On October 13, 2020, Apple introduced its latest flagship smartphone- iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini at an affordable price like never before. Alongside the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, all iPhone models released this year are fitted with Super Retina XDR OLED displays. Asides from the Face-ID notch and the small bezels at the edge, the iPhones feature an edge-edge design. A major change in the iPhone's new models is the shift to flat edges from rounded edges of previous models.
Features x Specs
- New design
- 6.1 and 5.4-inch sizes
- 5G support
- IP68 Water and Dust resistance
- OLED displays with Ceramic Shield
- Dual-lens camera with 5x digital zoom
- WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0
- A14 chip
- 1080p Facetime calls
- $699/$799 starting price
- Haptic Touch
- New Ceramic Shield
- U1 Ultra Wideband chip
Generally, reviewers all had praises and accolades for the iPhone 12 lineup. Heralding Apple for the shift to squared-off edges to make gripping the smartphone from flat surfaces easier. It also feels comfortable to hold for longer periods. The MagSafe integration also seems to be a major advantage for most reviewers, as it is faster than a Qi wireless charger.
iPhone 12 mini users complain about their iPhone display not recognizing a swipe meant to unlock the phone, which could be a touch sensitivity issue. However, the standard iPhone 12 has a display issue with a green-like and gray glow flickering across the screen.
Users have experienced sound quality issues such as loud static, distorted audio, and unexpected noises with Made for iPhone hearing aids and gadgets. All of these issues are expected to be fixed with software updates as they are rolled out.
When the unveiling of the iPhone SE came in April 2020, it caught a lot of people's attention. Here was a device in the body of an iPhone 8 but with the internals of an iPhone 11 at the low price of $399. It sports glass for its front and back, supports wireless charging, and has IP67 dust and water resistance.
Features x Specs
- 4.7-inch display
- A13 Bionic chip
- iPhone 8 design
- Haptic Touch
- Touch ID Home Button
- Single-lens rear camera
- 3GB RAM
- Supports WiFi 6
- True Tone, Dolby Vision, and HDR 10
- Red, white and black colors
- $399 starting price
Comparing the price point to the features packed into the iPhone SE, many reviewers are happy with the smartphone, highlighting the design, A13 chip, battery life, and camera quality majorly.
- CNET's Patrick Holland
- TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino
- Wired's Lauren Goode
- The Verge's Dieter Bohn
- Engadget's Chris Velazco
The major issue that has been raised concerning the iPhone SE is battery life. While generally, it is a level-up from iPhone 8, battery-wise, it still has some catching up. While the camera is of great quality, users have noticed a not-so-great quality in a low-light environment.
However, considering its price point, all of these are fair compromises to accept.
Apple Watch Series 6
The latest version of the Apple Watch, the Series 6, was announced in September of this year. The Series 6 is very similar in design to the Series 5 of the Apple Watch. A major upgrade to the Apple Watch Series 6 features is the inclusion of the U1 chip and Ultra-Wideband antenna that helps with the short-range wireless location.
Features x Specs
- Two sizes: 40mm and 44mm
- Always-on display
- Faster S6 chip
- LTPO OLED Always-On display
- New low-cost SE option
- Blood oxygen monitoring
- Always-On Altimeter
- New colors
- LTE and non-LTE options
- A thinner and smaller case
- Supports Apple Pay
Reviews for the Apple Watch Series 6 started rolling in before the actual product release date because Apple made some units available to reviewers. Widely, the Series 6 smartwatch gathered a lot of positive reviews and convinced people to buy the product. The improved Always-On display and blood oxygen monitoring feature especially excited more reviewers.
The watchOS 7 has glitches that result in missing GPS mapping data during exercises. Battery life has always been a concern for many users. Also, to accurately read the blood oxygen level, the band is expected to be tight on your wrist.
As a fix for most of the issues, Apple suggests that you unpair the Apple Watch, reset your iPhone and restore your backup.
The HomePod Mini is the smaller and cheaper version of Apple's HomePod from the previous year. The experience with HomePod mini promises to be different as it focuses on delivering better sound qualities. Also, you can pair two HomePod minis to make a stereo and pair multiple HomePod minis around the house so that you listen to the rich sound in different rooms of your house. Apple claims HomePod mini uses the same acoustic principles as the HomePod. It was unveiled in October 2020.
Features x Specs
- $99 price tag
- 3.3-inches tall
- Round design
- Plays Ambient Sounds
- Siri touch interface
- S5 chip
- Controls HomeKit compatible smart home accessories.
