WWDC 21 Summaries – Has Apple just ruined the M1 iPad Pro?

Apple just announced their latest operating systems for the coming year at their WWDC 21 on the 7th of June including IOS 15, MacOS Monterey, WatchOS 8 and probably the most anticipated iPadOS 15. This year Apple continues to put a lot of focus on their privacy features, improved FaceTime perhaps because of the pandemic where remote team working has an increasing role in our day to day lives. There are a lot of nice things in there, but they seem to be improving the edges but lacking the core things that some Pro users want.

Summaries of significant new features that share between all OS

1.    FaceTime (gets the most update)

  • SharePlay: a feature where you can share your screen and audio with people you are FaceTiming. So basically from now on, you can go on a YouTube spiral with your mates and waste your life together or if that’s your thing, you can be your friends’ private radio DJ in the comfort of your own home. Not going to lie, I think the most useful thing about this in most people’s case is probably teaching your mum how to use an iPhone or an iPad as you can see their screen to guide them step by step. 
  • Spatial Audio: This feature sounds pretty cool in that the audio during a group FaceTime will sound like they are coming from the person’s position on your screen. It apparently makes the video call feels a little bit more realistic. Cool tech and cool idea, sounds a bit gimmicky so will need to try it out to see.
  • Portrait Mode: FaceTime now supports portrait mode which helps isolate you from the background during the call. Nice?
  • Mic Mode: Probably one of the most useful features. It let you select from 3 different modes: “standard”, “voice isolation”, “wide spectrum”. Voice isolation filters out the background noise to make your voice stands out and the wide spectrum is just unfiltered to include everything.
  • FaceTime in Android: Finally you can invite everyone to FaceTime. You don’t need an Apple device anymore, even a Window/Android device, as long as you have the video call link, you can join in with the fun.

2.    Focus

A feature that design to minimise distraction from notifications and let you concentrate on the task you set out to do. I am glad that there is more effort put into this as I am certainly an easily distracted person, any old notification I would be like “ooooo, what’s that? *open emails*” and that would be 3 hours gone before I realise I got side-tracked. A nice human touch is that your focus status will be displayed in iMessage. That way people won’t send through millions of non-urgent things plus it will reduce those paranoia and rage associated with delayed replies.

3.    Maps

Apple has been trying to up their map games to compete with Google Map. This time they have added a huge amount of details in roads, buildings, and surroundings in certain selected cities. One interesting thing is they have added detailed 3D models for famous landmarks to make them look a bit like Sim. They have also added Public transport timetable which allows you to plan your journey and pin it at the top. You can tell Apple zeroed in their primary market on this. Google map has such a big grip on the market that Apple is trying to take some of the shares back. Although most people have been so used to Google map that unless there are some drastic changes, there is no real reason to switch to Apple map just because of the 3D models.

4.    Live text and visual lookup

Essentially Apple’s version of the Google lens. One thing that I love about Apple is that some of their features might not be the most cutting edge innovative, but their integration is definitely at the top of the industry. With this you can copy and paste words from a photo to actual text, you can translate straight from the camera and even dial a phone number from a picture itself. It also recognises objects in the picture and gives you information such as the breed of a dog etc.

5.    iCloud+

Replace the iCloud subscription plan that only provides storage. They provide Apple’s version of VPN – iCloud private relay. How it works is different from the traditional VPN but essentially achieve the same thing – hide your IP address so no one can track and profile you from your online activities. They also give you the option to hide your email when filling in forms online or signing up for a newsletter. It creates a random email address that forwards to your inbox. A slight tweak of the implementation of “sign in with Apple”.

iPadOS 15

When iPad Pro 2020 was released, Apple made a statement of “your next computer is not a computer” because they have made the iPad Pro so powerful that the majority of people can manage their daily tasks on an iPad rather than on a laptop. And during the spring-loaded event in April, they went even further by putting the M1 chip into the iPad Pro. A processor that they used in their Mac into a tablet. With the hardware being in place, how about the software?

