Apple Year-In-Review 2019 Highlights

It’s been another busy year for Apple and what better way to start off 2020 than taking a look back at some of the more memorable Apple events from the last twelve month.

January

The first week in January is the massive Consumer Electronics Show (“CES”) held in Las Vegas.  Although Apple does not officially participate in CES, they made lots of news at CES 2019 with the announcement that AirPlay2-enabled Smart TVs were now available from LG, Samsung, Sony and Vizio.  With AirPlay2 integration, you can now stream video, audio, photos, etc. directly from an iPhone, iPad or Mac.  In addition, Samsung announced that their latest SmartTV models would be getting a special iTunes app so you could access content directly from the App Store to your TV.

Later in the month (January 22), Apple released software updates for all their major product lines including, iOS 12.1.3, HomePod 12.1.13, watchOS 5.1.3, macOS Mojave 10.14.3, tvOS 12.1.2.

February

Apple was front and center in the news this month but not necessarily for reasons they wanted.  A bug discovered on January 28, 2019 in the multi-party Facetime app, allowed people to listen in to a conversation even if the other person did not answer the call.  Apple quickly responded with a fix when it released iOS 12.1.4.

March

On March 18, 2019, Apple released the fifth-generation iPad Mini.  The new model included a A12 Bionic processor, Apple Pencil support, a new advanced Retina display panel, and the same price tag as the previous model.  The fifth-generation iPad Mini is available in Silver, Space Gray, and Gold, and in both 64 and 256GB storage capacities starting at $399 for the Wi-Fi model and $529 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model.

On the same day, Apple released a new iPad Air, with a 10.5-inch display, A12 Bionic chip, and Apple Pencil support. It is available with 64GB and 256GB storage. Prices started at $499 for Wi-Fi models and $629 for Wi-Fi + Cellular models.

The next day, Apple release an updated iMac with more powerful processors and graphics.

Wednesday of that week saw the release of AirPods 2, offering wireless charging and “Hey Siri” functionality, as well as a variety of iPhone cases and Apple Watch bands in a new series of “summer colors.”

On March 25, 2019, Apple held the “It’s Show Time” media event in the Steve Jobs Theater, on the new Apple Campus in Cupertino, CA.

First up was the announcement of Apple News+, a new subscription service that will give access to hundreds of magazines and publications to fit anyone’s interests.  Apple News+ is available immediately and costs $9.95 per month.  Members of a Family Share Plan can all have access to the Apple News+ service for the same $9.95 per month fee.

Apple also introduced the new Apple Card.  The new credit card service, offered in partnership with Goldman Sachs, integrates with the Wallet app and offers 2% cash back for all transactions paid for by using Apple Pay on your iPhone.  For purchases where Apple pay is not accepted, users will get a titanium card to use in stores.  Unlike any other card, the physical Apple Card will not have a number, CCV code or expiration date on it.  The Apple Card will have no monthly fees, no cash advance fees and no international use fees.  Purchases will be documented on a daily basis right on your iPhone and payments, due on the last day of the month, can also be managed right from your iPhone.

Next up was the announcement of Apple Arcade.  This is a subscription-based gaming service with over 100 games from most of the major game providers.  Games can be played on your iPhone, iPad and Mac.  Game paly will be available both on and off-line and there will be no in-app purchases or fees other than the basic rental fee.  No pricing was announced at the time of the announcement.

Finally, as expected, Apple announced the Apple TV+ service in an effort to compete with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.  Apple announced that is already delivering original content working with some of the biggest names in entertainment including Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams and Oprah Winfrey.  No pricing was announced at the event as the Apple TV+ service was due to release in the fall of 2019.

Also see:  Apple Card 3% Daily Cash Partners - Updated

May

With WWDC 2019 less than a week away, Apple announced a new iPod touch on May 28, 2019.  The seventh-generation iPod touch keeps the same design as the prior model with a 4-inch Retina display, a home button but no 3-D Touch, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a Lightning connector, and a single speaker and microphone.

The new model sports the A10 Fusion chip which is the same processor found in the iPhone 7, the iPhone 7 Plus and the sixth-generation iPad.  It also now comes in a larger 256GB model.

The new iPod Touch is available in Pink, Silver, Space Gray, Gold, Blue and (PRODUCT)RED(tm).

Prices for the new iPod Touch are $199 for 32GB, $299 for 128GB and $399 for 256GB.

June

On June 3rd, Apple opened its annual World Wide Developers Conference with the usual keynote address by Tim Cook.  Among the many announcements made, Apple introduced the usual operating system updated to be released later in the year.  They include, tvOS, watchOS 6, iOS 13, which now has its own version for the iPad which will be referred to as iPadOS and macOS 10.15, called Catalina.

Apple also announced the long-awaited Mac Pro and the companion Pro Display XDR.  The new Mac pro has a striking resemblance to the older “cheese grater” Mac Pro.  It sports an Intel Xenon processor with up to 28 cores and 12 DIMM slots for up to 1.5 terabytes of ECC DDR4 system memory.  Prices start at $5,999.

The Pro Display XDR is a 32-inch LCD with a 6K resolution of 6016 x 3384. At $4,999 it’s already pretty expensive, but that just gets you the actual display. An aluminum stand is sold separately for $999, or you can buy a VESA mount for $199.

