AirTag Availability for May 31st, 2021 (Evening)

Here is the AirTag and accessory availability for the evening of Monday, May 31st, 2021. Availability for the AirTag and Accessories has not changed much since the last posting. There is still a 3 to 4 week availability for the Single AirTag and AirTag 4 Pack.

All of the Hermès accessories are still not available or sold out.

Changes for the AirTag and Accessories

  • AirTag – Single has changed from Jun 21 – Jun 28 to Jun 24 – Jul 1
  • AirTag – 4 Pack has changed from Jun 21 – Jun 28 to Jun 24 – Jul 1
  • AirTag Leather Key Ring – Baltic Blue has changed from Tue, Jun 1 to Thu, Jun 3
  • AirTag Leather Key Ring – Saddle Brown has changed from Tue, Jun 1 to Thu, Jun 3
  • AirTag Leather Key Ring – PRODUCT(RED) has changed from Tue, Jun 1 to Thu, Jun 3
  • AirTag Leather Loop – Saddle Brown has changed from Tue, Jun 1 to Thu, Jun 3
  • AirTag Leather Loop – PRODUCT(RED) has changed from Tue, Jun 1 to Thu, Jun 3
  • AirTag Loop – Electric Orange has changed from Tue, Jun 1 to Thu, Jun 3
  • AirTag Loop – Sunflower has changed from Tue, Jun 1 to Thu, Jun 3
  • AirTag Loop – Deep Navy has changed from Tue, Jun 1 to Thu, Jun 3
  • AirTag Loop – White has changed from Tue, Jun 1 to Thu, Jun 3
  • AirTag Hermès Bag Charm – Fauve has changed from Jul 6 – Jul 13 to Jul 9 – Jul 16
  • AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Strap – White has changed from Jun 18 – Jun 25 to Jun 23 – Jun 30
  • AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Strap – Black has changed from Jun 18 – Jun 25 to Jun 23 – Jun 30
  • AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Strap – Blue has changed from Jun 18 – Jun 25 to Jun 23 – Jun 30
  • AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Strap – Pink has changed from Jun 18 – Jun 25 to Jun 23 – Jun 30
  • AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Key Ring – White has changed from Jun 18 – Jun 25 to Jun 23 – Jun 30
  • AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Key Ring – Black has changed from Jun 18 – Jun 25 to Jun 23 – Jun 30
  • AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Key Ring – Blue has changed from Jun 18 – Jun 25 to Jun 23 – Jun 30
  • AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Key Ring – Pink has changed from Jun 18 – Jun 25 to Jun 23 – Jun 30

iPhone Accessories
AccessoryShips By
AirTag – Single Jun 24 – Jul 1
AirTag – 4 Pack Jun 24 – Jul 1
AirTag Leather Key Ring – Baltic Blue Thu, Jun 3
AirTag Leather Key Ring – Saddle Brown Thu, Jun 3
AirTag Leather Key Ring – PRODUCT(RED) Thu, Jun 3
AirTag Leather Loop – Saddle Brown Thu, Jun 3
AirTag Leather Loop – PRODUCT(RED) Thu, Jun 3
AirTag Loop – Electric Orange Thu, Jun 3
AirTag Loop – Sunflower Thu, Jun 3
AirTag Loop – Deep Navy Thu, Jun 3
AirTag Loop – White Thu, Jun 3
AirTag Hermès Key Ring – Orange Currently Unavailable
AirTag Hermès Key Ring – Bleu Indigo Sold Out
AirTag Hermès Key Ring – Fauve Currently Unavailable
AirTag Hermès Luggage Tag Currently Unavailable
AirTag Hermès Bag Charm – Orange Currently Unavailable
AirTag Hermès Bag Charm – Bleu Indigo Sold Out
AirTag Hermès Bag Charm – Fauve Jul 9 – Jul 16
AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Strap – White Jun 23 – Jun 30
AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Strap – Black Jun 23 – Jun 30
AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Strap – Blue Jun 23 – Jun 30
AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Strap – Pink Jun 23 – Jun 30
AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Key Ring – White Jun 23 – Jun 30
AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Key Ring – Black Jun 23 – Jun 30
AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Key Ring – Blue Jun 23 – Jun 30
AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Key Ring – Pink Jun 23 – Jun 30

iPad Pro Availability for May 31st, 2021 (Evening)

Here is the iPad Pro availability for the evening of Monday, May 31st, 2021.

The availability has not changed much. The lower storage sizes of the 11-inch iPad Pro has a 1 to 2 week shipping, while 12.9-inch iPad Pro still has a 6 to 8 week delivery range.


Changes for Apple

  • Wi-Fi Only – 128GB Silver iPad Pro 11-inch has changed from Jun 4 – Jun 11 to Jun 9 – Jun 16
  • Wi-Fi Only – 256GB Silver iPad Pro 11-inch has changed from Jun 4 – Jun 11 to Jun 9 – Jun 16
  • Wi-Fi Only – 512GB Silver iPad Pro 11-inch has changed from Jun 4 – Jun 11 to Jun 9 – Jun 16
  • Wi-Fi Only – 1TB Silver iPad Pro 11-inch has changed from Jun 4 – Jun 11 to Jun 9 – Jun 16
  • Wi-Fi Only – 2TB Silver iPad Pro 11-inch has changed from Jun 4 – Jun 11 to Jun 9 – Jun 16
  • Wi-Fi Only – 128GB Space Gray iPad Pro 11-inch has changed from Jun 4 – Jun 11 to Jun 9 – Jun 16
  • Wi-Fi Only – 256GB Space Gray iPad Pro 11-inch has changed from Jun 4 – Jun 11 to Jun 9 – Jun 16
  • Wi-Fi Only – 512GB Space Gray iPad Pro 11-inch has changed from Jun 4 – Jun 11 to Jun 9 – Jun 16
  • Wi-Fi Only – 1TB Space Gray iPad Pro 11-inch has changed from Jun 4 – Jun 11 to Jun 9 – Jun 16
  • Wi-Fi Only – 2TB Space Gray iPad Pro 11-inch has changed from Jun 4 – Jun 11 to Jun 9 – Jun 16
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 128GB Silver iPad Pro 11-inch has changed from Jun 4 – Jun 11 to Jun 9 – Jun 16
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 256GB Silver iPad Pro 11-inch has changed from Jun 4 – Jun 11 to Jun 9 – Jun 16
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 512GB Silver iPad Pro 11-inch has changed from Jun 18 – Jun 25 to Jun 23 – Jun 30
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 1TB Silver iPad Pro 11-inch has changed from Jun 25 – Jul 12 to Jun 30 – Jul 15
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 2TB Silver iPad Pro 11-inch has changed from Jun 25 – Jul 12 to Jun 30 – Jul 15
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 128GB Space Gray iPad Pro 11-inch has changed from Jun 4 – Jun 11 to Jun 9 – Jun 16
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 256GB Space Gray iPad Pro 11-inch has changed from Jun 4 – Jun 11 to Jun 9 – Jun 16
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 512GB Space Gray iPad Pro 11-inch has changed from Jun 18 – Jun 25 to Jun 23 – Jun 30
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 1TB Space Gray iPad Pro 11-inch has changed from Jun 25 – Jul 12 to Jun 30 – Jul 15
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 2TB Space Gray iPad Pro 11-inch has changed from Jun 25 – Jul 12 to Jun 30 – Jul 15
  • Wi-Fi Only – 128GB Silver iPad Pro 12.9-inch has changed from Jul 6 – Jul 20 to Jul 9 – Jul 23
  • Wi-Fi Only – 256GB Silver iPad Pro 12.9-inch has changed from Jul 6 – Jul 20 to Jul 9 – Jul 23
  • Wi-Fi Only – 512GB Silver iPad Pro 12.9-inch has changed from Jul 6 – Jul 20 to Jul 9 – Jul 23
  • Wi-Fi Only – 1TB Silver iPad Pro 12.9-inch has changed from Jul 6 – Jul 20 to Jul 9 – Jul 23
  • Wi-Fi Only – 2TB Silver iPad Pro 12.9-inch has changed from Jul 6 – Jul 20 to Jul 9 – Jul 23
  • Wi-Fi Only – 128GB Space Gray iPad Pro 12.9-inch has changed from Jul 6 – Jul 20 to Jul 9 – Jul 23
  • Wi-Fi Only – 256GB Space Gray iPad Pro 12.9-inch has changed from Jul 6 – Jul 20 to Jul 9 – Jul 23
  • Wi-Fi Only – 512GB Space Gray iPad Pro 12.9-inch has changed from Jul 6 – Jul 20 to Jul 9 – Jul 23
  • Wi-Fi Only – 1TB Space Gray iPad Pro 12.9-inch has changed from Jul 6 – Jul 20 to Jul 9 – Jul 23
  • Wi-Fi Only – 2TB Space Gray iPad Pro 12.9-inch has changed from Jul 6 – Jul 20 to Jul 9 – Jul 23
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 128GB Silver iPad Pro 12.9-inch has changed from Jul 6 – Jul 20 to Jul 9 – Jul 23
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 256GB Silver iPad Pro 12.9-inch has changed from Jul 6 – Jul 20 to Jul 9 – Jul 23
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 512GB Silver iPad Pro 12.9-inch has changed from Jul 6 – Jul 20 to Jul 9 – Jul 23
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 1TB Silver iPad Pro 12.9-inch has changed from Jul 6 – Jul 20 to Jul 9 – Jul 23
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 2TB Silver iPad Pro 12.9-inch has changed from Jul 6 – Jul 20 to Jul 9 – Jul 23
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 128GB Space Gray iPad Pro 12.9-inch has changed from Jul 6 – Jul 20 to Jul 9 – Jul 23
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 256GB Space Gray iPad Pro 12.9-inch has changed from Jul 6 – Jul 20 to Jul 9 – Jul 23
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 512GB Space Gray iPad Pro 12.9-inch has changed from Jul 6 – Jul 20 to Jul 9 – Jul 23
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 1TB Space Gray iPad Pro 12.9-inch has changed from Jul 6 – Jul 20 to Jul 9 – Jul 23
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular – 2TB Space Gray iPad Pro 12.9-inch has changed from Jul 6 – Jul 20 to Jul 9 – Jul 23
  • Pro 11-inch Magic Keyboard – White has changed from Fri, May 28 to Wed, Jun 2
  • Pro 12.9-inch Magic Keyboard – White has changed from Fri, May 28 to Wed, Jun 2
  • Pro 12.9-inch Magic Keyboard – Space Gray has changed from Fri, May 28 to Wed, Jun 2

