2019 saw plenty of launches from Apple, be it hardware or software. It was perhaps the year when the company finally started paying heed to customer feedback and giving them what they wanted. With so many products and services launched, which was your favorite Apple product of 2019?
In no particular order, below is a list of all the products that Apple launched this year. I have omitted some products like the 10.2-inch iPad, the 10.5-inch iPad Air as they did not bring anything new to the table.
Launched in March 2019, the 2nd gen. AirPods retained the same design and sound quality as the original AirPods. However, they were a major improvement in two important aspects: battery life and latency. Thanks to Apple’s new H1 chip, the new AirPods offered 50% more talk time and notably reduced latency. On paper, this might not seem like a big deal but had a major usability impact.
Apple News+ sounds great on paper: access to thousands of magazines and newspapers for a flat monthly subscription fee. While it is missing a few big publishers, Apple News+ makes consuming content a pleasurable experience with its content layout and the use of high-quality graphics.
13″ and 15″ MacBook Pro Refresh
Same design, same display, but better performance. Apple absolutely nailed the refresh of the 13-inch and the 15-inch MacBook Pro earlier this year. The 15-inch MacBook Pro refresh saw it coming with an 8-core Core i9 processor for the first time offering a 40% performance improvement. Apple even managed to fix all the thermal throttling issue making the machine a portable workhorse.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro saw a bigger spec bump, with the base model now packing with a quad-core processor. This instantly means a 50% boost in CPU performance. The refresh also saw the base MacBook Pro gaining Apple’s T2 security chip, Touch ID, and Touch Bar marking the end of Apple offering its ‘pro’ MacBook with physical function keys.
The only issue perhaps with the machines is the butterfly keyboard. Apple uses a newer generation butterfly keyboard in the 2019 MacBook Pro, but given how unreliable they are, they fail to instill confidence.
Apple Watch Series 5
After the massive upgrade that the Apple Watch Series 4 was, the Series 5 refresh did not bring anything dramatically different. In fact, it even shares the same internals as the Apple Watch Series 4.
The only addition this time around was an Always-On Display which is something that many Apple Watch users had been asking for a really long time. Nonetheless, the Apple Watch is so far ahead of the competition at this point that it is still the best wearable in the market.
Apple finally launched the AirPods that a lot of users were waiting for. The AirPods Pro offers everything the AirPods don’t — active noise cancellation, sweat-resistant design, and superior sound quality.
They are also pricey at $249 but given the demand for such features from consumers, it is not surprising to see them turning out to be a runaway hit for the company.
iPhone 11 Pro
At first glance, the iPhone 11 Pro series does not bring anything new or innovative to the table. Its strictly a yearly refresh that saw Apple tweak the design, improve the camera performance while also adding a new camera sensor, improving the performance and battery life, adding a new color to the lineup, etc.
Yet, when one combines all these changes, the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max delivered everything that a consumer would want from their smartphone in 2019. The camera performance rivaled flagship Android smartphones and even exceeded expectations in many situations, particularly while recording videos. The battery life of these phones is in a league of its own, with no Android device coming close to beating them. Apple even got around to bundling an 18W fast charger with the iPhone 11 Pro this time around meaning one could charge the phones to 50% in just 30 minutes.
Faster internals, improved camera, a new ultra-wide angle shooter, longer battery life, better processor? Check. What made the iPhone 11 even better was the $50 lower price tag making it even more affordable than before. No wonder then that its doing so well in many parts of the world.
Apple TV+ might end up becoming a major revenue maker for Apple down the line but its launch this year has been relatively muted. The streaming service launched with a very limited library of content, with the initial shows getting less than stellar response.
For now, Apple TV+ launch has been overshadowed by Disney+ which has an expansive content library. No wonder then that Apple is giving away Apple TV+ for free for a year to all new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac owners.
16-inch MacBook Pro
The MacBook Pro many of us always wanted was finally launched by Apple towards the end of 2019 without much fanfare. The 16-inch MacBook Pro replaces the 15-inch variant and brings some massive changes despite retaining the same external design. First and foremost, it comes with a bigger 16-inch display with smaller bezels surrounding the panel itself giving it a modern look and feel. Secondly, Apple made the device thicker and heavier to bump its battery capacity to the absolute maximum allowed by the FCC.
Apple also reworked the thermal system and increased the CPU heatsink by 35% and airflow by 28%. Due to the better thermal system, the 16-inch MacBook Pro offers better performance than the 15-inch MacBook Pro despite packing the same CPU as it. It is also able to perform much better when pushed hard for an extended period of time. The new 6-speaker system on the machine is also leagues ahead of what you will find in a laptop, with Apple using force-canceling woofers to cancel out vibrations.
Most importantly perhaps, the 16-inch MacBook Pro marked the return of Apple’s scissor mechanism keyboard and the end of the dreaded butterfly keyboard. The new keyboard should be more reliable and it has already won a lot of people over with its travel and the sound it makes while typing.
Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR
The Mac Pro and the Pro Display XDR might not be for you, but they are very important machines from Apple. These are very expensive machines that put them out of reach of regular consumers and yet they offer great value for money. After years, Apple has a machine that’s fit for creators and users with extremely demanding workflows. They no longer have to worry about being limited by their machine and can let their creative juices flow unhindered.
The Pro Display XDR complements the Mac Pro perfectly as well with its beautiful design, 6K resolution, 1,200 nits of brightness, and impeccable color accuracy. Even the $999 stand of the monitor is better than what you will find in the market right now in terms of ease of use.
The ability to spec out the Mac Pro with a 28-core Intel CPU, 1.5TB RAM, 8TB SSD, and dual Radeon GPU might seem crazy to some, but the horsepower it will offer will allow video editors and creators to upgrade and improve their workflow in a big way.
So, which was your favorite Apple product of the year? For me, its a tie between the 16-inch MacBook Pro and the Mac Pro. Both these machines bring plenty of horsepower to the table which is something what the creators and users of these machines have always wanted from the company.