Some might argue that the most notable aspect of yesterday’s Apple event was the fact that the company didn’t announce the iPhone 12 or even make reference to the new phones it will be launching next month.
That was no surprise, however: all the signs had pointed it out. Instead, we got a pretty solid event. What he lacked in excitement (except for developers) he made up for in good news for consumers …
If you missed the event yourself, the first thing to do is read our recap of all the announced events. You will find a summary with links to all the details.
Here is my own take on the announcements …
Apple Watch Series 6
Apple clearly saw the Apple Watch Series 6 as the star of the show and launched it first (although the slogan “Time Flies”
I am not sure if I agree with this. As I wrote before the event, the O2 sensor is the main function and while that is appealing, just selling it to me is not enough.
Measuring O2 sats is an interesting and timely feature at a time of a pandemic that is damaging the lungs. However, I’m not sure if it’s a big reason to choose the Series 6. First, I tested a smartwatch with an oxygen saturation function – and used it exactly once. Basically, it doesn’t vary much unless you have a disease that affects your O2 saturation.
Of course, you can argue that during the pandemic, the ability to easily check your O2 sats when you think you are experiencing coronavirus-type symptoms could be extremely valuable. But it still seems that the vast majority of those infected are asymptomatic, and if you still want to check it out regularly, twenty bucks can get you a standalone device to do the job. At the beginning of the crisis I bought one that is now part of our medicine cabinet. So there isn’t much reason to pay a likely substantial premium to get the feature on your Apple Watch.
The 6 series offers a few other advantages. The display that is always on is brighter. It charges faster, which is certainly handy for those who want to use it for sleep tracking. The U1 chip would definitely be a selling point for the few people with a car key compatible car. Plus the new colors. But overall, I don’t see many people upgrading from a Series 5 to this one, and I personally don’t see any reason to upgrade from my Series 4.
Apple Watch SE
For me, the Apple Watch SE was the more interesting announcement. It costs $ 80 more than Series 3, but that extra $ 80 is a lot. First, the larger display makes a surprising difference in ease of use. It’s likely to get three more years of watchOS support than the S3, which alone could make it a better buy for anyone planning to keep the same watch for a few years. It supports Family Setup (more on that in a moment). It also supports the new watchOS 7 faces.
If you’ve been sitting on the fence about whether or not you want to buy an Apple Watch, the Apple Watch SE is a good time to jump on board. I still believe that this is the new default Apple Watch.
What was strange, however, was Apple’s decision to keep selling the Series 3. When you factor in the differences outlined above, this is a no-brainer for me: buy the SE instead. I can only assume that Apple found that $ 199 was a major psychological barrier for a significant number of consumers. otherwise it doesn’t make any sense.
My guess is that the S3 will go away next year and the Apple Watch SE will drop to $ 199.
Family setup, also known as “kid mode”
Ok, let’s start with a statement of the obvious: this is a feature that is solidly aimed at better-off families. To use it, not only do you have to buy an Apple Watch for each of your kids, but it also has to be a cellular model – which excludes the Series 3 as it only remains available in the GPS version. You can’t even use it if your kids already have an S3 cellphone, which seems a little mean.
So, you’ll need to spend at least $ 329 per child on the Apple Watch SE GPS + Cellular, plus any additional costs you may have to pay for your family plan.
But for those who can afford it, you don’t have to be a parent to see the attraction. The peace of mind of being able to track your kids’ whereabouts, reach them and know they can reach you, and even send them money on the clock, all adds up to a great feature set.
8th generation iPad
This was a very minor update and by far the least interesting thing about yesterday’s Apple event, but it’s important to have an iPad at this price point. Otherwise nothing to say.
However, this is a huge update. For $ 599, you get something that is visually indistinguishable from the 11-inch iPad Pro, has most of the features people care about, and costs $ 200 less.
If you want better spec, choosing the 256GB WiFi + Cellular model will get you a fantastic device for $ 879, which is still $ 179 cheaper than the $ 1,049 you get for the Pro would pay.
In either case, don’t sacrifice too much. You get almost the same screen (0.1 inch smaller and no ProMotion). They are still compatible with Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil 2. You get USB-C. You get almost the same camera functionality (without the ultra-wide camera and True Tone flash). You lose two speakers. You get Touch ID instead of Face ID – but it’s not that it’s a downside in a mask-wearing era! After all, you will not receive the LiDAR scanner.
The bottom line is that now you need a very good reason to buy the 11-inch iPad Pro instead of the 10.9-inch iPad Air. (Of course, if you’re a fan of the 12.9-inch screen like me, the more expensive iPad Pro will remain your only option.)
Apple Fitness +
Apple Fitness + is definitely a very well timed start and at a very competitive price. I think this will no doubt prove popular.
These bundles offer some worthwhile savings even if you aren’t interested in all of the individual components. There wasn’t anything I personally cared about – the only two paid services I use are Apple Music and iCloud storage – but some families in particular save money, and that’s always welcome.
I’ll include my usual complaint that it remains ridiculous that Apple still only offers 5GB of free iCloud storage no matter how many devices you buy.
That solo loop
I know it’s as minor an announcement as possible, but combine the minimalist look of an unbroken ribbon with the convenience of putting it on and taking it off without fastening, and I’m sold. The big question is whether the stretch tape will fit well and will do so over time. I’ll find out the answer to the first question on Friday.
Something else from yesterday’s Apple event
I have one final comment: Apple introduced new watch faces in watchOS 7, and if you like analog watch faces – especially those without complications – you’re spoiled for choice now.
But I prefer a digital face and as many complications as possible. My choices there remain Modular, Infograph Modular and Siri.
I mean I know there is only so much design you can do if you want to use all of the space available, but a few more options would be good. I can change the color but want a few more layouts just to keep the visual variety.
That is my take on yesterday’s Apple event. how about yours What was the most interesting for you? Any disappointments? Please let us know in the comments.
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