Here Are Apple’s Best Recent Product Releases

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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.

4 Comments Add a comment

  1. geoduck

    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 I tried.

    I do however agree with you about charging the AP. The idea of sticking it in the bottom of my iPad scares me to death. It’s hanging out there just asking to be bumped into and snapped off destroying both devices. So I charge it at home with a regular USB-Lightning cable. Oh wait because they put a male end on the AP I have to use, and keep track of an adaptor no bigger than the last joint on my little finger oh and not lose the cap from the end of the AP as well. What would a better solution have been? A female plug on the end of the AP that any Lightning cable could have plugged into. Then an adaptor, with a couple inches of flexible cable in it so you could safely charge it with your iPad.

    But charging issues aside I do love the iPP 10.5 and AP.

  2. Old UNIX Guy

    Best product of recent years? AirPods.

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

    Old UNIX Guy

  3. wab95

    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 need to communicate directly with another app to make that happen. However, on a recent working conference, I used my iPad Pro only in order to do a multi-party application for non-emergency vaccine supply for a country I will not name, but the process required me to collaborate with several colleagues all who were using Wintel PCs, including Word and embedded graphics and it went without a hitch. One of my colleagues was sceptical when I pulled my iPad out of my backpack to start working, until he saw what it could do, and that it could link to the internet more reliably than his PC and pull files out of the cloud, in nearly any format, including PDFs that I could manipulate in PDF Pen, and work with them. It’s no longer my MBP that I invariably carry with me, but my iPad Pro. Did not see that coming as soon as it did.

    The AW I’ve commented on before, but suffice it to say, I use it every day, throughout the day, for everything from opening my MBP, making purchases, checking the whether, my feeds, tracking my workouts, reminding me to stand/breath, communicating in nearly every format from Skype, Messenger, iMessage, telephony; tracking/managing appointments and flights…oh yes, and checking the time.

    Love the iPhone X. Can’t wait for facial recognition/new gestures to come to the iPad Pro. Enough said.

    The MBP TB; I know many will disagree with me. And? I do use the TouchBar more than I anticipated; beyond paying for online purchases and icons. I maintain that it is tech that Apple could take to an entirely different level, however it is not clear that they will. My only gripe about the MBP is the 16 GB cap on RAM. I do think there is a performance tax for that cap, which I will be pleased to see lifted, perhaps as soon as the next gen CPU.

    The Apple Pencil I personally use less often than I thought I would. I don’t draw and my use case is primarily in marking up and/or signing documents. However, I do appreciate the technology.

    I have not yet purchased AirPods, so cannot rate or rank them; nor have I justified purchasing the iMac Pro. Not yet. Working on it. I’m still working up to buying the HomePod, which TMO have put me off of until I can test drive one at my local Apple Store. Now, to find the time to physically go visit one.

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