Whilst Apple has undoubtedly faced challenges this year amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the Cupertino company has continued to innovate in a number of key fields, pushing forward its vision for best-in-class hardware and software. With iPhone 13, the M1 Max MacBook Pro, AirTags, the all-new iMac, and a bunch of iPad improvements, 2021 was a huge year.
STARTING THE YEAR ON A HIGH
There’s no denying that 2020 was a challenging year for the world, and though 2021 did not exactly begin with the best of starts, Apple managed to pull through and introduce many amazing new products early on. The firm’s usual March event was postponed to April, where Tim Cook and Co showed off a a number of new pieces of hardware, including the much anticipated AirTags, Apple’s answer to Tile. There is not a great deal of official data on the number of AirTags sold worldwide, but anecdotal evidence suggests that they’re proving to be successful so far. Indeed, even Tile has come out and said that Apple’s launch of AirTags has changed the industry and helped them increase third-party activations by as much as 200% in 2021 alone, as consumers cotton on to the idea of electronically tracking everyday items such as their phones, wallets, and keys.
During its April event, Apple also introduced a new 4K Apple TV, refreshed the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and launched an overhauled iMac, which represents a new era for personal computing. Apple ditched the 21.5-inch iMac in favor of a new 24-inch chassis with a stunning design in a spectrum of vibrant colors, the breakthrough M1 chip, and a brilliant 4.5K Retina display. As a result of the new iMac going on sale, data suggested by July that Mac sales had increased, and before Apple shipped the new M1 MacBook Pro models later in the year, shipments were already up 11%, which would suggest that the new iMac contributed to a significant increase in demand for the Mac.
RINGING IN SOFTWARE CHANGES
June would not come and go without a WWDC, and with coronavirus restrictions putting a dampener on in-person meetings, Apple continued to host a virtual affair to show off what it had been working on for consumers and professionals alike. Apple held the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, debuting iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, tvOS 15, and macOS 12 Monterey. Although these operating systems did perhaps not introduce as many changes and new features as had previously been offered in some macOS and iOS releases they still packed their punch and took our devices to new heights. On iOS, for example, Apple overhauled notifications and added a Focus option to reduce distractions throughout the day. Spatial Audio and SharePlay in FaceTime calls were also introduced, whilst a brand new text recognition service in images offered more convenience to consumers. Apple also teased support for ID cards in the Wallet app, though their release was delayed until 2022. iOS 15 also saw several new privacy features such as the introduction of iCloud+ Private Relay and the ability to hide your email address, and apps like Safari, Maps, Weather, and Notes were given overhauls to bring them into 2021, adding powerful features that made life easier.
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