iPhone X (silver, 2017)

The iPhone X was introduced ten years after the original iPhone and was described by Apple as “the future of the smartphone.” The iPhone used “X” in its name, pronounced “ten,” as a nod to Mac OS X—which also used the Roman numeral X and marked a major milestone in the evolution of the Mac operating system.

The iPhone X was announced on September 12, 2017, at the same time as the lower-cost iPhone 8, Apple’s base iPhone at the time. Somewhat curiously, Apple skipped the iPhone 9 model and continued naming its iPhone models after the iPhone X with typical numerals.

The iPhone X introduced many firsts, including:

  • It was the first iPhone to use “a gorgeous all-glass design with a beautiful 5.8-inch Super Retina display,” removing the Home button and replacing it with a swipe-up from the bottom to unlock.
  • The iPhone X was the first iPhone with an “all-screen” display. It used the “first OLED panel that rises to the standards of iPhone…for a more natural, paper-like viewing experience.”
  • The iPhone X was the first to use FaceID to unlock, authenticate, and make payments. This technology was enabled by a “TrueDepth camera” that was “made up of a dot projector, infrared camera and flood illuminator…powered by A11 Bionic to accurately map and recognize a face.”
  • The TrueDepth camera also allowed the iPhone X to bring “emoji to life in a fun new way with Animoji.” The camera “captures and analyzes over 50 different facial muscle movements, then animates those expressions in a dozen different Animoji, including a panda, unicorn and robot.”
  • The iPhone X was the first iPhone to offer wireless charging using the Qi standard. “The glass back design enables a world-class wireless charging solution.”
  • This iPhone introduced a “notch” design at the top-center to allow the display to stretch “edge-to-edge” and allow a place for the front camera system. The design choice was polarizing. The Verge wrote that “There’s a mix of surprise, sarcasm, and intrigue that Apple has chosen to go with a screen layout that leads to design compromises,” and added the oft-repeated speculation that “Steve Jobs would have never let that happen.”

The iPhone X was available in two colors, silver and space gray, and offered 64GB and 256GB storage options. This example is silver. The sides of the phone were described as “surgical-grade stainless steel [that] seamlessly wraps around and reinforces iPhone X.”

The Super Retina HD display was 5.8-inches diagonal at 2436 x 1125 resolution (458ppi). The device measured 5.65 inches (143.6 mm) high x 2.79 inches (70.9 mm) wide x 0.30 inch (7.7 mm) deep, and weighed 6.14 ounces (174 grams). Its A11 Bionic chip included a Neural engine that enabled artificial intelligence machine learning.

The iPhone X camera system featured a 6‑element lens with 12 Megapixel wide-angle and telephoto cameras. Portrait mode on the iPhone X introduced Portrait Lighting (listed as a “beta” feature in specifications). Other camera features included panorama (up to 63MP), autofocus, tap to focus, auto HDR (photos), auto image stabilization, burst mode, and geotagging. It could record video at 4K (24, 30, or 60fps), 1080p HD (30 or 60fps), or 720p HD (30fps) with features including optical image stabilization, slo‑mo video (1080p at 120 or 240 fps), cinematic video stabilization (1080p and 720p), and continuous autofocus. The front TrueDepth camera offered 7 Megapixel resolution, portrait mode, Portrait Lighting (beta), Animoji, and recorded video at 1080p HD.

The iPhone X included 6 sensors, including Face ID, barometer, 3-axis gyro, accelerometer, proximity sensor, and an ambient light sensor.

Like previous iPhone models, the iPhone X included a set of custom wallpapers, two of which were featured on the product’s packaging and prominently in advertisements. 9to5Mac reported that Spanish artist Ana Montiel created the art that inspired the iPhone X wallpaper set:

“‘Fields’ is the title of Montiel’s series of paintings and exhibit that explore ‘altered states of consciousness as vehicles to go beyond the easily perceived.’ The original digital paintings were transferred to canvas and museum quality prints, and the styling came to life this past fall when Apple introduced the iPhone X with three new live wallpapers…”

The Montiel work that most closely represents one of her original works was used on the Space Gray iPhone X packaging, titled “FIELDS 9 : Tactile Irreality” (2017), an archival pigment print measuring 100x70cm. I am honored to own one of Montiel’s original prints. The iPhone X version of FIELDS 9 uses an aspect ratio to fit the iPhone screen, and it is flipped upside-down from the original, presumably to allow the time and date to be optimally displayed on the iPhone. I have opted to hang it in its original format.

