2019 was the year of the “Pro” for Apple, at least as far as nomenclature was concerned. Apple released updated models of familiar Pro products, like the MacBook Pro and iPad Pro, but it also introduced us to completely new Pro products, like the iPhone 11 Pro and the AirPods Pro. The natural question that comes to mind is: “What does it mean to be ‘Pro’?”
Not every one of Apple’s “Pro” products is designed for just pro consumers, of course, so we decided to play a game: rank all of Apple’s current crop of Pro products from “least Pro” to “most Pro.” The order of these products has nothing to do with how good they actually are, but whether or not they were specifically designed for pro users, such as graphic designers, app developers, musicians or architects.
Check out our list, with the top spot going to the “most Pro” Apple product of the year.
8. AirPods Pro
The reason: The new AirPods Pro are great, but not a lot of audiophiles, who are the people we associate with pro-level audio, are going to see them as an essential tool. The AirPods Pro sound better than regular AirPods — it’s true — but they’re more designed for people who either want wireless earbuds with noise cancellation or who just want better-fitting and sweat-resistant earbuds for working out. Just about everybody who owns an iPhone will have reason to fork over $249 for these.
7. 2019 MacBook Pro (13-inch)
The reason: Most “pros” aren’t going to buy this entry-level MacBook Pro. It’s designed for anybody who wants a Mac laptop that’s a little more capable than a MacBook Air. It’s pretty small and relatively affordable, and ultimately, it’s combination of superior performance, brighter screen and longer batter life make it a better value than the Air for just about anyone.
6. iPhone 11 Pro
The reason: The iPhone 11 was always going to be the most popular new iPhone. Its combination of low(er) price and specs almost as good as the iPhone 11 Pro, make it the better option for most people. Still, a heck of a lot of people are still buying the iPhone 11 Pro, maybe because they are social media pros that could make good use of the camera, but there is still plenty of reason to buy it simply because you want the best possible iPhone available.
5. iPad Pro
The reason: Here’s where we start entering “pro” territory. If you’re buying an iPad Pro, either 11-inch or 12.9-inch, you’re probably some type of creative — artist, graphic designer, engineer, musician or architect — or just a power user. The fact that more people are replacing their laptop with an iPad Pro, well, that makes this Pro even more impressive.
4. 2019 MacBook Pro (16-inch)
The reason: Apple listened to a lot of the grips that professional users has about its MacBook Pro and then they delivered. The first-ever 16-inch MacBook Pro is basically everything that the pros have been asking for and more. It has the latest 8-core processors, a better thermal design, great graphics, a ton of internal storage and the best speaker and microphone systems ever put in a laptop. Best of all, Apple finally fixed the keyboard. That means the return of the Escape key and no more butterfly switches.
3. iMac Pro
The reason: The iMac Pro is Apple’s all-in-one desktop that’s designed specifically for professional creatives and power users. It’s a beast. Its raw power, wonderful graphics, beautiful 27-inch 5K Retina display (in the base model) and 1TB solid-state drive (SSD) — not to mention the slight black color — make it the ultimate desktop for Mac lovers. Thanks to an intimating price tag, very few non-pro consumers are going to touch it.
2. Mac Pro
The reason: The Mac Pro is almost as pro as an Apple product gets. The modular system is incredibly upgradeable and can be customized specifically for a professional user’s needs. As far as specs and performance, it’s pretty mind blowing. Apple claims that you can deck it out with up to 8TB of SSD space, and it can handle up to six streams of 8K video, which is bonkers, as is its $6,000 price tag. The Mac Pro is scheduled to be released this December.
1. Pro Display XDR
The reason: The 6K Retina display, which Phil Schiller (Apple’s marketing chief) has called “the world’s best pro display,” is specifically designed to be paired with the Mac Pro. It comes in two finishes, a glossy model or a high-end nano-texture model, the latter of which has been specifically engineered to reduce glare and reflectivity. With a screen that tops out at 1600 nits peak brightness, a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, and a P3 wide color gamut, the XDR is packed with extremely niche and high-end features for a very specific kind of professional. Only the most direhard professionals need to consider this expensive upgrade over plugging a new Mac Pro into an old monitor, and saving $5,000 in the process.
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