iPad Pro 11-inch

Wi-Fi Only 128GB 256GB 512GB 1TB 2TB
Silver Jun 9 – Jun 16 Jun 9 – Jun 16 Jun 9 – Jun 16 Jun 9 – Jun 16 Jun 9 – Jun 16
Space Gray Jun 9 – Jun 16 Jun 9 – Jun 16 Jun 9 – Jun 16 Jun 9 – Jun 16 Jun 9 – Jun 16
Wi-Fi + Cellular 128GB 256GB 512GB 1TB 2TB
Silver Jun 9 – Jun 16 Jun 9 – Jun 16 Jun 23 – Jun 30 Jun 30 – Jul 15 Jun 30 – Jul 15
Space Gray Jun 9 – Jun 16 Jun 9 – Jun 16 Jun 23 – Jun 30 Jun 30 – Jul 15 Jun 30 – Jul 15

iPad Pro 12.9-inch

Wi-Fi Only 128GB 256GB 512GB 1TB 2TB
Silver Jul 9 – Jul 23 Jul 9 – Jul 23 Jul 9 – Jul 23 Jul 9 – Jul 23 Jul 9 – Jul 23
Space Gray Jul 9 – Jul 23 Jul 9 – Jul 23 Jul 9 – Jul 23 Jul 9 – Jul 23 Jul 9 – Jul 23
Wi-Fi + Cellular 128GB 256GB 512GB 1TB 2TB
Silver Jul 9 – Jul 23 Jul 9 – Jul 23 Jul 9 – Jul 23 Jul 9 – Jul 23 Jul 9 – Jul 23
Space Gray Jul 9 – Jul 23 Jul 9 – Jul 23 Jul 9 – Jul 23 Jul 9 – Jul 23 Jul 9 – Jul 23

iPad Pro Accessories
AccessoryShips By
Pro 11-inch Magic Keyboard – White Wed, Jun 2
Pro 12.9-inch Magic Keyboard – White Wed, Jun 2
Pro 12.9-inch Magic Keyboard – Space Gray Wed, Jun 2

A Review of the 5th Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro

It is odd to think that the iPad has been around just over 11 years now. In the intervening time, the capabilities of the iPad have significantly improved. Not every iteration of the iPad hardware has been a giant leap, but they have all had some sort of improvement. It is now well known that Apple began working on the iPad before the iPhone. However, that project was put on hold because the technology was not yet ready. Once ready, Apple decided to show it to the world. 

Unlike the iPhone, I have not personally owned every new model of the iPad. I have owned seven iPads. Here are  models that I have owned:

  • 32GB Original iPad – Wi-Fi Only
  • 32GB iPad 2nd Generation – Wi-Fi Only
  • 32GB iPad 3rd Generation – Wi-Fi Only
  • 64GB iPad Air 2 – Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • 128GB 12.9-inch iPad Pro (1st Gen) – Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • 256GB 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2nd Gen) – Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • 256GB 12.9-inch iPad Pro (3rd Gen) – Wi-Fi + Cellular

As you can see, as time has gone on I have increased the amount of storage that I have purchased as well as including cellular on the later models. Some of this comes with the amount of storage increasing over time. Apple has not always provided the ideal amount of storage for the base models. This is, of course, by design. Apple tries to generate additional revenue by using the “good, better, best” approach to pricing, where you provide a variety of price points. For some, the base model is sufficient, while most will buy the “better” model, and those who want the most will go for the “best” model. The way that Apple typically does this is by providing different storage sizes. 

The storage is not the only way that can provide choices for users. A second way is by providing options for cellular. Cellular models always have an additional cost to them, but being able to use your iPad anywhere, can be a major benefit for some users. While I do not use cellular that often, it is a nice to be able to use cellular in those cases when internet goes out at home or if I am out and about and want to use the iPad for something.

As you may have also noticed, while I have owned a fair number of iPads, I have not purchased one for each generation. In particular, I did not buy a 4th Generation iPad Pro. The reason for this is because the upgrade was not enough of an upgrade to justify buying one. I also did not upgrade to the 4th generation iPad when Apple released the that in September of 2011. In that instance, while it would’ve been a bigger upgrade, I had just purchased the 3rd generation in March of 2011, and I could not justify spending the money to purchase another iPad so soon.

With Apple releasing a new iPad Pro, I have decided to upgrade my iPad to a 5th Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro. As mentioned earlier, I do not go with the base model. The same continues this time around as well. The last two iPads that I have purchased have had 256GB of storage. On my 3rd generation iPad, I have about 78 GB free, so I am not really in need of a larger iPad. 

However, I did buy a 512GB 5th Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro to replace my 3rd generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The reason I went for the larger size was for future proofing. While I may not need additional storage now, I might need it in the future and I would rather spend a bit more on the extra storage now instead of replacing the iPad or having to manage the storage. Before we dive into my thoughts and information about the latest iPad Pro, we need to look at a short history of the iPad.

Brief History of iPad

The first iPad was announced in January of 2010 and released three months later in 2010. Prior to the release of the iPad, there was speculation on the price of the iPad. At the time, many suspected it would cost $999. However, Apple shocked everyone with a price of $499. By today’s standards the original iPad was woefully underpowered, yet at the time, the iPad worked quite well and did exactly what it said. 

The second generation iPad, released in March of 2011, improved a bit on the original, mostly in design. Gone was the hump in the back. In its place, a flat back and a faster processor. The first significant change was the 3rd generation iPad. Besides being slightly faster, it had a significant improvement, a Retina screen. The Retina screen allowed for higher fidelity of video as well as better graphics for the system and apps.

A mere six months after the release of the 3rd generation iPad, Apple released the 4th generation iPad. The changes were better graphics processor, because many complained about the jittery scrolling when using graphics heavy apps and games. The bigger change was the connector. Gone was the 30-pin connector and in its place was the new connector. A smaller and reversible connector that Apple called Lightning. 

For the first three versions of the iPad, they all had the same screen size of 9.7 inches. At the same event where Apple announced the 4th generation iPad, they also made another change, a new device, the iPad mini. The iPad mini used the same internals as the 4th generation iPad, but in a smaller size of 7.9 inches, and it was still a retina screen.

