HomePod mini (black, 2020)

The HomePod mini was the second device in Apple’s HomePod line of intelligent, Siri-controlled speakers. Despite its small size and relatively low price, the HomePod mini offered impressive sound quality. Apple described the HomePod mini: “Jam-packed with innovation, HomePod mini delivers unexpectedly big sound for a speaker of its size. At just 3.3 inches tall, it takes up almost no space but fills the entire room with rich 360‑degree audio that sounds amazing from every angle.”

Apple designed the HomePod mini to allow homes to use multiple devices:

“With multiple HomePod mini speakers placed around the house, you can have a connected sound system for your whole home. Ask Siri to play one song everywhere or, just as easily, a different song in each room. And HomePod mini works with HomePod for multiroom audio and features like Intercom. If you want to take the amazing sound experience of HomePod mini even further, you can create a stereo pair. Two HomePod mini speakers paired in the same room create left and right channels for an immersive soundstage.”

The HomePod mini was spherical with a flat top and bottom. It measured 3.3 inches high and 3.9 inches wide. Internally, it used four microphones and allowed real-time tuning through computational audio. The HomePod mini had no ports and connected wirelessly to audio sources including Apple Music, iTunes music purchases, iCloud Music Library with an Apple Music or iTunes Match subscription, and some third-party services. In addition, it could play content from any device that allowed AirPlay streaming (AirPlay 2). Wireless technology included 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0.

The top of the device provided a backlit touch surface for certain controls: tap to play/pause music or Siri; double-tap to skip; triple-tap to skip back; touch and hold to access Siri; and tap or hold + or – to control volume up/down.

The HomePod mini was available in black and white. It used a permanently affixed USB-C cable and a provided a 20W USB-C power adapter was included in the box.

This is my second HomePod mini. I purchased it in black, and I’m using it in my kitchen so I now have a HomePod in every main living area.

Photography note: Since a few people have asked, I have 2 Hue LCD color lights that are part of my photography table. The 2 IKEA lights are clipped to the bottom of the table and are positioned up. Most of my photos use these lights set to a pure white color for the background, but occasionally I use the Hue app to add a color wash to the white sheet backdrop. In this case, I used the HomePod mini box colors as inspiration.

Source: Apple (Overview, Tech Specs)

AirTag (engraved, 2021)

The AirTag is a small, disc-shaped accessory that used Apple’s Find My network to easily locate items. Apple described AirTag as “a supereasy way to keep track of your stuff. Attach one to your keys, slip another in your backpack. And just like that, they’re on your radar in the Find My app.”

The AirTag measures 1.26 inches (31.9 mm) diameter and is 0.31 inch (8.0 mm) high. It weighs 0.39 ounce (11 grams). It contains a CR2032 coin cell battery that can be replaced by the user. The AirTag uses wireless connectivity including Bluetooth, an Apple U1 chip (Ultra Wideband and Precision Finding), and NFC (Lost Mode). It is splash, water, and dust resistant (IP67 with a maximum depth of 1 meter up to 30 minutes).

The AirTag was offered with free engraving featuring a selection of 31 Apple-designed one-color emoji, text, or numbers. Up to 4 characters could be added. This example is engraved with my initials, “MJF.”

The Air Tag “requires iPhone SE, iPhone 6s or later, or iPod touch (7th generation) with iOS 14.5 or later, or iPad Pro, iPad (5th generation or later), iPad Air 2 or later, or iPad mini 4 or later with iPadOS 14.5 or later.”

Apple described the AirTag’s functionality:

Upon release, the AirTag was offered with several Apple-designed accessories. “Users can easily place AirTag into a bag or pocket on its own, or utilize a wide range of Apple-designed AirTag accessories, including the Polyurethane Loop, which is both lightweight and durable, and the Leather Loop and Leather Key Ring,4 featuring specially tanned European leather.”

This example shows a rare non-Apple accessory in use: the Belkin Secure Holder with Key Ring for AirTag. I preferred this keyring to Apple’s due to its smaller size.

Sources: Apple, Belkin

AirTag (2021)

The AirTag is a small, disc-shaped accessory that used Apple’s Find My network to easily locate items. Apple described AirTag as “a supereasy way to keep track of your stuff. Attach one to your keys, slip another in your backpack. And just like that, they’re on your radar in the Find My app.” 

The AirTag measures 1.26 inches (31.9 mm) diameter and is 0.31 inch (8.0 mm) high. It weighs 0.39 ounce (11 grams). It contains a CR2032 coin cell battery that can be replaced by the user. The AirTag uses wireless connectivity including Bluetooth, an Apple U1 chip (Ultra Wideband and Precision Finding), and NFC (Lost Mode). It is splash, water, and dust resistant (IP67 with a maximum depth of 1 meter up to 30 minutes).

The AirTag was offered with free engraving featuring a selection of 31 Apple-designed one-color emoji, text, or numbers. Up to 4 characters could be added. This example is not engraved. 

The Air Tag “requires iPhone SE, iPhone 6s or later, or iPod touch (7th generation) with iOS 14.5 or later, or iPad Pro, iPad (5th generation or later), iPad Air 2 or later, or iPad mini 4 or later with iPadOS 14.5 or later.”

