Posted on September 12th, 2023
Today was Apple Event Day... titled Wonderlust. No idea how what they presented is a combination of "Wonder" and "Wanderlust," but that's marketing for you.
If you want to watch it, the full video is on Youtube here. If you want it condensed down to 17 minutes, then The Verge has got you covered...
My comments (since I know you're dying to hear them) are below...
Transition has been complete to Apple Silicon. Though I still think that the Mac Pro is a bit nonsensical which, if not really Apple's fault... it's due to Apple Silicon not really being conducive to external upgrades for memory and such.
Really nice that Marques Brownlee (MKNHD) got a shout-out as an important voice to quote. He definitely deserves that.
They don't give us any new AppleVision Pro news, except to say that what's being developed for it is incredible. I don't doubt it. I truly don't.
I have an Apple Watch Series 6. There was zero incentive for me to upgrade to Series 7 or 8. Sure my battery dies too soon and I have to keep the always-on display off, but it's otherwise still perfect for my needs. And now here's Series 9.
The chip that runs the latest and greatest is truly impressive... now featuring Machine Learning Neural Cores so that many of your Siri requests run on-device and are more accurate. I would hope that even those commands which have to go out over cellular data on my iPhone will be speeded up as well. Specifically, telling my garage door to open. I think that this will be the case, because the command will just be issued while (hopefully) instead of a round-trip to have the command processed?
I use my watch to find my iPhones more often than I'd ever admit. Apple Watch now has the ability to find it with a directional beacon. This is a bit nicer than triggering an alert noise and having to try and listen for it. I leave my iPhone in all kinds of places... in the garage... outside... whatever... so this is good news for me (and my cats, who scamper when they hear that alarm going off).
2000 nits brightness on the screen. So good. That's double the Series 6 I have, which is more than adequate in all but the brightest of sunny days.
One-handed gesture for double-tap. This is straight out of the AppleVision Pro handbook. Watching it in action on Apple's demo video makes it look like a very cool thing to have. I know I would start using it from Day One, because I'm always reaching for the button.
Available in Pink! But I want that (Product)RED watch with a black band... it's actually what I wanted last time, but you can't get a different color band when you go with Product(RED).
Apple's first carbon-neutral product. Good on them.
Octavia Spencer as Mother Nature? Well, I guess if you gotta go with some stunt casting on a stupid promo video, Octavia Spencer will make it look 100% less stupid, so there's that.
Apple is reeeeally pushing sustainability in all aspects of their operation. It's great and all, but I'm wondering if anything is being done about taking care of their workers better. Because putting nets on their buildings to keep employees from killing themselves by jumping off is not exactly a solution.
Despite the fact that much of what Apple is doing to "save the planet" is highly beneficial to them (whether by act, deed, shipping costs, or tax write-offs) it's still a cool thing to be doing. If most companies acted like this, it actually would benefit the planet. Though "carbon offsets" are dubious at best, and there's loads written about how they're kinda a scam. Maybe Apple is different, but yeah... this is benefitting them too. Don't assume otherwise.
Apple abandoning leather is nice for me, who wants to kill as few creatures as possible. The only things I bought made out of leather is some of my shoes and the Apple Wallet on my iPhone. This will give me one less thing, because when my wallet wears out, I'll switch to a non-leather one.
Still too big for me and my pencil-arms.
3000 nits display. Insanity. That's fully-readable in full sunlight.
Better, faster, yada yada. This is not a watch for me, but it's very capable with many cool features for outdoorsy type people.
Oh gawd. Pastels?? Why? Are they popular again? I'm not seeing it. I'm mad enough that Apple used pastels on their iMacs. And no purple? WTF? At least they have black as an option for people who don't want a pastel.
Dynamic Island for everyone! I have to admit this is a pretty cool idea I use often (and a great way to conceal the cameras).
The glass tech on the back will never be not cool.
Camera improvements are always a given and, as usual, some of the tech is filtering down from the Pro models. I mostly prefer Apple's take on photography over their competitors, and knowing Apple wants their lesser model to keep pace is nice.
