Comment: A look back at my favorite Apple hardware of 2020 [Video]

Despite the unique circumstances presented by being in the midst of a global pandemic, Apple has enjoyed one of its busiest and arguably most productive years in recent memory. In this hands-on video, I take a look back at my favorite Apple hardware versions of 2020.

Magic Keyboard for iPad

It seems like ages ago, but in the spring of 2020 Apple released the highly anticipated Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro. Of course, it wasn’t just a keyboard, but a full-featured typing utility that also incorporated a trackpad.

The Magic Keyboard was a remarkable product because it turned the iPad into a more capable productivity machine. Paired with the new pointer input control launched with iPadOS 13.4, the iPad Pro could function more like a laptop, allowing users to use the trackpad to interface with apps alongside traditional touch input.

Having true cursor input is something many, including myself, have been clamoring for for years, so it was a bit surreal when the Magic Keyboard alongside iPadOS ‘new touch input functionality, landed between the hands of the users. After several months of using the iPad Magic Keyboard, it’s hard to imagine going back to the way things were before.

Video: my favorite Apple hardware versions of 2020

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ipad air

The fourth-generation iPad Air saw Apple’s mid-range tablet, the longtime middle child of the line, updated with an all-new design without a home button. Inspired by the iPad Pro, the iPad Air 4 now features flat sides, a new 10.9-inch “edge-to-edge” Liquid Retina display and an integrated Touch ID sensor. Side The top button.

The fourth-generation iPad Air is currently the only iPad with Apple’s latest A14 on-chip system, even surpassing the iPad Pro in this regard. Perhaps more importantly, the new design finally allows an iPad without a “pro” designation to use the 2nd generation Apple Pencil and, of course, it’s compatible with the aforementioned Magic Keyboard. When you combine all of these features with the starting cost of $ 599, it’s clear that the iPad Air is, pound for pound, the best iPad in the lineup.

iPhone 12 mini

As a big fan of the iPhone 4 era design, I was waiting for a true successor to the original iPhone SE, and it finally arrived with the iPhone 12 mini. The true second-generation iPhone SE, which also launched earlier this year in 2020, looks less like the original iPhone SE, and more like an iPhone 8. The iPhone 12 mini looks more like the true follow-up to the iPhone. ‘original iPhone SE that we expected.

Packed with all the processing power of its big siblings in a 5.4-inch pint-sized design, the iPhone 12 mini has been my favorite iPhone for years. But it’s not just the size that makes the iPhone 12 mini so appealing, it’s the design. The design of the iPhone 12 mini, with its flat edges sandwiched between two pieces of glass, has all the makings of an absolute classic.

Compared to super-sized smartphones like the ridiculously large iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, or iPhone 12 Pro Max, the iPhone 12 mini is much more comfortable in the hand. Meanwhile, you still get all the processing power, screen technology, and plenty of camera features its siblings take advantage of.

Despite the beauty of this phone, the larger iPhones will undoubtedly sell out on the iPhone 12 mini, perhaps multiple times. Even someone like me, who recognizes the beautiful and practical design of the iPhone 12 mini, still chooses to carry an iPhone 12 Pro Max as their daily driver. Big phones are a much worse touch experience, but I’m addicted to such a large screen, and I suspect many of you reading this are too. With that in mind, it will be revealing to see if the mini ends up being unique for 2020, or if it stays in the upcoming iPhone 13 product line in 2021.

Mac M1

It’s still hard to believe that Apple made the transition from Intel to Apple Silicon with almost no problem. This transition has probably even exceeded Cupertino’s high expectations for smoothness. Mac M1s are one of the greatest computing advancements in decades and have rightfully been successful 9to5mac Product of the year award.

What makes the M1 MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini so impressive is the way they perform right off the bat. From a software perspective, a person using one of these machines for surfing the web, word processing, spreadsheets, etc., would see little difference between themselves and an Intel Mac.

Apple’s introduction of the Rosetta 2 translation – a technology that allows most applications designed for Intel processors to perform more or less as they always have – exceeds all expectations. And apps that are compiled as universal apps, taking full advantage of the M1 chip, perform even better. It’s a win / win scenario with very few downsides.

Thanks to the new architecture, these Macs generate much less heat than their predecessors. In fact, the M1 performs so cool and efficient that the MacBook Air outright omits an active cooler. As a result, the fanless MacBook Air is quiet, but all machines are quiet; MacBook Pro and Mac mini are inaudible in most cases, even when pushed. The M1’s efficiency also gives incredible endurance, which translates into true “all day” battery life. So-called day-long battery life isn’t a new marketing term in Apple’s cache, but the MacBook M1s are the first machines to truly live up to that claim.

As impressive as it all is, I was blown away by the performance of these Macs, which are the fastest Macs to date in single-core performance and, with 8 cores each, are by no means slow in multi-core performance. heart. operations. But what’s really impressive is how quickly these machines are geared towards specialized tasks, like working with HEVC (H.265) encoded videos. These machines, which come with 7 or 8-core GPUs built into the M1, outperform my 2019 Mac Pro when playing, rendering, and exporting highly compressed 4K H.265 video.

While Intel Macs retain some advantages, such as the ability to install Windows on a separate Boot Camp partition, M1 Macs have shown their versatility. For example, users can already load Windows 10 for ARM on a Parallels virtual machine instance with better performance than Windows for ARM running natively on Microsoft Surface hardware.

If these Macs are already this well, how much better will these machines be over two or three generations? How fast would an Apple silicon-powered Mac Pro be? It’s exciting to think about the prospects.

HomePod mini

The HomePod mini isn’t the most desirable product on this list, but it’s a very important release for Apple and its users. This smart speaker is essentially a small HomePod without the full array of fancy compute audio features. Due to physics, it’s also acoustically inferior to the full-size HomePod. Still, it makes up for these shortcomings with its cheaper price, more flexible placement, and in some areas, more advanced technology.

As someone who really appreciates the sound of the original HomePod, especially when two work together as a stereo pair, the HomePod mini will not take the place of the originals that currently reside on my desk. Instead, the HomePod mini will occupy rooms that didn’t have HomePods yet, or areas like the kitchen, where I wouldn’t dare put a $ 300 fabric-covered speaker.

While $ 99 for the HomePod mini is more expensive than competing miniature smart speakers from companies like Google and Amazon, the HomePod mini sounds better and offers access to Siri in more places around your home. HomePod mini’s Apple integration means you can interact with all of your HomeKit devices, play Apple Music, ask Siri for the latest news, play your favorite podcasts, make phone calls, check text messages, and more. For the cost of just one regular HomePod, you can deploy three HomePod minis to help cover your home with Siri access.

The take of 9to5Mac

Let’s face it for a second: Apple is a multi-billion dollar company with virtually unlimited resources, so while its 2020 productivity has been nothing short of impressive, when your pockets are this deep, it’s a lot easier to keep it together, even. during a pandemic. That said, products like the Mac M1 aren’t just your annual bumps – this is undoubtedly an industry-changing breakthrough – and, and at least from the outside, Apple has done an extremely difficult task. that it is difficult to do when everything is normal, and even less in a pandemic. Needless to say, 2020 has been a remarkable year for Apple hardware.

What are your favorite Apple versions of 2020? Ring in below with your thoughts.

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