The Most Iconic Apple Events

Tim Cook at Apple Event September 2021

The 1980s-1990s

Starting with the Apple Press Conference of 1984, Steve was standing in front of a podium and introducing the original Macintosh. This computer introduced what would later be known as macOS to users for the first time. People were amazed at the Graphical User interface. At the time it was still a new thing. Next, the Apple Special Event 1998 introduced the original iMac; the more I think about this, the 2021 iMac intro reminded me so much of the 1998 intro of the original. Maybe it’s because the 2021 iMac 24″ is a reincarnation of this iMac. The audience was in awe of what Apple had accomplished as the company almost went bankrupt. But this is the product Steve Jobs said: “Saved Apple due to its innovative technology.” This was also one of the first computers to introduce the Internet, which in 1998 was still new.

2000s-2010s

Next, we jump to October 2001 with the introduction of what killed MP3 players, the iPod. This keynote was quieter, but we saw celebs in it and young Jony Ive explaining the design. Of course, the iMac G4 was a great event; the design paid homage to the now iconic Pixar logo (Now owned by Disney), but Steve Jobs founded and served as CEO of Pixar. 

Then we went to the Apple Special Event at the Paris Expo in 2005 to introduce Apple’s iconic iMac Design (which, in 2021, the 27″ iMac looks similar to this design). The new design was all white and presented a new stand for the product. This would be one of the best designs of the iMac since the original, and it was an all-in-one compared to the iconic G4 that Apple previously had and didn’t have a different base. 

Next, we go to the 2005 introduction of the iPod nano, which replaced the bestselling iPod mini at the time. This also came with a new user interface for the iPods that took heavily from the OSX interface, which then, when the iPhone/iPod touch/iPad were released, took the same cues from the OSX interface. The iPod nano was the bestselling iPod until 2009 when the then 2-year-old iPod touch took the name for the bestselling. Of course, the January 2007 Apple Event was one that many of us have in our hearts as the original iPhone 2G was announced and changed phones forever. It even led to Android copycats just a year later, in 2008, Google Nexus One and Samsung Galaxy, which Apple did have a lawsuit with for Trade Dress.

 Next, the Apple Music Event 2007 in September 2007, Apple had its annual iPod + iTunes event giving new updates to iTunes but also introducing the new lower-cost iPhone for people who wanted Apple’s unique experience of the iPhone. But it was more affordable; the iPod touch was a star product from Apple, and it had everything an iPhone had except for a cellular plan. The demand for iPod touches was so high that it became why people would buy an iPhone 3G which was as low as an iPod touch in 2008.

 We jump over to late 2007 with the introduction of the MacBook Air, which to this day had the most lasting effect on the laptop market and is why the market is what it is today. The famous line “it’s so thin it can fit in an envelope” is precisely how he revealed the product. This product was so revolutionary it sent other notebook makers back to the drawing board as, at the time, the thinnest notebook was from Sony, and it was bulky as the MacBook Air was lighter than both ends of the Sony notebook. 

2010s – 2020s

Next on to 2010 starting with the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4 was the best design iPhone ever. It was the 3rd redesign of the iPhone lineup and the best design language and continued onto the iPhone 5 lineup. The phone leaked heavily, did not make Steve Jobs happy and involved Gizmodo doing someone dirty and causing his personal life to suffer. That’s why Steve jokes in the keynote, “Stop me if you’ve seen it,” and the audience laughs. This device was revolutionary and the first to feature Apple Silicon with the A4 chip. It also came in black and white as the first version of iOS to support wallpaper on the home screen of iOS 4. 

Next, we jump to the introduction of the iPad in 2010. It was a revolutionary tablet, an essential product Steve Jobs made before passing a year later. Steve Jobs said he became depressed when people called the iPad an oversized iPod touch and a failure. Steve believed this product would change the world. And yes, he was very much right about that because it was the best-selling Apple Product on the first weekend as the demand was high for the tablet. This led to speculation of the iPad mini being in development. But that only came out for another two years in 2012. Now 2011 was a quite an S year. But also significant updates to the iPad with the iPad 2 being introduced. It included a camera for the first time on the front and rear. The design got thinner than the original iPad and received a white color. Unfortunately, that was Steve’s Last Keynote; he passed away a day after the iPhone 4s was introduced on October 5th, 2011. 

