Apple started off their September Event video with sweeping views of the brand new Apple Campus, otherwise known as "The Donut" or "The Spaceship" or "The Mothership." It is, of course, a structure of sublime beauty. Then, as The Beatles' All You Need is Love plays, we fly over to the equally sublime Steve Jobs Theater as attendees file in.
Then, in a moment that tore at my heart, the voice of my personal hero fills the theater that bears his name. And, just far a moment, it feels like he never left us. Then Tim Cook walks out with tribute to Jobs and the moment is gone. The Keynote begins.
Let's watch it together, shall we?
I could have watched an entire keynote devoted to Apple's new headquarters but, alas, all we get is a fleeting look. Happily, Tim announced that there will be a visitor's center! I will, of course, be paying a visit one of these days. An Apple Whore's life isn't complete until you've made a pilgrimage to The Mother Ship...
Aerial drone footage by Matthew Roberts
Oh gag me. Apple doesn't call their major stores "stores" any more... they are "town squares." I mean, yeah... they are beautiful spaces where people can gather but, come on. These are monuments to retail, not the cities they reside in.
There is no doubt that Apple "town squares" are beautiful inside and out... architectural marvels that capture my imagination like no other stores can. And the plans they announced for Paris and Milan are borderline destination-worthy, which is remarkable. These are STORES!
APPLE WATCH 3
Apple finally cracked the smart-watch after a stream of other companies tried and failed. And their efforts paid off... they now have the #1 watch in the world. What's interesting is how Apple has changed this space. Their smartwatch is more of a lifestyle piece than a tech toy, and they continue to push into fitness and health in a way that makes their wares a compelling purchase.
The big announcement from this segment is that the new Apple Watch 3 now has a cellular radio, so it doesn't require a phone to access the internet. Dick Tracy has just become real, y'all. You can make/answer calls... send texts... even stream Apple Music... all without a phone. On my AT&T plan, this functionality costs an additional $10 a month. I guess that's a fair price... though I don't picture using $10 worth of data every month, as my iPhone will still get the lion's share of my usage.
I would love an Apple Watch 3. It's a magnificent piece of tech and, given my elevated heart rate, would probably be a benefit to my health. And yet... I have small wrists. Even the small Apple Watch is a massive clunker on me. What I want... what I really really want... is an thinner Apple Watch. I'd sacrifice some features (like the cellular radio) just to have something I can actually wear comfortably.
The price of admission for Series 3 with cellular is $399. Given that the watch is "darn close to magic," this seems like a bargain. Available September 22.
APPLE TV 4K HDR
I have many frustrations with Apple. One of the biggest is Apple TV. The remote is shit. The user interface is shit. Streaming my Apple purchases (when I can even get it to work) has quality that is shit. And if my Apple TV struggles to stream HD content now, what hope is there that a massive 4K stream is going to get through? What's so frustrating is that the Apple TV apps FOR EVERY OTHER STREAMING SERVICE is fantastic. I never have a problem with Netflix, ABC, NBC, CBS, YouTube, Showtime, HBO, Starz... ANY of them. Just my Apple iTunes purchases. How messed up is that?
Assuming I could actually get the Apple TV 4K HDR to stream shit (I have a 4K HDR television), it seems like a great device. Mainly because Apple will automatically upgrade your HD purchases to 4K HDR at no charge. If only they would come up with a better remote.
My every day phone is an iPhone 6. It's a little slow to initiate with the newer OS and apps, but it works perfectly fine, and I didn't feel the need to upgrade to an iPhone 7. Yeah... 3D touch is cool and the nicer camera (especially on the 7+) would be great... but it wasn't worth the cost. Even once my battery started cutting out at 10%.
But it's time to upgrade, and the iPhone 8 looks like a great choice. FINALLY stereo speakers (in both orientations!). The A11 Bionic chip would be a quantum leap from the A8 chip in my current phone. The camera looks incredible, but I'm disappointed that the dual-lens model with "portrait mode" is only available in the giant iPhone again. I don't want to lug around a giant phone. And while I'm not a big "augmented reality" fan yet, I have to say, the AR star map app they showed off is right up my alley. Needless to say, wireless charging is a much-coveted feature. No more plugging/unplugging a power cord... just slap it on a charging mat. Kind of odd that Apple took so long to get here when other companies have had wireless charging for a while. Available September 22.
