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Completely Redesigned: Apple’s Keynote

Nik Kenney - September 12, 2018
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If They Said It Once…

Seriously. If I had a dollar for every time I heard “completely redesigned”, I’d probably be able to buy everything they showed. Same for “Most advanced [whatever] in the world. But purposely-emotive hype words aside, there’s still some neat stuff to talk about. And in celebration, we’ve completely redesigned how this blog is written by using more H3’s instead of mostly H2’s. That being said, let’s get into it.

Apple Watch Stuff

So first off, there’s a new Apple Watch called [dramatic pause] Series 4. With a handful of neat new features, they also went into details about how the watch is going to be faster, have a 30% bigger screen to display more information in the form of colorful graphs, thinner edges to make more room for the larger display, and even a life-alert-wannabe feature that can sense if you’ve fallen or tripped based on how your arms flail on your way down to the ground. New watch faces are being introduced, including one that allows you to set contacts for faster contact. They also made sure to mention that despite all the new features being added, it will have the same battery life, about 18 hours, as the rest of the watches.

New iPhones

So we started with the iPhone XS. It’s what you would think from the name, a refresh of last year’s iPhone X. 5.8″ screen, the same look with the notch at the top, and is also available in a 6.5″ version. Both of these offer an OLED display, and a dynamic range is allegedly 60% greater. The larger of the two is called the iPhone XS Max, rather than XS Plus, so even their naming convention has apparently been “Completely Redesigned”. Face ID is back, and probably not going anywhere any time soon.

They also went into a few more details about iOS 12 features, such as Siri Shortcuts, but most of that was already discussed at the event earlier this year. There’s definitely some neat stuff to see with the phone, and I’m heavily considering upgrading from my iPhone 7 Plus. But if you already have an iPhone X, I don’t think you’re going to miss a whole lot.

One thing that did seem neat, at least at first, was when they showed off the graphics power of the new iPhones by showing the new Elder Scrolls: Blades. As a Bethesda fan, it definitely caught my interest. Until the guy swung his sword and revealed the hilt was held by nothing. Nope, no hands, just a floating sword. So much for hardcore graphical power. They did, however, make up for it with the next segment where they showed off an app that tracks your body movements to help you improve your basketball game. It’s definitely worth a look, and I’m not going to be able to do it justice by trying to describe it here, so look it up and see what you think. The last gaming-related segment was a demo for an AR 3D Galaga game. Definitely neat, and had some impressive graphics, but I don’t really play a lot of games [save for a few brain-teasers] on my phone.

They boasted some new camera features, including one that really lets you sharpen up the background and reduce blur. Definitely worth mentioning. Being Apple, they obviously went into a lot more detail about their cameras than that, but it’s all I really felt was worth mentioning in a blog unless I wanted to load it down with visual examples.

Oh, and there’s a third iPhone this year, the iPhone XR. It uses LED vs the OLED that the other iPhones this year, with a 6.1″ screen and a single camera system on the back rather than the two camera system that is available in the other two models.

The XR is going to start at $750, XS at $999, and the XS Max at $1099, all of which are coming out September 28th.

Other Things

There was some lame excuse to get people to buy two HomePods rather than just one to make a stereo system, which could probably be done a lot cheaper with something else, as well as sound performance updates to Apple TV. Mac OS Mojave is getting a dark mode, something that still isn’t available in iOS for some dumb reason.

Where I Was Let Down

So there’s a lot that I wanted to see. I was really hoping that the dark mode that is being implemented to Mojave would have been brought to the iPhone, but there was no real mention of that. I was also hoping to hear about some MacBook updates as well, or even the Mac Mini that hasn’t been updated in 4 years. There’s also a number of features that, as a previous Android user, I feel like should have been brought into iOS by now, such as an app drawer that keeps you from having literally every application on your phone sitting somewhere on one of your screens, or the ability to put apps wherever you want, including skipping rows/columns. Maybe I’m being picky, but I like being able to see the wallpaper that I set for my phone. It’s certainly possible some of these things are going to happen soon, and for whatever reason just didn’t mention them in this particular event, but I doubt it. More than half of the event was all about the new iPhone models, going into unnecessarily specific information seemingly for the purpose of filling time. The rest of it was just going into details about how much was “completely redesigned”. All in all, there was a good amount of ‘neat’ news and even a few things that I would go as far as to call awesome. But overall, this event was, in my opinion, disappointingly underwhelming.

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