Tim Cook’s Era 1: Now to 2012 another year of redesigns across all of Apple’s Product Lineup. The funny thing is the iPad 3 came out in early 2012 but later 2012, the iPad 4 came alongside the iPad mini due to iPad 3 problems, so they quickly changed to the iPad 9.7″ a few months later. The iPhone 5 was the first phone to introduce a new 4″ display no more 3.5″ displays. It has been like that ever since. The iPod touch and Nano lines received redesigns, similar to the iPhone 5. This design choice led to the lightning connectors and the beginning of a design trend with the iPod Touch that would later influence the iPhone 6. The iPod touch also became the first to have a 4″ screen moving away from the 3.5″ screen of the previous generations. The iPod nano received its final redesign and also gained the lightning connector.

 Later in 2012 Apple redesigned its iMac lineup, which last received a design update in 2009 with the aluminum unibody. In 2021 we call these iMacs now Slim-unibody as they were a redesign but looked identical to the previous version design-wise. The edge was radically thin at 5mm, a really thin edge, but the back was more delicate than the previous version but not as thin as the edge. The back still had a bulge, and surprisingly the 27″ iMac still has this design in 2022, while the 24″ iMac just received a significant redesign in April 2021. 

Also at this event was the introduction of the iPad mini alongside the iPad 4. The iPad mini looked like a larger iPod touch 5th gen with the new design language that came. It was a 7.9″ display and fully a new design, not just a smaller iPad 4. 

2013’s great products under Tim Cook were the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s. The iPhone 5c was the first colorful iPhone and a new approach to Apple bringing a more affordable iPhone to market that would replace the iPhone 5. Also, in 2013 came iOS 7, the most significant change to iOS since the original iPhone, which brought new icons, a new user interface, and a unique experience. Only a few people liked iOS 7 because of the story behind the scenes. 

2014 was another redesign year with the iPod touch and iPad mini design language coming to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, marking the biggest iPhones ever. Increasing from the iPhone 5,5c, the 5s screen size of 4″. The new sizes were 4.7″ and 5.5″. These redesigned smartphones began Tim Cook’s era and the introduction of one of his most revolutionary products, the Apple Watch. 

The Apple Watch was the first watch Apple has ever made if you don’t count the 6th gen iPod Nano. This watch looked clean and stunning when it was introduced. Samsung launched its Galaxy Watch before Apple’s keynote to make it seem as if Apple copied Samsung, but ultimately Samsung’s watch failed, and Apple has become the #1 and most popular watch brand since 2015. At this September 2014 keynote, we also got the introduction to the Apple Pay service, the first service announced under Tim Cook. This service was available for iPhone 6, 6 Plus, and Apple Watch and still is on current iPhones and Apple devices today. 

In March 2015 we got the introduction and resurrection of the 12″ MacBook model. It was an incredibly beautiful computer, but it was not what most wanted. This computer was stunning and thin but lacked performance like its predecessor. The White polycarbonate MacBook was its previous model that used the MacBook name. It was the middle ground between the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. More powerful than the MacBook Air and less powerful than the MacBook Pro. This also led to speculation of the MacBook Air being replaced by this notebook since it wasn’t the thinnest or the lightest anymore. 

In September 2016, Apple introduced its iconic and popular headphones AirPods. This is Tim Cook’s 2nd most innovative product as CEO. These were named and talked about because the design looks like spin brushes in your ear. In the end, they still needed to become the best-selling headphones worldwide. 

In 2016 we also got the iPhone 7, the first iPhone without a headphone jack, also the first iPhone with a capacitive home button. The headphone jack caused quite a bit of controversy as it was the first iPhone without one and it was said Apple did it purposely to get AirPods to sell well. This was also the first iPhone to bring two cameras, a telephoto and a wide angle. 