In 2013, Apple decided to append a suffix to the name of the regular 9.7-inch iPad. They called it the iPad Air. The iPad Air was named such because the weight of the device was significantly reduced, by 25%. This made it the lightest and easiest iPad to hold and use. 

The iPad Air’s successor, the iPad Air 2, was released in October of 2014. The device maintained the same light design, but was even thinner than its predecessor. The original iPad Air was 7.5 mm, or 0.3 inches, thick whereas the iPad Air 2 was 12% thinner at 6.1 mm or 0.24 inches thick. Despite being introduced in 2014, the iPad Air 2 is still supported by the latest version of iOS, as of this writing, iOS 14. 

Apple unveils the newest version of the operating systems at their World Wide Developer Conference, or WWDC. At the WWDC following the release of the iPad Air 2, Apple unveiled iOS 9. The biggest change with iOS 9 was two new way of interacting, called SplitView and Slide-over. These two interactions allowed you to run multiple applications at a single time. 

Throughout its 4 year life, the iPad was primarily a consumption device. However, the additional of Slide-over and SplitView allowed the iPad to be used for even more of a creation device. As much as the iPad Air 2 was capable of being a creation device, the device for which iOS 9 was created was released in November of 2015. That device, was a whole new iPad, called the iPad Pro.

iPad Pro (1st Generation)

1st Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro

The iPad Pro was a significant improvement over the iPad Air 2. The first of these was the size of the screen. The iPad Pro has a 33% larger screen at 12.9-inch. This sized screen allowed for two full-size iPad apps to run side-by-side, and a third with SlideOver. Being able to use multiple applications at a single time is great, you can definitely be more productive. However, there is one addition to the iPad Pro that allowed you to be even more productive and create even more on the iPad Pro. That item was a new iPad Pro accessory called the Apple Pencil.

The Apple Pencil is a Bluetooth device that allows for precision drawing including pressure sensitivity and it can even sense which angle the pencil is being held at and adjust accordingly. Six months after the release of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, Apple released another iPad Pro, this one was the same size as the original iPad, at 9.7-inches. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro had the same internals as the 12.9-inch version, and supported the Apple Pencil. The main difference is that the 9.7-inch iPad Pro could support two full-size iPad apps, but only in landscape.

iPad Pro (2nd Generation)

The iPad Pro was followed up by the 2nd Generation iPad Pro. The 2nd Generation iPad Pro was released approximately 18 months after the first iPad Pro, specifically June 2017. The 2nd Generation iPad Pro improved on the original iPad Pro, just like the 2nd generation iPad improved on the original. The 2nd Generation iPad Pro kept the same screen size, but the device was thinner. The 2nd generation iPad Pro also came with another iPad Pro, but not with a 9.7-inch screen. In order to differentiate the iPad Pro from other iPads, it had a 10.5-inch screen. Along with the different size, there was a new screen technology called Pro Motion. Pro Motion is a 120 Hz screen that provides even smoother motion and allowed for improved Apple Pencil support. 

iPad Pro (3rd Generation)

3rd Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro

The 3rd Generation iPad Pro was been the biggest change to the iPad Pro line. Apple unveiled the 3rd Generation iPad Pro in November of 2018, approximately 18 months after the 2nd Generation model. The 3rd Generation iPad Pro was not a small update. The first change with the 3rd Generation iPad Pro was that it has a much smaller bezel. The screen used a new edge-to-edge display. 

The smaller bezel allowed a consistent edge around all of the edges. With the bezels being smaller, and consistent, the home button was removed. In its place is the Face ID sensor. The Face ID sensor was first introduced with the iPhone X in 2017. 

The new bezels also supported a new shape. The 3rd Generation iPad Pro took its design cues from the iPhone 5. By this, the sides of the device are square, as opposed to tapered as the previous models had. This allowed for a few other changes. 

The chief amongst these is a revision to the Apple Pencil, the Apple Pencil (2nd Generation). This version of the Apple Pencil still connects via Bluetooth, but there is no connector on the Apple Pencil. Instead, it charges via magnets that are on one of the edges of the iPad Pro. Placing the Apple Pencil on the top of the iPad would perform two things. First is that it would pair the Apple Pencil to the iPad Pro, and it would begin charging of the Apple Pencil.

The next change is the type of connector. With the introduction of the 3rd generation iPad Pro, the lightning connector was removed and replaced with a USB-C connector. This connector allows for faster connectivity and also allows for additional devices to be connected directly to the iPad. 

The last change was that the 10.5-inch iPad Pro was no more. In its place was an 11-inch model. This had the same exact features as the 12.9-inch model, just smaller. 

iPad Pro (4th Generation)

The 4th Generation iPad Pro, as well as the 2nd Generation 11-inch iPad Pro, were more minor upgrades. These were introduced in March of 2020. There were only two changes with this model. The first is that the processor was slightly upgraded from an A12X in the 3rd Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro to an A12Z in the 4th Generation model. The difference with the processor was that there was one additional graphical processing unit core, 8 in the A12Z as opposed to the 7 in the A12X.

The second change was a bit more of a change. This one is around the camera. There is a whole new camera system. This one includes a LiDAR Scanner. Over the last few years Apple has been pushing augmented reality, and the LiDAR scanner allows for faster calculations and object detection. The LiDAR camera system appeared in the iPad Pro before coming to the iPhone 12 line.

Now that we have covered the history of the iPad Pro line, it is time to discuss the latest in the line, the 5th Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

5th Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro

5th Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro

The 5th Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro was introduced at Apple’s “Spring Loaded” event. Many suspected that Apple would introduce a new iPad Pro, and they most certainly did. The 5th Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro has made a significant set of improvements to the iPad. Some of these include, the internals, the screen, and connectivity changes. It is difficult to decide which upgrade is the biggest change to the iPad Pro, but let us start with the screen.

Screen

5th Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro Liquid Retina XDR Display

There are a variety of different ways to interact with an iPad. You can use the Apple Pencil, a Magic Keyboard, or even Siri. Each of these has its own positives and negatives. The primary interaction surface for almost any iPad is the screen. The screen on the 5th generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro is a whole new display technology. Apple calls this display the “Liquid Retina XDR display”. 

The Liquid Retina XDR display is currently exclusive to the 12.9-inch iPad and uses a newer technology called Mini-LED. mini-LED. Mini-LED is a newer technology that takes standard LEDs and shrinks them. On the 12.9-inch iPad there are 120x smaller than previous LEDs. The iPad Pro has 10,384 individual LEDs that are grouped into 2,596 local dimming zones. 

These dimming zones allow the iPad to provide even more precise color control. In fact, the screen has a standard brightness of 600 nits, which is the same as the previous models. However, the full brightness is 1000 nits when the screen is at full brightness. If you add in the High Dynamic Range capabilities, the maximum brightness of 1600 nits. This is the exact same specs as Apple 32-inch Pro Display XDR monitor. 

What this results in is that people can have the same XDR experience across all of their devices. No longer will you need to use an XDR device only at the end, in order to fix any color differences. Instead, you can use the iPad Pro to get the proper coloring throughout your entire workflow. The Liquid Retina XDR display will still support Pro Motion and run at 120Hz, as well as True Tone and the P3 Color gamut. 

It is not easy to articular in words the differences between the new screen and the old screen. It is much easier to show in pictures. So, here is a picture of the 5th generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro as compared to the 3rd generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

3rd Gen 12.9-inch iPad Pro vs. 5th Gen iPad Pro Screen comparison
Comparison of the screens between the 3rd Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro (Left) and the 5th Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro (right)
3rd Gen 12.9-inch iPad Pro vs. 5th Gen iPad Pro Screen comparison
Comparison of the screens between the 3rd Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro (Left) and the 5th Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro (right)

The screen is a significant improvement over the previous models. There is another item that is an improvement, but may not be as noticeable to many users, and that is changes to the connectivity.

Connectivity

There are a few different types of connectivity on the iPad Pro. This includes a physical connector, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and if you opt to get it, Cellular. Let us start with Wi-Fi and Cellular.

Wi-Fi and Cellular

Each model since the first iPad back in 2010 has had the option of either purchasing an iPad with Wi-Fi only or with Wi-Fi + Cellular. The 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Generations of iPad all had 802.11 a/b/g/n and optional 3G connectivity in either CDMA or GSM models.