- 360-degree audio
- Intercom feature
- U1 chip
- Deep bass and crisp high frequency
"Full and clear," "Impressively powerful," and "remarkable big sound" are some of the words reviewers used to describe the HomePod mini. The USB-C charging port also left a good impression on the reviewers. The white and space gray colors of the HomePod mini is rated as attractive and a good color choice to go with the homely feel.
M1 Macbook Air
This November, Apple introduced to its lineup of MacBook Air, a new addition called the M1 MacBook Air using the first of Apple-designed Arm-based chip. The M1 chips replace Intel chips that have previously been used in Apple's MacBook Air laptops. The M1 chip contains an 8-core CPU with four high-performance and four high-efficiency cores, alongside an 8-core GPU.
Features x Specs
- 13" screen size
- 2560 x 1600 Retina display with True Tone
- Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU and 7- or 8-core GPU
- 8 or 16 GB of RAM
- Up to 2 TB SSD
- Force Touch Trackpad
- Touch ID
- P3 Wide Color support
- 720P FaceTime HD Camera
- Thunderbolt 3/USB 4
- Up to 15hrs of Battery Life for Web Browsing
- Scissor-switch Magic Keyboard with 1mm key travel
- Supports WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0
In the words of The Verge, the M1 Macbook Air is "the most impressive laptop" that has been released in years. Forbes compared the laptop's changes to an iPhone upgraded to a new processor; everything is insanely fast and responsive. Truly, the improved speed of the M1 MacBook Air is a major win for Apple.
While the positive reviews of the M1 MacBook Air are in great numbers, it would do you good to know some of the setbacks that have been found. One is the battery life of 8-10 hours of sustained use. Although this is better than previous models, it still isn't as good as most people would want it.
Another issue that has been raised is the quality of the FaceTime camera that hasn't improved from the previous model of MacBook Air.
macOS Big Sur
Unveiled in June 2020 and released on November 12, 2020, macOS Big Sur is the biggest OS update Apple has made since it released Catalina. The macOS Big Sur updates see an expansive change to the interface and working of the macOS. While the revamp is a total overhaul, the feel remains familiar and welcoming. Browsing, navigation, privacy, messaging, lighter appearance, better buttons and control, and a customizable menu bar are a few of the major changes seen on the update.
- Design refresh
- Control Center
- Maps overhaul
- Revamped Messages app
- Built-in translator for Safari
- Major Safari improvements
- Interactive Notifications
- A better organization's for multiple open windows
- iOS Style Widgets
- Reading List
- iCloud Tabs
- Privacy report and built-in translation for Safari
- Password Monitoring
- Memoji and Memoji Stickers
A few 2013 - 2014 13-inch MacBook Pro laptops have experienced bricking due to the macOS Big Sur update. If you own any model like this, it would be best if you don't install the new OS update. However, for those who have installed it, you can check here for instructions from Apple.
MacBook Pro 2020
The MacBook Pro was released in November 2020 with the Apple M1 chip rather than the usual Intel Processor and graphics. This was Apple's way of finalizing the deal with Intel Processors and using their own chip. The previous model of MacBook Pro 2020 was released in May, and it operates on Intel Processor.
Apple didn't make any major changes to the design of the MacBook Pro. It still sports the thin bezels and aluminum body.
Intel Processor Model:
- True Tone display & Touch Bar.
- 10th-generation Intel chip with up to 4 cores.
- Storage space of 4 TB SSD.
- Scissor-switch Magic Keyboard.
Apple M1 Chip
- Scissor-switch Magic Keyboard.
- True Tone display and Touch Bar.
- 8 or 16 GB of unified RAM.
- Up to 2 TB SSD storage.
- Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU.
Reviews of both models of the MacBook Pro were impressive and positive. A lot of reviewers were impressed with the new CPU and GPU.
The Intel Processor Model goes on sale for $1,799, while the Apple M1 Chip is sold for $1,299.
The iMac is a thin desktop computer at 21.5 and 27 inches, with the latter being upgraded to the 10th-generation Intel Processors in August 2020. Although there were no significant changes on the redesigned iMac since it's creation in 2012, the 21.5 model got its storage booted up to 256 GB SSD rather than a 1 TB hard drive. The 21.5-inch model costs $1,299 while the 27-inch model goes for $1,799.
21.5 inch iMac:
- Coffee Lake processors.