The ability to switch focus after the fact is the real power of computerized phone cameras over DSLRs. There have been attempts to do this for years, but Apple's take is the first way to do so without penalty.
A16 Bionic is inherited from the iPhone 14 Pro. A very good chip indeed.
Ultra-wide-band chip has been improved to have more precision finding. That's great news for people who rely on FindMy like I do!
Voice Isolation is a cool feature, but I'll be interested to hear how Apple's implementation is. In the past, the technology has been hit-or-miss.
Find My over satellite? Was this already a feature that I didn't know about?
Roadside Assistance over satellite is handy. I dropped AAA, but if I were driving in isolated places, I would re-up my membership.
Satellite services free for two years. What happens after two years? Time to get a new phone? $1000 a month? What?
USB-C. About FUCKING time. Jesus. Lightning was great TWENTY YEARS AGO! Though the fact that large files will STILL take forever to transfer because they are using
Here we go... the whole reason I tuned in. Will I be trading in with my iPhone Trade-In Program... or waiting a year to own the phone I have outright?
Titanium frame. Well that looks expensive. Though the lighter weight might be worth it. And it sure is pretty with that brushed texture.
The display has the same specs as before... just with a smaller bezel. This results in a slightly (probably unnoticeably) smaller size phone. Considering I buy the Max model, even a tiny bit is appreciated, though this is clearly nothing to be excited about.
Blergh. Once again, the Pro models don't get fun, bright colors. Always the more "refined" look... which is a bit of a bummer. FOR CRYING OUT LOUD... GIVE ME MY FUCKING (PRODUCT)RED PRO MAX, APPLE! The Blue Titanium is so dark as to be fairly black (like the purple I have now), so I might go with the Natural Titanium color if I upgrade, just to have something different. I'd have to see them in person. The option of White Titanium is puzzling. It's like... why bother? It's close enough to Natural as to be moot.
The Action Button is a smarter use of control real estate, that's for sure. And being able to customize it is pretty great. I'd probably use it for camera, but who knows?
"Standby Mode" only works if you have a charging stand that supports having the phone display sideways. Since I've got a Google Hub as a clock (to instantly view my Nest Cams), I'm probably taking a pass and not buying a new stand if I upgrade.
Welp. We knew it was coming... 3 nanometer chips. It seems more like a concept that's more science fiction than reality. At some point, I wonder just how much speed and power a phone actually needs. Regardless, the power-savings and heat reduction will always make the smaller chips worth having. But I'm puzzled that battery life is still clocking in at the same as before: up to 29 hours video playback? Shouldn't it be better than before? Or did they shrink the battery?
It will be interesting to see the speed benchmarks of the A16 Bionic vs. the A17 Pro. I am expecting it to not be a serious increase for normal use, but will obviously be better for gaming and such.
The GPU capabilities are impressive as hell already. Now we're getting an additional GPU core for added capabilities. Realtime ray-tracing is cool for gaming... and 3D applications across the board, if that's your thing.
A video just to focus on gaming. Amazing that CONSOLE GAMES can now be ported to play on a frickin' phone without dumbing down the visuals or play mechanics. That'll sell a few iPhone 15 Pro Max handsets!
The base model starts at 256GB, double the minimum as before. That's what I got last year because I wanted to shoot the ProRes video at maximum (which won't work on 128GB models). So the cost, for me, is the same as last year. The rumor mill was saying that there would be a hefty price increase, so this is a pleasant surprise.
This is really all I care about, so it's getting its own section.
All lenses seems to have an improved anti-reflective coating, which is great.
As expected, all the Photonic Engine routines are getting improvements. Making it easy for anybody to get amazing shots. There's nothing that Apple didn't demonstrate that wasn't incredible.
The telephoto lends upgrade is pretty sweet. 5X Optical Zoom on a 25% larger sensor (although the aperture is the same across the board). That's on the Max. The regular-sized phone is sticking with 3X. The "periscope prism" design of the lens allows a lot of focal length in a small space... which is superior to janky digital zooming (which is not exactly janky on an iPhone since their neural engine rendering helps out quite a bit).