Starting in 2013, with the iPad mini 2, the cellular models came with support for LTE, which provided even faster cellular connectivity over the 4G connectivity.

The original 12.9-inch iPad Pro brought 802.11AC connectivity, which would allow for faster connections over Wi-Fi. Each subsequent iPad has has the same, until the 4th Generation iPad Pro. The Wi-Fi connectivity was upgraded to Wi-Fi 6, also known as 802.11AX. The benefit of Wi-Fi 6 is that you can connect wireless connectivity speeds up to 3.5Gbps, in ideal conditions. This is accomplished by aggregating multiple connections to the same base station. 

The 5th generation iPad Pro has improved the cellular connectivity beyond LTE. The cellular models now support 5G connectivity, just like the iPhone 12 line. The 5G connectivity can, again in ideal conditions, provide a maximum speed of up to 1Gbps. If you connect to a millimeter wave, or mmWave, service then you are more likely to get faster speeds.

While you may not see much difference in speeds between LTE and 5G in many places, it is likely over the next few years that 5G will become even faster and more ubiquitous. Given that iPads generally last longer and are kept longer, investing in 5G now could pay off down the road.

Physical Connectivity

No iOS or iPadOS device has ever had more than two physical ports. These have been a headphone jack and the power connector. Starting with the 3rd Generation iPad Pro, the headphone jack was removed and the lightning connector was replaced with a USB-C connection.

Even though there is as physical connection on the iPad Pro, a vast majority of users will almost never physically connect anything to their iPad. However, the iPad Pro, as the name implies, is aimed at professional users. Professional users are one group who might actually connect items to their iPad Pro. The 3rd and 4th Generation iPad Pros had USB-C connectors. 

On the 3rd and 4th Generation iPad Pros you were able to connect a variety of items via the USB-C connection. This could include thumb drives, card readers, and cameras. Furthermore, you could also connect a powered, or non-powered, USB Hub that has a USB-C connection, so that you could connect multiple drives at the same time. 

The USB-C connection on the 3rd and 4th generation iPad Pro utilizes USB 3.1 Gen 2. This protocol has a maximum speed up to 10 Gbps. In most cases, this is sufficient in terms of speed. However, if you are working on 4K video and want to be able to do work on a large video directly from a drive, it may not be sufficient. 

The 5th Generation 12.9-inch iPad changes this arrangement up a bit. The device still has a USB-C connection, however it is no longer strictly USB. Instead, it is a combination Thunderbolt/USB4 connection. The connector is till the same USB-C type of connector and you can still connect the same USB devices as before. 

The speed that these will be able to connect at depends on the connection type. Most current devices are USB 3.1 Gen 2, or earlier, so these devices will have a maximum speed of 10Gbps. If they are USB4 devices, then you will be able to connect at speeds up to 40 Gbps. 

The fact that the port supports Thunderbolt means that you can connect any thunderbolt device, provided it can connect using a USB-C connector.  When you do connect a Thunderbolt device, you ill be able to have connectivity of up to 40 Gbps. This is a significant speed increase over most USB devices.

You might think it is a bit odd to have an iPad with Thunderbolt, because why would Apple want to include Thunderbolt on the iPad. It is possible that Apple wanted to further differentiate the iPad Pro from the iPad Air, but Apple was able to provide it because of the bigger change to the iPad, the processor.

Processor

Each of the previous iPads has had an A-Series processor. The original iPad had an A4, and the 4th generation iPad Pro had an A12Z. You could not be faulted if you were to suspect that the iPad Pro would use the slight variant of the processor as the latest iPhones. The iPhone 12 uses the A14, so it would make sense that Apple would include an A14X. However, Apple did not do that. Apple decided to go a different direction.

At their World Wide Developer Conference in 2020 Apple announced that were creating their own processors for the Mac. Apple was able to take what they learned from developing the iPhone and iPad to be able to tailor the processor to provide an overall experience. In November of 2020, Apple announced the first devices to use their new Apple Silicon processor. Apple called the processor the M1. The M1 is a faster processor compared to almost anything else on the market, and significantly faster than the Intel processors that were used in the Macs. 

The M1 is not just a processor. Instead it is a System on a Chip, or SoC. The M1 is not Apple’s first custom SoC. In fact all iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices that have been equipped with an Apple A-series chip have been an SoC. This is also the case for the Apple Watch, Apple TV, and HomePods.

For the M1, the SoC consists of more than just the central processor. In fact it includes the processor, graphics, and a 16-core Neural Engine. Along with this, comes the Unified Memory Architecture, or UMA. In traditional computer configurations, you have memory that is a separated from the rest of the system and on their own dedicated chips that connect to the system on the motherboard. A Unified Memory Architecture is one where the the processor, graphics, and in Apple’s case, neural engine, all share the same memory. 

In a traditional computer, each subsystem would have its own memory. For instance, there is the main system memory, which is accessed by the central processing unit, or CPU. The graphical processing unit, or GPU, has its own dedicated memory. There are some tasks that are better suited for a graphics chip while others that are better suited for the CPU. In order to be the most efficient and process things most efficiently, different segments of the memory need to be transferred between the two processors. This transfer, while it takes very little time in reality, it can still take some time.

With the M1, this processor, graphics processor, and neural engine all share the same memory pool. What this means is that there is no delay in switching between using the CPU, GPU, and Neural Engine. This results in the system processing items significantly faster.

The M1 chip is an 8-core chip, with four performance cores and four high efficiency cores. When you do not need top performance the efficiency cores will be utilized. However, when you need speed those processors will be used. This is beneficial for all Macs running the M1, but there is a specific benefit for portable systems. While this is not the case with the iPad, it still has the same “all day” battery life, which is approximately 10 hours, it is absolutely the case for the Macs running an M1 processor.

As of right now, I have not really noticed any significant difference in the overall speed of the 5th Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro, as compared to the 3rd Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro, in every day usage, at least how I use the iPad Pro. That may change as time goes on, depending on the advances in iPadOS.

Physical Size

The physical measurements of the iPad Pro are almost the same as the 3rd and 4th generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro models. The have the same height of 11.04 inches, or 280.6mm, and a width of 8.46 inches, or 214.9mm. There is a slight difference in the depth. The older iPad Pro models had a depth of 0.23 inches or 5.9mm; whereas the 5th Generation iPad Pro is 0.25 inches or 6.4mm. 

The 0.5mm difference is needed to accommodate the new Mini-LED screen and the 2596 local dimming zones. It is likely that future models will possibly be thinner again, but it cannot be guaranteed.

This is a slight difference, which most users will not notice in day to day usage. However, for certain accessories this will become a problem. For example take the Kensington StudioDock that was just released in January of 2021. This device allows you to connect your iPad and also charge your other devices, like the iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods using the base of the device. Due to the thickness change the new 5th Generation iPad Pro is not compatible with the StudioDock.

The Kensington dock is not the only accessory that might have this issue. Apple’s own Magic Keyboard, which was just released a year go, in May of 2020, also has the same issue. If you try to put the 5th Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro into the 2020 Magic Keyboard, it will fit. However, the Magic Keyboard will not close all the way. Trying to force the Magic Keyboard to close will likely cause either the Magic Keyboard to break, or it will cause damage to the iPad Pro.

2nd Generation 12.9-inch Magic Keyboard

Neither of these devices is cheap. The Magic Keyboard is $349 and spending an additional $349 when you just bought one last year might be a bit much for some people to spend. The StudioDock is is not an inexpensive accessory either.. For the 12.9-inch Model, the Kensington StudioDock is $399. 

I am a bit irritated by this. I understand that the increased thickness is a limit of the current technology, but with Apple knowing that this might have happened, the first generation Magic Keyboard could have been a bit thicker to accommodate future products, but that is not the way of Apple.

Storage

Apple offers the iPad at various price points. There could be a variety of ways to differentiate prices for an iPad. Unlike the Mac, the iPad only has one processor option. Apple uses storage size as a differentiation in their pricing. Over time Apple has added additional size options. Each generation of iPad Pro Apple seems to make a change to the storage options available. 

The 1st Generation iPad Pro had three storage options, 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB. The 2nd Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro kept the same number of storage options, but they were doubled to 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB. The 3rd Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro  added a fourth option, a 1TB option. 

