Every year, Apple does multiple events, product launches, hits record-breaking figures, and manages to astonish its fans even though we think that couldn’t have happened. And 2021 was no different.
As the year draws to a close, it is only fair that we look back at how it was for Apple. Amidst multiple events, new products, and a pandemic, what were the things that Apple did best?
I decided to do a recap. Read on to see our inaugural Apple Awards 2021.
Disclaimer: Since this is the first iteration, I restricted myself to hardware launches, plus an award for the best Apple event, since multiple events happen annually. Moreover, these awards will solely be for Apple’s announcements in 2021, so anything launched in 2020 is out of contention.
With those rules in place, let’s get started.
1. Most Improved Product
It is only fair that the Most Improved Product award gets given first. In 2021, Apple made some big strides in the department of improvements. We saw Apple going back on their decisions with the removal of the Touch Bar, as well as switching over to USB-C for the new iPad mini.
But one of the biggest improvements in 2021 was in the iPhone 13 mini, which turned into a battery freak this year.
Last year, Apple introduced the first mini iPhone with the iPhone 12 mini. It came with great promises but failed to deliver, especially on the battery front. Apple had a mountain to climb if they really wanted iPhone 13 mini to have a strong foothold in the smartphone market.
With iPhone 13 mini, Apple managed to not only quash the critics but also hit the nail on the head because iPhone 13 mini is a battery champ.
Winner 1: iPhone 13 mini
But that’s not all! There is yet another Apple product that’s supremely worthy of being called the “Most Improved Product”, and that accolade goes to MacBook Pro. Fueled by the M1 Pro/Max chips of 2021, Apple really did a number on the competition in raw power.
But what truly makes the MacBook Pro a winner is the return of Pro-level ports like HDMI and SD Card Reader. Pro name, Pro features, Pro price!
Winner 2: MacBook Pro
2. Best Color from Apple
Color has always played a huge role in Apple’s history. The rainbow-colored Apple logo epitomizes this relationship.
2021 also saw Apple exploring the RGB-spectrum, with new colors for iPad mini, iPhone 13, Apple Watch, HomePod mini.
In my journey towards deciding the winner for this category, my mind wandered towards the Sierra Blue of iPhone 13 Pro series. While it’s incredibly eye-appealing, anybody who bought the Sierra Blue iPhone 13 Pro (or Pro Max) will agree that it looks way better in Apple’s promos and official films than in real life.
So, as fancy as the naming was this year, Sierra Blue couldn’t carry itself to the win.
Which left the door wide open for iPad mini to swoop into the battlefield and take home the winner’s trophy with its Purple color.
The purple iPad mini not only has a soothing look but also looks majestic in person. The pastel-color fanboy in me couldn’t resist this look of iPad mini.
Winner: iPad Mini Purple color
3. Best Apple Event
2021 was quite an eventful year for Apple. While there weren’t as many Apple Events as 2020, we got plenty.
Four Apple Events happened in 2021:
- April Event – Apple announced a new iMac as well as iPad Pro, both packing an M1 chip, along with AirTags.
- WWDC – Apple’s annual software event, where we are introduced to the new versions of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and watchOS.
- September Event – The traditional iPhone event, which gave us the first glimpse of new iPhones, will eventually set the world ablaze with their power and glory. We also got a look at the next-generation Apple Watch and an iPad refresh.
- October Event – We were welcomed to the future of computing, with the introduction of new MacBooks, all powered by Apple’s supremely powerful M1 Pro & M1 Max chips. Apple also wowed us with new AirPods.
A lot happened this year; each event had its charm. But one managed to rise head and shoulders over the rest, and pretty comfortably, I might add. And that was the October event.
Dominated by the sheer power of computing and the advancements that Apple managed with the new Apple Silicon, there was never a doubt in my mind that this year belongs to the M1 Pro & M1 Max chips.
The October Event was an absolute power move by Apple, reminding everyone of who they are and what they can do. Big ups to Tim Cook and the leadership.
Winner: Apple October Event
4. Most Underwhelming Product
I could only get this far without bringing it up, but 2021 wasn’t perfect for Apple. There were many ups but also some downs for them.
Not every product was a 100% hit, hence the existence of this category.
Every tech company has an Achilles Heel, and for Apple, that is HomePod mini!
2020 was when HomePod mini took its first breath. And while the global smart speaker market is getting incredibly competitive, Apple took a different approach.
While most of us expected HomePod mini to get better with an annual refresh, Apple thought it would be best to just give it new colors this year. No feature bump, no performance enhancements, just new colors.
Not earning any brownie points from me!
Winner: HomePod mini color update
5. Best Apple Product according to People
Since these are Apple Awards, it is only fair to have a category for the Best Product. But instead of deciding separately which iPhone was best and which MacBook was the better choice, I combined every Apple Product under one list and weighed their pros and cons against each other.
While I will get to my choice eventually, I also decided to ask people what their favorite Apple Product was from 2021.
The iGeeksBlog team conducted a week-long poll on our Instagram account where we asked our followers to pick their favorite Apple products.
For the sake of mathematical correctness, we had to omit a few products to properly conduct the voting.
We chose the following pairs in the first round:
- iPhone 13 mini vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max
- iPad Mini 6 vs. iPad 9
- iPad Pro M1 vs. MacBook Pro
- Apple Watch Series 7 vs. AirPods 3
After some intense polling, we got to the final round where (rather predictably) the competition was between iPhone 13 Pro Max and Apple Watch Series 7.
And iPhone 13 Pro Max managed to comfortably beat Apple Watch Series 7. Thus, earning itself the People’s Choice Award for the Best Apple Product of 2021.
Winner: iPhone 13 Pro Max
6. Best Apple Product of 2021
The iGeeksBlog Team had their say as well in deciding which product was the best one in 2021. There were many opinions, with the ultimate final round happening between iPad Pro with M1 chip and iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Both are incredibly impressive devices!
iPhone 13 Pro Max made a compelling case for itself, being the first iPhone to have a ProMotion 120Hz refresh rate, the best camera on an iPhone ever, and industry-leading battery life.
The fact that iPad Pro had an M1 chip at its heart that thumped power with every beat, the circuitry responding to its new master.
Despite so much power, Apple restricted iPad Pro to using iPad apps. Had we gotten the ability to run demanding apps like Final Cut Pro on this iPad Pro, it would’ve managed to eke out the win.
The fact that it can’t take advantage of all the power leaves a gaping hole in its existence, which is something that iPhone 13 Pro Max doesn’t have.
Its A15 Bionic chip runs at full tilt without throttling the performance, giving you comically insane performance for a smartphone.
iPhone 13 Pro Max really is the Best iPhone of 2021 and the Best Apple Product of the Year.
Winner: iPhone 13 Pro Max
Do you agree with these Awards? Let’s grab a cup of coffee and discuss your opinions in the comments section.
With this, we draw the curtain on yet another year in Apple’s history. While 2021 amazed us and made us jump with joy, we also felt the odd speedbump slowing us down ever so slightly.
Here’s hoping 2022 brings more glorious things!
Till then, enjoy reading the below: