It’s the season you’ve been waiting for. No, not the beginning of Fall. As far as we’re concerned, it’s still boiling-hot river-swimming weather. We’re talking, of course, about the bi-annual Apple Event, held every September and March — so that the consumer technology behemoth can roll-out new products, make updates to old products, and make nerds big mad.
This is a long-held tradition from the era of Steve Jobs, which is live-streamed anywhere you have wifi or data. Granted, most people don’t have 2-3 hours to sink their time into watching Tim Cook introduce people they don’t know, so we watched for you. Highlights include a new generation of iPhones, the roll-out of AppleTV, and more. Here are the big takeaways.
Apple gets in on the we-reinvented-cable game with AppleTV.
Launching November 1, AppleTV’s core appeal: its low price, at just $4.99 a month. That price is even lower—a whopping $0 for a year—if you buy an Apple product like a watch, an iPhone, or an iPad, thanks to capitalism’s favorite trick, ~vertical integration~.
While the price is meant to compete with streaming services like Disney+, according to UPROXX’s Kimberly Ricci, there’s not a ton of content populating the platform as far as we know. (At least, not as much as competitors.) So really, you’d be spending five bucks a month to watch Jason Momoa…be Jason Momoa, and Steve Carrell be a bitter television creep.
Games! Games too sophisticated and/or expensive for the app store! Get your games here!
Apple Arcade, a subscription service that will host more sophisticated games not quite the right fit for the app store, is coming on September 19, for just $4.99 per month, with the rollout of iOs 13. There’s a new version of Frogger! A playable music video! And more!
The games displayed at the event do look exceptionally well designed. If you’re not quite sold, they’re going to offer a month free so you can give it a whirl.
The Apple Watch is great! Everyone loves it! Here’s proof!
The Series 5 watch is coming, and it’s bringing WatchOS 6, a new operating system which includes an always-on display, ostensibly so you can subtly check the time or your notifications or your circles while you’re in the middle of talking to someone. (Rude, Karen.) No word on what that’s going to do to the already not-stellar battery life. Also, the good people at Apple would like you to know that the watch has saved numerous lives. They shared the story of a guy who collapsed, and the Watch automatically called 911. There was also a pregnant lady who…did something with the watch to make her life better. We’re not quite sure.
They also introduced Apple Watch Studio, which will allow you, the consumer, to choose whatever band you want and put it with whatever face you want. The studio will be both in stores and online.
iPads are still a thing, and they’re getting closer to becoming actual laptops every day.
The seventh-generation iPad will feature a 10.2 inch Retina display (an upgrade from the previous gen, which had a 9.7 inch display), an updated processing chip, and compatibility with a full-sized Smart Keyboard and the Apple Pencil (for real). That said, it’s less powerful than the previous generation, thanks to the A10 Fusion chip, but it has a pretty good price tag, starting at $329 ($299 for educators of all grade levels, college students and their parents, and homeschooling teachers).
What you’ve all been waiting for: the iPhone 11.
The iPhone 11, which is the follow-up to the XR, is a-comin’ on September 20, and it’s got some nice little updates. Chiefly: it’s cheaper (starting at $699), it’s faster (with an updated A13 chip, which is the fastest GPU and “fastest CPU in a smartphone”), and it has a retooled camera system.
Main features of the camera system:
- The back of the phone features not one but two wide-angle lenses, the second being a 12-megapixel ultra-wide lens with optical zoom
- Night mode! No more ghostly blurs
- The ability to toggle between wide-angle and normal in video mode
- 4k, 60fps video
- Upgraded 12-megapixel front-facing camera
- A more sophisticated portrait mode which allows you to successfully capture your pets’ true beauty
As The Verge’s Nilay Patel quips, “I don’t know if landscape wide-angle selfies are going to be a thing, but that’s the thing Apple has.” Thus continuing the tradition of adding features we didn’t ask for.
Another kinda cool, kinda pointless feature: Slow-mo selfies, which Apple is calling “slofies” which… oh, boy. We can’t imagine the feature will be used terribly frequently, but it’s one of those fun, ornamental features that remind us of when a group of friends gets together to play with PhotoBooth for hours on end.
To be serious for a moment, the iPhone 11 does have some essential updates — longer battery life (to the tune of one hour more than the XR), stronger glass (but still please use a screen protector), and faster FaceID. It’s also ever-so-slightly more water-resistant, though we do not recommend you test out that spec. And if you’re a wild card and not planning on getting a case, you psycho, they’re offering new colors: black, white, green, red, purple, and yellow.
What some of you have been waiting for: the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max.
For the fancy among us, there’s the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, also coming out on September 20. They start at $999 and $1199, respectively. Faster systems, brighter displays, “the toughest glass in a smartphone” which you may test at your own peril, and longer battery life (to the tune of 4 or 5 hours, respectively, compared to the previous generation). That’s all great and everything, but if you’re interested in the Pro and Pro Max, it’s because of the new camera system.
The Pro and Pro Max come with a triple camera system. That’s right: there’s a freakin’ third camera on the back of both models. These phones are basically professional cameras that can make calls and send texts. Here’s what we’re looking at:
- Telephoto, wide, and ultra-wide lenses
- Deep Fusion technology, which shoots nine photos (eight before you press the shutter, then a long exposure after) and uses machine learning to fuse them together “to create one with lots of detail and very little noise.”
- Faster shutter speed for action shots that won’t look like your Aunt Jean tried to take a group photo after one too many glasses of wine.
- Zoom wheel, so you can zoom out incrementally (and smoothly)
Chances are, you’re a regular joe, and you don’t really need these specs. But they’re cool. New colors for the Pro: green, gray, silver, or gold. Not quite as flashy as a purple iPhone, but still.