Here Are Apple’s Best Recent Product Releases

iPhone X, iPad Pro, AirPods

What are the best devices released by Apple in the past few years? That’s a pretty subjective list, so I asked the TMO staff what they thought, and the answers were pretty interesting. Read on to see what we think shows Apple’s best work.

iPhone X, iPad Pro, AirPods

I tasked each of our writers with giving me a list of three to five devices from the past few years that are Apple’s best products. Bryan Chaffin and I talked about the results on Apple Context Machine, along with the inspiration behind the idea.

Three products get an honorable mention with a single vote each: iMac Pro, 12-inch USB-C MacBook, and the Force Touch Trackpad. The rest of the votes had the iPhone X, 10.5-inch iPad Pro, Apple Watch, Apple Pencil, and AirPods in tight competition.

Apple Watch earned the most votes (5), followed by the 10.5-inch iPad Pro and AirPods (4), and iPhone X and Apple Pencil (3). I find it fascinating that all of the top-vote products are mobile devices. That’s even with Apple Pencil having the most horribly designed charging system outside of the Magic Mouse 2. Apparently everything else the Apple Pencil does outweighs sticking it tail-end into an iPad to charge.

best Apple product charts

I’ll happily admit Apple Pencil was on my list, and I can’t imagine using my 10.5-inch iPad Pro without it. That doesn’t, however, stop me from cursing Apple’s engineers every time I need to charge it.

Granted, my sample set was pretty small, but I still find the results interesting because the clear cut winners for best products were all from Apple’s mobile category. Maybe that’s a sign that Apple seems to be more focused on its mobile devices than desktops and laptops. Or maybe it’s a sign that TMO’s staff spends a lot of time working on the go.

It’s also interesting that HomePod didn’t make it onto anyone’s list. Maybe that’ll change next year after Apple has a chance to give us some updates.

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Great idea for an article Jeff!

W. Abdullah Brooks, MD

Jeff: Many thanks for that nano survey. I concur with most of it. I did listen to your ACM podcast last night during my evening exercise. My ranking would be: 1) iPad Pro 10.5″; 2) Apple Watch; 3 )iPhone X; 4) MBP TB, 5) Apple Pencil. The iPad Pro (with Apple keyboard) has easily become the MVP in my tech arsenal. There are very few things that I cannot do with it (although those few are important, such as writing with cite-while-you-write capability using Endnote or data analysis with Stata). Sandboxing may forever bar CWYW capability, as one app would… Read more »

Old UNIX Guy

Best product of recent years? AirPods.

Worst product of recent years? 2016-2017 MacBook (not really) Pro’s.

Old UNIX Guy


Nice assessment. I have an iPad Pro 10.5 and love it. Use it every day. I also got an Apple Pencil, though I have to admit not without a bit of trepidation. I mean $129 CDN was a lot. But I bit the bullet and went for it. It is fantastic. I’ m back to drawing regularly. My art output has gone up 10X. All because I can do it on my iPP whenever the mood strikes me, and post it immediately when done. Procreate and Graphic are much more useful with the AP. More than with any inexpensive stylus… Read more »