The MacBook Pro 13-inch (Late 2011) used the Intel Core i5 “Sandy Bridge” 2.4 GHz processor with two cores. It had a 500 GB Serial ATA (5400 RPM) hard drive, a SuperDrive, an Intel HD Graphics 3000 graphics processor, and an integrated FaceTime HD webcam. Its display used an LED-backlit 13.3-inch widescreen TFT active-matrix glossy display (at 1280×800 resolution).
Wireless connectivity included AirPort Extreme (802.11a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth 2.1. Wired ports included Gigabit Ethernet, one Firewire 800 port, two USB 2.0 ports, audio in/out, an SDXC card slot, and a Thunderbolt port.
According to EveryMac, this laptop was identical to its predecessor, the MacBook Pro 13-inch (Early 2011) except for the faster processor. In fact, EveryMac indicated that this Late 2011 model was “quietly unveiled without a press release.”
This laptop was 0.95 inch high, 12.78 inches wide, 8.94 inches deep, and weighed 4.5 pounds. It originally shipped with OS X Lion.
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.
The 13-inch MacBook Air, Early-2015 model, used the 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 and was also available with a 2.2GHz dual-core Intel Core i7. It shipped with 4GB or 8GB RAM. This model uses the Core i5 with 4GB of RAM and has 128GB of flash storage.
When it was released on March 9, 2015, Apple reported:
“The updated 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air now feature fifth generation Intel Core processors up to 2.2 GHz, with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.2 GHz, integrated Intel HD Graphics 6000, and Thunderbolt 2, delivering up to 20Gbps, twice the bandwidth of the previous generation. The 13-inch MacBook Air also features faster flash storage that is up to two times faster than the previous generation.”
This MacBook Air used a 13.3-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen display at 1440 x 900.
Apple reported that this laptop had a 12-hour battery. Its physical ports included 2 USB 3 ports, a Thunderbolt 2 port, a MagSafe 2 power port, a SDXC card slot, and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. Wireless technologies included 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0. It also had a front-facing 720p FaceTime HD camera.
The full-size keyboard was backlit and with an ambient light sensor, and it used Apple’s Multi-Touch trackpad.
This MacBook Air used the tapered design of previous MAcBook Air models, measuring 0.11 to 0.68 inch (0.3-1.7 cm) thick, 12.8 inches (32.5 cm) wide, and 8.94 inches (22.7 cm) deep. It weighed 2.96 pounds (1.35 kg).
According to EveryMac:
“Compared to its predecessor, this model looks effectively identical, but has a more advanced processor and architecture, more advanced graphics, twice as fast 4x PCIe storage, and Thunderbolt 2 support.”
This version of the Apple Studio Display was announced on March 8, 2022, along with the Mac Studio. Apple described the display: “A big, beautiful window into new worlds, Studio Display draws you in from the moment you turn it on. It has a slim, all-screen design. And it’s packed with a phenomenal set of features so everything you do springs to life with gorgeous color and spectacular detail.”
The 27-inch display featured a 5K Retina display at 5120×2880 resolution (218 pixels per inch), a built-in 12MP Ultra Wide camera, a high-fidelity six-speaker system, and was powered by the A13 Bionic chip.
This packaging was included inside the Apple Studio Display and housed an included all-black Thunderbolt cable and a selection of paperwork, including:
Regulatory notes and safety information (two 2-sided sheets)
A color booklet explaining the display’s basic features
Apple stickers (2 black stickers on one page)
Please note that the all-black Apple logo stickers were considered somewhat rare in 2022 and were general only included with “Pro” Apple hardware.
This cardboard package measures 95 x 165 x 37 mm. Inside, it includes a pocket for the paperwork and a unique, all-cardboard structure to neatly pack the 1-meter Thunderbolt braided black cable.
The Generation 3, 11-inch iPad Pro appears the same externally as its two predecessors, but uses Apple’s significantly faster M1 chip and adds an enhanced front camera. This iPad Pro featured an Apple M1 chip with an 8-core CPU with 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores along with a 16-core Neural Engine. The iPad Pro website boasts that this model is “Supercharged by the Apple M1 chip” with “Mind-blowing performance.”
