The iPhone 6s had a 4.7-inch “3D Touch” Retina HD screen at 1334 × 750 (326 ppi). The iPhone 6s cameras were vastly improved over the iPhone 6 that preceded it: a rear 12-megapixel 4K iSight camera and a front 5-megapixel FaceTime camera in 720p (the iPhone 6 used a, 8-megapixel back camera and 1.2-megapixel front camera).
The iPhone 6s was available in four colors: silver (white glass front, silver back); gold (white glass front, gold back); space gray (black glass front, medium-gray back); and rose gold (white glass front, pink-tinted gold back).
The iPhone 6s did not use a physical Home button, but used its Taptic engine to simulate the click. It also used a Touch ID fingerprint sensor in the Home button.
Inside, the iPhone 6s used the Apple A9 processor with 2 GB of RAM and was available in 16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB, or 128 GB of flash storage. The iPhone 6s was the last iPhone to include a headphone jack (located on the bottom) and used the Lightning port to connect to computer, dock, or power adapter.
This iPhone 6s example is Space Gray, a shade of dark gray with a black glass front.
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.
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.
The iPad Generation 5 was released on March 21, 2017, and was described as having a “stunning Retina display and incredible performance.” It was offered in Silver, Gold, and Space Gray. It was available in 32GB and 128GB configurations with WI-Fi-only or with Wi-Fi+Cellular capabilities. This example is a 32GB Space Gray Wi-Fi-only model.
In a press release, Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, said:
“iPad is the world’s most popular tablet. Customers love the large, 9.7-inch display for everything from watching TV and movies, to surfing the web, making FaceTime calls, and enjoying photos… New customers and anyone looking to upgrade will love this new iPad for use at home, in school, and for work, with its gorgeous Retina display, our powerful A9 chip, and access to the more than 1.3 million apps designed specifically for it.”
It used a 9.7-inch LED-backlit Multi-Touch Retina display at 2048 x 1536-pixel resolution (264 ppi). This iPad measured 9.4 inches (240 mm) x 6.6 inches (169.5 mm), and was 0.29 inch (7.5 mm) thick. It weighed 1.03 pounds (469 g). This iPad was powered by the A9 Fusion chip.
The back camera was 8 Megapixels with features such as Autofocus, Panorama (up to 43 megapixels), and HDR. The front FaceTime HD Camera was 1.2 Megapixels.
It used five sensors including Touch ID, a 3-axis gyro, accelerometer, barometer, and an ambient light sensor. Its Home button used the Touch ID fingerprint identity sensor.
The iPad Generation 5 originally shipped with iOS 11.
When Apple released the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, they described the device: “Breakthrough Pro Features & Advanced Display Technologies Come to the Most Popular iPad Size.” Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, added,
“iPad Pro is a new generation of iPad that is indispensable and immersive, enabling people to be more productive and more creative. It’s incredibly fast, extremely portable, and completely natural to use with your fingers, Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard. And now it comes in two sizes. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro has a new Retina display with True Tone technology, four-speaker audio system, blazing fast A9X chip, 12-megapixel iSight camera, 5-megapixel FaceTime HD camera, faster wireless, and support for Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard. It is the ultimate upgrade for existing iPad users and replacement for PC users.”
The iPad Pro 9.7-inch was offered in Silver, Gold, Space Gray, and Rose Gold in Wi‑Fi-only and Wi-Fi+Cellular options with 32GB, 128GB, or 256GB storage. This is a Space Gray, Wi-Fi-only, 32GB model.
Its form factor was similar to other 9.7-inch iPad models offered by Apple. It measured 9.4 inches (240 mm) x 6.6 inches (169.5 mm), and was 0.24 inch (6.1 mm) thick. It weighed 0.96 pound (437 grams).
The primary back camera was 12-megapixel with features including Live Photos, Autofocus, True Tone flash, Panorama (up to 63 megapixels), and auto HDR. The front FaceTime HD camera was 5-megapixel with support for 720p HD video recording.
This iPad had 6 sensors, including Touch ID, a 3‐axis gyro, accelerometer, barometer, ambient light sensor, and Touch ID built into the Home button.
The iPad 9.7-inch shipped with iOS 10. As of 2023, Apple has never released another 9.7-inch iPad Pro model.
The iPad Generation 6 was considered Apple’s “base” iPad when it was released on March 27, 2018. It was offered in Silver, Gold, and Space Gray. It was available in 32GB and 128GB configurations with Wi-Fi-only or with Wi-Fi+Cellular capabilities. This example is a 32GB Space Gray Wi-Fi-only model.
