But, looking ahead to 2021, what will be the most significant breakthroughs, the ones that will have a long-term impact on Apple and its customers? I’ve compiled a list of three of the most significant events in Apple’s history during the previous 12 months.
As the year 2021 draws to a close, it’s only natural to reflect on the previous 12 months and cast approving looks over everything Apple accomplished. Despite a worldwide epidemic, the corporation had another year of record quarters, produced a host of new goods, and weathered some major setbacks.
Pro to the Max
The answer, when it arrived in the form of the M1 Pro and M1 Max, seems to be an unequivocal yes. The chips that power the new high-end MacBook Pros are truly impressive, able to deliver high-end computing and graphics power while maintaining the kind of energy efficiency for which Apple’s silicon has become renowned.
In 2020, Apple kicked off what it said would be a two-year processor transition, and in 2021 that transition was well underway. But though the M1 MacBooks and Mac minis that debuted last fall impressed reviewers and users alike, the biggest question coming into this year was whether Apple’s new processors could match the kind of power that professional users needed for demanding tasks.
The Max and Pro configurations of the M1, 8- and 10-core powerhouses that scale up to 32 graphics cores, proved that Apple was no one-trick pony when it comes to processor design, and reinforced that its decision to abandon its partner of the last decade was not just a reasonable one, but a no-brainer.
The new Macs: Not quite the same as the old Macs
Last year’s processor transition was largely an under-the-hood affair. Neither Apple’s new MacBooks nor its updated Mac mini featured significant design changes from their Intel predecessors, focusing instead on staying the course and providing continuity for customers.
That all changed with the spring’s release of the brand new iMac, featuring a wholly redesigned chassis and a 24-inch 4.5K Retina display that replaced the prior model’s 21.5-inch. Taking advantage of the efficiency and low power consumption of Apple silicon allowed the company to make a razor-thin computer that could still provide impressive performance. It also featured a few interesting changes like an Ethernet port on the power brick and improvements to the mic, speakers, and webcam. Oh and let’s not forget an assortment of eye-catching colors (and yes, it still comes in boring old silver if you want). In the fall, the MacBook Pros followed suit (except for the colors), bringing not only the aforementioned M1 Pro and Max chips, but also a refurbished exterior and—to the delight of many power users—the return of legacy ports like MagSafe, HDMI, and the SD Card slot. In sum, the MacBook Pro finally delivered exactly the product that its target market was looking for: power and connectivity in a sleek, impressive package.