“With M1, iPad Pro is the fastest device of its kind. It’s designed to take full advantage of next‑level performance and custom technologies like the advanced image signal processor and unified memory architecture of M1. And with the incredible power efficiency of M1, iPad Pro is still thin and light with all‑day battery life, making it as portable as it is powerful.”
This iPad Pro 11-inch uses an LED-backlit 2388×1668 Liquid Retina display (264 ppi, 600 nits) with a thin black bezel with rounded corners and flat sides. This iPad is Space Gray, and it was also available in Silver. This 128GB models used 8GB RAM (as did the 256 and 512 GB options, while the 1 and 2 TB models used 16 GB of RAM).
This iPad Pro included a USB-C port (Thunderbolt/USB 4) for charging and wired connectivity. Wireless connectivity included 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0. Cellular models were also available.
The 12-megapixel Ultra Wide front camera was the first iPad camera to offer the Center Stage feature that automatically keeps people in the camera frame by zooming and panning. Its two rear cameras included a 12-megapixel wide angle and a 10-megapixel ultra-wide angle lens.
Like iPhone Pro models of the time, this iPad Pro also included LiDAR and Face ID. It could also use a Generation 2 Apple Pencil that charged using a magnetic connection on the side of the iPad. A similar iPad Pro with a 12.9-inch screen was sold at the same time as this 11-inch model.
The M1 iMac was the first iMac to offer Apple’s M1 chip. It was introduced on April 20, 2021, at Apple’s Spring event that also introduced AirTags, AirTag accessories, the purple iPhone 12, and a new Apple TV 4K with a redesigned remote.
This higher-end version of the M1 iMac uses an 8-Core CPU with an 8-Core GPU. It also has 4 USB-C ports with 2 of 4 ports supporting Thunderbolt (USB 4). The Retina display is a 24-inch (23.5-inch) 4.5K LED (4480 x 2520 at 218 PPI). The display and computer measure just 11.5mm thick and is attached to an aluminum stand that pivots on a hinge. This model has 8GB RAM and a 2TB hard drive. Wireless connectivity includes Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Bluetooth 5.0. A gigabit ethernet port is built into the power brick (not included in the lower-end iMac M1 models).
The built-in camera and microphones are greatly enhanced compared to all other previous Mac cameras with its “Best Camera, Mics, and Speakers Ever in a Mac.” It included a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, a “studio-quality three-microphone array for clearer calls and voice recordings” and a “six-speaker sound system that produces a massive sound stage with strong, articulate bass and crystal-clear mids and highs.” The standard 3.5mm headphone jack is located on the lower-left corner of the display on the side.
This iMac shipped with a matching Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and a matching wireless Magic Mouse. A matching Magic Trackpad is also available and a wider Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keypad.
I consider the M1 iMac my longest-awaited Apple product. Before the M1, my last personal iMac was back in 2015 when I purchased the iMac 5K, 27-inch with an Intel Core i7 processor. Except for what I would consider modest speed enhancements, the iMac did not change much until the iMac Pro was released in 2017, but I never considered a $5,000+ iMac realistic for my own home use. So I waited.
When the M1 Mac chips were introduced in 2020 I knew it was only a matter of time before the M1 (or another Apple silicon chip) would appear in an iMac. The first M1 chips were put into the Mac mini, the MacBook Air, and the MacBook—all excellent computers, but the previous computer design was adopted instead of Apple offering a redesign. I almost immediately started testing the (original) M1 MacBook Air for use in the school district where I work and found its performance to not only live up to hype at the time, but exceed all expectations I had.
Meanwhile, I waited for an iMac announcement and finally got it on April 20, 2021. I ordered it the moment it was available and it arrived on June 3, 2021.
My setup commenced immediately after arrival, and I started by moving my over-800GB Photos Library to the M1. The library consists of my entire Apple Collection and is not on iCloud. The Photos app began processing the library and I was able to begin photo editing. The difference in speed was striking. Even though the processing was happening in the background, absolutely no waiting, stuttering, or sluggishness was apparent during two hours of photo editing. My previous iMac paused for the beach ball every few minutes and Photos crashed every 30 minutes or so.
While performance is a non-issue, the design and color of the iMac has been unexpected.
