Apple had its fair share of ups and downs in 2021. While the company blew us away with some of the best product launches in 2021, a few devices and services left us wanting for more. Here are the top underwhelming Apple products launched in 2021.
1. iPhone 13 mini
After witnessing the iPhone 12 mini’s disappointing sales numbers, we expected Apple to double down on its successor with additional focus on critical areas. Instead, all the limelight was reserved for the Pro models. Apple gave the iPhone 13 mini a minor upgrade and called it a day.
One of the reasons for the iPhone 13 mini’s lackluster performance has been below-average battery life. While Apple claims 1.5 hours longer battery life than the iPhone 12 mini, it’s still not good enough to draw potential buyers.
With the Pro models, Apple did pay more attention to the display, camera, and battery, while with the iPhone 13 mini, you will hardly find a difference compared to its predecessor.
Apple is expected to ditch the mini model in 2022 and introduce a Plus variant for the regular iPhone model.
2. Apple Watch Series 7
2021 marks yet another year of incremental Apple Watch series upgrades. In its seventh generation, users expected a design overhaul with flat edges, a bigger battery, and more.
Apple only delivered a slightly refined design with a bigger display, and the rest of the presentation slides were reserved for watchOS 8, which is already available for older models.
One of the biggest gripes with the Apple Watch has been its below-average battery life from the start. Not to mention the battery life further takes a hit as it goes through frequent charging cycles.
Since its introduction in April 2015, Apple has been claiming 18 hours of battery life while the competition from Samsung is already delivering a couple of days of battery life.
While the Series 7 does bring fast charging, a larger display, and better durability, they are still not good enough to hit the Buy button for $399.
3. iPad 9th Generation
Announced at the ‘California Streaming’ event, the iPad 9th generation continues to be an underwhelming offering in the name of affordability.
Those looking to board the iPad train on a tight budget are in for a disappointment. The iPad 9th generation still carries the same old design with giant bezels at the top and bottom. It’s the only iPad to retain the Home button and lightning connector. It still doesn’t have Apple Pencil 2 support, and the interested buyers are left with no other option besides the original Apple Pencil that charges weirdly via the lightning connector.
It’s pretty evident that Apple is no longer interested in selling the $329 iPad to consumers. Vanilla iPads are mainly targeted towards education, and Apple wants everyone else to upgrade to expensive iPad models like iPad Mini ($499) and iPad Air ($599).
4. AirTag Accessories
Looking at the past, we all know how Apple charges a premium for official accessories. With the AirTag, the company has gone beyond the limits for accessory pricing.
Make no mistake, the AirTag itself is a technological marvel, and it deserves all the praise but if you are drawn to the AirTag by those adverts with beautiful keychains, be prepared to shell out much more than the advertised $29 pricing.
Head to the AirTag accessories store, and you will see AirTag keychains starting from $39, going all the way up to $449. We are talking about spending 2x to 15x of the product price on its accessory.
It’s better to stick with the likes of Amazon for AirTag accessories.
Moreover, the growing security concerns with AirTags being used for covertly tracking people’s activities suggest that Apple could have further optimized its usability before launching it.
5. Apple Polishing Cloth
Every year Apple has a habit of launching one ridiculous product that leaves us wondering, “is it the same company that makes the iPhone and Mac?” Does anyone remember that Apple picture book for $300? Or how about the Mac Pro wheels kit for $699 or a Pro Display stand for $999?
This year, the honor goes to the Polishing Cloth from Apple. It’s priced at $19 and makes us wonder who will pick it up? You are better off using way cheaper alternatives from Amazon.
6. iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey
Following the M1 iPad Pro launch in 2020, everyone expected Apple to deliver significant improvements to the iPadOS software to take advantage of the sheer power of the M1 CPU.
Apart from the App Library, bigger widgets, and improvements to the core apps, Apple didn’t bring any noteworthy add-ons to iPadOS 15. It did get all the goodies such as Focus modes, Hide My Email, and Private Relay, but nothing specific to take advantage of the big screen or M1 CPU on iPad.
Looking at iPadOS 15, it still feels and acts like a blown-up version of iOS 15. We hope to see Apple bring more iPad-specific features in future iPadOS updates.
The story remains the same with macOS Monterey. Apart from the dedicated password manager and Universal Control (which is delayed till Spring 2022), macOS didn’t bring any major changes or functions to talk about.
Apple did bring feature parity among default apps, but when it comes to OS-specific updates, the company left a lot to desire for iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey.
Which Apple product were you most looking forward to in 2021? Did it leave up to your expectations? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.