Updates to the iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods Pro were announced by Apple. The next month will likely see the announcement of Macs and iPads. The Far Out event today had some new content and features, but nothing that truly got people’s hopes and imaginations racing. However, is that bad?
It bores me. How is that possible? Really, however. In addition to emergency satellite service, an Apple Watch that doubles as a dive computer, a 48-megapixel iPhone with an always-on display, and the second-generation AirPods Pro, which are claimed to cancel twice as much noise but probably won’t be able to block out my puppy’s yaps, Apple also unveiled these products today.
Still, I’m bored. Nothing about this is a surprise. Nothing about this disturbs me. None of this feels like the impossible made possible.
Accept it. Just a little bit bored, too, is you. Also, yep. That’s incredible. We’ll go over the announcements again and then talk about why.
Brief announcement summary
Let’s quickly review the announcements that have been made. The Apple Far Out event details are being covered in much more detail by others here on ZDNET. Just to put things in perspective, I want to mention these.
In addition to the second-generation AirPods Pro, Apple also unveiled the iPhone 14 series, Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra.
The highlight features of the iPhone 14 (in base and Plus versions) are two safety capabilities that may seem a bit specialised: the ability to transmit a call for assistance through satellite, and accident detection.
The iPhone 14 Pro (in base and Max models) renames the notch the Dynamic Island and performs some ridiculous things with it. Although overstated, the UI is actually rather sophisticated. The Pro versions add an always-on display feature, satellite SOS, crash detection, and superior cameras than the previous generation.
From a purely speculative standpoint, the second-generation AirPods Pro are maybe the least interesting. Yes, the audio quality has improved. Noise cancellation is superior, yes. But you won’t truly be able to understand the benefits until you put them in your ears. The AirPods Pro are already quite good, and it is anticipated that the upgrades will make them much better. Fine.
The new Apple Watch is another option. The more inexpensive Apple Watch SE has a spec increase. A temperature sensor is added to the Apple Watch Series 8, with a focus on the health of women.
Add to it the $799 that was less expensive than we had anticipated. Apple Watch Ultra, a toughened Apple Watch made for klutzes and adventurers. You have a higher possibility of connecting to a satellite in urban areas or in gorges in mountains thanks to the dual-frequency GPS. The battery has a long life, which is a characteristic that almost everyone has long wished for. Additionally, the device is water-resistant enough to function as a dive computer.
Thus, yes. a few fresh features. Possibly some fresh purchases. Yawn.
But, think about that yawn for a minute
Let’s put things in context. Take a step back. Since 2007, Apple has released a new iPhone every year. 38 models are listed on MacTracker, including the several versions created in the beginning for various carrier systems. With today’s four additions, there will now be 42.
Despite the Apple Watch’s relatively recent arrival in 2015, millions of us now wear one on a daily basis.
AppleDesign Powered Speakers, which debuted in 1993, was the company’s first external audio system. However, despite the fact that AirPods have only been present since 2016 (AirPods Pro from 2019), they have grown in popularity over the years.
Since the iPhone’s introduction 15 years ago, not only has the technology altered dramatically, but also our whole environment. Although we had smartphones, BlackBerry and Palm Treo models were relegated to history after the introduction of the iPhone (and later Android). We have Uber, Instacart, the gig economy, mobile-first computing, and so much more thanks to apps and always-connected broadband.
The first iPhone featured 4GB of storage, a 3.5-inch screen, and a 320×480 pixel resolution. Even App Store applications weren’t available for the first model. Its back had a 2-megapixel camera. There were no selfies at all.
Apple unveiled a phone today with a 48-megapixel camera. Only 1,600 by 1,200 pixels could be captured on the original iPhone, and the quality is, being kind, OK.
The new iPhone 14 Pro Max boasts a 2,796×1,290-pixel display resolution, three 12-megapixel cameras, and one 48-megapixel camera that can capture photographs with camera quality that is just stunning. Although 48MP cameras were available in smartphones for over four years, Apple’s latest version is undoubtedly the best.
