On September 12th Apple unveiled a slew of new products. There was much hype for this keynote, but the question is, was that hype equal to what was announced? In this post, I want to run through the keynote with you and give my honest take on it. To start off, I wasn’t extremely surprised by anything that was announced at the keynote, partially since so many rumors had leaked either through pre-release software or through rumors that had surfaced.
The whole presentation started off with a few words from Steve Jobs himself. The reason for this was because this was the very first presentation to ever take place on Apple’s new campus in the Steve Jobs theatre. For the few who do not know who Steve Jobs is, he is the individual that co-founded Apple back in 1976. This was a touching moment, and as Tim Cook put it, “It seems only fitting that Steve should open his theater.”
Everything kicked off with a 15-minute discussion on retail. Apple discussed several of their current campaigns such as the “Today at Apple,” and the “Shot On iPhone” promotions. It may have been my uneasiness, but I was starting to get a little worried that Apple didn’t have much for us. Normally, Tim will say that they are dispensing of updates, normally saying something like, “Everything’s great.” Luckily, I was put at ease.
The first product they discussed was the Apple Watch. First off, was a discussion on the software of the Watch. They discussed some of the key features of watchOS 4, demonstrating some new features that I had not even previously seen in the beta of watchOS 4. One that I would like to particularly highlight would be the optimizations to heart rate tracking. Apple touted that the Apple Watch has gone on to be the number one heart rate monitor on the market. They wanted to be able to expand the capabilities of the heart tracker to better warn a wearer of varying heart problems. In watchOS 4, you will now be warned of any arrhythmias which are heart beats that do not follow a rhythm. It can also alert you if you have a particularly high resting hear rate. These will no doubt help many individuals.
At last, Apple talked hardware. With the Apple Watch Series 3, LTE capabilities come to the watch. In addition to cellular capabilities, it now is capable of doubled performance of the previous generation. Here is probably where I start tearing at the product. First off, because the watch is such a small device that is more of an accessory than an actual product, does it really play that great a role if it is 2x faster? I have a Series 1 watch, and I have not noticed any slowdowns whatsoever. I personally don’t think speed is that great of a deal, and apparently, not even Apple honestly believes it. Why else would Apple keep the Series 1 watch, and discontinue the Series 2? It is because speed on a watch is pointless. If you weren’t to factor in speed, what does that leave the Series 3 with? Yes, cellular capabilities are great, and if you are both willing to pay extra on your phone bill and pay extra upfront, then go for it. However, for the average consumer, such as I, that extra upfront doesn’t really sway me. Apple is also selling two versions of the Watch, a Wi-Fi and a Cellular one. Here is probably my biggest gripe with the product. If you chose the Wi-Fi version, you are basically paying for a Series 2 at full price! Why else do you think Apple only kept Series 1?
Next up was Apple TV. Now I personally have never owned one of these products, and probably won’t for some time, but I have never understood where it lies within Apple’s product line. Even Apple doesn’t know when they stated that TV was just a hobby to them. I think that because I have an Xbox that can do pretty much the same exact things, I just don’t see the real need for one of these products. Apple talked about how the new version is capable of 4K gaming, but ask any gamer and they will tell you that console and PC gaming is where it is at. No one will want to play huge cinematic games on an Apple TV simply because of the inconvenience, and the underwhelming power as compared to that of an actual gaming rig. Let me give you my opinion on the streaming factor of Apple TV. First off, who would want to purchase a product that doesn’t even support their video streaming subscription platform? I am strictly talking about Amazon Prime Video. Yes, I know they said they would be supporting Amazon real soon, but they said the exact same thing three months ago, at WWDC. Also, who is Apple catering the 4K device to anyway? On average, the typical U.S. household’s internet bandwidth is nowhere near the needed amount for 4K streaming. Apple also talked about how they would upscale everyone’s media libraries to 4K. However, what difference does this make if none of their products, from the Mac to the iPod touch, even support 4K!
It was finally the moment we had been waiting for! The iPhone 8 and 8+ were finally introduced to the world. They wield many great features, and some not so great ones. To start off with, the iPhone 8 is still stuck with just a single digitally stabilized camera instead of a dual optical stabilized camera. I do like, though, how on the plus model, both telephoto, and wide angle lenses now have optical image stabilization. The new portrait modes absolutely blew me away. I really love the effect that studio lighting adds to an image. The addition of 4K at 60fps was another feature that simply blew me away!. Finally, we come to the wireless capabilities. Now here is an area that I’ve never really seen the big deal about. Everyone talks about how wireless charging is the next big thing, at the current state of it, is it wireless? You still must lay your device on a pad, and most times, you should line it up just right to even get a good connection. The “wireless” charging can be so cumbersome that It may just be easier to plug your phone in with a cord. A couple years back, Apple filed a patent for a wireless power delivery technique that took advantage of an iMac to wirelessly stream power to a device if you entered the room. This is what true wireless charging should be. As with every generation, it got a speed boost. However, there is a point where adding more speed really plays a minimal role in a user’s interaction with a device. Paying close to a thousand dollars, at least in my opinion, is not worth a minuscule two-second speed boost. The only point where it may be of value is if a person is an older model. That is when I would say, go for it!
I was worried after this spiel that that was it. What happened to the iPhone X, Edition, or whatever Apple was going to call it? Luckily for me, there was just one more thing. With those famous words, we were introduced to the iPhone X (pronounced iPhone 10). This is the phone that many have been anticipating for years. Coming in second, only to the tribute to Steve Jobs, this phone was one of the biggest parts, at least in my opinion, of the whole keynote. This full screen, bezel-less, advanced phone was what many have only dreamed of. This new addition to the iPhone family introduced, along with the feature of the iPhone 8, facial recognition, portrait mode on the front facing camera, an OLED panel, and a new user interface. However, the key feature in this list would have to be that of facial recognition. Apple stated that the odds of outwitting this system are 1 in 1,000,000 as compared to Touch ID’s 1 in 50,000. Unfortunately for Apple though, the first demo they attempted crashed on stage, which resulted in them having to go to a backup. This tool will be able to map your face even if you are wearing glasses, hats, grow a beard, etc. The phone will not officially go on sale until October 27th, which will give Apple plenty of time to resolve any issues with the technology. However, Is a $1,000 price tag worth it? I’ll let you decide that.
As I close, are any of these products of interest to you? Would you agree with my summation on technologies such as wireless charging? What could you think of to better improve upon any one of these products? I would love to hear what you should say!