Apple described the AirTag’s functionality:

“If AirTag is separated from its owner and out of Bluetooth range, the Find My network can help track it down. The Find My network is approaching a billion Apple devices and can detect Bluetooth signals from a lost AirTag and relay the location back to its owner…Users can also place AirTag into Lost Mode and be notified when it is in range or has been located by the vast Find My network. If a lost AirTag is found by someone, they can tap it using their iPhone or any NFC-capable device and be taken to a website that will display a contact phone number for the owner, if they have provided one.”

Upon release, the AirTag was offered with several Apple-designed accessories. “Users can easily place AirTag into a bag or pocket on its own, or utilize a wide range of Apple-designed AirTag accessories, including the Polyurethane Loop, which is both lightweight and durable, and the Leather Loop and Leather Key Ring,4 featuring specially tanned European leather.”

Sources: Apple (Newsroom, Store, Support)

MacBook Pro 15-inch (Core 2 Duo, 2.4 GHz, 2007)

This MacBook Pro 15-inch laptop shipped with a 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo (Santa Rosa) processor and 2 GB RAM. It contained a 160 GB hard drive and 8X SuperDrive. The display was an LED-backlit 15.4-inch widescreen at 1440×900 resolution that was available in a matte or glossy finish. This example has a glossy display.

The keyboard design used a numeric keypad accessed using the fn (function) key, a feature removed from later models. This MacBook Pro had similar features to previous Core 2 Duo systems, including an ambient light sensor that adjusted keyboard illumination and screen brightness, a scrolling TrackPad, and a MagSafe power connector. It used a built-in iSight video camera at 1.3 megapixels.

Wireless connectivity on this 15-inch MacBook Pro included AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Bluetooth 2.0. Ports included an ExpressCard/34 slot, Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire 400 and 800 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, optical digital audio in/out (in a single 3.5mm port), and DVI out.

Source: EveryMac

Mac OS X 10.2 box (2002)

Mac OS X Jaguar (version 10.2) was the third major release of Mac OS X, but it was arguably the first version that was intended for a wide audience.

Apple took the opportunity in this release to publicly acknowledge that “Jaguar” was the operating system’s code name and used the name in marketing. Further, the OS release artwork featured a detailed rendering of jaguar skin meant to highlight the enhanced graphics rendering technology built in to the architecture.

Jaguar was a paid upgrade for $129, except Apple offered a “X for Teachers” program that provided the OS for free to educators.

The box refers to the following “Featured technologies:”

  • AppleScript
  • Aqua
  • Bluetooth
  • Darwin
  • Inkwell
  • Java 2 Standard Edition
  • MIDI and multichannel audio
  • Open Directory
  • OpenGL 3D
  • Personal Firewall
  • Personal Printer Sharing
  • Quartz Extreme
  • QuickTime 6
  • Rendezvous

Source: Wikipedia

Mac Pro (Quad Core, 2.8 GHz, Mid-2010)

The Mac Pro Quad Core 2.8 uses a single 2.8 GHz Quad Core Xeon W3530 processor. The “quad core” designation refers to its single processor with four independent “core” processing centers that can work independently or together to increase computing speed and efficiency. It used 3 GB of RAM (DDR3 ECC SDRAM), a 1 TB Serial ATA hard drive, an 18X dual-layer SuperDrive, and an ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics card.

The design of this tower was identical to its Power Mac G5 predecessor, using the same anodized aluminum alloy case with a removable side panel. The sides of the tower were solid aluminum with a light gray Apple logo printed on center. The front and back used a pattern of aluminum perforations as a design element, a structural feature, and as part of the ventilation for the internal systems.

The front of the tower included spaces for two optical drives at the top. On the lower-right was the power button and five ports: 3.5 mm headphone jack, two USB ports, and two FireWire 800 ports.

The back of the tower included five slots. Slot 1 includes a dual-link DVI port and two Mini DisplayPorts. Slot 2 is unused (and uses a ventilated cover), while slots 3–5 are unused. Rear ports include three USB 2.0 ports, two FireWire 800 ports, optical digital audio in/out ports, a 3.5 mm line-out audio jack, a 3.5 mm line-in audio jack, and two independent Gigabit Ethernet ports. Internally, wireless networking options include AirPort Extreme (802.11a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth 2.1.

Inside, the Mac Pro includes two 5.25-inch optical drive bays (both are outfitted with Apple SuperDrive drives in this example); four internal 3.5-inch cable-free, direct-attach hard drive bays (this model has three 512 GB drives); and four PCIe 2.0 slots, one with a graphics card installed.

Source: Everymac

Power Mac G5 (Dual Core, 2.3 GHz, 2005)

The Power Mac G5 tower represented a major design departure from the four previous Mac “pro” tower designs. The Power Mac G5 used an anodized aluminum alloy case design with a removable side panel that replaced the hinged door on previous Mac towers.

The sides of the Power Mac G5 were solid aluminum with a light gray Apple logo printed on center. The front and back used a pattern of aluminum perforations as design elements, structure, and as part of the ventilation for the internal systems.

