Looks good Apple! But 4 things bother me about the novelties

Apple presented some new devices at the April event. Although TECHNOLOGY BUTTON editors are happy about the new products, there is still criticism for a few questionable product decisions.

In the run-up to the April event, we already speculated in TECHNOLOGY BUTTON Tech-Talk that Apple could install a completely new display in the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. In fact, our assumption has now been confirmed, but this is a major blow for the smaller iPad Pro 11 inch. That and three other things stood out negatively. But there are also many bright spots.

1. Two new iPad models

In general, both the 11- and 12.9-inch models have exactly the same design and dimensions as the predecessor models from 2018 and 2020. The central innovation that Apple has given both models is the powerful one M1 chip, which we already know from MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac mini from 2020. The company is moving away from the A-series chips that were previously found in iPads.

What bothers me about it

That may sound like a major upgrade. But apart from the iPad Air 2020, the iPad Pros were by far the fastest tablets on the market. Nobody with an older iPad Pro, even the 2018 model, will notice any difference in performance in everyday use. In my opinion, the M1 does not bring any real added value. So if you already have an 11-inch iPad Pro from 2018 or 2020, you have no reason to upgrade.

Because in the end, only iPadOS runs on the iPad Pro, with all the restrictions that the system has. There is neither Adobe Premiere Pro nor Apple’s own Final Cut Pro for the iPad – the only applications in which more power than before could actually make a difference in rendering time.

Interestingly, the 11-inch iPad Pro is more powerful on paper than the 2020 MacBook Air for the same starting price. Because the iPad Pro comes with Apple’s M1 with the full 8 GPU cores, while only 7 cores are activated on the MacBook Air.

What I like about it

After all, thanks to the M1, the iPad Pro now has a Thunderbolt 4 port, which among other things enables faster transfer rates with external storage. In addition, there is now up to 2 terabytes of memory and 16 GB RAM, as well as 5G support with the Cellular model.

Also new is a 12 MP ultra-wide camera on the front. This allows iPad Pro to track the person in the picture in video calls even if they are moving. A mixture of panning and zooming means that you are always visible to the other person.

Also interesting: Apple is working on new AirPods and AirPods Pro

Conclusion on the new iPads

In my opinion, only the iPad Pro 12.9 inch is a real upgrade over the models from previous years. Because only the larger iPad Pro has the new mini LED display, which Apple calls the “Liquid Retina Display XDR”.

There are 10,000 mini-LEDs in the display for backlighting the pixels, previously there were only 72 LEDs. The lighting is divided into 2596 dimming zones. In this way the display can switch off specific sections. This enables the iPad Pro 12.9-inch to display richer black tones that are otherwise only available with OLED screens. The 11-inch model cannot keep up here.

The new display now achieves 1000 nits of brightness, which is 66 percent brighter than the 11-inch model and the 12.9-inch model from previous years with 600 nits. But that’s not all, because the iPad Pro 12.9 inches can reach up to 1600 nits for a short time. This has a significant advantage, as it can still be read under direct sunlight. Because the sections are switched off, the display also saves electricity. That is probably also the reason why Apple has only equipped the larger model with the new technology for the time being.

If you take Apple’s display information as a basis, the display in the iPad Pro 12.9 corresponds to the specifications of the high-end monitor Pro Display XDR, which has a starting price of 5499 euros (without stand). Pretty impressive. It’s just a shame that the 11-inch model doesn’t have any of that.

2. The iMac is completely new

Apple has completely redesigned the iMac for the first time since 2007 (!), With a modern look and Apple Silicon. The company presented the iMac to us in seven different bright colors at the April event – which is reminiscent of the bulbous iMac G3 from 1999. All iMacs – except for the gray version – have a two-color design with a darker shade Edges and back and a lighter tone on the front and base.

What bothers me about it

The screen has grown to 24 inches, but the device has roughly the same area as an iMac 21.5 inches. While that’s great, it just shows how incredibly dated the previous iMac design with huge bezels is. I find Apple’s decision to color the frame around the display white instead of black completely incomprehensible. Coupled with the fact that there is no longer an Apple logo on the front of the iMac, the new iMac looks like a cheap copy of a real iMac.

