It’s the time of the year again. Apple announced a bunch of new stuff. Their customers would start discussing which ones to get. Their dedicated-fans will start queuing in Apple Stores to be the first person getting a shiny new device. Their haters will use all possible occasions to bash the products, especially in social media. Some would repeat the usual “Apple is so doomed” catchphrase again, and Apple will keep on scoring higher and higher performance as a company. The yearly cycle becomes a bit too predictable.
I lost my excitement to watch any Apple announcement event since those “leaks” basically removed all the surprise elements. On the other hand, I also totally understand how it is nearly impossible for any company to keep high-quantity manufacturing process a secret. With Apple’s scale of product demand, manufacturing process will involve so many parties.
So, here we are with Apple confirming most of the things we already knew since months ago: new iPhones, new Apple Watch, new Apple TV and as a bonus we get a multi-device wireless charger called AirPower. From software side we get watchOS 4 and the availability date of iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra.
New iPhones are always the highlight of Apple’s September events. This year is no different. This year we get iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus with new processor, better camera and glass body to enable wireless charging. It is interesting that they skip 7S and goes directly to 8. On the premium level, Apple introduced us to iPhone X, pronounced iPhone “ten”, as the special edition for the 10th anniversary of iPhone. This is where most eyes are fixed on. iPhone X has strikingly different design from any previous iPhones. It has screen that covers almost the entire front surface. Our beloved home button is gone. Touch ID is gone, replaced by something new called Face ID.
With Face ID, iPhone X will recognise our facial pattern in 3D to unlock the phone. This 3D recognition means that we won’t be able to unlock iPhone X using someone’s photo. Something about this Face ID irks me deeply. Using fingerprint feels personal. I have to move my fingers to the home button. This Face ID leaves too many unanswered questions for me. What if someone grabs my phone then points it in front of me, will it unlocks? Can young kids in a family unlocks things by pointing the phone in front of their parent’s face when they are asleep?
The removal of home button is also a big loss for me. I am a really big fan of iPhone’s home button. I know Apple would probably has something even nicer to replace it in iPhone X, but until I can see it in action myself, I’m not sold with the new UX.
All new iPhone models come in two storage options: 66 and 256 GB. Price is another irk factor with iPhone X. The phone starts at $999 (USD). If the product is “perfect” and I have no other irks, I may or may not pay such price. With 2 potential major dealbreakers, I definitely won’t pay such price.
Next new product is Apple Watch series 3 with LTE connection. It keeps the same form factors as the previous generations (38 and 42 mm), but it adds LTE connection, along with larger internal memory (for LTE models) and new processor. It looks promising, especially with the fact that I am in the market for new smartwatch. With the fall of Pebble, I tried some Fitbit trackers with some smartwatch-like features, it does not even come close. While Fitbit makes good health trackers, their idea of smartwatch is downright ugly.
Most telcos will probably put $10 monthly price tag for the LTE connection for Apple Watch. It uses eSIM instead of traditional SIM card. It means, telco companies that wants to support the connection must have Apple’s blessing, which I imagine will cost them something. In Australia, Telstra and Optus are listed as supporting carriers with Vodafone listed as “coming later this year”. We need to use the same carrier for our iPhone and for the Apple Watch and eSIM is not compatible with prepaid. So we’ll need to sign up for a postpaid plan to use LTE in Apple Watch.
It is worth to note that non LTE models are available for Series 3, still with the same new processors. However, the configuration options are somewhat limited to aluminum case model. If we’d like to get stainless steel or ceramic case, we’ll have to get the LTE model. Non LTE models would have 8 GB internal storage and composite back. LTE models would have 16 GB internal storage and ceramic back.
The new Apple TV is essentially identical to the previous generation, with one major difference as the selling point: it supports 4K movies. Some people will definitely see it as interesting. Not me. My TV and my desktop monitor are still in 1080p. Their slightly redesigned remote looks better though.
With Apple finally endorses wireless charging with all their new iPhones, it makes perfect sense for a new wireless charging product. I think it’s a nice idea to have one charger that can charge multiple devices as most Apple users would own more than one. I’m still curious to see the speed and practicality of those chargers in everyday use.
It’s going to be another year of massive iPhone sales for Apple, especially with iPhone X. I’m going to use my iPhone 7 another year.