Earlier this week, Apple announced a number of new things a video live stream. We have new commercials for Apple TV shows, a purple iPhone, podcast articles, an Apple TV remote that actually makes sense, some AirTags, new iMacs, and a new iPad Pro.
The first really new Apple product for 2021 was the AirTags, and I immediately said, “Welcome to 2013!” AirTags are small, battery-operated Bluetooth devices that connect to your iPhone and help the iPhone “Find My” software track the positions of the tags. Sounds familiar because things like this have been around for many years. A company called Tile was one of the first to release this type of gadget in 2013.
Nokia released a similar Nokia Treasure Tag with similar features in early 2014. I had a number of Nokia Treasure Tags attached to my Nokia Lumia 1020 and they definitely worked as advertised … just like today’s Apple AirTags. I stopped using them after getting a new phone because they were kind of a hassle. I mean, how many batteries do I need to keep and replace? Sure, the removable battery can be swapped out pretty quickly, but it’s still another matter and I never lost anything while using the Treasure Tags anyway. So what’s the point? It takes more cognitive energy to keep track of the battery level on all of these tags than it does to remember where anything is attached to it.
The new iMacs bring a variety of color options back to the way the original iMac had in 1998. It has the new M1 processor from Apple, an extra thin form factor and is available in 7 colors. That’s cool and all, but the front has a big pastel colored chin and white bezel that looks really bad to me. In addition, the white bezel will affect your perception of white balance as it will reflect the color temperature of your ambient lighting instead of the color temperature of the display. It looks like the display is still pretty reflective, so glare is still an issue. That’s not so good for creatives.
It’s nice to have the computer really thin, but how important is it really? The stand is still quite thick, so it doesn’t save a lot of desk space. Maybe the iMac makes it easier to move around, but if I put a computer on a desk it will likely stay there until I replace it. That being said, I’ve seen iMacs that need to be replaced frequently. Maybe that’s a good thing as we often had to take them to the car and then to the Apple Store for repairs. This is in contrast to the HP Workstation, where a repair person just comes into the office and replaces parts under warranty the next morning.
Apple’s new Center Stage video calling feature on the iPad Pro is probably the most impressive feature, but again … “Welcome to 2010, Apple!” This great feature first appeared 11 years ago in Video Kinect for Xbox. In all fairness, it makes a lot more sense to connect this feature to a large screen TV than to an iPad. You have to put iPad on a stand to use it and as you move away the people on the screen look much smaller. With Xbox Kinect and a big TV, I could walk around the room and the video call camera would follow me beautifully. It was even cooler when the person on the other end had the same thing in their living room … we could both walk around doing other things and it was like there was a camera crew focusing on our faces on TV.
The iPad Pro now has a new mini-LED display that is supposed to show the color better, but it’s still a glossy screen that causes a lot of glare in real life. Apple’s video appears to be extremely processed to completely remove or hide the surrounding glare. It looks super wrong because it is. This is not what the screen will look like in real life.
I never thought the iPad Pro would deserve the nickname “Pro”. It’s not great for creative professionals anyway. See “13 reasons why I don’t use an iPad Pro & Apple Pencil for graphic design“. The M1 processor and 16GB of RAM options in the new iPad Pro seem like a waste as it doesn’t run really high quality programs like those available on macOS.
Adam Z. Lein
Adam has been interested in combining technology with art since he first used a koala pad on an Apple computer. He currently works as a graphic designer, photographer, system administrator and web developer for a small design company in Westchester, NY. His love of technology extends to software development companies, who have often implemented his ideas for usability and feature enhancements. Mobile computing has become a necessity for Adam since his first Uniden UniPro PC100 in 1998. Since first launching in 2002, he has reviewed and written about smartphones for Pocketnow.com. Read more about Adam Lein!