How Apple’s Newest Products Measure Up
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How Apple’s Newest Products Measure Up

Apple aims its newest computer and display at creative professionals.

By Nicole Ngyuen
Wed, Mar 9, 2022 4:03pmGrey Clock 4 min

Upgrades to a popular iPhone and iPad, plus a brand-new Mac with matching monitor: Apple had a busy Tuesday, or at least a busy virtual event.

The focus of the news was speed. Apple is bringing fast 5G cellular connectivity to the new iPhone SE and the new iPad Air. Both of those devices and the all-new Mac Studio desktop computer have faster chips. And the company showed off the Studio Display, aimed at professionals, with a built-in camera and a whopping price starting at $2499.

All will hit stores on March 18.

Apple managed to tack on a few other announcements, including new green iPhone 13 options and the arrival of Major League Baseball to Apple TV+.

While most of the mainstream product updates are incremental, there are a few new features I’m excited about, such as the smart-camera-focusing Center Stage tech for the iPad Air. There are some things I’m disappointed Apple didn’t announce, like an SE with multiple cameras on the back.

To find out if this new hardware is worth the money—in some cases, products are pricier than their predecessors—I dived into the specs. Here’s what you need to know.

iPhone SE (3rd generation)

The iPhone SE line is, as my colleague Joanna Stern calls it, iPhones for people who don’t like new iPhones. The new SE looks just like the previous one, which itself is a copy of 2017’s iPhone 8. It does, however, have upgraded parts.

The third-generation iPhone SE starts at $719. The big new feature is 5G connectivity, which can provide blazing-fast speeds if you’re in the right spot. Just note: Apple only built in the slower, more widely available version of 5G, and not the superfast flavour available on pricier iPhones.

The new version has improved battery life, Apple said, because of its new A15 Bionic processor, the same in iPhone 13 models. But 5G is a big drain on power, so we’ll have to see how it holds up. (My advice? Keep 5G off unless you really need the speed.)

There’s also tougher glass in the front and back. There’s a better camera, too, though only a single rear camera. No wide-angle or telephoto for the budget phone. For just $70 more, you can get the iPhone 11 with Face ID, a larger screen and two rear cameras—but no 5G.

The iPhone SE is an entry-level phone for people who make value a priority, don’t use their smartphone all that much but want to stay with Apple, or just really like the home button.

iPad Air (5th generation)

The new $929 iPad Air looks virtually identical to its predecessor—Touch ID fingerprint-sensor in the power button, flat sides and a 10.9-inch display. Like the new SE, the cellular option now offers 5G connectivity.

Apple didn’t bump up the battery life from the previous Air either, promising as many as 10 hours of web surfing on Wi-Fi and nine hours on cellular.

Both cellular and Wi-Fi iPad Air models have a faster M1 processor, the same as in last year’s iPad Pro and Apple’s entry-level MacBooks. It powers new features such as Center Stage, which automatically pans and zooms to keep you in frame while video-chatting through the upgraded 12-megapixel ultrawide front-facing camera.

The storage options start at a disappointing 64 GB. There’s no Face ID. You’ll have to upgrade to the $1199 Pro for that. And unfortunately, the front-facing camera is still positioned on the short side of the iPad, which doesn’t fix the unflattering double-chin view.

The iPad Air is Apple’s Goldilocks option. It sits between the entry-level $929 basic iPad and the $1159 11-inch iPad Pro. (For people who want a smaller tablet, there’s just one option, the recently rebooted steno-notebook-size iPad Mini, which starts at $749.)

The iPad Air is best for someone who wants a tablet with a sizable screen to do cloud-based computing tasks or drawing. It’s compatible with the second-generation Apple Pencil ($129) and the Magic Keyboard with trackpad, as well as various USB-C accessories, such as external hard drives.

M1 Ultra and Mac Studio

Two years ago, Apple said it was going to transition its computers from Intel chips to its own. The M1-powered MacBook Air and Pro models hit the market in late 2020, followed by the even more powerful M1 Pro and M1 Max-fueled MacBook Pros last year.

The new M1 Ultra chip is the latest Apple-designed processor. It holds the power of two M1 Max chips fused together (literally). This thing has 114 billion transistors, 20 CPU cores and 64 GPU cores—but that’s not important. What you need to know is that it’s faster, more powerful and aimed largely at professionals who use computer-intensive software for tasks such as 3-D rendering or 8K video editing.

Mac Studio, a desktop computer that looks like a Mac Mini that just ate another Mac Mini, is the first to include the new chip. It’s an all-aluminium box that’s 7.7 inches square and 3.7 inches high. (Accessories such as a monitor and keyboard aren’t included.) The Studio has a lot of ports on the back, including four USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports, two USB-A ports, an HDMI port, an Ethernet port and an audio jack. It also has two more USB-C ports on the front, as well as an SD card reader.

The computer starts at $3099 in a configuration with the M1 Max chip, 32GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage. If, however, you want the M1 Ultra, you’ll have to opt for the Studio models that start at $6099 with 64GB of RAM and a terabyte of storage.

Apple will continue selling the 2019 Mac Pro for people who use Intel-based programs. It starts at $9,999.

Studio Display

Studio Display is a new stand-alone 27-inch monitor, starting at $2499, in an iMac-esque, all-aluminium enclosure. The 5K Retina display has 600nits of brightness. A 12-megapixel ultrawide camera on its front works with the auto-framing Center Stage feature, and there are six built-in speakers that support Apple’s surround-sound technology called Spatial Audio.

It’s not compatible with all Mac models, but it does support many going as far back as the 2016 MacBook Pro.



