Apple’s ‘Spring Forward’ Event


iMac

Apple’s chip transition playbook this time around seems to be to upgrade all the consumer-grade products first. They want us comparing the M1 to Intel rather than the M1 to a theoretical Pro-grade M1X. The biggest indicator of this is that for products that are exclusively consumer-grade (the MacBook Air and the entry-level MacBook Pro), the M1 version has replaced the Intel version, but for products that straddle the line (the Mac Mini and the iMac) only the lower-tier variants have been released—you can still buy an Intel Mac Mini.

The iMac itself looks truly excellent. This is plainly and obviously a computer that could not exist with an Intel chip.

The white bezel seems shocking, but in the broader history of the iMac, it’s far from unusual. The iMac G3, iMac G4, iMac G5 and original Intel iMac all had white bezels. It speaks to how long the iMac has remained stagnant that black bezels seem default despite representing itself in only one design.

A limitation of the design is that the headphone jack had to be moved; the computer is thinner than a headphone jack is long. Apple moved it to the left side. I would have preferred the port on the bottom, preferably in the middle. Headphones with a standard length cable may be pulled tight connecting to the left edge on such a sizable display.

As I mentioned when this was rumored, this is the first Mac on the canonical list of all-in-one desktop Macs (Macintosh, Macintosh 512k, Macintosh Plus, Macintosh Classic, Macintosh Color Classic, Macintosh LC 500 series, Performa 5x00, Power Macintosh G3 All-In-One, iMac) not to have the Apple logo on the front. I’m OK with this. It’s not as egregious as when they took out the boot chime.

iPad Pro

Apple continues to pack more and more horsepower into their go kart that, perplexingly, they refuse to certify as street-legal; today, they swapped in a full-blown Honda engine.

By that, I mean that the iPad Pro continues to be the pinnacle of their mobile hardware in terms of power and engineering, even moreso with the M1 chip, yet they refuse to give it the software capabilities it deserves.

They’re talking the big talk with their marketing imagery, showing it plugged into a Pro Display XDR and with external storage devices, but they need to walk the walk. The windowing system is convoluted and confusing. Apple has none of their own Pro apps available. I expect big things from iPadOS this WWDC.

Apple TV 4K

It’s a shame the Apple TV 4K only got the A12 instead of the newer A14—especially considering how infrequently they update this hardware. But as Steve Jobs would put it, the A12 is, after all, a ‘screamer.’

The new Siri Remote looks nice, but I’ll reserve judgement until I can try it myself. It doesn’t seem to have a built-in U1 chip; that seems like it would have been a killer feature. After all, in the same exact event, introducing the AirTag, Apple made a joke about all the things getting lost in the couch. Which brings me to…

AirTag

For a device that’s been so heavily rumored and leaked, there wasn’t that much left to impress with. It’s a little tracker thing with a U1 chip that you can find really easily if you have an iPhone that also has a U1 chip. The two big unknowns were still pleasant surprises: a $29 price tag and a user-replaceable battery.

This makes Tile’s class-action lawsuit seem trivial. Apple has opened up the Find My system to third parties (never mind the fact that no one is using it, but just to add insult to injury, they’ve out-designed them with a cheaper and better product.

Purple iPhone 12 & iPhone 12 mini

The iPhone 12 colors, in my opinion, aren’t as good as the iPhone 12 Pro colors. Blue and Red are too harsh (and I would prefer if Black had silver bands, a la the iPhone 4). Green and Purple are now, obviously, the two best colors. If I could do it all over again, I would probably get an iPhone 12 mini in Purple.

Would I say I was a fan of the color purple before Tuesday? Probably not. Do I own literally anything purple? Not to my recollection. But, does the Purple iPhone 12 mini look adorable and fun? Absolutely.