- Radeon Vega Pro graphics options.
- 4096 x 2304 Retina display.
- A faster 2666MHz memory.
27 inch iMac:
- True Tone display
- Improved webcam, speakers, and mics
- 5120 x 2880 Retina display
- $500 nano-texture glass option
- AMD Radeon Pro graphics options
- Comet Lake processors
Users complained about the lack of a Touch ID, the bug being a hardware or software. Those with the 27-inch with the Radeon Pro 5700 XT GPU complained of graphics glitches and how they occasionally see a white line flicker across the display.
MagSafe was once the magnetic charging cable designed for MacBooks, but now, it has been reintroduced to serve iPhones and not Mac.
The MagSafe charger automatically connects to the back of the iPhone 12 like any metal would stick to a magnet.
- Magnet ring at the back of the wireless charging inductor.
- MagSafe charging animation.
- 15W charging capacity dependent on Apple's 20W power adapter.
With this MagSafe charger, it takes approximately an hour to fully charge an iPhone from 0-50% compared to a regular USB-C charger.
- Do not use the MagSafe charger with the iPhone leather case still on, as it can leave a mark on either the case or the phone. It is recommended to get a clear case rather than a leather case.
- Do not place credit cards or similar objects between the iPhone and the charger due to damage to the magnetic strips.
Introduced to the public in June 2020 and released in September, iOS 14 is the biggest Apple operating system on mobile to date. With major updates like Siri improvements, Siri no longer covers the entire screen when activated. This new update allows for widget support. The widgets can be dragged and placed wherever you desire.
- Home screen redesign with widgets.
- App Clips.
- Cycling and EV routes.
- Translate app.
- New App Library.
- Privacy enhancements.
- Compatibility with devices able to run iOS 13.
- No full-screen calls.
- Picture-in-Picture mode.
With the new iOS 14, you can open an app gallery showing all the iPhone apps. You do this by swiping to the end of your home screen. The iOS 14 is available to all iPhones, from iPhone SE (2016 edition) to the latest model.
Other 2020 releases from Apple include:
- Magic Keyboard
- Apple TV
- iPadOS 14
- tvOS 1
- watchOS 7
- M1 Mac Mini
Apple ProductsScheduled for Release in 2021
Mac with Apple Silicon Processor
Said to be released in the second half of 2021, Apple has confirmed that it will be including other models of MacBook that comes with Apple Silicon Processor.
What To Expect?
The new Apple Silicon Processor will feature devices like the MacBook Pro, which will come in 14 and 16 inches. There will also be a reconstructed iMac 24-inches and a Mac Pro tower in a smaller version. The new Apple Silicon uses a unified memory architecture.
Apple stated that there would be a transition from Intel Processors to its very own within two years, which will now be seen. With this progress, the Apple products made with Intel Processors will still function. However, every product made henceforth will come with Apple Silicon Processor.
With the coming of this new Apple technology, customers have already begun anticipating the new products' release as they hope it's a step-up from the previous releases. While some want the next MacBook to be touchscreen-enabled, others hope the touch bar will be taken off.
AR Smart Glasses
Apple has been working on ways augmented reality (AR) can be infused into its devices, and as it stands, 2021 might be the year that happens. Apple Glass would look like regular glasses, but the lenses would display effects and operate with gestures.
- Cutting edge OLED microdisplays.
- rOS (Reality Operating System).
- 360-degree video playback.
- Virtual meeting rooms.
- Slim and lightweight.
- The choice to get the AR glasses with no prescription lenses.
Apple's dream of creating its own vehicles can be traced back to before creating the first iPhone.
Following Tim Cook's speech in June 2017, there has been word that Apple might be building their own cars, and not only self-driving car software. Named "Project Titan," in 2017, Apple received a permit from the California DMV to test self-driving vehicles on the roads, and since then, the Lexus RX450h SUVs have been using the Software.
Apple invested about $1 billion in the Chinese taxi business; Didi Chuxing, a service similar to Uber. Didi Chuxing is now dominating the riding services in China and generated a lot of profit for Apple.
In 2018, Apple was able to account for the total of 70 vehicles out on the roads, using its driving software. Known for its secrecy about their cloaked projects, Apple has its workers in secret headquarters somewhere in the Bay Area and is probably working on the Apple Car with speculation on release dates for 2023 or 2025.
Other products to expect from Apple in the future include:
- AirPods Studio
- AirPods X
- iPad Mini 6