The shake-reduction should be better given that the 15 Pro has double the speed of micro-adjustments than the 14 Pro. This is very cool, because as good as my current phone is, there's definitely room for improvement. And on the Pro Max you've got 5X telephoto, which will make good stability a must-have feature.
The wide-angle lens macro mode is looking pretty great. Though the macro shots I am getting out of my camera now are also pretty great.
And here it is... direct recording Pro Res video to an external device via
Case in point...
Spatial video recording is now an option... of course. This allows shooting 3D photos and movies for the AppleVision Pro. This alone might make it worth upgrading if that's you, though if you're going to drop the money for an AppleVision Pro, you certainly don't need to worry about the cost of upgrading your iPhone.
Interesting to note that Apple is adding 6TB and 12TB storage options to iCloud. Their storage is already so expensive that I can't imagine how much this will cost.
The iPhone mini is officially dead. If you want a tiny phone, you're out of luck with Apple. The small phones never got the features I wanted, so they were never an option for me... but some people will rightfully be upset. But not enough people to keep Apple making them.
Apple didn't mention it in the presentation, but MacOS Sonoma will be releasing on the 26th (iOS 17 releases on the 18th). This is not a feature-heavy, revolutionary release, though there are a few low-key features I'm looking forward to.
Another nugget not mentioned... the iPhone Pro and Pro Max are Thread-enabled for Matter (the new smart home standard) which is interesting and cool. I haven't switched to Matter yet because HomeKit it bad enough without inviting more trauma. Eventually I will be switching because HomeShit is SO FUCKING BAD that I can't stand using it (the latest... telling Siri to turn off my table light turns off my kitchen lights).
Dunno if I'll be upgrading my Apple Watch. Again, there just doesn't seem to be much there to justify the cash outlay. Where's the new sensors they're working on? I keep waiting for some massive feature to debut that I can't live without... and it never comes. What I have is plenty (especially HomeKey, which I love for unlocking my doors).
While the Apple Watch Ultra is not for me... I cannot wrap my head around a display with 3000 nits brightness!
The new iPhone, however, is definitely appealing. Slightly, slightly smaller size... albeit with a tiny bit more thickness... plus a drop in weight (240g to 221g) is welcome but not critical to me. The extra GPU core and better speed are also not critical, as I am not running hardcore games on my iPhone (unless you consider Hello Kitty Island Adventure to be hardcore). I love the idea of
Apple will give me a $115 credit on my Apple Watch Series 6. Honestly, that's double what I was expecting. I seriously thought it would be a token $50 for something that's three generations old. And so... that, along with the Apple Card 3% discount, drops the price of upgrading to something I can stomach (in monthly payments with 0% APR, of course). Since the only way to get the Apple (Product)RED watch I covet is to get it with the (Product)RED band, I just did it. I can alway buy the black band later. Because holy crap does that look amazing...
So I guess I actually will end up with only a $65 credit since that black band will cost me $50. Dangit.
Posted on September 7th, 2022
Oh look! Today was yet another Apple Event!
Tim Cook started things off with Dear Apple... which is dramatic readings of people who have written to him saying how much Apple has improved their lives... and saved their lives! It's like, okay, we get it, and it's probably smart to focus on this (thanks for at least trying to be clever about it), but this is kinda a weird way to kick off excitement for new products, isn't it?
Let's get to it, shall we?
Here's the thing. I love my Apple Watch. It helps me monitor my sleep and can do some handy things so I don't have to grab my iPhone as much.
Here's the promo...
One of my biggest complaints from Series 6 is still here! I just checked... Apple still doesn't allow me to "customize it your way" the way I want to customize it. This is so damn stupid. Maybe if I go to an actually Apple Store they could help me? I want a Project RED case with a Black Solo Loop. The only way to do this online? Buy a Project RED watch with a band I don't want and won't use... then pay another $50 to get the Black Solo Loop...