When the iMac M1 models were introduced, I thought for a long time about my color selection. Since the “vibrant” color is only on the back and sides, I’d never see it. I’m no fan of pastels so I needed to make a selection among options I dislike least, rather than selecting what I like most. While silver was always an option, the collector in me didn’t want to waste the opportunity to own one of six new colors. And silver is boring. After a long deliberation, I went with yellow.
I selected yellow because it is a color that Apple had never offered an an iMac, and yellow is relatively rare in other Apple devices. Other yellow devices offered by Apple have included two iPod nano models (Generations 4 and 5), iPhone 5c, iPhone XR, and iPhone 11. Apple also offered the iPod touch (Generation 5) in yellow, but this shade of yellow is more lime green than yellow.
The shades of yellow shown on Apple’s website are to my eye, very far off from the actual color. Further, the iMac M1 uses three different shades of yellow. The “chin” of the device is a pale yellow; the back and sides is a rich yellow-orange; and the aluminum base is gold with hint of yellow. The aluminum parts of the mouse and keyboard use the exact same shade of gold as the iMac base. Other yellow parts include the magnetic power plug (an exact match of the back and sides color); the braided power cord (yellow braided with white); and the braided USB-C-to-Lightning charging cable (yellow braided with white matching the power cable). The plastic glides on the bottom of the mouse introduce a fourth shade of dark yellow.
The packaging also includes several yellow accents. The photos of the iMac on the front, back, and sides of the box are all yellow, but they do not match the actual color of the iMac. To be fair, the box photos match the iMac far better than the web versions of the colors. The box contains an internal container with the accessories that is printed in yellow. The M1 iMacs each include two Apple-logo stickers, a matching light and dark version of the iMac colors (except silver which only contains one silver sticker). Finally, the three-panel “Getting Started” guide is printed in the color that matches the iMac.
I’m not bothered by these color issues, but I do find them surprising. I am no fan of the gold base, mouse, and keyboard, of my yellow iMac—I ordered yellow, not gold—but as a collector I appreciate the design and many details.
According to Apple, the Apple Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter “lets you easily connect to a high-performance Gigabit Ethernet network. Small and compact, it connects to the Thunderbolt port on your Mac computer and provides an RJ-45 port that supports 10/100/1000BASE-T networks.”
This adapter can be used with Apple computers with a Thunderbolt port, including MacBook Air (13-inch, Early 2015–2017), MacBook Air (11-inch, Early 2015), MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Late 2012–2015), MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012–2015), iMac (Retina 4K, 21.5-inch, Late 2015), iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2014–2015), Mac Pro (Late 2013), and Mac mini (Late 2014).
This MacBook Air 11-inch featured a 22-nm Haswell 1.4 GHz Intel Core i5 processor. It included 4 GB or 8 GB of memory and 128 GB or 256 GB of flash storage. This was the smallest of Apple’s MacBook Air line of laptops measuring 0.11 to 0.68 inches and weighed 2.3 pounds. It included a 720p FaceTime HD webcam, a backlit full-size keyboard, and an 11.6-inch widescreen TFT LED backlit active-matrix glossy display (1366×768).
Wireless connectivity included 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, while ports included analog audio out, one Thunderbolt port, and two USB 3.0 ports.
A previous version of the MacBook Air 11-inch nearly identical except for a slower processor and less available RAM and flash storage.
In my role as Assistant Superintendent for Technology & Innovation, I led the teams that managed nearly 4,500 of these laptops over a five-year period (2014–19). At the time, all high school students in the school district were issued a MacBook Air 11-inch and students used the same model for their 4-year high school career. Apple stopped manufacturing this laptop in 2018 and the high school switched to the iPad Generation 6.
The MacBook Air 13-inch (Mid-2013) featured a “Haswell” 1.3 GHz Intel Core i5 processor (with two processors a single chip), 4 or 8 GB of RAM, and 128 or 256 GB of flash storage. This laptop has 8 GB of RAM and a third-party upgrade to 512 GB of flash storage from OWC. Ports included analog audio out, a Thunderbolt port, two USB 3.0 ports, and one SD (SDXC) card slot. Wireless connectivity included 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
The MacBook Air is known for its thin case that tapers between 0.11 to 0.68 inches. It weighs 2.96 pounds. The screen is a 13.3 widescreen TFT glossy display at 1440×900.