2017 brought the iMac Pro, the first Slim Unibody iMac with a space gray finish instead of standard silver like the iMac 2012 and Retina iMac 2015. It was the most powerful iMac Apple has ever made; as of February 2021, it has been discontinued.

 In September 2017 we also received a brand-new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, bringing updated technology including Qi Wireless charging for the first time and the A11 Bionic chip. At this same event, the 3rd most innovative product under Tim Cook’s Apple was introduced, the iPhone X. The X meant ten since 2017 was the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. Apple also used the X back when they released OSX in 2001; this phone was influential. Just like the original iPhone, the Android competition tried to copy the most prominent features of the iPhone X. First, starting with Face ID, it’s the most secure biometric ever. Previously Touch ID was introduced in 2013 on the iPhone 5s, which would’ve been only four years between the iPhone 5s and iPhone X release. It used 3D mapping of your face with all the new sensors into the notch (which was also controversial). This iPhone also featured no home button, and with this came a larger all-screen area with the iPhone’s first OLED Display from Samsung. This iPhone also had two cameras on the back, with a telephoto and wide-angle being included. Another controversial move by Apple was the iPhone X’s price, which started at $999 for 64GB. That was considered too expensive, and most people said the iPhone X would fail. But by the holidays of 2017, the iPhone X was the world’s best-selling phone, and I can tell you everywhere I went, I saw them everywhere.

 In 2018 Apple brought back an affordable iPhone with colors, something they last did in 2013 with the iPhone 5c. This iPhone XR became the best-selling iPhone for three years in a row 2018,2019, and 2020. It was the best-selling iPhone from Apple. In 2021 it was discontinued but the iPhone XR was a phone targeted more to the Gen Z teenager market as many teenagers had them. When I went out to the mall or Six Flags, I saw the iPhone XR everywhere.

 2018 also brought a brand-new design language from Apple (technically it started with the iPhone X). Apple revealed the all-new iPad Pro with no home button, just like the iPhone X, Xs, and XR. It had a lot of technologies from the iPhone XR released in October 2018. The same Liquid Retina Display, same camera, same true tone. But it was different when it came down to performance. The iPad Pro had the A12X Bionic chip, which was way more powerful and still more powerful than any PC laptop or Mac you could buy at the time. Now it is on par with the M1 chip performance, which is when rumors came that Apple would put that chip inside a Mac. It also came with a new 11″ size and a smaller footprint than the iPad Pros from 2015. More innovations included the second-generation Apple Pencil, which could magnetically charge on the side of the iPad. Unlike the first-generation pencil, you had to stick the lightning connector into the bottom of the iPad. 

We also received some mighty Mac redesigns, including a new, redesigned MacBook Air, which was the first redesign of the MacBook Air since its introduction. It gained features like Touch ID and colors like Gold and Space Gray. The MacBook Air also received a Retina Display, the best display ever on a notebook. The Mac Mini received an update that wasn’t expected to receive that redesign as rumors circulated that Apple would discontinue the product before that event occurred.

Now we go to 2019 specifically WWDC 2019 where we got a redesigned Mac Pro, the second redesign under Tim Cook. The previous design was a significant departure from the Tower that many of us were familiar with before 2013. But, in 2019 that design returned in its full glory, along with receiving the new iPad Pro design language and the release of the Pro Display XDR. This was another one of the significant products under Tim Cook, with it being praised for all the innovation it packed in. Also, in 2019 we received our first iPhone with the Pro moniker added. The iPhone 11 Pro introduced new camera technology and added an Ultra-Wide camera to the camera array compared to the previous iPhone Xs, which only had a Wide and telephoto. 

2020s – Present

Then we jump to 2020, where Apple’s world, like many of the rest of us our world was rocked. Apple began virtual events but released a new iPad Pro with two cameras, an A12Z chip, and a new iPhone SE that replaced the iPhone 8 series. 