Pretty crappy, Apple.
I don't know if saving $150 for a lighter feature set would be the best choice for me... but it's nice that Apple is at least trying to be a little sensitive to the fact that people don't have shitloads of money laying around. From what I can tell you lose always-on display, edge-to-edge display, Blood Oxygen and ECG reading, and "fast charge." So... not a lot, actually. A smart choice if you want a more basic watch that still have a lot to offer.
Apple's long-rumored "super watch" is actually pretty compelling. If it weren't so darn HUGE it might be something I'd consider (if I had $799 to spare).
Ultimately, I really like this watch. I just could not deal with how astoundingly big it is (SERIOUSLY! JUST LOOK AT IT IN THE AD WHERE IT'S SHOWN ON PEOPLE'S WRISTS! HOLY CRAP!). Even for the features you get. I have to say... the advertisement that they came up with for the watch is unintentionally hilarious with its overly-dramatic overtones...
I mean, come on... adventure can be fun too! It's not always so dire!
I used my Airpods to death when I was traveling constantly. And the "Pro" pods were my favorite travel pods I've ever used. Not only did they not fall out constantly like the old model version, but they had that spatial sound mode that was brilliant. But now that I'm not traveling? Rarely use them. I prefer my Beats. The new "Pro" AirPods that got released today are said to improve sound quality, but I sincerely doubt it's going to be groundbreaking compared to the ones I have now. The enhanced noise cancelation, better battery life, and adaptive transparency mode would be pretty sweet though. And how awesome is the swipe volume control?
Since I've bought the "Pro" version all the way back to the iPhone X, I'm not sure about what features are improved compared to the iPhone 13. But it sure can't be much.
All-in-all... this is a pretty good bargain when it comes to iPhones.
And here we go (boy is Tim Cook excited! Must be great!)...
The promo video is pretty good at hitting all the sweet spots...
Like I said... the camera makes it all worthwhile to me, so I'll be using my option in the Apple iPhone Upgrade Program to upgrade. Probably in Purple. Maybe in Black. BUT DEFINITELY NOT IN PRODUCT RED, HUH APPLE?!???
So... no real surprises, I guess. Just incremental improvements with no revolutionary innovations. Again. One day there is going to be some paradigm-altering new feature at one of these things. The question being... will it have come from Apple first?
Posted on October 18th, 2021
Another week. Another Apple Event.
Where the last time was for iPhones, this time was (mostly) the new models of MacBook Pro.
As hard as it is to believe that you'd rather watch the event yourself and not listen to my take on the proceedings, I've gone ahead and posted the YouTube video at the end of this post...
From the start of things, it seemed like Apple was about to make some kind of dramatic announcement regarding music. But all we get is a new Apple Music level, playlists, AirPods, and a new color of HomePod mini. Which we'll get to in a minute. But first? This really cool video that opened the event...
AirPods. I detest the original AirPods. The slick plastic would not stay put in my ears and they were forever falling out. Eventually I had to buy a pair of silicon covers so I wouldn't lose them. Which was annoying, because I had to remove the covers every time I charged the things. And here's Apple releasing the same shitty slick plastic crap they did before... at $179. New features, but nothing worth having to add sillicon covers. I'll be sticking with my old AirPod Pros, thanks.
Cheaper Apple Music. I am an Amazon Music Unlimited guy. I tried buying a HomePod to switch to Apple, but we all know how that turned out. So no $9.99 a month subscription to Apple Music for me. Now there's a new tier for just $4.99 a month. It's only good on Apple devices (from iPhones to iPads to Apple Watches to Macs to AppleTV), does not come with spatial audio Dolby Atmos, does not come with lossless audio files, doesn't allow viewing the lyrics, doesn't allow downloading, and doesn't allow sharing features. Otherwise? Alle the cool Apple Music stuff you could want. Alas, again, since HomePod is fucking bullshit, I'll stick with Amazon.
HomePod mini in Colors! Yeah, not a chance. I am not wasting more time with Apple's shitty fucking "experience" when it comes to this disastrous pile of shit.
