One can only speculate what would have happened if the already easily inflamed fanboys and fangirls had been able to attend the presentation live, which Apple celebrated in its usual perfect manner on Tuesday evening German time - only as an online stream. And yes, this time they would have had some reason to at least nod appreciatively.
Not so much because of products like the AirTags, which can be used to find misplaced items (35 euros or 119 euros in a pack of four). Nor necessarily because of the slightly refreshed TV player Apple TV, which now plays videos with a high contrast ratio (HDR) at a faster refresh rate and is supposed to help the TV achieve better colors by measuring them with an iPhone.
No, it was two other pieces of news that made people sit up and take notice. The new edition of the all-in-one computer iMac could make even some stubborn Windows users weak. Its reduced design is impressive, the inner workings are promising. Responsible for this is the M1 chip developed by Apple based on the chip design of the British company ARM.
Because it is quite energy-efficient, Apple was able to keep the casing completely flat; it is only 11.5 millimeters thick. It actually looks like a huge iPad with a 24-inch screen. However, tests will have to show more details about the performance. This also applies to the camera and microphone system, which Apple claims to have greatly improved - after all, many currently spend a lot of time in front of the screen in video conferences. Prices for the iMac start at 1450 Euros.
The already very powerful iPads of the Pro series get another significant performance boost with the M1 chip that now powers them as well. Apple has come up with something special for the larger of the two models. On the iPad pro with a 12.9-inch screen, more than 10,000 tiny LEDs illuminate the screen from behind. This makes it possible to control the brightness in a very differentiated way, which increases the contrast range and thus makes the display more brilliant.
Apple has secured the top position in the tablet market right from the start. According to figures from the market researchers at IDC, the Group sold 19 million iPads in the fourth quarter of 2020, which corresponds to a 36.5 percent share of the overall market. Samsung, the runner-up, only achieved a good half of this volume (around ten million devices, 19.4 percent market share). Lenovo, the third in the group, is only half as large in this segment as Samsung.
Apple gains a big advantage in the competition from the fact that both hardware and software are developed in-house. Especially the in-house developed M1 chip gives Apple an advantage over the competition. However, Apple's Pro devices are also in a different league in terms of price. The small model (eleven inches) is available from 880 Euros, the 12.9-inch model from 1200 Euros. For a cellular module, which now also handles 5G, an additional 170 euros is due in each case. Apple has also given the iPads their own operating system since autumn 2019. Before that, iPhones, iPod music players and iPads used the same system, iOS.
Overall, the whole presentation was a testament to how much (and how successfully) Apple is striving to increasingly interweave its range of devices and services. Content can be seamlessly moved from the iPhone to the iMac. On the TV, you can use the iPhone to adjust color reproduction. iPhone and iPad apps can be used on the iMac. AirTags can be used to find items - which, of course, requires an iPhone.
Photo by Daniel Romero