Every season, Apple would hold a media event where they would invite the press, influential reviewers, and lately celebrity YouTubers. They would give a presentation, show new devices, get people excited about the new product, and sell it to the market. Apple has perfected the art and now went from live presentation to video presentation where everything is cheerful, colorful, and exciting.

The process aims to ensure that Apple, as a company, is relevant to the market, the Wall Street investors, and more importantly, to you, the consumers who would end up buying and using their products. The process is also designed to ensure that their product lineup is updated, fresh, and more importantly useful. A product on the shelve that isn’t moving from inventory to the customer’s hand is as useless as garbage.

Overall, the process works well and Apple always has the most stylish, technologically advanced, and functional products in its lineup. However, some fell through the cracks and Apple eventually “forgot” a few products that ended up not being updated for years and stayed on the shelf (with full pricing) with left-behind technology. Here are a few of the items in May 2024 that we wish Apple would at least update them, or cull them altogether.

AirPods Max


AirPods Max. It was great when it was launched, the build quality still holds, but few tweaks should be put in already.

The AirPods Max was introduced in Dec 2020. During release, it was the best-built Bluetooth headphones, something that only Apple could ever pull off. The sound was quite good considering it a Bluetooth. The price was expensive because you can get a wired headset that sounded better but as far as Bluetooth headphones go, it was the best.

Now it’s mid 2024 and the AirPods Max is frozen in time. Apple updated the AirPods and AirPods Pro in the meantime, adding USB-C on the AirPods Pro case and a new wireless protocol to allow lossless audio over the limited Bluetooth bandwidth. So Apple should have some incentive to update the AirPods Max.

Pro Display XDR


There very few choices of 6K display today, but plenty more 8K displays. Furthermore, OLED tech has caught up that Apple's best display is not the Pro XDR, but on the iPad Pro.

The Pro Display XDR was introduced in Dec 2019 where one could argue a different time and Apple was a different company. It was one of the last times that Apple had an in-person presentation where you hear the audience’s initial reaction live. Now, Apple prefers to show a well-produced video and a demo afterward.

Audience reaction to the $999 stand. Thanks to COVID-19, Apple opt to use well-curated video presentation

When introduced, the Pro Display XDR was a one-of-a-kind display that only Apple would sell. Far better than the 4K displays on most shelves, better than the 5K displays that did the higher-end iMacs but cheaper than the 8K displays which were in the infancy at that time.

The price was not for the faint of heart but it is to be expected since the way Apple pitches was to compete against reference displays that costs around 5 figures. So $5,000 is expensive, but cheap compared to the competition.

Now display technology has gone all over the place, from ultra-wide, 8K displays, super high refresh rate, OLED screens, and even Dell has a 6K monitor (amazon affiliate link) at less than half the price and with more useful ports. With Apple releasing the Ultra Retina XDR on the iPad Pro, the Pro XDR might not have the best display in Apple’s lineup.

So it’s not far fetch to say that Apple needs to update the displays to be more competitive and cutting edge. A 40" 8K/ 32" 6K tandem OLED display might do wonders. Until then, all we can do is wait.

Base Spec


iMac base memory hasn't improved since Tim Cook become CEO, The base MacBook Air hasn't changed since a few years later. Source: MacRumours.com

Since the dawn of computing, the one constant is change. Every year, computers have more of everything: speed, storage, memory, and responsiveness. And then, something happened: it stopped.

Since Tim Cook became the CEO of Apple in 2011, the base specs of iMac have not changed one bit. Meanwhile, every other measurement of technology progress changed: processors are more transistors, are smarter and faster, and more capable. Storage went from spinning magnetic disks to solid-state drives to chips that directly talk to the CPU, and wireless networks went from a mere novelty to essentials that can compete with wired solutions and memory, of course, the modules become denser and faster.


Prices of computer memory has fallen down by a factor of 10 since Tim Cook become CEO of Apple. Cost to make them have fallen even higher.

Yet, despite all those advances, we are stuck with 8GB of memory and 256GB of storage for the average consumer. With the prices per gigabyte kept falling by a factor of 10 since Time Cook became CEO. So the real question is why can’t we have more reasonable base specs like 16GB of memory with 512GB of storage? With “simple” web browsers consuming the bulk of that memory and pictures filling up storage so fast, isn’t it reasonable to ask for a rise?

Honorable Mentions

Some honorable mentions on the Apple lineup today.

Apple Pencil 1


By the time you remember which Apple Pencil can work with which iPad, Steve Jobs has already bitch slapped you from the grave.