I'm just going to put this right up front: my "low-end" Apple Silicon M1 iMac is glorious. It runs absolute circles around my previous-generation MacBook Pro. Not even close. Apple's bargain basement iMac completely trounces my pro-level Mac of two years ago. Which begs the question... what happens when Apple releases a professional version of this chip for power users given that their cheapest solution is already pro-level for me. Enter the M1 PRO (which we were all expecting) plus the M1 MAX. Which crams a lot more power on that little chip...
M1 PRO. It's ridiculously powerful.
M1 MAX It's more than ridiculously powerful.
Look, I can pop up all the graphics Apple shared about how the new M1s consistently outperform the competition in every possible metric. But why? Suffice to say that you can do stuff on these new MacBook Pros that couldn't previously be done on a laptop this compact. That's how powerful they are. And the fact that it does all of it with far, far less power consumption for longer battery life? Well that's icing on the cake, right? That's exactly what you want on a laptop. And so here they are...
16-inch and 14-inch. Apple starts out by saying how the smaller 14-inch version doesn't cut corners to have the smaller size (why would it when the Apple Silicon has made everything so small?). Turns out they aren't lying. The M1 MAX isn't available in a default configuration... but you can configure to have it if you want. That's pretty sweet.
Wakey Wakey. Instant awake. It's like... my current MacBook Pro wakes up really quickly... but you notice it. I love the idea of not noticing that!
Keyboard Faith. I'm hoping Apple didn't "new and improve" the keyboard again (which is how we ended up with those shitty fucking "butterfly" keyboards that Apple forced on us for FIVE DAMN YEARS). From what I can tell, TouchID is the same and the only difference is that the background behind the keys is black. So yay?
TouchBar Free. As you will note, Apple has finally given up on the stupid-ass TouchBar which was new levels of annoying. Now we get keys that you can memorize instead of an ever-changing interface that requires you to physically look at where stuff is to operate. Thank God.
Stupidity Recant 101. The SD memory card is back. Losing this was next-level stupid and I'm happy it's back.
Ports! Apple has standardized on USB-C (you get three plus an HDMI port) and ridiculously claims that you can attach a bunch of stuff (namely a bunch of monitors) "...all without a single adapter!" — Except NOT. Because there's not a single USB-A port. Yes, everything is moving to USB-C... but there's still tons upon tons of things that are USB-A, so you actually will, in fact, need those damn dongle adapters for non-video devices. At least a headphone port is still there for people who haven't gone wireless.
Screen Real Estate. HA! They brought the iPhone notch to the MacBook Pro display! Which... eh... I wanna see what happens when the apps I use that have a lot of menu items is used. Do they wrap around the notch? Get truncated? Abbreviated? What? Yeah, I'm glad to have the extra screen real estate, but what's the trade-off? What's the cost?
ProMotion Display. Another iPhone tech makes its way to the Mac. Nice. Scrolls like buttah. Plus 1000 nits brightness and deeper blacks! I'll bet HDR looks spectacular.
Selfie Camera. 1080p. At last. Apple has looked fucking stupid all this time stuck with their shitty cameras. The one on my iMac M1 is very nice. I'm guessing this one is pretty much the same.
Soundly Sound. The sound is better. It has spatial audio. Which is nice, of course, but it's still laptop sound. I'm always in headphones when listening to audio on the MacBook Pro, so it's not something I'd really use.
Mass Memory. Up to 64GB unified memory. Which... which is pretty phenomenal for a portable platform. You can also have up to a whopping 8TB of storage. EIGHT TERABYTES! This will come in real handy for those wanting to edit 8K video on the road! It is expensive, however. An additional $2,200 from the 1TB standard.
Battery Life. The energy efficiency of the new M1s gives you up to 21 hours of video playback on the 16-inch model, which is stunning. But it sounds like any app can benefit from big power savings... even running under Rosetta 2 emulation. Always a plus when working on the road.
Fast Charge. 50% in just 30 minutes? Well that's pretty sweet!
