clearly a very capable videographer’s camera in the right hands.

Log is the pro” in iPhone 15 Pro. Stu Maschwitz has published a handy primer on why log recording is A Big Deal, especially for a camera that fits in your pocket.

iPhone XX Futurology

Designer Mike Rundle put together an incredibly detailed blog post about a potential iPhone XX in 2027. I don’t normally bet on patents, but Mike is a smart guy and has done some terrific (and plausible) research here.


Last week, Apple announced they were removing the headphone jack for their new iPhone. It wasn’t the first time they removed an essential” feature; most of us remember losing the floppy drive, disc drives, Ethernet ports, and even the traditional file system (on iPad and iPhone). 

News like this usually doesn’t pan out well, but this time it was particularly tone-deaf. When Marketing SVP Phil Schiller said they were removing the headphone jack because they had courage,” I think the internet broke. I’ve never seen Twitter turn anything into a meme so quickly. 

But it wasn’t the first time Apple had used that line. 

Full credit to 9to5Mac for noticing this first, but Steve Jobs once said something similar. Here’s a link to the YouTube video that’s been making the rounds this weekend. If you can’t watch it, or don’t have the time for it, here’s a quick transcription (again, courtesy of 9to5Mac):

We’re trying to make great products for people, and we have at least the courage of our convictions to say we don’t think this is part of what makes a great product, we’re going to leave it out. Some people are going to not like that, they’re going to call us names […] but we’re going to take the heat [and] instead focus our energy on these technologies which we think are in their ascendancy and we think are going to be the right technologies for customers. And you know what? They’re paying us to make those choices […] If we succeed, they’ll buy them, and if we don’t, they won’t, and it’ll all work itself out.

Apple didn’t have to say anything different when they debuted the iPhone 7 last Wednesday. Steve already said it perfectly. 

I don’t think Apple is doomed, and I don’t think they’re any worse for wear without Jobs. These marketing blunders can happen to anyone. Apple is the world’s largest company, and they put good design at the core of everything they do — but sometimes, they can’t get their own story straight. Jobs was great at that. 

The thing is, Jobs knew it’s not always what you say. It’s how you say it. There’s a lesson to be learned here, and it’s pretty simple: choose your words carefully. 

Even Apple picks the wrong words sometimes.