My Thoughts On Yesterday’s #AppleEvent

Yesterday, Apple announced new Apple Watch models, a second generation AirPod Pro, and new iPhones to the world. And this year I decided to wait a few hours and share my thoughts after I have had time to digest the announcement. So let’s start with the Apple Watches:

  • Apple Watch Series 8: Let me get this out of the way. This is yet another iterative upgrade from Apple which isn’t a bad thing as the smartwatch market is far from saturated. Thus Apple doesn’t need to really push performance or throw a bunch of sensors into a new Apple Watch model to get attention. With that in mind, the new temperature sensor is the only new thing that they did add. This is tied to an ovulation predictor that they built into watchOS 9 specifically for this model. And Apple did go out of their way to say that any women’s health data is private and Apple can’t see it. Which I believe is a clear message that they are sending those on either side of the abortion debate in the US. The other things that stand out are a brighter screen and a new crash detection feature where it will call emergency services if you are in a car crash, along with international roaming for the Apple Watch if your carrier supports it. As far as I can tell, Canadian carriers don’t support it which is a bit of bummer. What Apple didn’t improve upon is the 18 hour battery life which really is a bummer as other smartwatches are capable of getting days of battery life. But they are introducing a low power mode to the Apple Watch Series 4 or above via watchOS 9 which ships next week. When that hits the streets, I will be testing it and letting you know what I think of it.
  • Apple Watch Ultra: Apple has released a watch for those who do things like triathlons, marathons, and “extreme” sports. Called the Apple Watch Ultra, it promises 36 hour battery life and all sorts of extra functionality to cater to this market. Not to mention extra waterproofing and durability features. This is a brilliant move by Apple as they’re clearly going after Garmin and Suunto who pretty much own this market. And I think it’s a success based on the fact that the last time I checked, you have to wait seven weeks to get one in contrast that with three to four weeks for the Series 8. Thus I think both those companies should be very, very scared. I hope at some point that Apple brings down some of the features of this watch to the more consumer focused Apple Watch. Specifically the battery life. But I would not at all be surprised if they didn’t.
  • AirPods Pro: This is another one of those iterative updates from Apple as they’ve added better FindMy support, better noise cancelling and transparency features, better sound, and longer battery life along with the ability to charge via MagSafe and the Apple Charging Puck for the Apple Watch. While I am sure that some people who already own AirPods Pro may upgrade, this iteration of the AirPods Pro isn’t a must get for those people. Instead it’s likely aimed at pulling people away from getting a pair of Sony or Bose earbuds.
  • iPhone 14: Much as the rumours predicted, Apple recycled the A15 processor from last year’s iPhone 13 Pro and dropped it in here. But the camera hardware has been seriously upgraded to give this phone gimbal like stability and better low light performance. It also adds the crash detection feature from the Apple Watch. But the two things that got my attention are the Emergency SOS via satellite feature which allows the iPhone 14 to connect directly to satellites for communication purposes in emergency situations when WiFi and cellular are not available. This will be free for two years however pricing after that was not disclosed. The cynic in me says that Apple is using that as a hook for you to buy a new iPhone in two years time. There’s also better cooling which should stop the overheating problems (which you will see in the form of the screen dimming). But Apple didn’t really go into the weeds on that. The other thing that caught my attention is that Apple has gone “all in” on eSIM and ditched the SIM tray in this phone. But only in the US. I wish they did this elsewhere as on top of likely improving water resistance, it will mitigate SIM swapping scams. Finally, if you were a fan of the iPhone Mini, it’s dead. Replaced by the iPhone 14 Plus which is a 6.7″ phone that likely has amazing battery life. The biggest #Fail from Apple is that the iPhone 14 still has Lightning and hasn’t made the move to USB-C. And it isn’t clear if the Lightning port is any faster as that was a major sore point for anyone who tried to use ProRES video on their iPhone and had to wait an hour or two for video to transfer over.
  • iPhone 14 Pro: Now if you’re in the market for an iPhone, the pro version is likely the one that you want to get. Besides having the new A16 processor which promises a performance boost, and all the features of the iPhone 14, it also has a 2000 nit display which is insane as there are desktop screens that don’t go that bright. Plus the iPhone finally has an always on display. Welcome to 2017 Apple. But the big news is that Apple has taken the notch, made it a pill shaped cutout, and built a software feature around the cutout called “dynamic island” which has notifications and other information surface from the cutout making it part of the user interface. I have to admit this is genius on the part of Apple as they’ve taken a hardware function that might have been the source of blowback from some and turned it into something that people will talk about in a positive way. Well played Apple. Apple added a 48-megapixel Wide camera with a quad-pixel sensor. But the photo is binned down to 12-megapixel. But if you use ProRAW you can get access to the full 48-megapixel photo. That should give better low light performance. The biggest #Fail from Apple is that the iPhone 14 Pro still has Lightning and hasn’t made the move to USB-C. And it isn’t clear if the Lightning port is any faster as that was a major sore point for anyone who tried to use ProRES video on their iPhone and had to wait an hour or two for video to transfer over.

That’s my view of yesterday’s Apple Event. If you want to see the 100 minute event, you can watch the recording on YouTube below. What are your thoughts on the Apple Event? Drop your thoughts in the comments below.

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