Stupidity Recant 102 Gee, Apple, thanks for bringing back a huge feature that you fucking humiliated yourself with for omitting in the previous generation: MadSafe power. All those ads that touted MagSafe as THE way to charge... and Apple threw it away for USB-C? So stupid. Though... I have to wonder if you can still charge via USB-C if that's all you have? (UPDATE: Yes you can). I didn't hear them mention that.
The ad they came up with (which hasn't been posted, but is in the event video below) is actually... um... scary? Apple's hinting that the new MacBook Pros are so powerful they might be able to become sentient or something.
Just for fun I put together my dream MacBook Pro. 16-inch M1 MAX with 64GB Unified Memory, 2TB Storage. And the grand total is... FOUR THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED AND NINETY-NINE DOLLARS! Wow. Now, granted, that's an awful lot of power that is probably reserved for 8K video users and the like... but just to experience that every time I sit down to work on large projects? Must be magic. Interesting to note that the M1 MAX only adds $200 to the price tag of a "standard" MacBook Pro. So a more reasonable Apple M1 Pro with 32GB Unified Memory and 1TB of storage that clocks in at a fairly reasonable $3,099 just jumps to $3,299... which is probably the route I would go if I had $3,300 burning a hole in my pocket (which I do not).
AN ASIDE: If it's only a $200 difference, why not just put the M1 MAX in all the machines? Having a lower tier pro that's just $200 different seems ridiculous. People are spending thousands of dollars, so what's $200 more for the better chip that offers so much more? I don't get it. Unless they want to make people feel good about spending the $200 or something. The logic... it baffles.
Interesting to note that if you pay with Apple Card, you'd get 3% cash back, which is $100. If Apple gave a more reasonable 5% cash back (like Amazon and others) on Apple purchases, you'd get $165. Which is just $35 shy of getting the M1 MAX for free. It's strange that Apple doesn't make a thing of that. "FOR A LIMITED TIME, SPEND $3000 OR MORE ON A M1 PRO MACBOOK PRO WITH YOUR APPLE CARD AND WE'LL UPGRADE YOU TO THE M1 MAX AT NO CHARGE! (cash back not applicable)." If Apple were to do something slick like that... or do a double cash-back promotion ($198)... I would probably go into debt to get that laptop. So it's maybe a good thing they aren't doing that!
Do I want one of these things? Lord, yes. Will I buy one? I can't really afford it because I ain't going into debt when I have an existing MacBook Pro that's loads inferior, but still works for my needs. Maybe when they unleash next year's models?
AN ASIDE: I like Apple CEO Tim Cook. He'd be great to hang with and go out to dinner with. But there are times I long for a bastard perfectionist like Steve Jobs to be in charge so Certified Apple Whores stop getting the shitty experiences we've been plagued with. For MONTHS MacOS X file search has been broken. And by "broken" I mean "useless as a pile of dog shit." Which is why I was screaming at the Apple Event stream with "THESE PRETTY NEW MACBOOKS DON'T MEAN SHIT IF YOUR SEARCH IS BUSTED! WHEN I TRY TO FIND MY WORK FILES, YOU RETURN PICTURES OF MY CATS... HOLY FUCKING SHIT, APPLE! SEARCHING FOR FILES IS A CRITICAL EVERYDAY FUNCTION! HOW CAN YOU ALLOW THIS TO GO ON FOR THIS LONG? WHY NOT TAKE TEN MINUTES TO HOP OFF YOUR M1 PRO/MAX TRAIN AND FIX YOUR FUCKING FINDER FILE SEARCH SO PEOPLE WHO BUY YOUR HARDWARE CAN ACTUALLY USE IT!!! DAMN!" As it is I have to use a third-party search tool in order to track down my files. That's some serious fucking bullshit.
And that was it. Short and sweet.
If somebody has $3,000 they want to give me, I'll order one immediately. Otherwise? I sure hope everybody who's been waiting for a shiny new MacBook Pro enjoys the ride.
And here's that Apple Event video I promised...
Happy Monday, everybody!