Quick take on the Apple Fall Keynote

by Sep 12, 2019

I thought I’d say a few things about Tuesday’s Apple Fall Keynote that introduced the iPhone II, the Watch Series 5, and the new Arcade and TV+ offerings, among other stuff.

First, a pointer out to Om, who’s event notes I think really covered the essence of the event wonderfully. If you aren’t reading his stuff, you really should, he’s one of the best journalists out there on not just technology issues, but on most aspects of life today. And he’s an incredible photography that on a regular basis makes me want to toss my cameras in a lake.

Once again, we saw many of the tech pundits going into this keynote talking about how it was going to be boring because Apple can’t keep a secret. And while a lot of the superficial details surfaced, the nuance and complexity of the products and Apple’s story around them were all unknown. Things that showed up in the keynote that weren’t in the rumor mill: Most of the bits about the Watch Series 5, including the always on bit; casing materials leaked but that’s really one of the least important aspects of this product. Also the research program and app. I loved the advertising they did — “It tells time… and a few other things” was awesome. The video about it saving people’s lives made me tear up. Well done. And I’ve ordered mine with a couple of sport loops to add to the collection (with my series 4 as a trade in); I know Rene Ritchie calls the sports loop the yoga pants of watchbands, and he’s right, but it’s one of the bands I find comfortable and fits my really large wrists consistently. Almost lost in the noise was just what an improvement the “mix and match” order process for watches are, so you now get the band you want not the one they chose for you. Well done. Oh, and I bought the new one without LTE because I never saw that having it in the watch series 4 did anything I really cared about.

The new iPad is awesome. I’m skipping this generation since mine is beyond good enough, but it’s a great unit at a great price that I’ll recommend strongly to anyone in the market.

The new iPhone 11: love the colors. Photographer me wants the three cameras on the pro models, but realistic me knows I won’t use them that much and I don’t push the phone camera hard, and the price difference means I’ll likely be going for the base iPhone with upgraded memory. In Lavender. I’m on the upgrade program, so this is kind of a no-brainer, and I believe my monthly payment goes down…

Arcade: at $5/mo I’m in. I mostly game on the Switch now, but this may well have me shift some of it back to the iPad. I like the offering a lot.

TV+: Very happy at the $5/mo price. Even happier at the “buy something once a year and its free, I think that’s a really interesting strategy. It’ll be interesting to see if that’s extended after this year (my guess: yes), but it means I’ll be in on this as well. If I didn’t get it bundled with the new device? I’d probably go in for a year and see how much I use it.

I’ve been running IOS 13 beta on my iPads and phone, and the TVos beta (all public betas). 13.1 public beta 2 on all three devices is decent, I really like the improvements and the new CarPlay and maps are great — why I put it on the phone and happy I did. TVos on the other hand is a fair hot mess as of today, and I am hoping to see another public beta soon that improves it, because it’s beyond annoying. My TV’s current joy: I can fire it up, it goes to the screensaver, and when it turns off, the device crashes and won’t wake up without pulling the power to reset it. I’ve currently got it in “never sleep” mode to compensate.

Catalina? I added an APSF partition to my laptop, fired it up for a couple of hours, and haven’t touched it since. Since I’m now prepping the laptop for the Art Wolfe workshop next week, it’ll get nuked until Catalina releases, then I’ll run Catalina only on the laptop until I’m sure everything is working fine and stable. it’s not touching my iMac for a while.

So, for all the people calling the keynote boring, you’re ignoring the larger aspects of the devices; the details that leak are the ones that don’t really matter. Not that this will stop you from punditing. To those of you out there, remember most of the pundits declaring this new phone boring are comparing it to last year’s iPhone. Yes, it’s an incremental upgrade (hello, mature technology) but still, there are some nice improvements. And if your phone is 2-3 years old, it’s a much more significant upgrade and they’re ignoring that almost all iPhone users wait 2-3 years or more between upgrades. So keep that in mind and take their whining with a grain of salt.

The only reason I’m upgrading is I’m on the upgrade program, so it’s basically free, until I decide to wait the second year and buy out the ongoing lease. Actually, that’s not really true. Upgrading to the iPhone 11 will make that monthly payment go down (my estimate between the iPhone pro I’d likely buy, which would cost me about what I’m paying now per month, and the iPhone 11 I’m likely to buy, is about a $15/mo reduction).

Also, enjoying watching twitter where all the over-40 types are having various angsty reactions to “Slof-fies”. All of them having their own personal “get off my lawn” moments in public. While the younger crowd is looking at it and going “oh, cool! thanks!”. I do so love watching generational whining about things that aren’t intended for them in the first place. As long as I am not the one doing it…

I’ll give the keynote a B+. Good devices, nice improvements to the camera, really like this new watch, and I’m hopeful Apple gets IOS to settle down before 13.1 releases end of the month. Folks, do yourself a favor, don’t upgrade until 13.1 hits. Trust me.

And Catalina? this is a good release to let others blaze the trail and fall into the tiger pits. Just saying.