Plus, the huge chin is still there under the screen. 14 years and several technological advances later and Apple fails to finally fix the ugliest element on the iMac.

The design is now much more angular, making it similar to Apple’s high-end ProDisplay XDR and the iPad Pro. The case is only 11.5 millimeters thin. It’s so thin that the audio output had to be moved to the side because the case is no longer thick enough for a slot on the back. This at least makes it easier to reach the socket. Unfortunately, however, not thin enough that the USB-C and Thunderbolt ports also have to be on the side. There is also no memory card slot – annoying.

Also, due to the thin housing, the power supply no longer fits into the iMac itself. This is why there is now an external power supply, similar to the MacBook. The power cord is now magnetic, for whatever reason, and for an extra charge there is a power supply with an integrated LAN port. This means that you no longer have to lay a LAN cable right up to the desk.

What I like about it

The interior is also completely new and built around the M1, as Apple showed at the April event. The M1 now has two smaller coolers instead of a larger one, but they should be very quiet at 10 decibels. The M1 and mainboard, fan, speakers are all housed in the chin that sits under the screen.

The rest of the iMac looks surprisingly empty. Of course, this once again raises the question of whether Apple could not place the components elsewhere in the case. The sound system consists of six drivers, including two pairs of anti-vibration subwoofers and one tweeter each. The speakers support Dolby Atmos and are the only possible explanation in my opinion as to why the chin still exists.

There’s also finally a 1080p webcam in the iMac, so video calls finally look better than the antique 720p cam from previous models. Now all Apple has to do is bring the camera to the MacBook.

The cheapest iMac model only comes with two USB-C / Thunderbolt ports and also has an M1 with only 7 GPU cores. The higher-priced models have two additional USB-C ports, the M1 with 8 GPU cores and also a Magic Keyboard with integrated TouchID.

3. Apple TV 4K has been redesigned

The Apple TV hasn’t received an update since 2017, so it was time for a little makeover.

What bothers me about it

Unfortunately, the new 4K streaming box we saw at the April event can’t quite live up to our expectations. The Apple TV 4K now has an Apple A12 Bionic for more power and supports HDR content with a higher frame rate of 60 Hertz. Unfortunately, the expected 120 Hertz does not exist. This is a bit unfortunate, especially in view of the fact that there are more and more TV sets that support this rate.

What I like about it

For this Apple gives us a completely new Siri Remote with Click Wheel, which we know in a similar form from the classic iPods. Another interesting innovation is the sophisticated color calibration of the new Apple TV. The box can now calibrate the white balance (“color balance”) of the TV set. To do this, however, you need an iPhone with a camera that can be used to scan the colors of the television. The Apple TV adjusts its color output accordingly in order to achieve the best possible picture result.

4. AirTag and its accessories completely new

Finally, after a long development phase, leaks and rumors that the project could be discontinued, AirTag has finally made it onto the market. In itself, the AirTags are a great thing. With a price of 35 each and 119 euros for four, Apple undercuts the previous market leader Tile. Apple offers free engraving for names, emojis, etc.

What I like about it

AirTag has a direct integration into the Apple ecosystem and can help to find lost items with the Where-Is service. A map shows approximately where something has been lost. If you go to this location, the iPhone automatically contacts the U1 chip in the AirTag to find the exact position of the object. AirTag also has a built-in loudspeaker to play a sound so that you can find it again

At the April event, Apple shows how sophisticated the system is. Other people can walk past the object with their iPhone and automatically update the position. In addition, others can scan the AirTag with their iPhone to find out the owner.

What is special about AirTag is that Apple has paid attention to user-friendliness and sustainability. You can easily replace the built-in battery (CR2032) yourself at home – this is not often the case in Apple products. Older devices from other manufacturers in particular often do not have a replaceable battery and are therefore a disposable product.

What bothers me about it

When it comes to accessories, Apple is really reaching out again. A leather key fob costs at least 39 euros and is therefore more expensive than an AirTag itself. If you want to spend even more money, you can also buy the Hermès version of the leather pendant – for 349 euros. Each person has to decide for themselves whether they are worth ten times the price for another pendant. These people can put even more money down for the Hermès luggage belt. At 449 euros, it is only 30 euros cheaper than a current iPhone SE. Appropriate pricing looks different.

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