Sources: Apple (Newsroom, Tech Specs), The Verge, 9to5Mac, Ana Montiel

Apple Watch Sport Loop (45mm, Oat Milk/Lemon Zest, Spring 2022)

The Apple Watch Sport Loop band was woven from nylon thread to create a hook-and-loop closure. These bands were available for the 41mm and 45mm Apple Watch models, and were offered in sizes to fit 130–200mm wrists (41mm) and 145–220mm wrists (45mm). The bands also fit older Apple Watch sizes.

This Oat Milk/Lemon Zest band used a two-stripe design first introduced in Fall 2021. One stripe was “Oat Milk,” a shade of off-white, and the other was “Lemon Zest,” a shade of bright yellow. The edges were black and provided a striking contrast to the lighter stripes. The connector plastics were off-white—a similar shade to the “Oat Milk” color—and the closure plastic was black.

Apple described the Apple Watch Sport Loop band:

“Soft, breathable, and lightweight, the Sport Loop features a hook-and-loop fastener for quick and easy adjustment. The double-layer nylon weave has dense loops on the skin side that provide soft cushioning while allowing moisture to escape. On the reverse side, the attachment loops are securely anchored for superior durability.”

Source: Apple, Bandbreite

Apple Watch Sport Loop (45mm, Nectarine/Peony, Spring 2022)

The Apple Watch Sport Loop band was woven from nylon thread to create a hook-and-loop closure. These bands were available for the 41mm and 45mm Apple Watch models, and were offered in sizes to fit 130–200mm wrists (41mm) and 145–220mm wrists (45mm). The bands also fit older Apple Watch sizes.

This Nectarine/Peony band used a two-stripe design first introduced in Fall 2021. One stripe was “Nectarine,” a shade of shade of bright orange, and the other was “Peony,” a bright red/pink. The edges and connector plastics were off-white, and the closure plastics matched the Peony stripe.

Apple described the Apple Watch Sport Loop band:

“Soft, breathable, and lightweight, the Sport Loop features a hook-and-loop fastener for quick and easy adjustment. The double-layer nylon weave has dense loops on the skin side that provide soft cushioning while allowing moisture to escape. On the reverse side, the attachment loops are securely anchored for superior durability.”

In my opinion, the shade of Nectarine does, indeed, match the orange gradient that can be found on an actual nectarine. However, as an Indiana native where the peony is the state flower, this shade of “Peony” is not representative of the actual plant’s flower.

Source: Apple, Bandbreite

Mac mini (M2, 2023)

The Mac mini débuted in 2005 as a low-cost Mac for “switchers”—those running Windows who already had a display, keyboard, and mouse and wanted their very first Mac experience. When he announced it, Steve Jobs said,

“Starting at just $499, Mac mini is the most affordable way to enjoy Mac OS X and iLife. Just plug in your display, keyboard and mouse and you’ve got an incredibly compact Mac for a price that almost anyone can afford.”

The original Mac mini used a G4 processor (2005–2007), followed by various Intel-chip models (2007–2020), Apple’s M1 processor (2020–2023), and now Apple’s M2 chip.

Since its original release, I have always had a Mac mini, and I have always purchased the base model and attached it to my TV to function as my media “server.” At first—before iCloud—I primarily used my Mac mini as my “Music mini” computer, and as digital video became more pervasive, it is now used as a method to show digital videos and to play my very small collection of music not on Apple Music (yes…recorded music does exist that’s not on Apple’s, or any, streaming service!).