Both the Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR will be available later this year.

On June 25th, Apple released a major update to the iWorks apps (Pages, Numbers and Keynote) for both the Mac and iOS versions.

  • For Pages, Apple added new templates for novels, and the option to reapply text to a master page so text and placeholders return to their default style and position.
  • Numbers offers improved performance while editing and sorting tables and the option to add rows to filtered tables, with support for Apple Pencil in the iOS version.
  • Keynote includes new features for editing master slides while collaborating on a presentation, and options like customizing lists with new bullet types and also adds Apple Pencil support.

July

On July 8th, Apple surprised shoppers with their announcement that the 12” MacBook was being discontinued.  This didn’t come as too much of a shock given the recent upgrade to the MacBook Air left us questioning the need for a 12” and 13” laptop.

Speaking of the MacBook Air, at the same time, Apple announced a refresh of the 2018 MacBook Air which now includes a True Tone display and a lower starting price of $1,099.  Apple also discontinued the 2017 MacBook Air, which was a carry-over from the older Air style with USB-A connections.

Not to be left out, Apple also announced an update to the Entry Level 13” MacBook Pro.  This update brings the latest 8th-generation Intel Core quad-core processors for up to two times faster performance compared to the previous generation. The familiar, and often preferred function keys have been replaced with a Touch Bar with Touch ID, a True Tone display, and the Apple T2 security chip.

Finally, Apple once again announced its Back to School promotion and again offered a variety of Beats headphones with the purchase of any one of several Mac or iPad models.

August

On August 20th, Apple release the Apple Card to the general public.  The Apple Card is a MasterCard branded credit card that lives in the Wallet app of your iPhone and also comes with a physical titanium card for those times that an electronic transaction won’t work. You can read more about the Apple Card is our Frequently Asked Question article here.

Also see:  WWDC 2020

Less than a week later, on August 26th, Apple released software updates for all of their major platforms including tvOS 12.4.1, watchOS 5.3.1, macOS Mojave 10.14.6 and iOS 12.4.1. With an anticipates major media event rumored for next month, these could be the last significant releases for these versions of the Apple operating systems.

September

On September 10th, Apple held its “By Invitation Only” media event in the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus. While some folks were disappointed that the long rumored 16” MacBook pro was not announced, Apple did not disappoint and announced the release of the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, the 7th Generation iPad, Apple Watch Series5, the Apple TV+ streaming service and Apple Arcade.

You can read all of the highlights here.

October

On October 7th, Apple Released macOS 10.15 Catalina.  This was the first version of the Mac software to support dark mode.  Apple also retired the iTunes application and now offers separate applications for music, Podcasts and Apple TV+, Apple’s new media streaming service.

Speaking of Apple TV+, on October 31st, Apple officially launched the Apple TV+ streaming service for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac, and devices like Smart TVs, Roku, Amazon Fire TV sticks, and the web at tv.apple.com.  If you’ve purchased an iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, or Mac after September 10, you get a full year’s subscription to Apple TV+ for free.  For everyone else, a subscription is $4.99 per month and can be shared by up to six (6) family members.

November

On November 13th, Apple released the long-awaited 16” MacBook Pro and at the same time, discontinued the 15” MacBook Pro.  Starting at $2,399, the 16” MacBook Pro has a 16” Retina display and can be outfitted with an 8-core processor, 8TB of SSD storage and 64GB of memory.

December

Apple certainly didn’t want to end 2019 quietly and on December 10th, made a handful of announcements.

First up, after a very long wait, Apple released the new Mac Pro.  The new desktop model can be upgraded to a 28-core Intel Xeon W processor, up to 1.5TB of RAM and 4TB of internal storage.  Prices start at $5,999 but a fully built out Mac Pro will cost you about $53,000.

But ever great computer deserves an equally great display and at the same time, Apple released the new Pro Display XDR.  This is the first 32-inch Retina 6K display, with a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio.  The monitor starts at $4,999 with an option for nano-textured glass to provide a matte finish to reduce glare.  The nano-textured glass adds $1,000 to the cost of the monitor.

If you need a VESA mount for the monitor, Apple has a matching unit for $199 but the companion Pro Stand will set you back $999.00

But new hardware wasn’t the only announcements made as there were two important Apple Card promotions announced as well.

Between December 10th and December 31st, purchased made at an Apple retail store or Apple.com, with your Apple Card got 6% Daily Cash. Apple now offers a 24-month, interest-free payment plan when you use your Apple Card to purchase a new iPhone. Unlike the 6% cash-back offer, this is not limited to the holiday shopping season.  You can get all the details on how the Apple Card Monthly Installments work at the Apple Support page at: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT210644.

Finally, Apple released updates to most of their platforms including:

macOS Catalina 10.15.2 with updates to Apple News and iPhone remote control support for music and apps.

iOS and iPad 13.3 with updates to parental controls for Screen Time, updates to Apple News, Stocks, bug fixes and other general improvements.  There is also a 13.3 update for Apple HomePod.

watchOS 6.1.1 provides general security updates.

The Bottom Line It’s been another busy year for Apple and we’re sure 2020 will be another exciting year for Apple fans. Stay connected to Apple Tech Talk for all the latest news from Apple and reviews of exciting products every Apple lover will want to know about.

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