This iPad was announced in Chicago at an education-focused event at Lane Tech High School. An Apple Press Release stated:
“The new 9.7-inch iPad and Apple Pencil give users the ability to be even more creative and productive, from sketching ideas and jotting down handwritten notes to marking up screenshots. The new iPad is more versatile and capable than ever, features a large Retina display, the A10 Fusion chip and advanced sensors that help deliver immersive augmented reality, and provides unmatched portability, ease of use and all-day battery life.”
The iPad generation 6 used a 9.7-inch LED-backlit Multi-Touch Retina display at 2048 x 1536-pixel resolution (264 ppi). This iPad measured 9.4 inches (240 mm) x 6.6 inches (169.5 mm), and was 0.29 inch (7.5 mm) thick. It weighed 1.03 pounds (469 g). This iPad was powered by the A10 Fusion chip.
The back camera was 8 Megapixels with features such as Autofocus, Panorama (up to 43 megapixels), and HDR. The front FaceTime HD Camera was 1.2 Megapixels.
This iPad used five sensors including a 3-axis gyro, accelerometer, barometer, and an ambient light sensor. Its Home button included the Touch ID fingerprint identity sensor.
This was the first base-model iPad to support the Apple Pencil and the Logitech Crayon, and it originally shipped with iOS 12.
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.
The original iPhone SE (Special Edition) was released along with the larger iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Many users preferred the smaller size of this phone and its flat sides that used the same design as the iPhone 5s.
The original iPhone SE’s exterior differed from the iPhone 5s in its finishes, including four colors, and matte (instead of shiny) edges. Colors for the iPhone SE included Silver (white glass front and a silver aluminum sides and back with a white top and bottom detail); Space Gray (black glass front and a gunmetal gray aluminum sides and back with a black top and bottom detail); Gold (white glass front and a gold aluminum sides and back with a white top and bottom detail); and Rose Gold (white glass front and a pink-tinted gold aluminum sides and back with a white top and bottom detail).
The original iPhone SE used a 4-inch Retina display (1136×640 at 326 ppi). Its two cameras included a rear 12-megapixel iSight camera with a True Tone flash and a front 1.2-megapixel 720p FaceTime camera.
A Touch ID fingerprint sensor was embedded in the Home button of the iPhone SE. It used Apple’s A9 processor and was available with 16, 32, 64, or 128 GB storage. Wireless connections included 4G/LTE, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, and NFC (Apple Pay). Wired connections included a headphone jack and a Lightning connector.
The iPhone SE would become the first iPhone name to be later reused (in April 2020) in a completely different design.
The iPhone 5s was released in 2013 as a successor to the iPhone 5. While previous “s” updates delivered only slight enhancements, the 5s had major upgrades internally and externally. The iPhone 5s included an A7 chip (Apple’s first 64-bit “system-on-a-chip”), Apple’s first fingerprint Touch ID, and greatly enhanced cameras with a flash system that used different color temperatures.
The iPhone 5s was offered in three metallic colors: silver (white glass front with a metallic sliver back), gold (white glass front with a metallic gold back), and space gray (black glass front with metallic gunmetal gray back). Its touch screen was a Retina display (1136 x 640). The back camera was an 8-megapixel iSight camera (1080p), and the front camera was a 1.2 megapixel FaceTime camera (720p).
The A7 chip that powered the iPhone 5s ran at 1.3 GHz and storage was offered at 16, 32, or 64 GB. Wireless connections included 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and 4G/LTE. Wired connections included the Lightning connector and a standard headphone jack.
This was the first iPhone to ship with iOS 7, the first iOS version designed under Jony Ive that removed the previous “skeuomorphic” design aesthetic that used true-life design elements such as faux textures, drop shadows, glossy surfaces, beveled edges, and other real-world visual cues (e.g., the Notes app icon resembled a legal pad with torn-off pages, the Newsstand app icon that resembled a book case). Instead, iOS 7 icons and interfaces were flat and featured a defined colorful palette.
The iPad Air 2 was the first iPad to use Touch ID. It was announced at an October 2014 Apple event titled, “Change Is in the Air.” This iPad was available in three colors: gold (gold aluminum back with a white glass front), silver (silver aluminum back with a white glass front), and space gray (dark gray aluminum back with a black glass front).
The 9.7-inch touchscreen Retina Display was 2048×1536 (at 264 ppi) and featured an antireflective coating. Internally, it used a three-core 1.5 GHz A8X processor, 2 GB of RAM, and was available with 16, 32, 64, or 128 GB of storage.
Its rear 8-megapixel iSight camera recorded video at 1080p (30 fps), and its front 1.2-megapixel FaceTime HD camera recoded video at 720p.