The improvement iPadOS 15

  1. Improved multitask – The new iPadOS has a new multitasking menu to make it easier for split view. New shelf to let you see all the window you have opened for an app and allows you to quickly switch between them. You can even set up your split view in the app switcher by dragging one app over the other.
  2. Shortcuts – This new feature is a game-changer. By holding down the command key, you can bring up the list of all shortcuts supported by the app. That makes learning to use a new app much quicker and much more efficient.
  3. Quick note – This can utilise the iPad’s innate advantage to the fullest. We all have that moment of inspiration while browsing a website or doing something unrelated. Instead of having to quit the app to start up your note-taking app up, now you can just swipe up from the corner to quickly drop down your new idea. And if you copy and paste something from a site onto the quick note, it gives you a thumbnail of the website to remind you where the idea’s from. So now all your ideas and note are in one place easy to find and organise.
  4. Universal control – Apple’s ultimate flex on the integration of their ecosystem. Now data can flow freely between different Apple devices that are next to each other without any setup, they just know to talk to each other. Mouse and keyboard switch seamlessly between devices. You can drag and drop files from the iPad straight onto your Mac or vice and versa. From the demonstration that they provide, it works so smooth that it is insane.
  5. Safari makeover – Safari has a new tab bar. A more muted look and tabs at the top give way to more content.

Polarising opinion on iPadOS 15

So they are all amazing improvement to make the iPad a much more capable device, why is the internet still rage over the iPadOS 15. The reason boils down to expectations. From the point when Apple in April dropped their Tim Cook mission impossible style presentation that transplant an M1 chip from the MacBook to the iPad Pro, the computer world is expecting the iPad Pro to be the new MacBook. We expect the iPad Pro to do everything that the MacBook can do and at the same time be an iPad with pencil support and all. After all, Apple said “your next computer is not a computer” right?

If we take a step back and leave our expectation down for a second, maybe iPadOS makes a bit more sense.

  1. M1 chip is originally an iPad chip, not a Mac chip. Apple Silicon chip was originally made for iPhones and iPads. The A12Z on the 2020 iPad Pro then the A14 on iPad Air and the iPhone, so the M1 is technically the “A14Z” for the iPad Pro 2021. But it is so powerful Apple decided to run macOS on it to power the Mac and give it a different name. So if you look at it this way, M1 is actually from the iPad being transplanted onto the Mac. It is just how they were presented makes consumer see it the other way round.
  2. iPad is a device from Apple to try to make the computing world less intimidating. It was started as just an iPhone with a bigger screen. It slowly gets more powerful that can handle a bit more computing tasks. It is intended to fill the gap between an iPhone and a Mac. It is intended for the vast majority of the market who wanted a device with a bigger screen than a phone that can do some word processing, sending emails but less complex than a full-on MacBook. So iPad is never a product that aims to replace the Mac, even with the iPad Pro. When they say “your next computer is not a computer”, is never meant for the computer nerds that make up 10% of their market, it is aimed at the rest of the 90%.
  3. What about the 8GB and 16GB of RAM when apps are limited to 5GB usage? I think Apple treats the use of RAM in iPad and RAM in Mac differently. RAM in a Mac focuses to let the power users run massive, RAM-hungry professional software, while RAM in an iPad is there to provide a fluid user experience of opening and switching in between apps without delays. The primary purpose of having RAMs for these two devices are different and therefore the 5GB limits in an app make sense so you can still have space to have other apps opened in the background without having to reload every time.
  4. iPadOS also needs to run on their less hardware-intense iPad like the Air, mini or iPad 8. If iPadOS 15 only focuses on maximising the M1 potential for the iPad Pro. The A14 or A12 will likely not be able to handle it. Imagine you bought a brand new iPad, just to find out they terminate the software support because your hardware is no longer powerful enough?

