The dust has finally settled in the Steve Jobs Theatre after the whole array of product announcements from Apple yesterday. While most of the attention was grabbed by the iPhone 14 series, Apple also released new Apple Watches and a new set of AirPods, the new edition of the AirPods Pro. While there will be plenty of discussion around the products that were launched at the event, here are the five main takeaways that we had from the latest Apple launch:
The Apple Watch is now a product line
The Apple Watch started out a few years ago as a single product with variations in size and straps. That was it. There were a few special editions, but in terms of hardware and design, there was essentially only one Apple Watch.
The introduction of the Apple Watch SE added a new dimension to the range in 2020, but even that seemed a relatively minor tweak as the SE ran on an older processor.
However, the addition of the Apple Watch Ultra and the new SE makes the Apple Watch a proper product line and not just a single product, with new and old variants.
In fact, the Apple Watch line is very much like the iPhones, with an SE, a main and a Pro version, only its Pro version is called Ultra. And as in the iPhones until a year ago, they all share largely similar cores!
The iPhone 14 and 14 Plus get chipped out
Apple generally launches new iPhones with new processors. However, that did not happen this time around. While the iPhone 14 Pro range got the new A16 Bionic chips, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus got the older A15 Bionic, although it was the one that was on the iPhone 13 Pro range, which had an additional graphics core.
There are many who believe that this is a reflection of the fact that Apple has been affected by the chip shortage currently affecting the industry.
Others feel that it was the only way in which Apple could have kept the price of the iPhone 14 at the same level as last year. There is also a theory that Apple might not be investing too heavily in its Bionic range of chips as it plans to move all iPhones to variants of the M series of processors seen in the iPads and MacBooks.
Whatever the reason, this is the first time in many years that people will buy the latest iPhone and find themselves with a slightly older, if still very able, processor. Does this mean that the iPhone 14 and 13 will get updates for the same amount of time? We will see.
Have the iPhones got sucked into the spec battle?
Apple has always prided itself on not getting into hardware and spec battles with its Android competitors. However, at yesterday’s event, it seemed as if it had got pulled into exactly that sort of face-off.
While there was talk of some software tweaks and special features like SOS calls using satellites, crash detection and a Dynamic Island design of the notch on the Pro range of devices, most of the talk seemed to revolve around better hardware – better cameras, better processor, better battery life.
We are even actually seeing a 48-megapixel sensor on an iPhone for the first time. Perhaps it is too early to say that Apple is getting into the spec wars of the sort we see in the Android world, but the signs are there. We just hope it is a temporary phase, though.
The iPhone mini era is over
After trying for two years to bring back a more compact form factor to the iPhone with the iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 13 mini, Apple seems to have finally given up on the small phone cause.
In fact, this year has seen Apple not just remove the mini from its range but also add a bigger iPhone 14 Plus to the regular iPhone. So, while in the past, you had a regular iPhone and a mini version of it, you now have a regular iPhone and a larger version of it.
Is this the end of the small iPhone, or will it resurface in the SE in some form? Our hearts hope it does, as variety is always good, but our heads tell us that the iPhone mini era is over.
Apple events are no longer short and sharp
The Far Out event lasted almost two hours and involved announcements of no fewer than eight products – four phones, three watches and a TWS. All of this took time, and while Apple remains the master of presentations, the fact is that we were getting a sense of information overload by the time we came to the iPhones.
Perhaps the Apple Watch deserves an event of its own. And, in fact, the way things are going, so do the AirPods!