The 1TB option in the 3rd Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro came with more RAM than the other models. It had 6GB instead of the standard 4GB. The additional RAM was needed to accommodate the larger file system tables needed by the 1TB SSD. 

The 4th Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro and 2nd Generation 11-inch iPad Pro doubled the base storage again to 128GB. The options were 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB. One additional change was that all of the 12.9-inch models came with 6GB of RAM. This additional memory was needed to accommodate the LiDAR sensor and its processing.

Staying with the previous trends, the 5th Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro, has added yet another storage tier bringing the total to five. These options are:

  • 128GB
  • 256GB
  • 512GB
  • 1TB
  • 2TB

There is one thing that Apple does not generally do when announcing iPhones, iPod touches, or iPads and that is provide the amount of RAM within the devices. The reason provided is that the amount of RAM does not need to be known to end-users. For the 3rd Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro Apple did not specify the RAM, instead users went looking and found out it had 6GB of RAM. 

While this has not been the case in the past, this actually changes with the 5th Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Apple has actually provided the amount of memory in each iPad. The 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB models each have 8GB of RAM, while the 1TB and 2TB options each have 16GB.

There is a lot of speculation as to why the difference. My guess is that the additional memory is needed on the larger sizes. My speculation is that additional memory is needed for the same reason to accommodate the additional file system table for 1TB and 2TB models. The reason that it is 16GB instead of say 12GB is because Apple is already manufacturing M1 processors with either 8GB or 16GB of RAM, so instead of created a wholly separate processor just for the iPad, it is probably cheaper, and simpler, to use the existing processors that they are already making.

Pricing

When the original iPad was released, it was widely rumored that the cost would be $999. Apple surprised the world by having the base model cost $499. Since then, there have been various price points for various models. 

The original iPad Pro, introduced in 2015, had a price of $799 and would have a maximum price of $1299. While the base price has remained the same, this is for the 11-inch iPad Pro, and not the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Over the years, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro has increased to a starting price of $1099.

One thing that has remained consistent is that the Wi-Fi + Cellular models have cost more. This is because there is a cost for the cellular modem. While this has typically been $130, that has changed with this latest iPad. Instead, the cellular models now cost $200 more.

Here is the breakdown for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro based on storage size, and Wi-Fi only compared to Wi-Fi + Cellular:

Size Wi-Fi Only Wi-Fi + Cellular
128GB $1099 $1299
256GB $1199 $1399
512GB $1399 $1599
1TB $1799 $1999
2TB $2199 $2399

As you can see, there is a wide range of pricing. Once you get above 256GB there is a $200 additional cost to go to the next tier of storage. 

These are the most expensive iPad Pros that Apple has ever produced. However, it may be justifiable due to the inclusion of the M1 and the new and  improved screen, yet it might be a lot for someone to spend on an iPad. 

This is particularly noticeable if you were to compare it to the MacBook Air. A MacBook Air with the same specs of 16GB of memory and 2TB of storage is $2049. This means that the largest iPad Pro with 2TB of storage and 16GB of memory is $150 more expensive. 

Issues

I did run into some small issues, specifically with one of Apple’s Arcade games, Sping. The graphics for this game seems to stutter a bit. The problem with this is that the game requires precise tapping in order to gather the gems and bounce the collection gems. I presume that the game isn’t optimized for the M1 iPad and that is the cause of the stuttering. I presume that there will be additional games that are in the same state. Beyond Sping, I also noticed the same issue with MobilityWare’s Solitaire app with the animations.

The second issue that I experienced had to with the backlight on the iPad Pro. Specifically, at some points the screen would dim, but once I touched a key, or tapped the screen, the screen would not come back to the expected brightness. Even adjusting the actual brightness would not return. 

It should be noted that this did not happen all the time, nor even consistently enough to be able to say what was the cause. There was a simple enough to fix though. Once I put the iPad to sleep and then woke it up again, it went back to normal. I am sure that I am not the only one experiencing this, and it will likely be fixed in an update.

Next, let us look at the software that runs the iPad Pro, iPadOS.

iPadOS

The iPad needs an operating system to power the iPad. Throughout the life of the iPad, there have been instances when it seemed like Apple knew which direction to take the iPad. this was particularly true in 2010 when the iPad was first released, and then again in 2015 with the release of the iPad Pro. However, it does seem as though the iPad has not always received the attention that it deserves.

The hardware for the iPad Pro has outstripped the software since 2018, with the release of the 3rd generation iPad Pro. Apple hinted at big changes at their WWDC 2015 with Split Screen and Slide Over. These features were supported on the iPad Air 2, which was the latest iPad at the time, but were designed for the iPad Pro, released in 2015.

I am writing this review just a couple weeks before Apple unveils iOS 15, and iPadOS 15. While I am hopeful that Apple has a lot in store the M1 iPad Pro in iPadOS 15, I cannot guarantee that it will provide any meaningful improvements. Because of this, it is not a good idea to buy a product based upon its future usage, but what it is capable of, at the current moment. 

Benchmarks

No review is complete without a bunch of obligatory benchmarks. For previous reviews, it was straight forward to compare the current model with the previous model. However, in this case it is not so simple. The reason it is not simple is because there is a significant processor change. Even with this significant processor change, the benchmarks below will still show comparisons to as many different machines, and devices, that I have access to.

Device Single Core Multi-Core
12.9-inch iPad Pro (5th Gen) 1718 7272
12.9-inch iPad Pro (3rd Gen) 1104 4619
iPhone 12 Pro Max 1299 2295
iPhone 7 Plus 778 1408
iPod touch (7th Gen) 559 1016
Mac Mini (M1 Late 2020) 8GB 1748 7696
27-inch iMac (Mid-2017) 4.2GHz Quad-Core Core i7 24GB 1124 4703
16-inch MacBook Pro (Late 2019) 2.6GHz 6-Core Core i7 1059 5442
13.3-inch MacBook Pro (Mid-2015) 661 1420
Mac mini (Late 2018) 8GB 3GHz 6-Core Intel Core i5 973 4469
iPod touch (6th Gen) 661 1420

The best comparison is the 5th Generation iPad Pro and the Mac mini that I have. The reason this is best is because they are both an M1 with 8GB of RAM. The only difference is that the 5th Generation iPad has more storage. Outside of that, all of the other specifications are the same between the two devices.

It is quite interesting to see how the Intel Macs compare to the M1. As I said in my review of the M1 Mac mini “In Single Core performance, the M1 mac mini is 8.4% faster than my iPhone 12 Pro Max, 54% faster than my iPad Pro, and a whopping 62.8% faster than my 2017 iMac.  Even crazier though, is the multi-core benchmarks. The M1 Mac mini is 57.4% faster than my iPad Pro, 68.2% faster than my 2017 iMac, and 71.4% faster than my iPhone 12 Pro Max. This difference is absolutely noticeable.” This is still accurate. Every time I use my Mac mini I notice the difference with the iMac.

While the scores that were recorded on the 5th generation iPad Pro are a bit lower, therefore the percentages are a bit lower, there is still a significant performance difference between the two devices.

CoreML Scores

Geekbench has a newer app strictly testing machine learning. The settings used for the results below are TensorFlow Lite and using Core ML.

Device CoreML CPU GPU
12.9-inch iPad Pro (5th Gen) 2609 1018 2841
iPhone 12 Pro Max 1939 719 1389
12.9-inch iPad Pro (3rd Gen) 1349 692 1906
iPhone 7 Plus 411 407 707
iPod touch (7th Gen) 295 337 555

Geekbench ML is only available for iOS and not yet available on macOS, so the results are strictly for those supported iOS devices.

Closing Thoughts

If you have 3rd generation, and particularly a 4th generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the upgrade may not be worthwhile, depending on your needs. The biggest reason to upgrade to the 5th Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro, at least at this time, would be for the screen. However, if you have a 2nd generation iPad Pro, or even the original iPad Pro, this would be a fantastic upgrade, even just for the speed increases alone.

The fact that the 5th Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro now an M1 processor is a huge step because this is the same processor that is in latest Macs. The iPad is an ideal device to use the processor, given that the iM1 is a power efficient processor that is capable of handling much more than the previous iPad Pro.

