Wednesday, July 6

Apple in 2021: the best and worst of the year

Apple’s 2021 was quite eventful with a series of virtual events and many new products introduced. Understandably, the iPhone 13 took center stage, but there were plenty of other notable announcements, including an all-new 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro, AirPods 3, AirTags, and 2021 iMac.

We also saw a new 12.9-inch iPad, iPad mini 6, iPad Pro M1, and a new Apple TV 4K. Then there was the software, with Apple releasing iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, as well as watchOS 8.

Apple also launched new software experiences like SharePlay, new services like the Apple Music Voice plan, and the new self-healing initiative for iPhones. Along the way there have been many ups and downs from Apple, but also some lows.

Here are the 5 best things Apple did this year, and the 3 worst.

Increased battery life of iPhone 13

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro series offered better performance and cameras as we expected, including the attractive Cinematic mode for video, but we did not expect such a big jump in battery life. Thanks to a larger battery and a more efficient A15 Bionic chip, the iPhone 13 lasted over 2 hours longer than the iPhone 12 in our iPhone 13 battery tests, which involves surfing the web via 5G. The iPhone 13 Pro lasted 2:40 longer and the iPhone 13 Pro Max made our list of the best phone battery life with a runtime of 12 hours and 16 minutes.

MacBook Pro 2021: giving people what they want

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

It was a long time coming, but it was still a very welcome sight. Apple finally added an SD card slot and HDMI port to a new 14-inch MacBook Pro. Apple also eventually ditched the controversial Touch Bar in favor of physical menu keys and increased power with the new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. Add in a dazzling mini-LED display and a sharper 1080p webcam and the new MacBook Pro is a winner for those willing to pay a premium. Even with the notch.

Apple Auto Repair for iPhone

(Image credit: Poravute Siriphiroon | Shutterstock)

File this under “better late than never.” Likely in response to constant pressure from advocates of the right to repair and the prospect of government intervention, in November Apple announced a new Apple self-service repair program, taking the unprecedented step of providing users with the opportunity of repairing their own iPhones, and providing the tools and parts to do so.

Initially, the program will be available in 2022 in the US for iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 displays, batteries, cameras and more. The program will also expand throughout 2022 to include repairs for Mac M1s that will gradually be available in more countries.

iPad mini 6 is a very pleasant surprise

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

We were skeptical whether the world still needed a small tablet, but the iPad mini 6 proved us wrong. Apple increased the screen size from 7.9 inches to 8.3 inches, and it’s an amazing screen for watching shows, reading comics, and browsing the web. You also get fast A15 Bionic performance, Apple Pencil 2 compatibility, and nearly 11 hours of battery life. In other words, the iPad mini 6 is better than your typical big-screen phone and is one of the best tablets if you’re willing to pay $ 499 for it.

IMac 2021 Redesign and M1 Power

(Image credit: future)

We knew the M1 processor would come as Apple’s all-in-one PC, but the review of the 2021 24-inch iMac exceeded our expectations. As our Alex Wawro wrote, “It offers speed, beauty, and great sound in a slim new design.” The M1 chip was unfazed when we had 30 Chrome tabs open, two separate videos streaming, and Steam downloading and installing games in the background. Plus, the 4.5K screen makes movies and games look great, and the new chassis is just 0.45 inches thick. The 2021 iMac is especially amazing for homeworkers, thanks to its 6-speaker audio system and crisp 1080p webcam. It’s our best all-in-one computer period.

Apple CSAM dispute

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It seemed like a noble idea. Apple’s plan was to simultaneously scan iPhones and iCloud for known CSAM (child sexual abuse material) images. It was supposed to roll out in late 2021 as an update to iOS 15. Despite multiple guarantees, the announcement received a huge outcry from privacy advocates and tech policy experts. It also seemed arbitrary that it took 30 offensive images to trigger a human review. After defending the program, Apple finally backed down.

Apple issued this statement in September: “Based on feedback from customers, advocacy groups, researchers and others, we have decided to take more time over the next several months to gather information and make improvements before releasing these critically important child safety features. ”.

Apple’s answer to Tile, AirTags are affordable, easy-to-use trackers with built-in ultra-wideband technology. But they are almost too effective. We have seen reports of AirTags being used by thieves to steal cars and rogue AirTags being used to stalk women. Apple has addressed some concerns with updates and by releasing an Android app that is designed to search for nearby AirTags that aren’t its own, but some privacy advocates say more action is still needed.

Lobbying against alternative payment methods from the App Store

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As part of the Apple vs. Epic Games test, Apple was ordered to open its App Store to alternative payment methods, which would give customers more options. But Apple argued that it would compromise security and privacy. In early December, an appeals court granted a stay suspending the execution until the appeals court can hear the case in full. And this process will likely take months. There must be a way to allow external payment methods without hurting users, even if it hurts Apple’s bottom line.

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