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Tools of the Trade: June 2021

By Michael Castelluccio
June 1, 2021

1. iMAC

Among the products launched at Apple’s “Spring Loaded” event, the completely redesigned iMac now has the company’s powerful new 8-core M1 chip, a 24″ 4.5K Retina display, and up to 16GB of unified memory and 2TB of storage. The M1 chip has an 8-core CPU, 7-core GPU, and a 16-core Neural Engine. Its thin profile enables a screen designed to be only 0.45″ thick. The overall weight of the new iMac is less than 10 lbs., and it stands 18.1″ tall, 21.5″ wide, and less than 6″ deep. Also new are its seven colors—blue, green, pink, silver, yellow, orange, and purple. The Magic Keyboard is color-coordinated and has a numeric keypad and Touch ID. The Retina monitor displays one billion colors at a resolution of 4,480 x 2,520 at 218 ppi, and there is a USB-C port that can output to an external display at up to 6K. The audio has six high-fidelity speakers with Dolby Atmos. There’s a studio-quality array of three directional microphones and a 1,080p FaceTime HD camera with M1 image signal processor. And you can opt for a built-in VESA mount adapter for wall or adjustable arm mounting. www.apple.com

 

2. iPAD PRO

The major improvements in the newly released iPad Pro line include Apple’s M1 chip, a Liquid Retina XDR screen, and 5G connectivity. The M1 chip makes the iPad Pro the fastest tablet in its class. The CPU is 8-core, the GPU 8-core, and the Neural Engine is 16-core, all providing 50% faster CPU performance and 40% faster graphics. The 12.9″ display has a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1, enabled by more than 10,000 mini-LEDs. The 12MP ultrawide front camera works with the new Center Stage function. During video calls, as you move, the screen follows to keep you in the center of the frame. Along with the ultrawide 10MP camera, there are a 12MP wide camera and a LiDAR (light detection and ranging) scanner to measure light reflection for immersive augmented reality content. www.apple.com

 

3. APPLE AIRTAG

The latest addition to Apple’s “Find My” ecosystem are called AirTags. The small discs attach to items you don’t want to lose—keys, handbags, backpacks, gear bags, etc. They connect to the Find My network and protect the location data with end-to-end encryption. They’re small and water- and dust-resistant, and they have built-in speakers to play sounds as alerts. The batteries are replaceable. You link your tags to your phone by bringing the two close to each other and then assign a name for the item you’re tagging. To find your tagged items, use the Find My app on your phone to get the current or last known location, or, if you’re within range of Bluetooth, you can get the app to play a sound on the AirTag. www.apple.com

 

4. iPHONE 12

For those looking for a new iPhone at the Apple Spring Loaded event, there was only a new purple version of the iPhone 12 that became available in May 2021. The iPhone 13 will now have to wait until the other major Apple launch in the fall. What was featured for the iPhone 12 was an expansion of its current capabilities, including a Find My function for the new AirTag and a major new privacy option for protecting your personal information online. The recent iOS upgrade to 14.5 will give your phone an app-tracking transparency function that’s worth a look. A video titled “Privacy | App Tracking Transparency | Apple” explains your options. www.apple.com

 

Michael Castelluccio has been the technology editor for Strategic Finance for 26 years. His SF TechNotes blog is in its 23rd year. You can contact Mike at mcastelluccio@imanet.org.


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