It’s that time again: time for Apple to introduce “something” and also time for everyone to predict what that something might be. Apple has typically introduced new iPhone models in the Fall and I think it’s a good bet that they will be doing it again next Tuesday. So, that’s my prediction: new iPhones. I’m also predicting that Apple will announce release dates for iOS 13 and macOS 10.15 (Catalina).
Based on the invitation that Apple sent out I think the iPhone may get some new colors. Green? Purple? We will see.
The event starts at 10 a.m. PDT on Tuesday, September 10th, 2019. Watch it by going to this page on Apple’s site on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad. Or watch it using the Apple Events app through your Apple TV.
Of course, Apple might show some other products that day too. It might be time to for a new Apple Watch (get it? “Time” for a new Apple Watch?), and there’s a rumor about a new MacBook Pro (with a 16 inch screen). Maybe they’ll debut the long-rumored flying Apple Car. As usual, the most interesting stuff is the stuff we haven’t heard anything about, so let’s hope for a big surprise.
Add the event to your Mac, iPhone, or iPad calendar via this link.
No promises, but Apple generally records these events, so if you can’t watch this one live you’ll probably be able to watch it on a replay whenever you wish.
UPDATE: the announcement is over. You can click here and watch a recording of the entire event.
It’s time for another one of Apple’s announcement events. This one begins at 10 am PST on Wednesday September 12th, 2018. Use this link to add the event to your calendar.
How to watch:
On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch using this link (iOS 10 or higher)
On your Mac using this link (macOS 10.12.6 or higher, using Safari)
On your Apple TV (2nd generation or higher, latest updates, using the Apple Events app)
These shows usually run about two hours, and they’re almost always available for replay later.
What to expect:
Well, the truth is I don’t know what to expect. As usual, Apple isn’t saying. Rumor has it that we’ll see new iPhones, and a new Apple Watch, and maybe a new laptop. But those are only rumors, and I don’t deal in rumors. I’ll be watching at 10 am on Wednesday September 12th, 2018, same as you, to see what Apple has for us. As usual, I will go out on a limb and say “I don’t know what they’ll show but I think I want two of them.”
I’ll be on the Digital Village radio program Wednesday, September 13th, 2017 discussing Apple’s new iPhones. The Digital Village show starts at 7 pm Pacific time; my part of the show starts around 7:30 pm.
UPDATE: here’s a recording of my part of the radio program.
You can listen to the show live by tuning to KPFK 90.7 FM in Los Angeles using something called “a radio.” (Kids, ask your parents.) You can stream the live show using this link on your computer or phone. And, if you miss the show, or just want to hear me over and over (hi Mom), you can listen to a recording of the show (tip: change the menu on that page from All Shows to Digital Village).
Thanks to hosts Ric Allan and Doran Barons for having me on their program.
UPDATE 2 (9-12-2017): I’ll be on the Digital Village radio program talking about the new iPhones on Wednesday September 13th, 2017. Read about how to listen to the show (they do record it).
It’s that time again– time for Apple to announce something exciting in one of their big Special Events. This event will be held in the Steve Jobs Theater at the new Apple “Spaceship” campus, and you can watch it unfold live at 10 AM on September 12th, 2017 using your Mac or your iPhone and this link. You can also watch it using your Apple TV– look for the “Apple Events” app. (You’ll be able to watch replays of the event on demand using these same methods.)
Everyone asks me “What are they going to show?” The answer is “I don’t know.” I’ll find out by watching the event online, same as you. Apple has generally introduced new iPhones in September, so I’m going to guess that we’ll see new iPhones on Tuesday. That’s as far as I’ll go in the guessing department. It doesn’t matter anyway– we can’t buy what hasn’t been announced, so let’s sit back and watch the show and find out together on Tuesday.
If we’re lucky we’ll get a bit of a look at the Steve Jobs Theater too. It’s supposed to be quite a venue. (Click the picture to see details of the Steve Jobs Theater, including video shot from a drone.)
Hint: if you’re using an iPhone or an iPad, be sure you’re on WiFi so you don’t use up your cellular data. These events usually run about two hours and you don’t want to burn through your monthly data allowance if you don’t have to.
If you have an Apple TV you can watch the keynote on your real TV. How you do it depends on which Apple TV you have.
