Apple Event Thoughts - September 2019

Going in order of announcements:

Apple Arcade

Apple announced this service back in the Spring, which gives you a subscription to a library of games which can be played across an array of Apple devices. Further, Apple also announced support for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One controllers. This means you can game virtually anywhere, picking up and playing wherever you like with great controller support.

Apple has set this service at $4.99/mo.

Will I subscribe to this? Definitely! The price and flexibility are too good to pass up.

Apple TV+

Just like Arcade, TV+ was announced back in the Spring during the services event. This service is a collection of original content from Apple, much in the same way Netflix, Hulu, etc. have created their own content.

Apple has set this service at $4.99/mo, with a free year with a qualifying Apple hardware purchase.

Will I subscribe to this? Well, I would probably have a wait and see approach on this service, but a free year with a new iPhone wouldn’t be bad. That’ll give Apple a chance to prove themselves with this.

iPad

A new baseline iPad in the same body as they newest iPad Air is a good call. This means it also supports the same accessories as the 10.5” iPad Pro which came before the current iPad Pro models. More screen space and updated chips are never a bad thing and this is a good buy for those looking for a budget iPad.

Will I pick one up? No, I have a current iPad Pro, so I’m good. However, I have a family member who this would be perfect for.

Apple Watch Series 5

The biggest new feature this year is an always on display, which takes advantage of the OLED display, since black pixels on OLEDs are fully off, saving power. There’s also a compass, but overall this is a slight bump over the Series 4.

Will I upgrade? Nah, I have a Series 4 and this barely offers anything new. Nothing groundbreaking anyway. It could be a nice upgrade coming from a Series 3, however. Anything older than that I’d definitely suggest.

iPhone 11/iPhone 11 Pro

Outside of battery life and processor improvements, it feels like the biggest gain with these new phones is the ultra wide angle lenses in the camera sets. The iPhone 11, which replaces last year’s iPhone XR, keeps the 12 MP camera of it’s predecessor, but adds the ultra wide angle lens. The iPhone 11 Pro, the upgrade from the iPhone XS, again adds an ultra wide lens to the wide and telephoto lenses from the previous package. With that ultra wide lens, Apple is also packaging in a new Night Mode for better low light imagery.

Other than this, the Pro adds a speakers behind the screen for better sound output.

Will I upgrade? Where the XS was an incremental bump from the X, the 11 Pro is an incremental bump from the XS. Not to say the technology isn’t impressive, but it’s not so much that it’s mind blowing. This used to be the case with iPhone upgrades, where you could see the difference from year to year. Now, these things are so damn quick to begin with, it’s hard to notice lag to the point where it’s annoying.

Over the past couple of years, Apple has been spending time trimming the fat off their code, which helps iOS run more efficiently, even on older devices. I’ve been running the betas on my iPhone X since July and, outside of a few typical crashes here and there, haven’t noticed any performance lag.

In terms of battery, unless I’m taxing the heck out of my device, I usually get home from work with about 70% battery. No complaints there. Once I’m home, I usually plop it on my wireless charger next to my favorite chair. My battery health is currently listed at 95% of what it was from when my device was new. Not bad for a nearly two year old device.

On top of this, iOS 13 is flaunting a feature which should help maintain battery health by not keeping your battery capped out at 100% all the time. Instead, it’ll cap it off only at times when it really needs to, based on your personal habits. Say for example you put your phone on the charger when you go to bed at 10 PM. iOS 13 will let the phone get up to about 80% in a reasonable amount of time, but will only cap it off to 100% about an hour or so before you wake up in the morning.

All things considered, I feel like I’m going to hold off this year. I paid for my device out right a couple years ago and have enjoyed not having the extra payment on my phone bill every month. I feel good about the battery life and hardware performance of my current device and I have an iPad Pro for any heavier lifting if needed. Then, there’s also the rumored redesign coming in 2020, which tells me I would really want what’s coming next more than what’s coming now. A two year incremental bump doesn’t quite seem worth it to me, but a three year spec bump with a redesign would definitely get my attention. I’m good for now.

skoo.bz @sku_b