Let me just start by saying ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS?!?? Boy, that's a lot of money for a phone. But is it worth it?
The bullet points...
I am not going to buy a new phone until I get back from Antarctica. Heaven only knows how I'd end up destroying the thing while on that trip. No, my new iPhone won't be coming until tax refund time next year. Whether I will end up spending $300 more for the iPhone X over the iPhone 8 is anybody's guess. I mean... ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR A PHONE?!? But, then again, I've paid $300 for a pocket camera that's not as good as the camera in iPhone X, so that's something to take under consideration. In the end, I compare my iPhone to a mattress. With a mattress, it makes sense to buy the best one you can afford since a huge portion of your life is going to be spent sleeping on it. The iPhone is no different. It's easily the most-used piece technology I own. It's also the most valuable considering what I can do with it while not in front of a computer. Especially when traveling. Ideally, I'd like to spend no more than $400 on a phone. That seems a good price point to me, and what I'm comfortable forking over. But, given how important the iPhone has become in my life, I think I can get comfortable being uncomfortable.
As to how uncomfortable? Probably iPhone X uncomfortable. I mean, that camera...
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When I took the early jump from the 6 to the 6s, abandoning the 2-year cycle, I had really hoped to keep the 6s for three years. If FaceID turns out to be on the good end of the reliability spectrum, I’ll probably go ahead and spring for the X. Kind of bummed with the size options since I’m using about 100GB currently, and don’t really see any need for the extra space of the 256GB.
I thought the Animoji demo was the most compelling feature of the iPhone X presentation, at least remotely where you can’t appreciate the OLED screen. I’ve enjoyed using Bitmoji in Messages and this has the potentially to be even more entertaining.
FYI, the Pebble I bought from you years ago went to my father when the original Watch came out, and he still wears it. I’m wearing a Series 2 now and don’t see upgrading to the 3 for cellular, though the speed improvement may be tempting.
When Apple Watch was announced, I was SO psyched. It seemed like such a handy tool for all the things I wanted a smartwatch to do. I didn’t care that it was tethered to my phone because I’m never without my phone! But the thickness of the thing. I just can’t do it. It’s almost as thick as my wrist! And that’s why I say that if they could cut the thickness in half by dropping the cellular, I would jump on it in a microsecond. I can’t wear an uncomfortable watch. Happy The Pebble is still in operation! Talk about a huge chunk of watch! That thing was massive! Dang my thin wrists!!!
Have you considered the SE? They dropped the price yesterday and it’s a bump up in specs from your current phone. It also can be had with 128gb storage for just a bit over your $400 budget. I recently downgraded from the plus size and have actually enjoyed having the one hand sized phone again.
The problem is that I want that double-lens camera. The only way to get it in a “regular” size phone is the X. So… I dunno. I use my iPhone as a camera far more than any other reason. Maybe the X is worth the INSANE cost because of those specs. And yet… I’m still not sure. ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS?!? I guess we’ll see which way I jump come January!
I want the watch now! i didn’t get one when it first came out, thinking it would get better with time and was too expensive. so, i got a fitbit blaze, which does a lot of stuff i wanted from the apple watch. now that there’s cellular capabilities, though, this looks to be my present to myself next month!
also, i want the iphone x but don’t think i can justify getting both toys in a year when business is a bit slow!
thanks for your synopsis / review !
You can be Dick Tracy now!
I’ve been on the ‘S’ cycle for 3 iPhone generations now and the iPhone 8 would be considered an ‘S’ upgrade cycle phone. I’ve got an iPhone 6s Plus now and love it (it took a bit to get used to the larger size, but it’s something that I’ve really liked). Just one more interest free payment and then I can think about upgrading it. The wireless charging is something that I’ve missed since I had my Palm Pre. And the waterproof capability would be nice.
But I admit that I want to see what the iPhone X is all about. Feature wise, it’s impressive. Just want to play with one a few times to see how different it is and how I would find a way to make it work. Also, $1149 for the 256gb model is just WTF in price.
i’m so getting the x.
it’s so pretty. and that camera.
and i will poop-emoji you daily if you like.