Apple has become one of the biggest companies in the world, and that’s no accident. Although Apple products aren’t always the cheapest, they always make a splash and they often change the way we look at technology.
Apple has a history that goes back almost five decades, but many of its biggest and most revolutionary products were released in just the last few years. These are the biggest and best products Apple has released this century.
6. iPod: Your Content, Anywhere (2001)
For a lot of people, the iPod is what put really Apple on the map. When the first iPod hit store shelves all the way back in 2001, there were already MP3 players on the market. But, the iPod just did things differently. Whether it was the sleek design, the intuitive scroll wheel, or the iconic white earbuds, the iPod made technology cool.
The iPod quickly grew into more than just a music player. It became one of the first all-in-one media consumption devices. That meant the iPod was good for more than just music. Whether it was podcasts, movies, or games, the iPod was an entire content library that you could take anywhere. It also became a huge experiment in consumer choice.
The iPod debuted with a single model available in just one color, but it soon grew into an entire range of products, with a shape and size for everyone. Though the iPod’s long history is impressive, it was discontinued in 2022, after a more than a two-decade run. Numbers talk, and 450 million units sold speaks for itself.
5. iPhone: The First Modern Smartphone (2007)
The iPhone may have been the single most important product of the early 2000s. It wasn’t the world’s first smart device, but it was the first smartphone as we know them.
The iPhone created a revolution in mobile technology. It was one of the first devices that you could use to surf the real internet, anywhere. It was many people’s first introduction to digital content marketplaces like the App Store. It made it easier than ever to stay connected with features like iMessage and FaceTime video calling. And it could be operated with just your fingertip.
There’s no question that the iPhone changed the world, and without it, the smartphone as we know it might not exist.
4. Siri: A Voice Assistant That Actually Works (2011)
Launching as an exclusive feature for the iPhone 4, Siri quickly entered into a place in many Apple users’ hearts. At launch, people were simply blown away with what Siri could do. Whether it was scheduling reminders, jotting down notes, or even just checking the weather, Siri could do it, and it could do it well.
Since then, we’ve seen Siri being integrated into many more apps, with new voice options and languages added, and its speech recognition abilities continue to improve. Although most people aren’t using their iPhones exclusively through Siri, when it comes to executing quick commands, Siri manages quickly and reliably (most of the time.)
These days, Siri has quite an impressive range of things it can talk about and do for you. That being said, it’s still not very difficult to confuse it and get handed a Google search. While Siri still isn’t your sci-fi AI companion, we’re excited to see how much smarter it can get.
3. Apple Watch: A Truly Smart Watch (2014)
Whether it was Star Trek communicators or Casio Calculator watches, people had been dreaming about what a smartwatch would be like for decades. Those questions were finally answered when Apple debuted the aptly named Apple Watch, which became the first widely adopted smartwatch.
Apple managed to not only give us a working smartwatch, but give us tons of reasons to wear one. Wearing the Apple Watch while jogging or at the gym is a no-brainer, it’s a perfect way to take your songs and podcasts with you without having to bring your phone along. Not only is the Apple Watch a great fitness device, but integration with Apple Pay and Siri give you a good reason to keep it on your wrist all day.
Although we have seen rival companies like Samsung and Fossil make their own forays into the smartwatch scene, they’re mostly playing second fiddle to the Apple Watch.
2. AirPods: Truly Wireless Music (2016)
When the original AirPods hit the scene back in 2016, they changed the way we listen to music. For years people had been dreaming about earbuds that weren’t held down with wires, but were unsatisfied with the options that existed. However, with the hugely popular release of the AirPods, Apple made wireless earbuds the new standard.
Not only were Apple’s AirPods the first culturally adopted wireless earbuds, but they have become by far the most successful product in their category. Apple took the original AirPods’ success and quickly released a second-generation model that added new features like wireless charging and improved battery life. Later models like the AirPods Pro and AirPods 3 gave us better sound quality and improved connectivity.
To be fair, Apple was a bit late to the scene when it came to smart trackers. Companies like Tile brought similar products to the market years earlier. Although the AirTag wasn’t the world’s first wireless tracker, more precise tracking and easy integration with the iPhone and the rest of the Apple ecosystem make AirTags many people’s go-to choice when it comes to tracking their stuff.
While most AirTag competitors rely on a small network of users to make their trackers work, Apple’s AirTags are able to piggyback on the FindMy network, meaning almost any nearby Apple device can help your AirTag stay connected to you.
Because of AirTags’ precise tracking, you can easily toss one in your backpack, carry-on, or even your car, and keep track of where it’s been, and where it’s going. In fact, AirTags are so easy to use, they haven’t always been used for good. A slew of news stories about AirTag stalking forced Apple to start warning nearby iPhones if an AirTag was nearby for too long. That being said, if you need to track something lawfully, it’s never been easier.
AirTags changed the game when it came to keeping track of your stuff, and we’re surprised Apple didn’t release them sooner.
We Can’t Wait for What’s Next
Whether it’s what technology looks like, or the ways we use it, there’s no question that Apple has had a huge impact on the way tech has evolved in the 21st century. Although Apple hasn’t always been the one to invent a product category, its products are often some of the easiest to pick up and use. Whether you’re an Apple fan or not, there’s no denying the impact of Apple.
We’ve seen Apple release some incredible products that have changed life as we know it, and we’re excited to see what’s next.