Apple’s first round of 2021 products: AirTags, iMacs, iPad Pros and Apple TV.

Paul Alvarez

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Source: Apple

So Apple finally had their first event of 2021 last Tuesday; Spring Loaded. Not only was this highly anticipated because it has been a while since Apple has had any announcements, but newly designed iMacs and AirTag rumors have been swirling around the internet for months and even years.

I thought overall that the event was concise and well structured. I do like these prerecorded video announcements that Apple started doing since the pandemic. It is going to be sad if and when they go back to live events. Live events are a lot of fun for those who can attend, but for us at home watching, being able to share the same experience as all those with usual exclusive invites makes it feel more inclusive.

So the event itself was good but was the products announced any good? I think overall, the announcements were a significant step forward for each product line. The Mac finally got a redesign, the iPad Pro is becoming, even more, Pro, a long-awaited new Apple TV 4K, and Apple is also starting to enter new territory of a more personal type of gadgets with AirTags.

Yes, the new purple iPhone 12 and 12 mini is excellent, along with the recent Apple Card changes, and I can write a whole article about how I feel about the Podcast Subscriptions. But in this post, I wanted to talk about the four new hardware announcements that Apple made.

AirTags

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Source: Apple

I will say right at the beginning that I did pre-order a set of 4 AirTags this last Friday, which are expected to be delivered by the end of this week. With AirTags, I never really had a desire, nor got excited about the rumors of Apple making their version of a tracking device.

But the fact that they are under $25 a piece if you buy the four-pack makes them not very intimidating and possibly very useful at such a low cost. It is hard not to want to see them in person and try them out.

Apple has been known to offer flashy and high-quality computing devices, making us all drool when we see them in public. Though AirTags could be seen as desirable if you see one dangling from a leather key ring on someone’s backpack, they are more of a set and forget-it device.

It is one of those products that you don’t want to have to use but is there if you need it. If you have ever used a Tile or familiar with one, AirTags is pretty much the same. Except AirTags works with the Find My app, and since it shares a U1 chip, ultra-wideband chip, instead of just trying to find the beeping of the device, your phone will lead you there more precisely.

It also has a ton of other features so that these little pucks can’t be used maliciously, like hiding one in someone’s bag or car, and will also beep when being used to track. This is also the case with any device in Find My since iOS 13. It is a bit of a weird change, but I get it. I plan to do a whole review about these AirTags, and look forward to finding uses for them that fit my specific needs.

iMac

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Source: Apple

My opinion on the new iMac has evolved quite a bit since Apple showed it off in the announcement almost a week ago. At first, I despised the design. The fact that they did something so drastic, like make it as thin as the original iPhone and still leave a chin when they didn’t need to, was baffling to me.

But after watching a couple of YouTube videos (this and this), I get why they did it. Apple always wants its devices to stand out. They like to have a distinct design that differentiates them from other computer makers on the market. This makes sense and I still don’t love the new iMac, but I do get why they did it.

Colors will always be welcome in computers since it is rare that we see them in this realm of the world; plus, Apple is known for its colorful products in the past, specifically the G4 iMac, and most long-term Apple followers love this. Perosnally, I am indifferent about the colors and don’t care either way.

Some people now think that the MacBook Air may come in multiple colors in the future, along with a new redesign, and though it would be cool, I don’t think I would opt for that. I like my blue iPhone 12 and all the other blue gadgets I have acquired, but I prefer my laptop or desktop to blend into a room, not stand out.

Having a yellow or green iMac in my living room as a family computer doesn’t appeal to me. If it were in a room that has already been decorated a certain way, I would like the computer not to stand out but blend in. A silver iMac would fit much better in most rooms than the other colors.

I have to talk about the chin and bezels of the new iMac, though. These two things are the reason I was very uninterested in this product from the beginning. With M1 and Apple’s engineering abilities, I couldn’t understand why they chose to keep the chin even if it did give them the ability to house the whole “computer.”

Incredible engineering feats, in my opinion, don’t include having a whole section of a computer left from its previous model to store the motherboard and speakers. It would be incredible to make the iMac without the chin but still somehow integrate all the computer guts behind it while still keeping it thin.

But, like Oulir and Luke both said in the YouTube videos I mentioned above; Apple likes to make its products unique from others, and keeping the chin keeps the iMac design that so many are familiar with.

The white bezels I hate. I thought it was fine on phones, but on laptops and iPads, I never like the white bezels around the screen. I once had a silver iPad mini that I thought I would use for reading, but even then, overtime didn’t like it. The white on the screen versus the white painted glass around it never match, and I feel it creates more distraction than creating a more blending in experience.

