Apple report card: How we grade everything released in 2020

What started out with an earnings warning, stock drop, and store closures ended up being a very successful year for Apple. Nearly every product in Apple’s catalog saw a refresh, a couple of new ones joined the fray, and tens of millions of devices were sold to happy customers.

Here’s our 2020 Apple product report card, where we give each segment of Apple’s business a grade from A to F.  Be sure to tune into the Macworld Podcast where our U.S. and U.K. writers debate everything that came out of Cupertino last year.


New products: iPhone SE, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max

iphone 12 pro hero01 Jason Cross/IDG

Michael Simon: First came the iPhone SE, which somehow made the iPhone 8 feel fresh again with a speedy chip, better camera, and lower price tag. Then we got OLED displays and 5G support across the board, better cameras, a new design, and a new charging and accessory system in the iPhone 12, along with a larger Max and a new 5.4-inch mini. Whether you’re comparing them to the iPhone 11 or the best Android phones of the year, the iPhone 12 lineup is among the best ever made and pushed the boundaries of what a smartphone can do. Grade: A

Jason Cross: The iPhone 12 is a great lineup, with good sizes, performance, and features across the line. That 5G is included without ballooning the price is a big feather in Apple’s cap. MagSafe has a lot of potential. And let’s not forget the iPhone SE, a really great budget alternative introduced early in the year. Yeah, I want an always-on display and ProMotion, but there’s no denying that these are stellar products. Grade: A

Roman Loyola: I usually buy a new phone every year, but this year I didn’t. My main reason for upgrading is 5G, and it’s just not widespread enough now to make the investment. That’s not Apple’s fault and that doesn’t mean that Apple’s offerings aren’t great—they are, as Michael and Jason point out. Grade: A


New products: MacBook Air (M1), 13-inch MacBook Pro (M1), Mac mini (M1), MacBook Air (Intel), 13-inch MacBook Pro (Intel), 27-inch iMac (Intel)

13in m1 mbp desk angle IDG

Michael Simon: Until November, the Mac was languishing through another year of perfectly fine and utterly forgettable products. But then the M1 landed. Apple shipped new models with the M1 chip and they were faster than nearly every Mac Apple has ever made while keeping the same prices (and even lowering it in the case of the mini). There’s plenty more I want to see—most of all a better webcam in the notebooks—but I’ve never been more excited for the Mac. Grade: A

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