This new version of the Mac mini is available with both M2 and M2 Pro Apple Silicon configurations. According to the press release:

“Compared to the previous-generation Mac mini, M2 and M2 Pro bring a faster next-generation CPU and GPU, much higher memory bandwidth, and a more powerful media engine to Mac mini, delivering extraordinary performance and industry-leading power efficiency. Both models feature an advanced thermal system for exceptional sustained performance.”

The base-model M2 Mac mini “features an 8-core CPU with four high-performance and four high-efficiency cores, along with a 10-core GPU.” It includes 8GB unified memory and 256GB SSD standard. The M2 includes the following physical ports:

  • 2 Thunderbolt 4 ports (DisplayPort, Thunderbolt 4, USB 4)
  • 2 USB-A ports (up to 5Gb/s)
  • HDMI port
  • Gigabit Ethernet port (configurable to 10Gb Ethernet)
  • 3.5 mm headphone jack

Wireless interfaces include Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax), and Bluetooth 5.3.

The M2 Mac mini has a slightly larger footprint than the previous Mac mini models. It measures 1.41 inches (3.58 cm) high, by 7.75 inches (19.70 cm) square, and weighs 2.6 pounds (1.18 kg). The slightly larger size matches the square dimensions of the Mac Studio.

When the M2 Mac mini had been released for only one week, media outlets were reporting that the base models had slower SSD performance compared to the previous M1 Mac mini models. A MacRumors review reported:

“While the new Mac mini with the M2 chip has a lower $599 starting price, the base model with 256GB of storage has slower SSD read and write speeds compared to the previous-generation model with the M1 chip and 256GB of storage.”

This Mac mini originally shipped with macOS Ventura.

In my setup, this Mac mini plays music and video from external drives, thus, its SSD speeds have been more than sufficient.

Sources: Apple (Newsroom 2005, Newsroom 2023, Mac mini, Mac Studio), MacRumors

Apple Watch Sport Loop (45mm, Lavender Gray/Light Lilac, Spring 2022)

The Apple Watch Sport Loop band was woven from nylon thread to create a hook-and-loop closure. These bands were available for the 41mm and 45mm Apple Watch models, and were offered in sizes to fit 130–200mm wrists (41mm) and 145–220mm wrists (45mm). The bands also fit older Apple Watch sizes.

This Lavender Gray/Light Lilac band used a two-stripe design first introduced in Fall 2021. One stripe was “Lavender Gray,” a shade of shade of light purple-gray, and the other was “Light Lilac” a light pale purple (almost white). The edges and connector plastics were a contrasting yellow (similar to the “Lemon Zest” shade used in Apple’s Spring 2022 collection), and the closure plastics matched the Lavender Gray stripe.

Apple described the Apple Watch Sport Loop band:

“Soft, breathable, and lightweight, the Sport Loop features a hook-and-loop fastener for quick and easy adjustment. The double-layer nylon weave has dense loops on the skin side that provide soft cushioning while allowing moisture to escape. On the reverse side, the attachment loops are securely anchored for superior durability.”

Source: Apple, Bandbreite

Apple Watch Black Unity Sport Loop (45mm, Spring 2023)

The Apple Watch Sport Loop band was woven from nylon thread to create a hook-and-loop closure. These bands were available for the 41mm and 45mm Apple Watch models, and were offered in sizes to fit 130–200mm wrists (41mm) and 145–220mm wrists (45mm). The bands also fit older Apple Watch sizes.

The Spring 2023 Black Unity Sport Loop is the third Apple Watch band in the Black Unity collection. The band was released with a matching Apple Watch face, iPhone wallpaper, and Mac wallpaper. Apple describes the band and collection:

“Inspired by the creative process of mosaic, the new Black Unity watch band and matching watch face symbolize the vibrancy of Black communities and the power of unity.”

This is the first Apple Watch Sport Loop design to use a relatively complex design with multiple textures. Placed flat, one side of the design reveals abstract letters spelling “UNITY” using different thread textures. The other side is black. The color palette matches those that of the Pan-African flag. Apple describes the design:

“Designed by Black creatives and allies at Apple, this band honors Black history for anyone committed to ending systemic racism and building a more equitable world… Featuring the colors of the Pan-African flag, this adjustable, soft and lightweight Sport Loop band contains the word ‘unity’ woven in layers for a three-dimensional texture.”