All of it is without mentioning the performance of the CPU, image processing, machine learning, memory, and other such things. The truth is that any of us would want to throw the old first iPhone—or even the iPhone 3G from a few years later—against the wall out of irritation. We’ve gone a long way.
Also: Is the upgrading to the iPhone 14 Pro over the iPhone 13 Pro worthwhile?
The incremental gains don’t appear to be that significant, though, because we’ve travelled such a long distance year by year and upgrade by upgrade. For instance, the new iPhone 14 models’ camera features aren’t really compelling enough for me to replace my iPhone 12 Pro Max with one of them.
The AirPods Pro are already so excellent that, in my opinion, the upgrades in the AirPods Pro 2 are not worth upgrading to (however, if users claim that they can cancel dog barking, I would think about it).
My Apple Watch Series 4 that I purchased as a refurbished item in 2019 is still in use. My current watch is in excellent working condition, but the battery life and ruggedness of the Apple Watch Ultra intrigue me (less for mountain climbing and more for surviving the workshop). I’d want to make an effort to wait till an Apple Watch with continuous blood pressure monitoring and other health sensors is released.
The safety features are particularly notable.
On the other hand, don’t assume that using the safety measures Apple described is limited to mountain climbing.
Back in 2019, Hurricane Irma was making its way toward my home, which according to all news sources was right in the centre of what was expected to intensify into a Category 5 hurricane. So, my wife and I loaded up our appropriately called Ford Escape with our few possessions, my MacBook Pro, a couple iPads, and our puppy, and we left town.
I’ve driven across America a few times, and while much of it resembles central New Jersey, much of it also resembles the moon’s surface. When you’re speeding down the highway, you eventually come to the realisation that you best have enough petrol in the tank since the next gas station is 100 miles away and the previous one was in your rearview mirror. Naturally, there are no cell towers either.
Your whole life, your family, and any possessions you may still have are in a ten-year-old automobile that is driving down an open, lonely road. You are utterly alone. When that happens, it would be wonderful to know that you may contact for assistance using your phone, which can travel 22,300 miles straight up to a geosynchronous satellite despite all the aridness.
It would be comforting to know that if something terrible occurred while driving across the Rockies on extremely narrow, twisting roads with extremely steep inclines, your phone could detect the collision and contact for assistance.
Ideally, you won’t ever need to utilise these functions. However, as my friend Jason Perlow noted early on in his possession of an Apple Watch, unfortunate events can occasionally occur. When your watch or phone saves your life, the expense is definitely justified.
Even so, hardly much has been invested. The pricing of the iPhone 14 was the subject of several rumours in the gossip columns. However, the base iPhone 14 continues to cost $799, exactly the same as the base iPhone 13 did in 2016. It can now communicate with satellites.
We’ve made great progress.
Since Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone, both humanity and technology have advanced significantly. Smartphones have significantly altered our environment in both tiny and large ways, for the better as well as for the worse, in ways that are dehumanising and sow dissatisfaction. In terms of being able to express our ideas and perspectives, we’re all a bit closer to one another.
It ironically has distanced us from one another in terms of polite conversation and a feeling of community. We can only hope that technology will assist us in coming up with original solutions to some of the jams we’ve put ourselves in.
Change that is implemented gradually is perhaps the best method for it to do that. Each small adjustment is just that: small. a tiny bit longer battery life. a processor that executes commands a little bit faster. a somewhat brighter display. a somewhat smaller notch. a camera that produces images of somewhat improved quality. switching between 4G to 5G. additional sensors. Another approach to keep us healthy.
There is now a cadence. a typical annual occurrence. Of course, phones will operate more quickly. The battery life will undoubtedly last longer. The cameras will undoubtedly be better. Worldwide, tens of thousands of engineers, designers, and programmers toil arduously in order to provide us with what we believe to be our right.
We demand, “Bring us innovation.” We instruct the creation of better and more potent gadgets. We lecture dismissively, as if we were kings in court, lecturing the court jesters, “And try not to bore us again.”
We beg you to “entertain us.” Impress us, is what we say. Oh, and try to keep the price from going up.