With all that said, it makes a bit more sense why Apple is not running a version of MacOS on iPad Pro even though the hardware supports it. iPad has an average product life cycle of perhaps 4 years, which means most people who buy an iPad today won’t be upgrading for another 4 years. With that in mind, Apple has to build in some hardware headroom for the coming 4 years of software advancement to make the iPad remain relevant then. They have also been doing that. A12Z from iPad Pro 2020 is still amazingly powerful and massively overpowered back then. That’s why the M1 iPad Pro feel so overpowered now in hardware but if you see 4 years into the future, probably less so.

Can’t help but feel disappointed

That doesn’t mean it is not disappointing news though. iPad Pro has the name “Pro” in it because they were meant to aim for the professional – that 10% of their market and not that 90%. I am sure for some digital nomad, having the iPad Pro that can integrate with their professional work on their Mac is invaluable. For example, able to run Xcode while travelling and don’t have to carries their 16″ MacBook Pro. YouTuber able to edit their video on the go with FinalCut Pro and keep their travel gear as light as possible. The hardware itself is forever more “Pro” but the supports for Pro in the iPad software is still very “general market”. File management is still rubbish and still unable to run any professional software on a Pro device is one of the reasons why iPadOS 15 is so polarising. Maybe the Apple software team is not just not ready yet, because Apple will not accept anything less than perfect integration and that’s why the market loves them. But it remains a frustrating wait for their fan base.


Apple’s WWDC 21 concluded with the 4 new operating systems and loads of new features. There are more to those that I have summarised above such as more Memoji options, roided-up spotlight, tweak to photos organisation and improved notification centre. iPadOS 15 was a bit controversial due to a lot of professional being disappointed that Apple didn’t deliver the “Pro” software that many were expecting to come to their “Pro” machine. Although the biggest disappointment was probably the rumoured M1X 14″ and 16″ MacBook Pro and Mac Mini Pro did not materialise. I would hate to be the guy who sold their MacBook based on some leaks…

Source: cultofmac.com

All images are sourced from Apple.com unless otherwise stated

M1 iPad Pro: Calmed down after the hype, maybe it’s not for us

When the M1 iPad Pro was announced on the 20th of April, I was so hyped because I was trying to upgrade my 2016 MacBook Pro set-up. iPad Pro supporting the Apple Pencil with the processing power of a laptop? Yes, please. Once I have calmed down from the excitement, I gave this new iPad some thought – is it really the one?


Let’s be honest, M1 in an iPad Pro is nuts. When Apple announced their latest processing chip in the Mac Mini, MacBook Air/Pro November last year, they had the consumer tech world losing our mind. With their second-to-none performance and energy efficiency, it makes very little sense to even consider buying Intel Window laptop at this price point. Now they have taken a step further and put it into their iPad Pro. Fully committing themselves to “Your next computer is not a computer”. 

In reality, A12Z bionic chips in the iPad Pro 2020 is more than fast enough for any iPad apps on the market. The chip is not the limiting factor here. Unless they start allowing us to run professional-grade apps such as Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro or Xcode on iPadOS, the even faster chip is like giving a few more millions to a billionaire.


The new 12.9″ iPad Pro has the all-new mini-LED display which carries the spec of Apple’s £4600 Pro display XDR. 1600 nits peak brightness, 1000000:1 contrast ratio, 2500 local dimming zone and P3 wide colour gamut. A display that sets the new standard for portable devices for professional use. More accurate colour for photo/video editing and colour grading.

In reality, unless you are getting paid to edit/colour grade and needing the best of the best tool on the market, an average Joe like me and you probably don’t need it. Certainly not needed for those selfies on Instagram or dance battle on Tik-Tok.

Storage and RAM

This year is the first year that Apple let us expand the storage up to 2TB in an iPad. And for the 1TB and 2TB version, they also come with 16GB of RAM. If we put the over-charging aside, it is some seriously good news for those productivity powerhouses with their main device being an iPad Pro. A bigger storage option means you won’t need to carry an external hard drive/SSD with you all the time and higher RAM means more apps can run in the background.