If you have the 4th-generation Apple TV (see below) you’ll need to download the Apple Events app via the Apple TV App Store. (If you need help setting up the App Store part of your Apple TV, read this page from Apple— it tells you exactly how to do it.)
If you have a 2nd- or 3rd-generation Apple TV you’ll find an Apple Events app on your home screen automatically. Easy stuff.
Since you asked: no, I don’t know what they will show during the keynote. Apple always drops a hint via the invitations they send out– this time, the event is titled “Let us loop you in.” To me, “loop” could refer to the Apple Watch’s watchbands (there’s a Leather Loop watchband, and a Milanese Loop watchband), or to Apple’s headquarters at 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino California. Maybe there’s a new watchband coming out, and maybe there’s news about Apple’s new headquarters. Even if there’s both, that’s not enough for a special event. There must be something else… and you can bet I’ll be watching the keynote to find out!
When Apple introduced “Apple Watch” last September, I was more than a little skeptical. Here’s what I wrote back then:
“I usually don’t generalize but there are two kinds of people: those who wear watches, and those who don’t. This is going to be interesting to watch (pun) because anyone who wants to wear a watch, and has the money to buy a $349 Apple Watch, probably already has a fancy watch on his wrist, and if there’s one thing I know about “Fancy Watch Guy” it’s that he likes the watch he has now. I suppose we may see people wearing two watches at once. Otherwise there are going to be a lot of Rolexes gathering dust on the dresser.
The people who don’t wear watches have their reasons, and those reasons will still be there, Apple Watch or no. For example: I keep banging it on things, it catches on stuff, it’s too bulky, I’m afraid of losing it, if I want to know what time it is or to send a text message I just pull out my iPhone.”
I am pleased to announce that even at 52 years old I am open to changing my mind. And, when it comes to Apple Watch, I’ve changed my mind. Careful readers may recognize that, in September, I was making the same mistake with my assessment of the Watch as I did with the original iPhone. I was thinking “the Apple Watch is a watch, and I don’t need a watch” the same way I thought “the Apple iPhone is a phone, and I don’t need another phone.”
Of course I was wrong about the iPhone, and I was wrong (but am no longer wrong) about the Apple Watch. Both devices are both poorly named: the “watch” part of Apple Watch– that is, the time-telling part– isn’t the important thing, just as the “phone” part of the iPhone doesn’t describe 90% of what we do with it. I’m now thinking of the Apple Watch as “a super-portable computer/communication device that is always with me, literally no more than arms’ length away, that adds value to the iPhone and (by the way) also tells the time” in the same way that I now think of the iPhone as a hand-held computer/iPod/web browser/email machine/address book/camera that also makes phone calls.
If I look at it that way– that is, if I think of Apple Watch as a super-portable computer/communication device that is always with me, literally no more than arms’ length away, that adds value to the iPhone and (by the way) also tells the time– $349 for the low-end model is palatable. Three hundred and forty-nine dollars for a watch? Out of the question (for me). But $349 for a clever device that adds value to my iPhone, frees up my hands (because I don’t have to pull out my phone), and makes things a little more convenient for me, many times a day? And it tells the time? AND you can set the watch’s face to be an animated, toe-tapping Mickey Mouse (among many options, but why would you need them)?
Messages: Get tapped on the wrist when a new message comes in; raise wrist to read it.
Phone: See who’s calling. Mute by covering phone with hand.
Mail: Read your email. Delete messages.
Calendar: Get reminders on the watch face.
Activity: Simplified way to see whether you’re exercising enough (prediction: you’re not).
Workout: Shows statistics during cardio workouts.
Maps: Turn-by-turn navigation.
Passbook: Boarding passes and tickets and rewards cards, all on the wrist. Everything shows up when it should (that is, when you arrive at the airport, your airplane boarding pass appears, and when you pop into Starbucks, your Starbucks card appears. Not sure what happens when you pop into the Starbucks at the airport).
Siri: Uses the “Hey Siri” method of hands-free interaction (see my article about it). Makes it easier to use when you can simply say “Hey Siri, call Christian Boyce.”
Music: No speaker, but you can listen to songs using wireless Bluetooth headphones. Or, control the music on your iPhone.
