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Spring 2021 Apple Product Announcements

As host of the podcast "Consumer Review Report," I'm always excited to talk and write about exciting consumer services such as water parks.

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Introducing the New AirTags

The AirTag, a tracker, is meant to compete with the $35 TilePro and the $30 Samsung SmartTag in finding lost items, such as bags and keys.

Let's look at the features of the AirTag. The AirTag has Bluetooth connectivity with the iPhone and a U1 ultra wideband chip that can communicate more effectively with the FindMy app.

In the FindMy app, you can locate the lost item on a map or precision tracking will guide you to the lost item if it's nearby. It does this using the iPhone's camera, accelerometer, and gyroscope.

The distance you are from the item shows up on the iPhone screen accompanied by an arrow that points you in the right direction. An alarm sounds when you are close to the lost item or the phone will vibrate.

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Apple ensures privacy, using the AirTag, by constantly cycling the Bluetooth identifier and utilizing end-to-end encryption. Even Apple cannot see the item's location.

These AirTags do not come with hooks or holes to attach keyrings or lanyards. In true Apple form, you must buy an extra accessory for this purpose. However, there are inexpensive third-party accessories available.

The batteries, CR2032 can be changed out by the user. The AirTags are $29 for one, $99 for a four-pack.

The Verge's Point of View on the AirTags

The Wall Street Journal's Experiment of AirTag vs. Dog

The Wall Street Journal's Quick Take on the New Apple Products

The Faster and Sleeker iMac

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The iMac had significant upgrades that bear mentioning. It now has the M1 chip that provides an 8-core CPU which equals more speed and a thinner iMac, measuring 11mm with a 24" display.

The display is a 4.5K retina display, with 11.3M pixels, 4480 x 2520. The purpose of the retina display is to make the images extremely crisp without the pixels being visible to the naked eye or from a distance.

Six speakers are capable of providing spatial audio. The webcam is updated with a better sensor. There is a magnetic power cord connection and the ethernet plugs directly into the power adapter.

Three Magic keyboard choices are available:

  • A Magic keyboard with Emoji, Spotlight, Dictation, Do Not Disturb, and Lock keys
  • A Magic keyboard with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor.
  • A Magic keyboard with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor and a numeric keypad.

All keyboards and mice come in matching colors.

Here are the iMac purchase options:

  • For $1299, here's what you get: 8-core CPU, 7-core GPU, 8GB unified memory, 250 GB SSD, two thunderbolt ports, Magic Keyboard, and comes in 4 colors
  • For $1499: 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 8 GB unified memory, 256 GB SSD, two thunderbolt ports and two USB-A ports that support USB 2 and 3 devices, Magic Keyboard w/ Touch ID, and Ethernet. Comes in 7 colors

iPad Pro: Significant Upgrades

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The iPad Pro also houses the M1 chip that provides an 8-core CPU for faster speed. The display is a liquid retina XDR display with 1000 nits of full-screen brightness, 1600 nits of peak brightness, and a 1,000,000 to 1 contrast ratio. The higher the number of nits, the brighter the display.

The 12 MP Ultra Wide Camera has a 122° field of view and a sensor. These features are important because they support a video calling feature called Center Stage. Center Stage allows the camera to recognize and keep the person in the center of the view. As the person moves around, the camera pans to keep the person in the shot. When others join in the shot, it recognizes them and zooms out to fit everyone.

Other notable features of the iPad Pro are that it has 4 speakers, all-day battery life, 2 TB of storage capability, and is available in 5G or millimeter wave (a high-frequency version of 5G). A thunderbolt USB-C port supports up to USB 4 devices. The iPad Pro supports the latest Playstation and X-Box controllers.

If you want the 11" iPad, you'll be paying $799, and for the 12.9", $1099. For accessories, like the pencil and keyboard folio, the pencil is $119 and the keyboard folio is $179.

Don't Forget About The Apple TV 4K Streaming Box or the Siri Remote

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This streaming box contains the A12 Bionic chip which significantly improves graphical performance. It plays in High Dynamic Range (HDR) with a high frame rate.

There is a color balance feature that works with the iPhone and its advanced sensors to improve picture quality. The iPhone camera and proximity sensor guide the phone to a screen target on the TV display. Color measurements start automatically using the iPhone's light sensor to compare color balance to the industry-standard specifications used by cinematographers.

This box is expensive at $179 for 32 GB and $199 for 64 GB when there other less expensive boxes for streaming.

Siri Remote: From Ugly Duckling to Swan

According to the Wall Street Journal, the old Siri remotes had a lot to be desired. The complaints about the old remotes were that the touchpad was frustrating and you couldn't tell which was up or down on the remote itself. So Apple revamped the remote.

It now has a brand new touch-enabled click pad with five-way navigation. The outer ring can be swiped in a circular motion as a jog controller.

The new Siri remote is $59.

Is Anything New with the iPhone?

Nobody mentioned anything about upgraded iPhones except for the fact that the iPhone 12 is now available in the color purple.

What's New with the Podcasts?

Apple has newly designed the podcast app. They are introducing channels and Podcast subscriptions into the app. The subscriptions unlock new content as well as provide access to ad-free listening.

The Verge Fills in Any Missing Details About The Product Announcements

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