I get this is another thing Apple is doing to make their devices different, and seeing some renders that Luke did in his videos showing how the black bezels don’t look great with the colorful iMacs makes sense. But, still, I wouldn’t say I like it and would probably never get one. I wouldn’t get one because I wouldn’t say I like the design, but I don’t think I need a desktop, Mac. I am sure when the Pro gets announced, though, it’ll be harder to say no.

iPad Pro

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Source: Apple

When the 2018 iPad Pros were released, they were everything people were asking for when imagining an actual professional iPad. The thin bezels with no home button, a crazy light and slim aluminum casing, and a beautiful round-cornered Liquid Retina screen.

Coming in an 11-inch and 12.9-inch many thought Apple finally got it. They finally understood those who want to use an iPad as a professional device and were given a piece of hardware that you could quickly look at and see that it was able to match up against the MacBook Pro in design and power.

The iPads before it were excellent and were very powerful. But they shared the same design and hardware components of all iPads before it. Soon after, in 2019, Apple released iPad’s very own operating system with the announcement of iPadOS.

iPad enthusiasts were finally feeling like their preferred computing device was being recognized as an actual computer. Being given premium hardware and now its own OS, separating it from the iPhone’s iOS, it did seem like the iPad was becoming its very own platform.

Apple’s Spring Loaded Event takes this whole idea to another level. Not only did Apple put the M1 processor in the iPad Pro — the same processor that is powering my still fantastic MacBook Air — but they also put a new Liquid Retina XDR display on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro that is deserving of the XDR name. Similar to Apple’s five thousand dollar Pro Display XDR — $999 more with the stand.

The worst part of this announcement is the 11-inch not getting the same treatment in terms of the display. The M1 is an excellent addition regardless, but it would have been nice to have my preferred iPad Pro size get the same features as its big brother.

Either way, this is huge for the iPad Pro. Many like myself are very excited to know what iPadOS 15 might bring now that the iPad has the powerful 8-core M1 processor. I can’t imagine it won’t have some huge changes, making it more similar to macOS but mainly providing the iPad an even more specific experience that separates it from the iPhone.

Apple TV 4K

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Source: Apple

Other than the new remote, the Apple TV HD did not get any updates. The star of the show was the 4K version, and wow, is the latest version fantastic. With a more powerful processor, the new Apple TV 4K can support Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision and offer High Frame Rate HDR.

When I bought my OLED LG TV, I knew that if I were to get an Apple TV 4K, it would be the next version Apple released, and after seeing this, I am so happy I waited. Not only are the features of the new box fantastic, but the remote looks excellent as well.

I am still planning on doing a review of my LG TV. It is becoming a long-term review since a TV needs to be used quite a bit to get a good feel of how it is in various situations. One thing that I have enjoyed with the TV, though, is WebOS and the Magic Remote.

Not only is the remote built like a traditional remote with it’s curved and bulky design in your hand, making it very comfortable to use. But it also allows you to use it with the TV as a floating cursor using sensors and a gyroscope. Using this after using an Apple TV remote for around four years has been excellent.

The new Apple remote for the Apple TV isn’t as ergonomic as my LG Magic Remote, but it is much better than the Apple TV remote before it. Especially with the new circle touchpad surrounded by an iPod-styled outer ring that lets you scroll or click, making it easier to use.

We will see if I want to go with the Apple TV 4K soon. The only way I would be able to do it is if I could somehow hide the Apple TV box behind the TV. So, until I am ready to make a hole behind my TV, I will continue to use WebOS.

Conclusion

Apple never fails in its events to stir the public in the new products they announce. With a new desktop computer, a super-powerful tablet, a very much needed upgrade to their TV consoles, and new trackers, Apple keeps us technology lovers happy.

Though I would only buy 2 out of the four big things they announced, five if you include the purple iPhone 12, it is still really awesome to see Apple come out with such an incredible lineup. I have been so content with my MacBook Air; I can’t imagine anything Apple coming out with will make me want to replace it.

So even though in the past I went back in forth with not knowing if I wanted an iPad Pro or MacBook, this Air has given me the whole package I have been looking for. An even more powerful iPad Pro right now couldn't lure me away from this laptop.

And the iMac is something I see as a potential family computer shared with multiple people in the house. Even then, I think I would instead opt for an iMac Pro if announced. I can’t imagine Apple announcing a 27-inch iMac replacement that is identical to the new 24-inch.

It is very likely they will announce a new Pro version of the iMac and have a color I would find more appealing — Space Grey, please! Either way, I am looking forward to trying out the AirTags then forgetting about them until I need them again. It’s tempting to not want to get the new gadgets announced, this time I was able to restrain myself to only get their cheapest one this time.

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My passion is in technology. I write reviews about gadgets that interest me but also provide some kind of value in my toolset to achieve my goals. Most of my writing is surrounded by technology and how it plays a role as a tool, help with productivity, and also provide mindfulness for a more fulfilled life.

Turlock, CA
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