While the M1 processor may be the biggest change, it is not the only change to the 5th generation iPad Pro. There is an entirely new screen system. The new screen is a mini-LED. Mini-LED technology provides a lot more dimmable zones, 2,596 as compared to the 72 on the previous model. This means that the 12.9-inch iPad can more accurately make certain areas of the screen brighter than others. This results in darker areas being darker and lighter areas being lighter. The screen makes watching High Dynamic Range movies a better experience. 

Beyond the screen, there are some additional hardware changes including an updated Thunderbolt/USB 4 connector, so you can connect thunderbolt devices directly to your iPad Pro. For many, this will not be all that useful, but for those who do need it, it can be a lifesaver.

While most may not use thunderbolt, it is possible that they will need to connect while on the go. If you need to connect while out and about, you can use cellular data, if you purchase a cellular model of the iPad. If you do opt for the iPad Pro Wi-Fi + Cellular model, it will have 5G connectivity.

As mentioned above, it not necessarily wise to purchase a device for its possible future uses, however, it is more prudent to buy a device for what it can do today. As I write this, Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference 21 is just over a week away, and it is likely that there will be some improvement to iPadOS, even if it is not exclusive to the 5th Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro, there will likely be something that the next version of iPadOS will bring to the iPad. 

If you are looking to get a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, there will be a bit of a wait. As of this writing there is a six to eight week wait to receive a 5th Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro. If you really need one sooner, you can try looking at a local Apple Store, or even a an Apple authorized third-party reseller. If you opt for one, I doubt you will be disappointed regardless of which model you purchase.

Review of the Apple TV 4K (2021)

In today’s modern world there are infinite ways of spending free time. You can go for a walk, bike ride, take a hike, or play a sport. If you are more inclined towards a more laid back experience idea you can spend your time chatting via social media using sites like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Clubhouse, and Twitter. Alternatively, you can play games on your iPhone, iPad, or a dedicated gaming console like the Xbox, Playstation, or Nintendo Switch. 

Each of the activities listed above is one that typically requires active participation. In today’s “go go go” world, there is the need to take a more passive approach. For these times, you sit down watch a movie or tv show. 

There are a number of different methods of doing just that. While you could use an iPhone or iPad, and many people do, yet there are those times when you want to minimize digital distractions and just focus on the show or movie. 

Almost every television sold today is a Smart TV and in this case “smart” means that it is capable of running applications. For most people, this is an adequate solution. However, there may be those who want a bit more of a nice experience. For those individuals, there are dedicated devices. These can include a Roku Box, an Amazon Fire Stick, or a Google Chromecast stick. Apple has its own solution for this called the Apple TV.

History of Apple TV

Original Apple TV, 1st generation

Back in September of 2006, at its iPod event Apple provided a preview of a brand new product code-named iTV. This product was a modified Mac mini that ran an Intel processor and had an HDMI output as well as component cables. This Mac mini ran a modified version of macOS, at the time named Mac OS X. Having had one of these it did do what it was intended do. When it was introduced, in February of 2007, it was officially named the Apple TV.

The fact that the original Apple TV was introduced at the iPod event was quite appropriate. The original Apple TV was effectively a large iPod. The device had a 4200 RPM hard drive that came in 40GB or 160GB options. Given that the Apple TV was effectively a giant iPod, it was handled just like an iPod. You would connect it to iTunes on your Mac, or PC, and you could then watch your movies and TV shows.

No streaming box is complete without a way of controlling the device. The original Apple TV included a white infrared remote, the same one that was included with the Macs. This remote included a volume up, volume down, fast forward, rewind, a play/pause, in a d-pad configuration, and a menu button directly below that. The remote layout was very reminiscent of the iPod click wheel, although there was no touch surface on it. 

The original Apple TV was not a one and done product, it has definitely had some successors.

2nd Generation Apple TV

2nd Generation Apple TV

It was approximately three years after the release of the original Apple TV when Apple released a new and improved Apple TV, the 2nd Generation Apple TV. This would be a compete rethinking of not only the hardware, but the software. 

The biggest change was that you no longer synchronize media. Instead all media would be streamed. This could be streamed from a computer, or using one of the apps. The operating system also changed from running a version of macOS to running a custom operating system, called Apple TV Software.

The 2nd generation Apple TV switched from the Intel Pentium M processor to a custom Apple processor, the same one that was in the original iPad, the A4. This processor changed a few other things. The size of the Apple TV box shrank from 7.7 inches square, and 1.1 inches high, to 3.9 inches square and 0.9 inches tall. The physical size change required a change from a standard hard drive to a solid state drive.

The second generation Apple TV was a vast improvement over the first generation and set the stage for future Apple TVs. The remote that came with the 2nd Generation Apple TV also changed. It was very similar to the white remote, but it was made of aluminum. It was a bit taller, yet still very functional. 

3rd Generation Apple TV

The 3rd Generation Apple TV was released in 2012, approximately two years after the release of the 2nd generation. The 3rd generation Apple TV was a slight improvement over the previous model. Hardware wise, the processor was swapped to a single-core A5 and twice as much RAM at 512MB. The other change for the hardware was that it supported 1080p, whereas the previous models supported 720p.The physical size of the box remained the same, at 3.9 inches square by 0.9 inches high. The aluminum remote was included with the 3rd generation Apple TV.

4th Generation Apple TV

Apple TV 4K, 5th Generation

In 2015, Apple unveiled the 4th Generation Apple TV was a major shift in not only hardware, but also in software. Let us start with the hardware. 

The first change is the physical size. The Apple TV remained 3.9 inches square, but it was a bit taller, half an inch to be exact, to 1.4 inches high. The internals also changed to use an Apple A8 processor. The A8 process provided a significant improvement over the A5. 

Sometimes it is easier to let benchmarks provide the data. The data is from Geekbench 3:

  A5 A8
Single Core 218 1623
Multi-Core 415 2910
AES Single Core 14,800 Mbps 993,000 mbps
Overall 784 1678

The processor, as well as the solid state storage, was needed to be able to run the software for the device. It was not the standard Apple TV software, it was a new operating system that Apple calls tvOS.

tvOS

tvOS Interface

Previous versions of the Apple TV software was somewhat limited. Not necessarily in its capabilities, but in the fact that the entire experience was controlled by Apple. New apps could not be installed by end users and instead were pushed by Apple. This approach made it a bit easier to add new services as they became available, because it could be pushed form Apple’s servers. The downside to this though, is that there was no control by end users, nor any way for third-parties to add new services.

tvOS changed all of this. Built with the knowledge Apple gained over the years of building iOS, Apple was able to take this knowledge and put all of it into an operating system designed for the largest screen in most homes. 

tvOS is capable of running applications, just like on iOS and watchOS, but these apps are designed to provide games, video service, or other application. The first version of tVOS, tvOS 9, provided an opportunity for third-party application developers to provide their own applications. 

Apps are not the only function that the Apple TV with tvOS is capable of doing.

Home Hub

With so much power in the Apple TV, there may be some extra power available for other tasks. One of these is that the Apple TV can do is be a Home Hub. A Home Hub is a home-based device that can control your HomeKit-enabled devices. The Apple TV is able to function a a central spot for controlling all of your HomeKit devices. The purpose of a HomeKit hub is to make controlling your Smart devices faster.

In order to control the Apple TV you need some sort of way to control the Apple TV. Apple did not include the standard remote with the Apple TV, at least in most markets.  Instead, this new Apple TV required a new remote. Apple called this new remote the Siri Remote.

Siri Remote

The Siri Remote is a remote that is more than just a standard remote. The top third of the Siri Remote is a touch pad, below this are the buttons. There are six, the Menu button, a TV button, a microphone button, a play/pause button, volume up, and volume down. 

The Microphone button is a dedicated button for Siri. Given that tvOS is built on iOS, that means that tvOS has access to Siri. This means that you can ask Siri questions, to find movies or tv shows, and even to control aspects of the Apple TV, like jumping ahead or backwards, or even control your HomeKit-enabled devices. 

The 4th Generation Apple TV was not the last Apple TV model.

Apple TV 4K (5th Generation)

Apple TV 4K, 5th Generation

The 4th Generation Apple TV is a decent set of hardware. However, there was one feature that many users would really like, and that was the ability to watch 4K movies and 4K TV shows. The 5th Generation Apple TV did just this, and Apple named the product the Apple TV 4K. 