One of the band’s edges is bright red, and the other edge is bright green. The connector and closure plastics are black.

Apple says that they are “supporting five global organizations focused on uplifting Black and Brown communities by unlocking creative potential with technology:”

  • Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia)
  • Ghetto Film School (New York City, Los Angeles, London)
  • Music Forward (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Shout Mouse Press (Washington D.C.)
  • The National Museum of African American Music (Nashville, TN)

The box and interior packaging are primarily black with white text. The packaging includes an insert that features a “UNITY” design on the front and a further explanation about the Black Unity collection inside (in English and five additional languages).

I find this design particularly striking, unique—and perplexing! The “UNITY” pattern is on the inside of the band, while the primary, out-facing color is solid black. Thus, when wearing the band, the artistic pattern is barely visible. In my case, the band appears mostly black (with the red and green edge stripes), and the only part of the pattern exposed is part of the “U”—while more than two-thirds of this eye-catching design is facing my wrist.

Source: Apple (bands, Sport Loop), Bandbreite

MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2018)

On October 18, 2018, Apple introduced an all-new MacBook Air model:

“Apple today introduced an all-new MacBook Air, bringing a stunning 13-inch Retina display, Touch ID, the latest processors and an even more portable design to the world’s most loved notebook. Delivering the all-day battery life it’s known for, the new MacBook Air is available in three gorgeous finishes — gold, space gray and silver. The most affordable Retina-display Mac ever also includes an Apple-designed keyboard, a spacious Force Touch trackpad, faster SSDs, wide stereo sound, the Apple T2 Security Chip and Thunderbolt 3, making the new MacBook Air the perfect notebook to take with you everywhere you go.”

The 13.3-inch Retina display was 2560 x 1600 (at 227ppi)—a 16:10 aspect ratio. It used a 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, and offered many storage options: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1.5TB SSD. RAM options included 8GB or 16GB.

Like all previous MacBook Air models, this version used a tapered body design. It measured 0.16 inch in front to 0.61 inch in back (0.41–1.56 cm) thick, and was 11.97 inches (30.41 cm) wide and 8.36 inches (21.24 cm) deep. It weighed 2.75 pounds (1.25 kg).

The front camera was a 720p FaceTime HD camera. This was the first MacBook Air to ship with 2 USB-C connections, and it also had a 3.5mm headphone jack. Further, this was the first MacBook Air to include an Integrated Touch ID sensor.

The 2018 MacBook Air was released at a time when its features were potentially confusing to customers when compared to other Apple laptop offerings at the time. A reviewer at The Verge noted:

“Is this new Air like a 12-inch MacBook, just blown up to a slightly bigger size? Is it more like a 13-inch MacBook Pro (sans Touch Bar), just with cheaper parts?”

When released, this this MacBook Air only was offered in a 13-inch option, dropping the 11-inch version available in the previous design. This was also the final MacBook Air with an Intel chip—future versions included Apple Silicon, such as the M1.

Source: Apple (Newsroom, Tech Specs), The Verge

MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2019)

The 15-inch MacBook Pro (2019) model was the first to offer an 8-core processor in a MacBook. Apple’s press release announced:

“Apple updated MacBook Pro with faster 8th- and 9th-generation Intel Core processors, bringing eight cores to MacBook Pro for the first time. MacBook Pro now delivers two times faster performance than a quad-core MacBook Pro and 40 percent more performance than a 6-core MacBook Pro, making it the fastest Mac notebook ever. These new processors, combined with powerful graphics, the brilliant and colorful Retina display, super-fast SSDs, the Apple T2 Security Chip, all-day battery life and macOS, make MacBook Pro the world’s best pro notebook.”

Both a 6-core and 8-core version of this MacBook Pro was available.

