The Most Exciting And Disappointing Apple Releases Of 2015

Apple released a lot of new products in 2015 from the expected yearly iPhone to the all new Apple Watch. There were highs and lows throughout the calendar year as we saw the Apple Watch, all new Macbook, iOS 9, OS X 10.11, iPhone 6S, 4th generation Apple TV, and iPad Pro. Those were the big new releases with numerous smaller updates mixed in to existing product lines. Rather than going over every release, we’re going to pick the most exciting and most disappointing Apple releases of 2015.
Apple’s best release of 2015 was the 4th generation Apple TV that has been years in the making, and for the most part delivered upon its promise. The highlight of the new Apple TV is the inclusion of an App Store for third party developers to greatly enhance Apple’s new set top box. The new Apple TV didn’t launch until October 30th, and still saw a number of great apps in the two remaining months of 2015. We got great video streaming apps from official sources like Netflix and HBO, as well as all-purpose video apps like Air Video and Infuse. Games definitely took center stage with full screen ports from iOS including Pac-Man 256, Alto’s Adventure, Transistor, Lumino City, Shadowmatic, Oceanhorn, Does Not Commute, and more. There were also Apple TV specific releases of Guitar Hero Live, Disney Infinity 3.0, and Skylanders Superchargers as a start.

The Apple TV App Store has been extremely lively, especially in comparison to the Apple Watch App Store. There’s so much potential down the road, now that Apple has given developers the tools to define what the Apple TV is capable of. The universal search, and Siri connectivity work as advertised, and greatly improve upon the Apple TV interface. The new multi-tasking function of the Apple TV is also a welcome addition. The 4th generation Apple TV isn’t perfect, but it’s a great device that will only get better in 2016.
On the other end of the spectrum, the iPad Pro was Apple’s most disappointing release of 2015. The main problem with the iPad Pro is that it seems Apple didn’t create it for specific use cases, or people, and instead made it to fill in a checkbox. If you want a tablet with a bigger screen, stylus, and keyboard as compared to the iPad Air 2, Apple now offers the iPad Pro, so that you won’t pick a tablet from another company. The problem is that the iPad Pro still runs iOS, and there are no changes from what iOS is capable of on the iPad Air 2. Apple didn’t offer any software specific features to take advantage of the added real estate. Third party developers have likewise had trouble creating new apps for the bigger device beyond art apps connecting with the Apple Pencil. If you came up with a list of problems with the iPad Air 2, screen size, lack of stylus, and now keyboard accessory are on the low end. Most problems relate to the limitations of iOS, and the iPad Pro doesn’t change any of those.

The device itself isn’t the most convenient creation either. It weighs as much as the very first iPad from five years ago, and yet doesn’t offer many benefits for the increased size. Not only that, but when you connect the keyboard accessory it makes it easier to type, but not to use iOS. It’s not agronomical to have your hands on the keyboard, and then have to reach up to tap on menu items in apps. Through it all, the price may be the biggest sticking point as the cheapest option is $799, but the keyboard and stylus are must haves bringing the total cost to $1,067. You can get a MacBook Air for less than that, and run OS X, and do everything you could want. The iPad Pro seems to have no point or purpose, and that’s what happens when you create a product to fill checklists, rather than create a product people would want.

As far as other Apple releases, the Apple Watch isn’t for everyone, the iPhone 6S isn’t the greatest of updates, and the all new MacBook is hamstrung in numerous ways. That does lead us to look forward to everything new from Apple in 2016.


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