Camera Remote: Use the Watch as a viewfinder and a shutter control for your iPhone.
Remote: For controlling your Apple TV.
Weather: Local weather, and weather anywhere in the world. (Clever graphical presentation– you’ll see.)
Stocks: Keep track of the Apple stock you just bought.
Photos: View your favorite photos, in miniature.
Clock Stuff: Alarms, Stopwatch, Timers, World Clock. Same stuff as on your iPhone but a little bit handier.
Settings: All sorts of settings, but my favorite is you can send a signal to your iPhone and make it go “bing” so you can find it (now that you’re not using it so much).
You can read more about the above, and see little movies about them, by visiting this page on Apple’s site. Note also that, unlike the original iPhone, Apple’s opened up Apple Watch to app developers, and many 3rd-party apps will be available on Day 1 (April 24th, 2015).
Apple Watch has to be paired with an iPhone. The description at the Apple site says “Requires iPhone 5 or later running the latest version of iOS” so plan on buying an iPhone at the same time, if you don’t have one that’s new enough. Interestingly, it turns out an iPhone is better when paired with Apple Watch. For one thing, Apple Watch brings Apple Pay to iPhone 5 and 5s owners (previously, you needed an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus for Apple Pay). I would bet there will be other interactions and I will tell you all about them once I get my own Apple Watch. It’s going to look a lot like this one:
I was thinking today about how we want everything, all at once. For example, we want our iPhones to be really small, so they’re really portable. At the same time, we want them really big, so they’re easy to use, with big screens and big buttons. But, no matter which size Apple gives us, the iPhone’s size is always a compromise– a trade-off between portability and usability. Apple Watch, as a companion to the iPhone, changes things. Now, instead of trying to make one device (the iPhone) simultaneously small and large– very difficult– Apple’s solved the problem by introducing a second device (Apple Watch). Very clever. And a lot easier than breaking the laws of physics.
Apple Watch can be pre-ordered from the online Apple Store April 10th, 2015. It will be available in the physical Apple Stores on April 24th, 2015, and if you pre-order on the 10th your Apple Watch might arrive on the 24th too. I’ll be pre-ordering on the 10th: Apple Watch Sport, 38mm case, white band.
And I’ll be thinking of it as a super-portable computer/communication device that is always with me, literally no more than arms’ length away, that adds value to the iPhone and (by the way) also tells the time.
The big day has come and gone, and the new iPhones and the Apple Watch are all anyone wants to talk about. I can’t count how many people have written to ask me “So which one do I get?” and “What do you think about the watch?” so I am going to answer the questions here on the blog.
The iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus
It’s hard to form an opinion about these phones in advance of holding them in my hands. They’re both bigger than an iPhone 5, we know that– and the iPhone 5 is already a little too big for one-handed use. At least for my hand. Apple has addressed this problem in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus with a feature called “Reachability” that brings controls closer to the bottom of the screen, easily requested via double-tapping the Touch ID sensor.
“Reachability” will not be able to help me fit the phone into my pants pocket unless I lose more weight* (that’s what I did for the 5s) or buy bigger pants (no way). Also, whether it’s useable one-handed or not, if the larger size makes it uncomfortable to use that will be a major drag. The iPhone is in my hand many times a day and if I’m going to get a new one it had better be comfy to hold. I will simply have to see these new iPhones in person to see how they fit. That would be my advice to you as well.
Specifications-wise these are awesome phones. A faster chip. More storage. Higher contrast on the screens. Near-Field Communication (NFC) for use with Apple’s new “Apple Pay” system. Better cameras. Thinner front to back. Better battery life. Faster wireless performance. All good.
Even if I had an iPhone 6 and a 6 Plus right here at Boyce Labs I would not be able to tell you which one is right for you. I can tell you, though, whichever you get, spend an extra $100 and get the 64 GB model. Used to be, you got 16 GB in the base model, 32 GB for another $100, and 64 GB for another $100. Now you spend that first extra $100 and you get all the way to 64 GB. (Another $100 and you’re at 128 GB– also a good deal compared to what we used to get. I guess what it boils down to is “try to get past the base model. There’s better value up the line.”)
iPhone design has two goals that are completely at odds with each other: on the one hand, we want things to be small, for carrying and storage, and on the other hand we want things to be big, for ease of use. You can’t have it both ways (though the flip-phone came close). It’s interesting (to me) that Apple decided to go big. Now I wonder what will happen to the iPad mini as the iPhone 6 (and especially the 6 Plus) could be seen as a smaller iPad, with phone service.
