Holiday shopping bag (white paper, gray logo, 2023)

Apple’s retail store bags have been used at Apple Stores beginning in 2001 when the first Apple Store opened. Please refer to my blog post, 20 Years of Apple Store Bags (2001–2021), for more details.

In November 2023, Apple began an email, web, and Apple Store campaign using the tagline “All kinds of wonderful” online and “Wonder awaits” on Apple Store windows. The visuals included a stylized white Apple logo with a gift bow and winter scene.

A simplified version of the logo was printed on Apple’s retail store bags to replace the typical solid gray Apple logo. This paper bag is one example of the 2023 holiday Apple Store bags.

The blog post includes a photo I captured of the winter logo on the window of the Apple Store Michigan Avenue in Chicago on November 5, 2023.

Apple employee challenge cards (2023)

Apple challenge cards are sent to Apple employees who participate in company-sponsored events, usually with a gift to celebrate the accomplishment of successfully completing the challenge.

These challenge cards include:

Close Your Rings Challenge (2023)—Hat’s off to you! Congrats! You finished strong. We hope you’re moved to keep on moving—and finding motivation even beyond this Challenge. Your exclusive Apple-branded hat will be an ongoing reminder to keep your body active and your head in the game. You deserve it.

[Editorial note: I wonder how many Apple employees looked at the grossly misspelled headline “Hat’s off to you!”—with the completely unnecessary apostrophe—before thousands of them were printed in metallic gold. Someone’s head was not in the game!]

Mindful Minute Challenge (2023)—One sip at a time. Cheers to you for completing the Mindful Minute Challenge. Enjoy this mug to help remind you to pause and practice mindfulness with something as simple as a sip. Or create your own mindful practice by slowly tracing the logo while taking a few breaths to find your own inner comfort.

iPhone 15 Pro Max (256GB, blue titanium, 2023)

Apple released the iPhone 15 series on September 12, 2023. The iPhone 15 Pro Max press release began, “Featuring a strong and lightweight titanium design with new contoured edges, a new Action button, powerful camera upgrades, and A17 Pro for next-level performance and mobile gaming.”

The iPhone 15 Pro Max was made with aerospace-grade titanium. Apple described the finish as “a strong and lightweight titanium design—a first for iPhone. This premium alloy—the same used in spacecraft—has one of the highest strength-to-weight ratios of any metal, making this Apple’s lightest Pro lineup ever.”

Apple described this iPhone’s camera capabilities:

“Powerful camera upgrades enable the equivalent of seven pro lenses with incredible image quality, including a more advanced 48MP Main camera system that now supports the new super-high-resolution 24MP default, the next generation of portraits with Focus and Depth Control, improvements to Night mode and Smart HDR, and an all-new 5x Telephoto camera exclusively on iPhone 15 Pro Max.”

The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max were the first iPhones to include an Action button, an idea borrowed from the Apple Watch Ultra. According to the press release, the:

“Action button replaces the single-function switch used to toggle between ring and silent, offering additional options so users can choose between quickly accessing the camera or flashlight; activating Voice Memos, Focus, Translate, and accessibility features like Magnifier; or using Shortcuts for more options. A press-and-hold gesture with fine-tuned haptic feedback and visual cues in the Dynamic Island ensure the new button launches the intended action.”

The iPhone 15 Pro cameras were the first to be able to record spatial video for the Apple Vision Pro. The feature was added in an iOS 17.2 software update on December 11, 2023. In a press release, Apple announced:

“iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max users can now record spatial videos—a groundbreaking new capability that helps users capture life’s precious moments—and relive those memories on Apple Vision Pro, starting early next year.”

Because spatial video can only be viewed on Apple Vision Pro, spatial videos appear as 2D videos on all other devices. Apple explained:

“Spatial video capture on iPhone arrives ahead of the debut of Apple Vision Pro, so iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max users can begin capturing moments with family and friends to enjoy on Apple Vision Pro from day one.”