The first Apple Pencil was introduced in November 2015. When first mentioned live, there was an audible background laughter. When launched, criticism was abound. Steve Jobs would never put a stylus on an iPad. You have to stick the pencil at the Lighting Port on the iPad to charge it. It was so round that the Pencil kept rolling off the table. And it was 100 bucks in 2015, which was a pretty penny.

Audiable laugh when they mention the name of the product

But once you use it, it’s arguably the best stylus on the market and Apple is smart enough to put the Apple Pencil as a secondary input device. You can get away using your fingers, but if you need to draw, Apple has the best tools.

Apple fixed all of the criticism with the Apple Pencil 2. It’s charged wirelessly. It sticks magnetically at the side of the iPad. You always get the Apple Pencil 100% because of this. It’s no longer rounded so it won’t roll off easily.

And then they have to create a mess. By putting the camera on the long side of the rectangle so it would look nice in landscape mode, they have to redesign the charge points and magnets. So they created a new Apple Pencil, Apple Pencil with USB-C.

And then the new iPad Pro comes to town. They introduce a new Apple Pencil, the Apple Pencil Pro. And the Apple Pencil Pro works with the latest iPads. But not the normal iPad. And the iPad 10, works with both Apple Pencil and Apple Pencil 2 although iPad 10 does not have a lighting port to charge the Apple Pencil.

By the time you figure out which Apple Pencil works with which iPad, Steve Jobs already slaps you silly from the grave. Apple should already streamline the Apple Pencil lineup because it’s confusing to look at.

A Proper Mac Pro


Some people will have use for the Mac Pro due to the PCIe slots, but enthusiasts bark at the last of an upgrade path on everything else.

Since Apple sold Macs way back in the 1980s, they will always have the “ultimate” Mac where it’s the cutting edge in technology. An engineering showcase of what’s capable with the Mac. Now, in the current generation of Macs, the top of the totem pole is the Mac Pro. Or it is?

Since Apple’s transition away from Intel to their solution, Apple Silicon, there have been leaps and bounds in the capability of consumer Mac. Now, it’s normal for entry-level passively cooled MacBook Air to edit raw 8K footage. It wasn’t even possible 5 years ago.

However, at the top of the totem pole, the Mac Pro, the advances were stagnant. A part of it is because of Apple’s own doing. To create the perfect device for 95% of the users out there, they elected to solder everything on a single logic board. The result is you get a very tight package but the disadvantage is that there are no user-replaceable parts in any of the Macs. Memory, storage, chips, and everything else are soldered and packaged tightly.

So the casualty unfortunately is the Mac Pro. Yes, the Mac Pro was updated in June 2023, but the current iteration of the Mac Pro is it is a Mac Studio with extra PCIe slots and a $1,000 premium. The Intel Mac Pro was highly customizable: from 8-cores to 28-cores, 16GB or 1.5 TB of memory, storage goes from 256GB to 8TB flash storage. With the current architecture, there’s no way Apple will want to make replaceable processing/memory slots.

But to make matters worse, Apple is in limbo with the Mac Pro. There are some special needs users who want the PCIe slots. But the market is so niche that at Apple’s scale, it is a loss-making product.

Conclusion

Believe it or not, Apple is now approaching 50 years old. From selling just computers, they are now a consumer electronics giant. Tim Cook once proudly said that they could put their entire product catalog on a dining table. Now, we’re not sure if that’s still the case.

So the company is selling a lot of products now meeting different levels of needs, so there’s a good case to cull or update a few of the products to ensure the company stays fresh.

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BasePro
iPhonesiPhone 15 / iPhone 15 Plus (Renewed) - (Amazon)iPhone 15 Pro / iPhone 15 Pro Max (Renewed) - (Amazon)
WatchApple Watch SE (Amazon) / Apple Watch Series 9 (Amazon)Apple Watch Ultra 2 (Amazon)
AirPodsAirPods 3 (Amazon)AirPods Pro 2 (Amazon) / AirPods Max (Amazon)
iPadiPad 10 (Amazon) / iPad Mini (Amazon)iPad Air M2 (Amazon) / iPad Pro M4 (Amazon)
LaptopsMacBook Air M3 (Amazon)MacBook Pro M3 (Amazon) / MacBook Pro M3 Pro/Max (Amazon)
DesktopMac Mini (Amazon) / iMac (Amazon)Mac Studio / Mac Pro
DisplaysStudio Display (Amazon)Pro Display XDR (Amazon)

Other Ecosystem Items