How Was 2021 For You, Apple?

Every Wednesday AppleUnboxed lands in subscribers’ mailboxes. It’s an all-things-Apple guide to what’s going on with the world’s most fascinating company. Each weekend, I’ll be publishing just one item from a previous newsletter.

AppleUnboxed has much more stuff, including exclusive interviews, reviews before you can read them anywhere else (no, I mean anywhere—and the review below is an example of that), long-read features, comparison pieces, news items and more. To see all that, you’ll need to subscribe—and you’ll get it sooner, too. Sign up here.

Oh, and all previous AppleUnboxed newsletters are available, for subscribers’ eyes only, here on Forbes.

The article below first appeared in last week’s newsletter, sent to subscribers on Wednesday, December 15.

This Changes Everything: So, farewell then, 2021

Despite the continuing stresses of Covid-19 affecting everything from supply chains to masks in stores, Apple released lots of products this year. Here’s a guide to whether it was a vintage year for the company.


This was the only all-new product category from the company and it was a sleeper hit. The tracker disc looks sensational, as you’d expect from Apple. A tiny white disc with metal back. Pull the tab, hold it near your iPhone, say, and within seconds, it’s set up. It’s true that there’s no hole through which you can loop a string or lanyard, but the elegance of design outweighs convenience here. 

Apple worked out in great detail how to stop it from being a tracking device that could be used for stalking, and the company is still going down that road: only this week Apple updated the system so it’s easier to scan AirTags that shouldn’t be with you. 

iPad, iPad mini, iPad Pro

Three of the four iPads were refreshed this year. The entry-level iPad remains the best-value tablet you can buy, even if the design is beginning to look a little tired. After all, it’s the only one that has a Touch ID button on the front, preventing an all-screen look. Even so, it’s attractive and highly useful. 

The latest iPad Pro saw a…