Welcome to Key Notes, where I highlight all the stuff that catches my attention after an Apple keynote.
Apple announced a good helping of stuff today, most of which was confirmed over the weekend by the unexpected leak of the iOS 11 Golden Master for iPhone X. Apple didn’t let that stop the magic, though, juxtaposing a mood that ranged from somber to excitement.
Key Notes for September 12, 2017
Steve Jobs Dedication
- Tasteful, somber, and heartwarming all at the same time. This was the best introduction to a keynote Apple has ever had. Tim Cook nailed the speech.
- Angela Ahrendts took the stage to talk about Apple Stores being referred to as town squares. It’s a narrative they’ve pushed before, but it’s coming across a little forced. Apple Stores are usually always at capacity. People will stumble across all the Apple Today stuff by happenstance.
Apple Watch Series 3
- Cellular is an obvious progression. Obviously Apple would ensure battery life wouldn’t be an issue.
- Streaming music directly from the Watch is going to be badass. Makes the Watch essentially an LTE iPod.
- Phone calls are in and your number is shared with your phone. Glad Ming-Chi Kuo got this one wrong.
- I love the red dot on the crown, and red/grey are my favorite color (bet you couldn’t tell). However, it makes me wonder if all future LTE models will have have a red-dot crown? I think eventually it’s possible all Apple Watch models will just come with LTE. Definitely a curious design choice, nonetheless. It’s almost as if Apple decided they needed a way to differentiate the product since the casing is the same.
- Apple says it has an ‘upgraded’ dual-core processor, which is short of saying it’s a whole new SOC. Sounds like a small speed bump, which could be OK.
- I want the Ceramic Grey Edition model so bad.
- I wonder how fast apps that use LTE will respond.
Apple TV 4K HDR
- Logical upgrades. UI will definitely benefit in terms of responsiveness from the A10X chip.
- Finally, the Apple TV will have a Gigabit Ethernet connection, although the fourth generation still ships with an inexcusable 10/100 jack.
- Can’t believe they didn’t redesign the Siri remote’s button layout.
All three new iPhones
- We’re back to the glass sandwich design, just like the iPhone 4. This is a natural evolution of the iPhone 6 design to accommodate “wireless” charging (read: Qi charging). Hopefully the stronger glass holds up better to falls unlike the iPhone 4. The stronger glass is most likely the reason Qi charging took them so long.
- True Tone display makes it to the iPhone. Very nice. After using it on my iPad Pro 10.5-inch for a few months, I can say I much prefer it to my iPhone 7’s screen.
- Black, Jet Black, and Rose Gold finishes are no more. Kind of perplexing, especially for the iPhone 8. Rose Gold has been a huge hit.
- Portrait Mode selfies and Portrait Lighting are great. No longer need another person to take a great Portrait Mode picture of yourself.
- 4K 60fps video recording is insane for a phone.
iPhone 8 and 8 Plus
- It seems pretty clear this form factor will remain until such a time when iPhone X’s design is more affordable/possible to produce in mass quantities.
- 25% louder stereo speakers is a nice little addition.
- Poor iPhone 8 was immediately overshadowed by…
- Why, oh, why are they pronouncing it “ten”??? I was wrong about this one. So many people will still call it iPhone “ex”, anyway. What happens in two years when we have ‘iPhone 10’?
- Dat screen. Can’t wait to see this thing in person. They did, indeed embrace the notch. The clip of Spider-Man they played looked odd with the video playing above/below the notch. No Pro Motion (120Hz) refresh rate, though. Wondering if it will cheapen the experience any.
- Face ID is futuristic and way more than just a backup plan for Touch ID. I also accurately predicted much of how it will work. It’s hilarious how many folks apparently thought Apple would just do basic image comparison to identify your face.
- The iPhone line now has glaring UX differences for everyday actions (unlocking, going home, switching apps, etc.). I think Apple framed it well in the sense that this is what all iPhones will be like in the years to come. Maybe implementing these changes on the entire line in one fell swoop would be too drastic.
- On a similar note, Apple didn’t completely do away with a home indicator, but I really like the move to gestural navigation. Getting into the App Switcher looks like a replacement for the 3D Touch left-edge gesture that was removed in iOS 11. Only sad thing is the iPhone 8 and below won’t have it, but Apple must have felt it crucial to not further complicate the UX across the entire line.
- I’m surprised there weren’t any features on the lock screen that only turn on part of the display to take advantage of OLED.
- Animoji look like hilarious fun. I’m stunned how well the mouth tracking worked in Craig’s demo.
- The A11 Bionic chip is fucking insane (both the specs and branding). That is to say, branding it as ‘Bionic’ is just strange.
- Apple is now making its own GPUs. Game changer.
- Not much focus on real AR, which I thought was a glaring omission.
- AppleCare+ will be a whopping $200 by itself.
- AirPower mat to charge iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods is something I need in my life. Too bad it’s not coming until next year.
- I wonder how much the new AirPods inductive charging case is going to cost.
- No mention of HomePod was a surprise. Possible October event to announce availability along with iMac Pro?
- Stay tuned for a new episode of Gaddgict’s podcast, Fatherboard coming later tonight! My Dad and I are going to discuss all this and more.