This model is a Power Mac G5 Dual Core running at 2.3 GHz. The same design was available in a G5 Dual Core (2.0 GHz) and a G5 Quad Core (2.5 GHz) variation, with all models using 970MP G5 processors with two independent cores on a single chip. This tower included 512 MB or 1 GB RAM (SDRAM), a 250 GB (Serial ATA) hard drive, a 16x dual-layer SuperDrive, and a NVIDIA GeForce 6600 video card.

The front of the tower included a single optical drive, the power button, and three ports: one 3.5 mm headphone jack, one USB port, and a FireWire 400 port.

The back of the tower included four slots. Slot 1 includes two DVI ports (one single-link DVI and one dual-link DVI port), while slots 2–4 are unused. Rear ports include two independent Gigabit Ethernet ports, one FireWire 400 port, one FireWire 800 port, optical digital audio in/out ports, a 3.5 mm line-out audio jack, a 3.5 mm line-in audio jack, and three USB 2.0 ports.

Internally, the tower supports AirPort Extreme (802.11g) and Bluetooth 2.0 wireless protocols. Everymac reports that the inside of Power Mac G5 models were divided into “four different thermal zones with nine computer-controlled fans for optimum cooling.” Also, this Power Mac G5 has two internal hard drives.

The case design with its front and back aluminum perforations and handles is, indeed, reminiscent of a cheese grater—albeit a beautiful one.

Source: Everymac

Apple Pencil (original, 2015)

The original Apple Pencil was released along with the original iPad Pro in September 2015. The Apple Pencil can be used by the iPad Air (Generation 3), iPad mini (Generation 5), iPad Pro 10.5-inch, iPad (Generation 6 and 7), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (Generation 1 and 2), and iPad Pro 9.7-inch. It pairs to an iPad device using Bluetooth, and has a removable magnetically attached cap hiding a Lightning connector.

The original Apple Pencil somewhat awkwardly charges by plugging it into the lightning port of an Apple device; however, it also includes a female-to-female adapter that allows charging with a Lightning cable. While a full charge can last up to 12 hours, a 15-second charge provides about 30 minutes of use.

The Apple Pencil can be used for writing, drawing, or annotating in a wide variety of apps. Apple describes its features as having “pixel-perfect precision, tilt and pressure sensitivity, and imperceptible lag.”

Source: Wikipedia, Apple (description, specifications)

iPhone Bluetooth Headset (2007)

The iPhone Bluetooth Headset shipped along with the original iPhone in 2007. The design was minimalist and the device included just one button to accept/decline calls; place a call on hold/switch to a call on hold; and power the device on/off. Although the cost was relatively high at $129, the headset shipped with two additional charging methods, a dock for the iPhone and the iPhone Bluetooth Headset (with a connected USB cable); and an additional 30-pin travel cable that charged the iPhone and included an extra port to charge the iPhone Bluetooth Headset simultaneously.

Although the iPhone Bluetooth Headset had very good sound quality, it could not be used for any audio features other than phone calls—no voice dialing features or the ability to listen to iTunes or other iPhone audio was possible.

An AppleInsider review listed four “Pros:” Elegantly slim and very lightweight design; Comfortable to wear; Includes a dock and extra travel cable; Easy to set up and use. The same review included four “Cons:” Limited range and battery life; No fancy phone control features or redial; No iPhone audio support apart from phone calls; No voice dialing support.

Original iPhone owners, me included, purchased the original iPhone for $599, a price considered high at the time. About a month after the original iPhone’s release when the product was clearly becoming a success, Apple dropped the price by $99 and issued early iPhone purchasers a $99 Apple Store credit. I used this credit toward the purchase of this iPhone Bluetooth Headset.

Source: AppleInsider

MacBook Pro 15-inch (Core 2 Duo, 2.4 GHz, early 2008)

This MacBook Pro 15-inch laptop was released in early 2008 with an identical case design as its predecessor. It shipped with a 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo (Penryn) processor and 2 GB of 667 MHz SDRAM. It contained a 200 GB hard drive and 8X DVD RW/CD-RW SuperDrive. The display was an LED-backlit 15.4-inch widescreen at 1440×900 resolution.

Although the external case did not change from the “Santa Rosa” processor version of the laptop that preceded it, the keyboard design removed the numeric keypad accessed using the fn (function) key and replaced the right-side enter key with an additional option key, the same laptop keyboard layout still in use now (as of February 2020). This MacBook Pro also used the same trackpad design as the MacBook Air of the time, adding multi-touch gestures.

Ports on this MacBook Pro included an ExpressCard slot, Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire 400, Firewire 800, two USB 2.0 ports, optical digital audio in/out, and DVI out. Wireless connections included AirPort Extreme (802.11a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth 2.1. It also included an iSight video camera and MagSafe power connector, both standard at the time.

When I acquired this laptop, its battery had burst while installed in the laptop. The battery failure caused the battery to bow in the center and it was lodged in the case. Using a few iFixIt spatula tools, I was able to extract it safely and then properly dispose of the ruptured battery.

Source: EveryMac