WWDC 2020 came with a vast announcement Apple will finally be switching from Intel chips and putting Apple Silicon inside their Mac hardware, as well as the announcement of macOS Big Sur, which did away with OSX, which did last almost 20 years. macOS Big Sur had a massive design overhaul, and that was when Apple started moving up numbers in terms of version history, just like iOS. 

In late 2020 Apple introduced a new iPad Air fully redesigned, which in iPad history was the first iPad to receive a colorful update. And the all-new category of Apple Watch, the Apple Watch SE. The SE was a more affordable Apple Watch mainly aimed at teenagers and kids. 

In October 2020, we received a major iPhone Update. The iPhone 12 was introduced with a new design similar to the iconic iPhone 4 and 5, which returned to the iPad Pro in 2018. As well as 5G and new screen sizes of 2 6.1″ models, a 5.1″ and the new max size of 6.7″ replacing the 6.5″ display of the previous model. Apple also for the first time gave all the iPhones OLED instead of the cheaper regular model having Liquid Retina. 

In November 2020, we received our first Apple Silicon Macs in the supposed two-year transition. The M1 chip was held as revolutionary when introduced in the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro 13″, and Mac Mini. All computers kept their previous designs in this first stage of the transition. 

A redesign era has recently begun under Tim Cook, which started in 2020. In December 2020, we got the AirPods Max, Apple’s over-ear headphones that came in fun colors and a premium design. 

In 2021 or rounding out the year and the best event this year occurred in April 2021. Spring Loaded was an event filled with redesigns. First, the Siri Remote was redesigned, which looks very similar to an iPod mixed with an original Apple TV Remote.

 We also received a new product category AirTag which again resembled the older iPods and iPod touches, and we even got the AirTag Loop which was a former iPod touch (5th Gen) accessory by the name of iPod touch Loop. This feature helps you find things you may displace and was heavily rumored for years. The showstopper was the redesigned 24″ iMac that came. This was the most significant change to the iMac in 9 years. It had the Pro Display XDR stand, thinner bezels, colors (similar to iPad Air and AirPods Max), and the M1 chip. This was the first redesigned Mac around Apple Silicon. Another showstopper was the iPad Pro M1; the M1 isn’t just in the iMac. It is now in the iPad Pro and will blow you away, which it did as they said in the event. This iMac is 5000% faster than the original iPad released 11 years ago. 

In September 2021 California Streaming Event was excellent, but the showstopper at this event was, in fact, the new iPad mini, which by the way, the purple color was sold out. This device is the first significant redesign of the iPad mini ever. Since its introduction in 2012, the iPad mini has looked the same (except for adding touch ID on the Mini 3 and shrinking the bezels). The device came in colors and gained a modern futuristic look.

In October 2021, Apple introduced the most significant changes to the MacBook. This is the second series of Macs built around Apple Silicon, with the new MacBook Pros being revealed. The new design language brought a notch to the MacBook for the first time, which did stir up controversy, and as usual, with the latest design decisions, the MacBook Pros still sold very well. The new MacBook Pros come with a 14.2″ and a 16.2″ and the new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips that are very revolutionary and powerful for advancement in computer chips. Along with the introduction of the first redesign to the AirPods with AirPods 3 being introduced. 

And now for what has happened this year in 2022, beginning in March 2022 with the introduction of the Mac Studio and Studio Display, a brand new category of Mac in a long time. This also brought their most powerful Apple Silicon chip, the M1 Ultra, to life. This product is an excellent replacement for the old 2020 27″ iMac, which was discontinued when this product dropped, and the Mac Mini.

WWDC 2022 surprised us with the new 3rd redesign of the MacBook Air with a unique design and colors also introducing the iPhone Xr’s and iPad Liquid Retina Display to the Mac. It also was the first product to receive the M2 processor and is the second completely fanless MacBook Air.

In September 2022, Apple introduced the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max with a new replacement to the notch called “Dynamic Island,” an interactive feature that now has software and a hardware function, making this an iconic feature. 

We’ll see what other iconic Apple Events come, especially with rumors of introducing a brand-new product category next year.

Wesley Mitchell
Author: Wesley Mitchell

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