The Apple TV 4K was released in September of 2017, just a couple of years after the release of the 4th generation Apple TV. In order to be able to display 4K properly, the processor was upgraded to the A10 Fusion processor. While this did not provide as much of an improvement as from the 3rd generation to the 4th generation, it was still an improvement. 

When the Apple TV 4K was released, the 4th Generation Apple TV remained on sale. This model was retroactively renamed to be the Apple TV HD. This was done in order to more easily differentiate the two models.

Users of the Apple TV HD did have some issues with the Siri Remote. One of the bigger complaints was that the remote was not able to be easily recognize the orientation. In order to help users easily identify the orientation, Apple added a white ring around the Menu button. While this would help, in some respects, it did not appease all users.

At the April 2021 “Spring Loaded” Apple unveiled a new Apple TV 4K, let us look at that now.

Apple TV 4K (6th Generation)

Apple TV 4K 6th Generation Box

The 6th Generation Apple TV 4K improves upon the 5th generation Apple TV. The 6th Generation Apple TV is a minor update, compared to the previous upgrade. The Apple TV 4K keeps the same physical size of 3.7 inches square, by 1.4 inches high. 

What has changed is the internals. The Apple TV 4K now has an A12 Bionic processor.  While it may seem as though a jump of two processor generations, the improvement is quite a bit. For starters the A12 has a total of six cores, two performance cores and four high efficiency cores. This is an increase of two efficiency cores over the A10 Fusion.

While the processor is a significant improvement, that is not the only aspect that has seen improvement. There has also been an improvement to the wireless chipset. Specifically, the new Apple TV 4K supports W-Fi 6, also known as 802.11AX. Wi-Fi 6 can provide even faster connectivity for devices, provided your network is compatible. Even if you do not have a Wi-Fi 6 network, the Apple TV 4K will still be able to connect to other 802.11 networks.

HomeKit Hub

One of the functions of the Apple TV is to act as a HomeKit Hub. As with any new technology, there come competing standards. Some of these are Zigbee and Z-Wave.  These two standards each have their own positives and negatives. One of the requirements of Zigbee and Z-wave is that require a hub in order to communicate with devices. These hubs are needed to connect between a network and the devices. Typically, this is done with a hard-wired ethernet connection.

There is a newer smart device standard that is implemented in the Apple TV 4K, called “Thread”.

Thread 

Thread is a mesh-based protocol that allows for direct connections between the Thread Hub, in this case the Apple TV 4K, to the end devices. This eliminates the need for a second hub, like those you would see with the Hue lights. This will not only free up spots in a power strip, but it will also allow a wider range of devices. With Thread, no longer will you need to worry about which protocol a device uses. 

Beyond this, Thread also has an additional benefit, it uses a mesh network for connecting all of the devices. This allows the devices to connect to each other, meaning that if one device cannot be found, other devices can pick up the slack and take over and relay communications, if necessary.

Having Thread embedded right in the Apple TV should make connecting smart home devices even easier than before. Yet, this is not the last of the hardware changes within the new Apple TV 4K.

The Apple TV 4K also includes support for HDMI 2.1. In most cases, this will not have much of an impact. However, HDMI 2.1 is needed for a new feature called High Frame Rate High Dynamic Range.

High Frame Rate High Dynamic Range

High Frame Rate High Dynamic Range, or High Frame Rate HDR, is a technology that will allow playback of video at 60 frames per second, for video that includes High Dynamic Range. There are not many videos that shot in 60 frames per second with High Dynamic Range. If you have a capable iPhone you can watch any of your 60 frame per second videos with high dynamic range.

High Dynamic Range HDR should make any video that you watch even better. Beyond fast-moving video, this should also help with things like gaming. 

Gaming on the Apple TV

Lego Battles on Apple TV

On the topic of gaming, the Apple TV 4K also supports game controllers, like the Playstation 5 controller as well as the Xbox Series X|S controller. For those who want to play games with a controller, this is great addition.

Since the release of the 4th generation Apple TV in 2015, Apple has positioned the Apple TV hardware as a viable gaming box. When the Apple TV was first released, Apple had a requirement that all games support the Siri Remote, but could also support a gaming controller. 

It did not take long before Apple changed this requirement. The reason this was changed is because not all games can be played effectively with only the Siri Remote. 

However, controllers are not the only way to control items on the new Apple TV 4K. There is another way, and the one that is primarily used, the Siri Remote. With the 6th Generation Apple TV this has received a huge change, a complete redesign.

Siri Remote (2nd Generation)

Each of the remotes included with each Apple TV oldest on the left and newest on the right.

As mentioned above, each Apple TV included a remote. The original had the white Apple remote, while the second and third generation Apple TVs included the aluminum remote. The fourth generation had the original Siri Remote, and the fifth generation Apple TV included the Siri Remote with the white ring around the menu button.

When the Siri Remote first got into people’s hands, it quickly became divisive. Some people, like myself, do not have any problem with the Siri Remote. Yes, it did take some time to get accustom to, but eventually got used to using the remote and navigating the tvOS interface with the touch sensitive remote.

Even though some had no problem with the remote, there is a contingent of users who do not think the Siri Remote is a good remote and that the remote was a mistake. Many expected Apple to change up the Siri Remote with the Apple TV 4K, but they only did a minor upgrade. With the 6th Generation Apple TV 4K, there is a new Siri Remote.

The 2nd Generation Siri Remote is a complete redesign of the Siri Remote. The remote harkens back to 2nd generation Apple TV remote in that it is aluminum. The 2nd Generation Siri Remote is a different size than the first Siri Remote. 

However, the differences are only slight. The height of the Siri Remote is 5.44 inches, or 136mm, the width is 1.4 inches, or 35mm. The first generation Siri Remote was 4.88 inches, or 124mm, in height and 1.5 inches, or 38mm, wide. These are slight differences, but noticeable. 

Button Layout

The biggest change to the Siri remote, besides the build materials, is the button layout. There are seven buttons and a five way touch surface. There are still a volume up and volume down button, as well as the TV button and the play/pause button. 

There are a couple of new buttons though. The “Menu” button has been placed by a left arrow button. This button still behaves the same as the Menu button, but better represents its overall function. The Back button functions the exact same way as the Menu button did. The back button is concave, which should help you orient the remote when you pick it up.. This covers the existing buttons. However, this is only five buttons, which means that there are two new buttons. 

The two new buttons are ones that will make many users very happy. These are a dedicated mute/unmute button and a dedicated power button.

The mute/unmute button is a great addition because there are those times when you want to be able to mute the audio but not necessarily pause what is playing; which was the behavior with the first generation Siri remote, but no longer.

Power Button

There is a similar thing when it comes to powering off the Apple TV. With the 1st generation Siri Remote the way that you would power off the Apple TV would be to hold down the TV button to bring up the Sidebar, and then scroll down to the Sleep button to put the Apple TV into sleep mode.

With the 2nd Generation Siri Remote you now hold down the power button to turn off the Apple TV, as well as your TV, provided your TV supports HDMI Consumer Electronics Control, or HDMI-CEC. Now, with the dedicated power button you are able to turn off both your television as well as the Apple TV all with one button. This is a huge improvement and a much welcome one. 

Five-Way Directional Pad

The last change is that the top of the Siri remote it is that the top of the Siri remote has changed. With the previous Siri Remote, the entire top portion was a touch surface. This is no longer the case. In place of the touch surface is five-way directional pad that has a touch surface.

The directional pad has four directional buttons, up, left, down, and right. The directional pad is circular and with the entire directional pad supporting touch means that you can use the outside ring as a jog wheel. 

With the outside circle you can quickly scrub through video, or to move between items on the screen. Additionally, you can use the button clicks to quickly move jump forward and backward. 

Siri

In order for the Siri Remote to live up to its name, it needs to be able to access Siri. On the 2nd Generation Siri Remote there is a dedicated button, like on the previous version. However, the placement of the button has moved. Instead of being on the face of the remote, it is now on the side. You can bring up Siri just like you would on an iPhone. You can simply hold down the Siri button and it will appear on the Apple TV as you would expect. 

Now that we have covered all of the new buttons, let us see which devices the 2nd Generation Siri Remote is compatible with.

