It was a strange September Apple keynote this year and it felt to me as if it was somewhat light on content. From the Apple TV+ filler segment at the start to the focus on certain new features that would have been stuck on the final crowded slides in years past, something didn’t feel quite right to me.
I do not know why the atmosphere or depth was lacking, but at no point did I sit up and marvel at what was in front of me. It is easy to feel this way in a time when phones do everything they need to do well and when the same applies to iPads (not all tablets), and the hankering for exciting new features needs to be put to bed in deference to better performance and upgrades that will make our lives a little easier.
I wrote about the new Apple Watch yesterday and how it appeared to be the result of a rushed effort to recover from problems in the production cycle, and this was confirmed further by the new that it has exactly the same processor as the series 6 model. With no sensors either it really does feel like a catchup product just to get something out there. The expectation of a flat sided Apple Watch was everywhere, but just maybe Apple thought twice about this because of the harsh aesthetic it would provide.
The iPad mini does not fall into the above complaints. With a new screen, new chip, 5G support, Apple Pencil support and a selection of new colours it really does feel like a decent upgrade. The new design, which is old of course, works very well and if I were an iPad mini person I would jump on it. I admit that the iPad as a device leaves me cold even though I use my iPad Air for many hours every day. 95% of its usage is YouTube and streaming while working with the occasional note taking and some freelance thrown in with the Kindle killing it for reading. Aside from that it is just a tablet that remains exceptional yet boring to me. No matter, the new iPad mini looks excellent.
If any device is worthy of tempering the desire for new hardware features it is the iPhone. It literally does everything very well and as expected the camera is the main focus here. Some nice software tweaks, improvements in almost every area and a lovely blue colour ensure that it will sell in huge numbers as it always does. The iPhone 13 delivered exactly what I expected- improved competence.
I cannot criticise Apple for the new iPads or the new iPhones. They are exactly in line with expectations that have been driven home over the past decade and that is not a bad thing. We don’t need fancy new features that only look good in marketing literature, we need practicality, reliability and supreme competence for capturing the moment we want to treasure. We got all of that. If Apple had done something with the Apple Watch battery I would have been much happier.