This MacBook Pro was available in both Silver and Space Gray. It had a Touch Bar with integrated Touch ID sensor. Apple describes the Touch Bar:

“If your Mac has a Touch Bar, you can use familiar gestures—like tap, swipe, or slide—directly on the Touch Bar to adjust settings, use Siri, access function keys, and do tasks in different apps.”

The 15.4-inch Retina display was 2880 x 1800 (at 220ppi). This MacBook Pro was offered with a 256GB or 512GB SSD as standards, but was configurable to up to 4TB SSD. All models had 16GB of RAM. The front camera was a 720p FaceTime HD camera.

Physical ports included 4 USB-C ports (all had Thunderbolt 3 capability) and a headphone jack. Wireless interfaces included 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.0.

This MacBook Pro was 0.61 inch (1.55 cm) thick, and measured 13.75 inches (34.93 cm) wide x 9.48 inches (24.07 cm) deep. It weighed 4.02 pounds (1.83 kg).

Its 10-hour battery charged with an 87W USB-C Power Adapter.

This MacBook Pro featured what Ars Technica referred to as the “new new new butterfly keyboard…which Apple believes will be more reliable than its problem-laden predecessors.” Later in the review, the author adds that “the touchpad is enormous” and describes it as “luxuriously large.”

Although Apple’s press focuses on the 8-core version of this laptop, this particular MacBook Pro (2019) is the 6-core version in Space Gray.

Sources: Apple (Newsroom, Tech Specs, Touch Bar), Ars Technica

Mac mini (Late 2012)

Since the first Mac mini was released in 2005, all models have been compact, shipped without a display, keyboard, and mouse, and all have been relatively inexpensive.

The Mac mini (Late 2012) was described by EveryMac: “Compared to its predecessor, this model looks identical, but it has a faster internal architecture with a faster processor, faster graphics, faster RAM, and USB 3.0 ports.”

Its primarily aluminum case has a plastic bottom and measures 1.4 inches (3.6 cm) tall, 7.7 inches x 7.7 inches (19.7 cm) square, and weighs 2.7 pounds (1.22 kg).

The Mac mini (Late 2012) was offered with a 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 or 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor. It shipped with a 500GB or 1TB (5400-rpm) hard drive.

For a compact case, it had many physical plug options: Thunderbolt, FireWire 800 port, 4 USB 3 ports, HDMI, SDXC card slot, gigabit ethernet port, and audio in/out. Its 3 wireless interfaces included 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and an IR receiver.

This Mac mini shipped with OS X Mountain Lion.

Sources: EveryMac, Wikipedia, Apple

iPad Air (original, WiFi+Cellular, 2013)

When the iPad Air was released, Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, commented:

“…the new iPad Air is another big leap ahead. It is so thin, light and powerful, once you hold one in your hand you will understand what a tremendous advancement this is. iPad Air with its 9.7-inch Retina display weighs just one pound and packs the incredible performance of iOS 7 running on a 64-bit desktop-class Apple A7 chip, and delivers all-day battery life in the lightest full-sized tablet in the world.”

Apple described the iPad Air as 20% thinner and 28% lighter than the iPad Generation 4 (the base iPad at the time).

The iPad Air had many available configurations with 2 colors (Space Gray and Silver), 2 wireless connectivity options (Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi+Cellular), and 4 storage capacities (16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB). This model is Space Gray, has Wi-Fi+Cellular, and 16GB of storage.

The iPad Air is 9.4 inches (240 mm) wide x 6.6 inches (169.5 mm) tall, and 0.29 inch (7.5 mm) thick. It weighed 1.05 pounds (478 g). Its Retina Display was 9.7 inches with 2048 x 1536 resolution (at 264ppi).

Wireless technologies included Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0, and this model allowed cellular service including LTE.

The front camera was a 1.2 Megapixel FaceTime HD Camera that could record 720p HD video. The back camera was a 5 Megapixel iSight Camera with features including autofocus, face detection, tap to focus, tap to control exposure, geotagging, and HDR.

Sources: Apple, (Newsroom, Tech Specs), EveryMac