In reality, the majority of the apps running on the iPadOS is optimised for 6GB RAM. An upgrade to the 8GB of RAM is a welcomed gesture to give the device a small boost. But how on earth is an iPad Pro going to utilise 16GB of RAM…


Personally never need the cellular option in an iPad. Although, if you are one of those people in a coffee shop that always has one sip left of your pumpkin spice latte in your mug so no one can judge that you were already sitting there for 5 hours, you might appreciate this new up and coming cellular option to keep you steadily connected for those hours, continue to ignore that poor ol’ granny trying to find a seat to have her cappuccino.

Never buy a tech product based on the promise of future software updates

Should you get the M1 iPad Pro?

iPad Pro has never been more like a laptop until this year Apple decided to put their laptop-standard processing chip into it. The hardware in this year model, for a tablet, is absolutely mind-blowing. But the limiting factor has never been the hardware. Even the previous models, iPad Pro is always at the peak in terms of hardware and benchmark performance. The true limiting factor that is stopping a lot of people to fully migrate to using iPad Pro as their main computer is iPadOS. At least till this moment, iPadOS is not designed to be fully run as a laptop. Don’t get me wrong, they have come a long way. Having multi-tasking, mouse and trackpad support, better file management system etc. It can certainly go head-to-head compete with a lot of ultra-book on the market and out-perform the majority, if not all, of them. But by adding so many “Pro” features like the XDR display, 16GB RAM, thunderbolt 3 port etc, Apple is clearly making a statement here that they want this iPad Pro to be a computing beast rather than an email-writing, note-taking and YouTube-watching device.

If you just want an iPad that does what an iPad already does well, like simple computer task, drawing/note-taking with an Apple pencil, I don’t think this year model is for you. Instead, Amazon is doing a very good deal on the 2020 iPad Pro which will satisfy everything you will want an iPad to do.

But if you are hoping this to be the ultimate mobile work station for you? I would hold out for now as well, at least until the 7th June WWDC event. With what Apple has done with this year iPad Pro, I find it extremely hard to believe that there isn’t any ambitious iPadOS plan in the pipeline to utilise all these powers. They might even let the iPad runs a modified version of MacOS on the iPad Pro seeming they are essentially a laptop with a touch screen and Apple Pencil support. But as a wise man once said, “Never buy a tech product based on the promise of future software updates.” 

Apple Spring Loaded event: Killed it with the M1 iPad Pro with XDR display and more…

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about iPad Pro vs iPad Air 4 because I have wanted to shake up my computing set up for a while. The flop about the March event actually makes me even more excited for the true, one and only April event. All I can say is, Apple delivered above and beyond. There are 3 main product updates: iPad Pro 2021, iMac 24” and the AirTag.

iPad Pro 2021 – tablet market killer

This is official. Apple has shut down all other competitors in the flagship tablet market. Here are the major updates:

1.    M1 chip – 8 CPUs, 8 GPUs and 16 neural engines.

With the A12Z bionic chip that was in the iPad Pro 2020 or the A14 in the iPad Air 4, their performance was already head and shoulder above any tablets on the market. This year, while I was fully expecting it to be A14Z that would be a slight improvement on the A14 chip in the iPad Air 4, Apple decided to slap their MacBook Pro processors – M1 chip in it, truly committing to their claim of “your next computer is not a computer”. We will have to wait till sometime in May before we can find out the benchmarks, although I don’t expect the M1 in the iPad Pro will be as powerful as those in the MacBook Pro. Due to the thermal side of things, Apple will most likely have to tune down the wattage of the M1 to fit in the slim body of iPad Pro and maintain the 10 hours battery life.

Source: Apple.com

2.    XDR display (mini-LEDs) on 12.9” – peak brightness of 1,600 nits, 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, 2500 local dimming zone.

On the 12.9″ version, Apple put in their new mini-LED display. Although it is still an LCD tech display, the numbers are absolutely mind-bogging. Up to a peak of 1600 nits of brightness, they group the mini-LEDs into 2500 local dimming zone that achieve a 1000000:1 contrast ratio. That is the £4599 Pro Display XDR in the 12.9″ form factor with a starting price of £999.

