2021 has been a busy year for Apple. Riding on a high wave of M1 CPU and redesigned iPhone 12 launch in 2020, fans expected Apple to deliver yet another blockbuster year. And oh boy! The company didn’t disappoint a bit. Here are the best Apple products launched in 2021.
1. M1 Pro/M1 Max Chips
As the name suggests, M1 Pro and M1 Max are higher variants of the M1 chip with more power and GPU cores. The new chips introduced a significant leap in performance and efficiency that has not been seen in the PC industry for over a decade. Apple managed to impress everyone with its M1 chip last year, and with the M1 Pro and Max chips, it raised that bar even higher.
To showcase M1 Pro and M1 Max capabilities, Apple launched the much-awaited MacBook Pro redesign with 14-inch and 16-inch sizes in multiple variants. However, these chips are more important than that, as Apple will also use them in the upcoming 27-inch iMac Pro redesign, the high-end Mac mini, and more that are due to launch next year.
14-inch MacBook Pro
Apple finally listened to the growing demands of professionals and delivered an excellent upgrade with the 2021 MacBook Pro.
Ports such as micro-SD, MagSafe, and HDMI made a comeback while the display got a nice upgrade to 120Hz refresh rate. All that coupled with M1 Pro CPU and Apple’s Magic keyboard delivered a winning formula to pros or just anyone who can afford the device. Users can configure the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro with either the M1 Pro or M1 Max.
You can always look at the Windows camp for laptops with dedicated NVIDIA GPU. But it’s the efficiency where the M1 Pro and M1 Max march ahead of the competition. Those Windows-based machines would run out of power after 4-5 hours of heavy use while the M1 Pro/M1 Max’s class-leading battery life makes sure to get you through the day.
16-inch MacBook Pro
To take advantage of extra GPU cores for intensive tasks and enjoy more real estate, you have an option to go with a 16-inch MacBook Pro as well. If battery life is your priority, then customize your machine keeping the M1 Pro CPU at heart.
16-inch also offers more space, leading to better thermals and less fan noise. Although a bit pricier, you can’t dismiss the kind of impact the 2021 MacBook Pros will have on the industry.
After all, it’s rare to see Apple going back to the whiteboard, adding all user demands, and delivering the perfect product.
The notch can be troublesome for some for a few days but as reviewers pointed out, you won’t notice it after a while.
Apple’s advancements in laptop CPUs have already put the company ahead of its rivals by a couple of years. The competition simply doesn’t have an answer for the power/efficiency combo of M1 Pro/M1 Max.
2. M1 iMac
Apple launched the redesigned iMac with a 24-inch display earlier this year. With the redesign, the new iMac also transitioned from Intel to Apple Silicon in a colorful avatar.
The new iMac is the perfect all-in-one for your living room with its vibrant new colors, a stunning 5K display, up to 16GB RAM, and a decent speaker setup. Thanks to the M1 chip, Apple was able to achieve a surprisingly slim profile and enough power to handle your heavy workloads.
If you are looking to replace your entire work-from-home setup, you can’t go wrong with this one.
3. iPhone 13 Pro Max
With iPhone 13 Pro Max, Apple focused on the fundamentals and nailed the execution. At first glance, you might not notice huge improvements over the predecessor but it’s the attention to detail that users will appreciate once they start using the device.
The display got a nice upgrade to 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, battery life got a boost with added thickness, and the cameras continue to win every comparison test from reviewers. Powered by A15 Bionic, Apple’s latest and greatest continue to run around Snapdragon and Exynos rivals from the Android world.
A noteworthy add-on has been the Cinematic mode that delivers bokeh effect to videos. The company also managed to make the notch small (and taller). We would have loved to see Type-C inclusion, though.
You can always point out a specific Android flagship with better zoom, faster charging, and a better macro camera. But looking at the overall package, it’s tough to beat what Apple has come up with this year.
If you are thinking of moving from Android camp or upgrading from old iPhone, iPhone 13 Pro Max should top your wishlist.
4. iPad Mini 6
Don’t get fooled by the name Mini here. The latest iPad Mini 6 packs enough raw power to put your everyday tablet to the shame. In its sixth generation, the iPad Mini received a nice makeover with flat edges, something that Apple has been doing for a while to its entire hardware lineup.
Available in four colors, the iPad Mini 6 can be your perfect digital note-taking tool with Apple Pencil 2 support. Other goodies include an A15 CPU, excellent speakers considering the mini size, Type-C support, all-day battery life, and 5 years of software support.
Starting at $499, iPad Mini is the ideal choice for those who find the iPad Pro lineup too big and expensive. iPad Mini 6 offers a similar iPadOS experience with a small and easy-t0-manage form factor without affecting the performance.
There have been many device trackers in the market. But Apple’s solution and implementation with Find My app easily beat the rivals.
AirTags can be an ideal accessory if you have a habit of misplacing keys, wallets, or other important items. The device is neatly integrated with the Find My service, and you have an option to track it down from the app.
While privacy advocates have been raising questing about tracking someone’s location, Apple has implemented workarounds to stop such practice. If your iPhone detects that an unknown AirTag is in a moving car, you will automatically get a prompt about it.
Combining AirTag’s small design, easy setup, Find My Network integration, precise tracking, and an affordable price tag, Apple really hit this one out of the park.
AirTag does not have any pinhole for a lanyard. If you want to attach the AirTag to a keychain, you must first buy a compatible keychain.
6. Magic Keyboard with Touch ID
Initially announced with the 24-inch iMac, the Magic Keyboard with Touch ID is a great way to add Touch ID to Macs that don’t feature it.
With Touch ID, you can log into websites, apps and make payment with just a single tap. It’s all about convenience, but once you get used to it, there’s no going back. Do note that the new Magic Keyboard with Touch ID is only compatible with Apple Silicon-based Macs.
So far, we have talked about 2021 best hardware launches from Apple. We can always talk about new additions in iOS 15, iPadOS 15, or macOS Monterey. But one feature that got everyone’s attention is iCloud+ privacy functions such as Hide My Email and Private Relay.
Hide My Email allows users to create temporary email IDs to use across the web. After all, you won’t want to use your primary email ID on any random website. With Hide My Email, you can create as many temporary email IDs and forward incoming emails to your main inbox as well.
Private Relay routes all the browsing traffic through an Apple-branded server and sends a modified IP address to a third-party server. That way, trackers and advertisers can only see the type of website you are visiting and but they won’t know about your location. As for Apple, it only has your IP address and not the DNS data, meaning they can’t see the type of websites you are browsing.
The practice makes it hard for advertisers to build your profile and track your online activities.
Read our dedicated post to learn more about iCloud Private Relay.
Did Apple surpass your expectations in 2021? Which product did you end up buying this holiday season? Share your picks in the comments below.