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A Killer Golf Swing Is a Hot Job Skill Now

Companies are eager to hire strong players who use hybrid work schedules to schmooze clients on the course

By CALLUM BORCHERS
Fri, Jun 14, 2024 5 min

Standout golfers who aren’t quite PGA Tour material now have somewhere else to play professionally: Corporate America.

People who can smash 300-yard drives and sink birdie putts are sought-after hires in finance, consulting, sales and other industries, recruiters say. In the hybrid work era, the business golf outing is back in a big way.

Executive recruiter Shawn Cole says he gets so many requests to find ace golfers that he records candidates’ handicaps, an index based on average number of strokes over par, in the information packets he submits to clients. Golf alone can’t get you a plum job, he says—but not playing could cost you one.

“I know a guy that literally flies around the world in a private jet loaded with French wine, and he golfs and lands hundred-million-dollar deals,” Cole says.

Tee times and networking sessions have long gone hand-in-golf-glove. Despite criticism that doing business on the course undermines diversity, equity and inclusion efforts—and the fact that golf clubs haven’t always been open to women and minorities —people who mix golf and work say the outings are one of the last reprieves from 30-minute calendar blocks

Stars like Tiger Woods and Michelle Wie West helped expand participation in the sport. Still, just 22% of golfers are nonwhite and 26% are women, according to the National Golf Foundation.

To lure more people, clubs have relaxed rules against mobile-phone use on the course, embracing white-collar professionals who want to entertain clients on the links without disconnecting from the office. It’s no longer taboo to check email from your cart or take a quick call at the halfway turn.

With so much other business conducted virtually, shaking hands on the green and schmoozing over clubhouse beers is now seen as making an extra effort, not slacking off.

Americans played a record 531 million rounds last year. Weekday play has nearly doubled since 2019, with much of the action during business hours , according to research by Stanford University economist Nicholas Bloom .

“It would’ve been scandalous in 2019 to be having multiple meetings a week on the golf course,” Bloom says. “In 2024, if you’re producing results, no one’s going to see anything wrong with it.”

A financial adviser at a major Wall Street bank who competes on the amateur circuit told me he completes 90% of his tasks by 10 a.m. because he manages long-term investment plans that change infrequently. The rest of his workday often involves golfing with clients and prospects. He’s a member of a private club with a multiyear waiting list, and people jump at the chance to join him on a course they normally can’t access.

There is an art to bringing in business this way. He never initiates shoptalk, telling his playing partners the round is about having fun and getting to know each other. They can’t resist asking about investment strategies by the back nine, he says.

Work hard, play hard

Matt Parziale golfed professionally on minor-league tours for several years, but when his dream of making the big time ended, he had to get a regular job. He became a firefighter, like his dad.

A few years later he won one of the biggest amateur tournaments in the country, earning spots in the 2018 Masters and U.S. Open, where he tied for first among non-pros.

The brush with celebrity brought introductions to business types that Parziale, 35 years old, says he wouldn’t have met otherwise. One connection led to a job with a large insurance broker. In 2022 he jumped to Deland, Gibson Insurance Associates in Wellesley, Mass., which recognised his golf game as a tool to help win large accounts.

He rescheduled our interview because he was hosting clients at a private club on Cape Cod, and squeezed me in the next morning, before teeing off with a business group in Newport, R.I.

A short time ago, Parziale couldn’t imagine making a living this way. Now he’s the norm in elite amateur golf circles.

“I look around at the guys at the events I play, and they all have these jobs ,” he says.

His boss, Chief Executive Chip Gibson, says Parziale is good at bringing in business because he puts as much effort into building relationships as honing his game. A golf outing is merely an opportunity to build trust that can eventually lead to a deal, and it’s a misconception that people who golf during work hours don’t work hard, he says.

Barry Allison’s single-digit handicap is an asset in his role as a management consultant at Accenture , where he specialises in travel and hospitality. He splits time between Washington, D.C., and The Villages, Fla., a golf mecca that boasts more than 50 courses.

It can be hard to get to know people in distributed work environments, he says. Go golfing and you’ll learn a lot about someone’s temperament—especially after a bad shot.

“If you see a guy snap a club over his knee, you don’t know what he’s going to snap next,” Allison says.

Special access

On a recent afternoon I was a lunch guest at Brae Burn Country Club, a private enclave outside Boston that was the site of U.S. Golf Association championships won by legends like Walter Hagen and Bobby Jones. I parked in the second lot because the first one was full—on a Wednesday.

My host was Cullen Onstott, managing director of the Onstott Group executive search firm and a former collegiate golfer at Fairfield University. He explained one reason companies prize excellent golfers is they can put well-practiced swings on autopilot and devote most of their attention to chitchat.

It’s hard to talk with potential customers about their needs and interests when you’re hunting for errant shots in the woods. It’s also challenging if you show off.

The first hole at Brae Burn is a 318-yard par 4 that slopes down, enabling big hitters like Onstott to reach the putting green in a single stroke. But to stay close to his playing partners and keep the conversation flowing, he sometimes hits a shorter shot.

Having an “in” at an exclusive club can make you a catch. Bo Burch, an executive recruiter in North Carolina, says clubs in his region tend to attract members according to their business sectors. One might be chock-full of real-estate investors while another has potential buyers of industrial manufacturing equipment.

Burch looks for candidates who are members of clubs that align with his clients’ industries, though he stresses that business acumen comes first when filling positions.

Tami McQueen, a former Division I tennis player and current chief marketing officer at Atlanta investment firm BIP Capital, signed up for private golf lessons this year. She had noticed colleagues were wearing polos with course logos and bringing their clubs to work. She wanted in.

McQueen joined business associates on the golf course for the first time in March at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. She has lowered her handicap to a respectable 26 and says her new skill lends a professional edge.

“To be able to say, ‘I can play with you and we can have those business meetings on the course’ definitely opens a lot more doors,” she says.

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This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

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Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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