The Apple Watch
I notice that Apple’s website calls it simply “Apple Watch” or “the Watch” (without the Apple logo)– that is good, because I am not so sure that an Apple logo will show up properly on web browsers around the world. Here’s one (Option-Shift-k, in case you’re typing along at home, on a Mac).
So let’s talk about the watch.
I usually don’t generalize but there are two kinds of people: those who wear watches, and those who don’t. This is going to be interesting to watch (pun) because anyone who wants to wear a watch, and has the money to buy a $349 Apple Watch, probably already has a fancy watch on his wrist, and if there’s one thing I know about “Fancy Watch Guy” it’s that he likes the watch he has now. I suppose we may see people wearing two watches at once. Otherwise there are going to be a lot of Rolexes gathering dust on the dresser.
The people who don’t wear watches have their reasons, and those reasons will still be there, Apple Watch or no. For example: I keep banging it on things, it catches on stuff, it’s too bulky, I’m afraid of losing it, if I want to know what time it is or to send a text message I just pull out my iPhone.
In short, this is really different than the environment the iPhone was born into, where everyone had a phone but everyone hated it. Here, at least some of those who have a watch like their watch, and those who don’t have a watch have reasons for not having one and the Apple Watch doesn’t address those reasons. The iPhone solved a problem everyone had (“I hate this phone!)”, but the Apple Watch isn’t solving anyone’s problem. In a way, it’s a solution without a problem. It certainly looks beautiful and it’s an impressive achievement. But I wonder whether Apple’s asking us to drink a little too much Kool-Aid here.
Keep in mind that the watch is not really a standalone device. Yes, it can tell time by itself. But it gets a lot of information from the iPhone, so you’d better carry your iPhone with you if you want the watch to be fully functional. For example, if you’d like the watch to give you directions from here to the nearest barbeque joint, the watch will not be able to help you unless it can connect to your iPhone to figure out where you are. If you’d like your watch to have the right time, and to know what time zone you’re in, you’ll have to have your iPhone nearby so the watch can get the information from it. You can use the watch to take a picture, but only if you’re using it to control the shutter on the iPhone’s camera. You can play a song, but only if what you’re really doing is telling your iPhone to play the song. Etc.
The list of things that the watch can’t do without an iPhone is long enough that for practical purposes, you’d better have an iPhone and you’d better have it with you all the time if you’re going to get an Apple Watch. This is slightly disappointing as I was hoping to be able to wear the watch instead of carrying my iPhone for those times when the iPhone is too big, too bulky, or to difficult to carry (on a run, or on a bike ride). Even so, it feels wrong to complain about what the watch can’t do, when the list of what it can do is so lengthy.
Assuming the iPhone 6 fits nicely in my hand I will probably get one as soon as my AT&T contract allows. I can’t imagine the 6 Plus fitting nicely in my hand but I’m keeping an open mind and if it fits, I’ll get that one instead. 64 GB, like we talked about.
On the other hand (actually, on the other wrist), I do not expect to be buying an Apple Watch as soon as I can. Beautiful, yes. Handy, probably. Fabulous enough to change me from “I don’t like wearing watches” to “Check out my new Apple Watch!”– probably not. As with the iPhone 6 Plus, I will not rule it out a priori. I would be thrilled, though, to find myself changing my mind.
Apple will stream live video of its special event TODAY via this link. The show starts at 10 AM Pacific time.
If you have an Apple TV look for a new “Special Event” icon on the main screen and watch the show from there.
Here’s the fine print (from Apple): Live streaming video requires Safari 5.1.10 or later on OS X v10.6.8 or later; Safari on iOS 6.0 or later. Streaming via Apple TV requires second- or third-generation Apple TV with software 6.2 or later.
Mom, you can watch it on your iPad.
I will update this post to include a link to the recording of the event as soon as Apple makes it available.
In case you wondered: no, I don’t know what they’re going to show us. But whatever it is, I want two of them.