The iPhone 15 Pro Max was available in capacities of 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB. This model has 256GB of storage. Its 6.7-inch (diagonal) Super Retina XDR OLED display had 2796×1290-pixel resolution at 460 ppi. The A17 Pro chip used a new 6‑core CPU, a new 6‑core GPU, and a new 16‑core Neural Engine.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max camera system was similar to the iPhone 15 Pro, but had a few enhanced features. Both cameras had:

  • 48MP Main camera with ƒ/1.78 aperture
  • 12MP Ultra Wide camera with ƒ/2.2 aperture
  • 12MP 2x Telephoto camera with ƒ/1.78 aperture

The Pro Max model was enhanced with:

  • 12MP 5x Telephoto camera with ƒ/2.8 aperture with tetraprism design (the Pro model had 3x Telephoto)
  • 5x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out; 10x optical zoom range (the Pro model had a 3x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out; 6x optical zoom range)
  • Digital zoom up to 25x (the Pro model had up to 15x digital zoom)

The iPhone 15 Pro Max measured 3.02 inches wide, 6.29 inches high, and 0.32 inches thick. It weighed 7.81 ounces.

The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max were available in “four stunning new finishes, including black titanium, white titanium, blue titanium, and natural titanium.” This example is an iPhone 15 Pro Max in blue titanium.

Sources: Apple Newsroom (iPhone 15 Pro, spatial video), Specs

iPhone 15 Pro Max Clear Case with MagSafe (2023)

The iPhone 15 Pro Max Clear Case was described by Apple as “Thin, light, and easy to grip” to show off “the brilliant colored finish of iPhone 15 Pro Max while providing extra protection.”

The case was made from “a blend of optically clear polycarbonate and flexible materials.” The sides of the case had a slightly more flexible feel, while the back was rigid. Apple touted that “all materials and coatings are optimized to prevent yellowing over time.” I have selected Apple’s clear polycarbonate cases since the iPhone 11 in 2019 and all are still essentially clear with almost no yellowing in over 5 years (as of this writing).

This case uses MagSafe as a design element on the back. The round Magsafe magnet is bright white and perfectly surrounds the Apple logo on the back of the iPhone. Below the circle is a capsule-shaped dash that allows chargers and accessories to align to the magnets in the system. Apple describes the iPhone version of MagSafe:

“With built-in magnets that align perfectly with iPhone 15 Pro Max, this case offers a magical attach experience and faster wireless charging, every time. When it’s time to charge, just leave the case on your iPhone and snap on your MagSafe charger, or set it on your Qi-certified charger.”

Source: Apple

Make Something Wonderful: Steve Jobs in his own words (hardcover book, 2023)

Make Something Wonderful: Steve Jobs in his own words is a book created by the Steve Jobs Archive. The book was offered as a free download on the Steve Jobs Archive and a hardcover edition was sent to Apple and Disney employees.

According to an article about the book at 9to5mac, the phrase “make something wonderful” was used by Steve Jobs at an internal meeting at Apple:

“One of the ways that I believe people express their appreciation to the rest of humanity is to make something wonderful and put it out there.”

The Steve Jobs Archive described the book as:

“A curated collection of Steve’s speeches, interviews and correspondence, Make Something Wonderful offers an unparalleled window into how one of the world’s most creative entrepreneurs approached his life and work. In these pages, Steve shares his perspective on his childhood, on launching and being pushed out of Apple, on his time with Pixar and NeXT, and on his ultimate return to the company that started it all.”

Featuring an introduction by Laurene Powell Jobs and edited by Leslie Berlin, this beautiful handbook is designed to inspire readers to make their own ‘wonderful somethings’ that move the world forward.”

The physical book measures 21.1 cm x 13.3 cm, and is 2.2 cm thick. The dark gray hard cover has an uncoated paper texture and an embossed title. The front cover features a glossy Polaroid-style photo of Steve Jobs wearing a tuxedo with a crooked bow tie.

The digital book can be read online at and downloaded at

Sources: Steve Jobs Archive, 9to5mac

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 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