Compatibility

Typically, when you have a new accessory it is only compatible with the device that it comes with, or new devices. However, that is not the case with the 2nd Generation Siri Remote. In fact, it is actually compatible with both the 4th Generation Apple TV as well as the 5th Generation Apple TV. This means that you can create a consistent experience between all of your Apple TVs. 

Weight and Feel

Every generation of a device is likely to have different characteristics from the generation before. The Siri Remote is no exception. The 2nd generation Siri Remote is actually heavier than the 1st generation. In some respects this makes sense, given that the entire 2nd generation remote is made of aluminum. 

Even though the Siri remote is heavier, it still has a good feel to it. When you are holding the remote, it has a natural fit in your hand. The slightly rounded back feels a bit more natural than the straight back of the previous generation of Siri Remote.

Missing Features and Issues

It should be noted that the Siri Remote does not have a U1 chip. The U1 chip is used to  help you locate the exact position of a device. It seems a bit strange that the 2nd Generation Siri remote does not have at least some method of being able to locate the remote. While it is possible that some do not lose their remotes, there are probably more than a few who will lose one from time to time. There are various reasons why a Siri remote may go missing, but the remote being misplaced by someone, including kids, is quite possible. 

I would hope that there might eventually be a revision of the Siri Remote to include at least a speaker that can be used to have the remote make noise so it can be found. However, if there is going to be a revision, a U1 chip, as well as a speaker, similar to an  AirTag. This would allow a user to use an iPhone to locate the Siri Remote.

I did run into an issue while using the Siri Remote. This is not an issue with the remote itself, per se. The issue I ran into was the fact that I kept hitting the mute button instead of the play/pause button. This is because the mute button is in the same place as the previous play/pause button. I am sure it will take some time to retrain my brain, and muscle memory, but eventually I should stop hitting the mute button instead of play/pause, but even a week on, it is still a problem.

I have a 5th generation Apple TV 4K, and I have not had any issues going between the two Siri Remotes. I know there are some that have opted to replace all of their Apple TV remote with the 2nd generation Siri Remote. I have not ruled out doing this in the future, but I have not ordered any additional Siri Remotes yet.

Apple TV and Siri Remote Pricing

The 6th Generation Apple TV is available in two different storage sizes, 32GB and 64GB. The 32GB model is $179, and the 64GB model is $199. Both of these are available to order today, and ship within a week or so.

The Siri Remote is available on its own for $59. It is available to order today. This also has the same shipping time frame of a week or so for shipping, at least as of this writing.

Closing Thoughts

The 6th Generation Apple TV 4K is not a huge change, externally, there are no changes at all. Instead, all of the changes have been made on the internals. There is a new processor, the A12, which is the same processor that is in the iPhone XS. This is a two generation jump from the previous A10. The A12 processor provides the ability to display High Frame Rate video. High Frame Rate Video is 60 frame per second video that has High Dynamic Range.

The biggest change with the new Apple TV 4K is the 2nd Generation Siri Remote. The new Siri Remote is a complete redesign of the remote. The new remote is aluminum and the top portion is no longer a full touchpad. Instead, there is a circular touch pad, with directional buttons. The directional pad allows you to navigate up, down, left, or right. The ring around the touch pad will allow you to navigate as well as scrub video, or navigate through the interface. 

The 2nd Generation Siri Remote is a big heavier than the 1st generation model, but I suspect that many people will prefer the newer remote over the older one. Even if you do not purchase a new Apple TV 4K, you can use the Siri Remote with the 5th Generation Apple TV, as well as the 4th Generation Apple TV. it may take some adjustment given the difference in the button layouts as compared to the previous Siri Remote, but the second generation is a significant improvement.

Both the new Apple TV 4K and the Siri Remote are both available today. The Apple TV 4K is available in two sizes, 32GB and 64GB. These cost $179 and $199 respectively. The Siri Remote is available for $59. 

If you have a 4K TV and you want a standalone box from Apple, you cannot go wrong with the Apple TV 4K.

AirTag Availability for May 26th, 2021 (Evening)

Here is the AirTag and accessory availability for the evening of Wednesday, May 26th, 2021.

The Single AirTag and 4-Pack of AirTags have improved by a couple days, even though it has been five days since the last posting.

Both of the Bleu Indigo Hermès Key Ring and Bleu Indigo Hermès Bag Charms have gone from “Currently Unavailable” to “Sold Out”, which is a status I was not aware was even possible with a new product like this.

Changes for the Accessories

  • AirTag – Single has changed from Jun 23 – Jun 30 to Jun 21 – Jun 28
  • AirTag – 4 Pack has changed from Jun 23 – Jun 30 to Jun 21 – Jun 28
  • AirTag Leather Key Ring – Baltic Blue has changed from Wed, May 26 to Tue, Jun 1
  • AirTag Leather Key Ring – Saddle Brown has changed from Wed, May 26 to Tue, Jun 1
  • AirTag Leather Key Ring – PRODUCT(RED) has changed from Wed, May 26 to Tue, Jun 1
  • AirTag Leather Loop – Saddle Brown has changed from Wed, May 26 to Tue, Jun 1
  • AirTag Leather Loop – PRODUCT(RED) has changed from Wed, May 26 to Tue, Jun 1
  • AirTag Loop – Electric Orange has changed from Wed, May 26 to Tue, Jun 1
  • AirTag Loop – Sunflower has changed from Wed, May 26 to Tue, Jun 1
  • AirTag Loop – Deep Navy has changed from Wed, May 26 to Tue, Jun 1
  • AirTag Loop – White has changed from Wed, May 26 to Tue, Jun 1
  • AirTag Hermès Key Ring – Bleu Indigo has changed from Currently Unavailable to Sold Out
  • AirTag Hermès Bag Charm – Bleu Indigo has changed from Currently Unavailable to Sold Out
  • AirTag Hermès Bag Charm – Fauve has changed from Currently Unavailable to Jul 6 – Jul 13
  • AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Strap – White has changed from Jun 15 – Jun 22 to Jun 18 – Jun 25
  • AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Strap – Black has changed from Jun 23 – Jun 29 to Jun 18 – Jun 25
  • AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Strap – Blue has changed from Jun 23 – Jun 29 to Jun 18 – Jun 25
  • AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Strap – Pink has changed from Jun 23 – Jun 29 to Jun 18 – Jun 25
  • AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Key Ring – White has changed from Jun 15 – Jun 22 to Jun 18 – Jun 25
  • AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Key Ring – Black has changed from Jun 23 – Jun 29 to Jun 18 – Jun 25
  • AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Key Ring – Blue has changed from Jun 23 – Jun 29 to Jun 18 – Jun 25
  • AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Key Ring – Pink has changed from Jun 23 – Jun 29 to Jun 18 – Jun 25

iPhone Accessories – Apple

iPhone Accessories
AccessoryShips By
AirTag – Single Jun 21 – Jun 28
AirTag – 4 Pack Jun 21 – Jun 28
AirTag Leather Key Ring – Baltic Blue Tue, Jun 1
AirTag Leather Key Ring – Saddle Brown Tue, Jun 1
AirTag Leather Key Ring – PRODUCT(RED) Tue, Jun 1
AirTag Leather Loop – Saddle Brown Tue, Jun 1
AirTag Leather Loop – PRODUCT(RED) Tue, Jun 1
AirTag Loop – Electric Orange Tue, Jun 1
AirTag Loop – Sunflower Tue, Jun 1
AirTag Loop – Deep Navy Tue, Jun 1
AirTag Loop – White Tue, Jun 1
AirTag Hermès Key Ring – Orange Currently Unavailable
AirTag Hermès Key Ring – Bleu Indigo Sold Out
AirTag Hermès Key Ring – Fauve Currently Unavailable
AirTag Hermès Luggage Tag Currently Unavailable
AirTag Hermès Bag Charm – Orange Currently Unavailable
AirTag Hermès Bag Charm – Bleu Indigo Sold Out
AirTag Hermès Bag Charm – Fauve Jul 6 – Jul 13
AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Strap – White Jun 18 – Jun 25
AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Strap – Black Jun 18 – Jun 25
AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Strap – Blue Jun 18 – Jun 25
AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Strap – Pink Jun 18 – Jun 25
AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Key Ring – White Jun 18 – Jun 25
AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Key Ring – Black Jun 18 – Jun 25
AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Key Ring – Blue Jun 18 – Jun 25
AirTag Belkin Secure Holder with Key Ring – Pink Jun 18 – Jun 25