Source: Apple.com

3.    Thunderbolt – supports up to 40Gb/s data transfer.

iPad Pro 2021 is the first-ever tablet that supports Thunderbolt 3 technology. With their insanely fast data transfer speed, you can use it to drive the Pro Display XDR at their full 6K resolution. With their already amazing inbuilt display, it can be the ultimate set up for content creators.

4.    Ultra-wide front camera with “Centre Stage”

Having a 125˚ field of view and using machine learning, the new iPad Pro improves the video conferencing experience by keeping the subjects always in the middle of the stage. It also works with people walking in and out of the viewing angle as well. Auto-tracking webcam has been gaining market for the past year when more people are working from home with Zoom meetings turned into everyone’s daily lives. Apple’s integrating the software solution into the new iPad is most welcome.

Source: Apple.com

5.    Support 5G in Cellular version

Although 5G technology is still yet to fully mature, Apple for the past year has been emphasising 5G in their new devices so it is no surprise that they integrated it into the iPad Pro. I don’t need it in my own workflow and 5G support here in Northern Ireland is shoddy, to say the least. But if you live in big cities like New York or London and need a mobile network on your iPad, this option will future proof your workflow.

iMac 24” – Old Macintosh Colourway

Source: Apple.com

Apple also renewed their long over-due iMac. Although similar overall dimension, a thinner bezel means a bigger screen. The most impressive though is their 11.5mm thick screen. Let that number sink in for a minute… 11.5mm is about the same thickness as my iPhone X with a case on. Even a 3.5mm headphone jack has a 14mm plug. Apple managed to fit a whole desktop system into an 11.5mm casing thanks to the M1 system-on-chip configuration.

That’s how thin the new iMac will be

They come in 7 different colour, silver and the same 6 colours on the old Apple logo – Green, Yellow, Orange, Pink, Purple and Blue. To fit with the pastel look, they also changed the bezel from black to white and come with a set of colour matching mouse and a magic keyboard that has the new Touch ID as well. Personally, I am not really sure about the new design. I don’t understand the massive chin thing. Surely they can just make it slightly thicker and get rid of the chin. I understand it is technically impressive and the unboxing would be an amazing experience. But it is a desktop, after all, you are not carrying it around so after a while, who cares if it is 11.5mm or 20mm thin…. I hear people say it is good for office work where people have a place for their post-it notes. But is that it? I mean you have your colleague’s back for that exact purpose too. I guess that’s why I am not in the designing business…

AirTag – perfect add-on to the Apple ecosystem

There were numerous rumours that Apple has been developing their own tracker, AirTag, for some time now. And in this Spring Loaded event, the highly anticipated product is finally announced. Although there are companies already making these type of products, Tile, Chipolo and SmartThings to name a few, you can always bet on the perfect execution and integration from Apple. With the tight integration of the “Find My” network and the Precision Finding feature (available on iPhone 11 or older), it is difficult to ever lose your personal belongings again. And in case they were stolen, the Lost Mode makes tracing the whereabouts of the item possible. With millions of Apple device on the street, any Apple device that came to the close proximity of the lost AirTag, you will receive a “last seen” notification. You can also set it so anyone with an NFC enabled device will be able to get your contact info by tapping it against the AirTag.


In the event, Apple also put out some mid-season refresh such as the purple iPhone 12 and updated the Apple TV to support 4K plus a new remote control. It is indeed a spring-loaded event. Of all the news, I am most excited about the new iPad Pro with its insane processing power and the XDR display. Finally, a tablet that truly honours the “Pro” in the name. With the direction where the iPad Pro is developing, it only makes senses that professional software like the Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro X and Xcode will be supported on the iPad Pro soon. That might be solely my wishful thinking, but if Apple decided to do so, I am sure it will be the final nail in the coffin for all other premium tablets on the market.

And by the way, because of the new announcement, the iPad Pro 2020 is now on sale for £643 on Amazon. If you don’t need all the Pro features and A12Z is good enough for you, save yourself £100 while stock last!