Some might argue that the most notable aspect of yesterday’s Apple event was the fact that the company did not announce the iPhone 12, or even referred to the new phones it will launch next month.
It was not a surprise, however: all the signs had pointed to it. Instead, we had a pretty solid event. What it lacked in excitement (except for developers), it compensated for good news for consumers …
If you missed the event itself, you will start by checking out our overview of everything that was announced. You will find a summary along with links to all the details.
Here is my own opinion of the announcements …
Apple Watch Series 6
Apple clearly saw the Apple Watch Series 6 as the star of the show, and introduced it first (although the ̵
I’m not sure I agree. As I wrote before the event, the headline feature is where the O2 sensor, and while it is appealing, it is not enough to sell it to me.
Measurement of O2 sets is an interesting and timely function in a time of a pandemic that damages the lungs. However, I’m not sure there is a massive reason to choose Series 6. First, I tested a smartwatch with an oxygen saturation function – and I used it exactly once. Basically, unless you have a medical condition that affects O2 saturation, it does not vary much.
Of course, you could argue that during the pandemic, the ability to easily check your O2 rates may be felt if coronavirus symptoms are extremely valuable. But it still seems that the vast majority of those infected are asymptomatic, and if you still want to check it regularly, twenty dollars will get you a stand-alone device to do the job. I bought one at the beginning of the crisis, and it is now part of our medicine cabinet. So there is not much reason to pay a likely significant premium to get the feature on the Apple Watch.
Series 6 offers some other benefits. It is always brighter on the display. Charging is faster, which is definitely useful for those who want to use it for sleep tracking. The U1 chip will definitely be a selling point for the few people who have a car key compatible car. Plus the new colors. But overall, I do not see many people upgrading from a Series 5 to this, and personally I see no reason to upgrade from my Series 4.
Apple Watch SE
For me, the Apple Watch SE was the more interesting announcement. This costs $ 80 more than the Series 3, but you get a lot for the extra eighty dollars. First, the larger screen makes a surprising difference to usability. It will probably get three years more watchOS support than the S3, which alone can make it a better buy for anyone planning to have the same watch for a few years. It supports Family Setup (more on this in a moment). And it also supports the new watchOS 7 faces.
If you’ve been sitting on the fence about whether or not to get an Apple Watch, the Apple Watch SE is a good time to jump on board. My view is still that this is the new standard Apple Watch.
What was strange, though, was that Apple chose to keep the Series 3 up for sale. For me, when you consider the differences outlined above, it’s a no-brainer: buy SE instead. I can only assume that Apple found that $ 199 was an important psychological barrier for a significant number of consumers; otherwise it makes no sense.
My guess is that next year the S3 will disappear and the Apple Watch SE will drop to $ 199.
Family Setup aka ‘child mode’
Okay, let’s start with a statement about the obvious: this is a feature aimed solidly at wealthy families. To use it, you not only need to buy an Apple Watch for each of your children, but it must be a mobile model – which excludes Series 3, because it is only available in GPS-only version. You can not even use it if your children already have an S3 mobile, which seems a bit painful.
You must spend at least $ 329 per child on the Apple Watch SE GPS + Cellular, plus the additional cost you have to pay for your family plan.
But for those who can afford it, you do not have to be a parent to see the attraction. The security of being able to track where your kids are, be able to reach them and know they can reach you, and even send them money on the Watch, all provide a pretty great feature set.
8th generation iPad
This was a very small update, and without a doubt the least interesting thing in yesterday’s Apple event, but it’s important to have an iPad at this price point. Nothing else to say here.
However, this is a major update. For $ 599, you get something that doesn’t seem to stand out from the 11-inch iPad Pro, offers most of the features people care about, and costs $ 200 less.
For a better spec, choose the 256GB WiFi + Cellular model you a great device for $ 879, which is still $ 179 cheaper than the $ 1,049 you pay for the Pro.
Either way, you are not sacrificing too much. You get almost the same screen (0.1-inch smaller, and no ProMotion). You still get Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil 2 compatibility. You get USB-C. You get almost the same camera features (missing the ultra-wide camera and True Tone flash). You lose two speakers. You get Touch ID instead of Face ID – but it’s not like it’s a disadvantage in a time of mask use! Finally, you do not get the LiDAR scanner.
The bottom line is that you now need a very good reason to buy the 11-inch iPad Pro instead of the 10.9-inch iPad Air. (If you, like me, are a fan of the 12.9-inch screen, then the more expensive iPad Pro is of course the only option.)
Apple Fitness +
Apple Fitness + is definitely a very timed launch and is very competitively priced. I think this is going to prove to be popular without a doubt.
These packages offer some beneficial savings, even if you are not interested in all the individual components. There was nothing that interested me personally – the only two paid services I use are Apple Music and iCloud storage – but some families in particular want to save money, and that’s always welcome.
I want to include my usual complaint that it’s still ridiculous that Apple still only offers 5GB of free iCloud storage no matter how many devices you buy.
The only loop
I know, it’s as small an announcement as you can get, but combine the minimalist look of an unbroken ribbon with the convenience of sliding it on and off without fasteners, and I’m sold. The big question is whether the stretch band fits well and continues to do so over time. I will find out the answer to the first question on Friday.
One more thing from yesterday’s Apple event
I have one last comment: Apple introduced new dials in watchOS 7, and if you like analog faces – especially those without complications – you are now spoiled for choice.
But I strongly prefer a digital face, and as many complications as I can get. My choices remain Modular, Infograph Modular and Siri.
I mean, I know there’s only so much you can do in terms of design if you’re aiming to use all the available space, but a few more options would be good. I can change color, but I would like some more layouts just for visual variation.
That’s my perception of yesterday’s Apple event; what about yours? What was most interesting to you? Any disappointments? Let us know in the comments.
FTC: We automatically use affiliate links for revenue. More.
Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news: