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Through Apple Observer's Eyes - Issue #3 - California Streaming!

JF Martin
JF Martin
Special issue on Apple’s California Streaming special event. My highlights, thoughts and observations. Buckle up!

Let's try something different
Instead of posting my thoughts on my main blog as I usually do after an Apple event, I’m using Revue this time around. So, this newsletter issue is dedicated to Apple’s California Streaming special event. It’s a collection of highlights from around the web (mostly Twitter) and personal observations gathered in Craft during the keynote. I didn’t write my usual “what I expect from Apple’s next keynote”. Why? I think these types of posts are becoming useless in this ocean of “opinions sharing” movement. I prefer to tackle what is real and actually announced. 
Expectations were high but...
Let’s start with the invite artwork. It gaves no clue. At all. As it’s always the case.
The keynote invite artwork
The keynote invite artwork
Before.
Before.
 Observer
How much revenue does Apple "lose" by closing their online store for six hours? According to this website, a lot. https://t.co/xEwsogNxBO
#AppleEvent https://t.co/0etX4sjWXE
After.
After.
It seems expectations were more toned this year. Is it because of the abundance of rumours prior to this event? Yet, it’s funny to compare the pre-event rumours to what Apple actually announced. Tension was mounting with the usual teaser by Tim Cook, three hours before the show.
Tim Cook
Good morning from somewhere a little different this time. We’re California streaming in 3 hours! See you soon. 👀 #AppleEvent https://t.co/C5V5hiel8F
About the event itself
We knew Apple would focus on the iPhone and the Apple Watch. Apple likes to focus on their special events. Unexpected for me was the iPad segment. Was it supposed to be with the MacBook Pro in October? Anyways. I guess the iPad mini intro made sense since it is a full redesign. The event’s production quality was top-notch as usual, but I feel a bit of fatigue in the digital-only formula. When I saw the start of the Apple TV+ segment, I rolled my eyes. Same for the Fitness+ segment. But hey, Apple is not only selling hardware products, right? Right. 🙄
The iPad... mini
This one looks like a mighty device. I think this is the new iPod touch. Center Stage and ProMotion are part of the package, which is surprising for such a small device. The second-gen Apple Pencil is the one to use. The iPad mini website is impressive. It’s fun to spend some time on it, with a fast computer to enjoy fluid animations. Kudos to Apple’s web designers. Oh, and don’t miss the really cool iPad mini video intro. Full of impossible situations but hey, that’s marketing, right? Right. Oh, the iPad is not at generation 9, too. Nice upgrade, but again, the star of the segment was the mini. The device immediately found supporters.
Introducing the all-new iPad mini | Apple
Introducing the all-new iPad mini | Apple
Visual summary of iPad mini key features
Visual summary of iPad mini key features
The Apple Watch
Upgrading to the Series was a godsend. The Series 7 could be another hit.
Upgrading to the Series was a godsend. The Series 7 could be another hit.
 Observer
The BIGGEST fail of leakers this year: the Apple Watch redesign. Completly missed! 🙄 #Apple #AppleEvent
What a big fail from the rumours sites and leakers (there were a few more missed targets too). Thankfully, even if I thought it was a good possible design, the new design is better. It’s true to the original Apple Watch, which I think is more approachable than the rumoured redesign (John Gruber: “Aesthetically, I am not sold on a flat-edge design for the watch. The round edges are iconic and organic.”). Apparently, Series 7 doesn’t come with its own internal model number which could mean that next year we could get a real redesign of the watch. Series 7 uses the same S6 system-on-a-chip as Series 6. If it works, don’t touch it!
Oh, for those who happen to be using e-bikes, the new watch will take care of this! That was something I recently wondered about. Good for them.
The Series 7 has a faster recharge time, provided you get the faster charger. The Series 3 is still around, what? Yes. The Watch face store is still not a thing. I don’t get it. Old bands work fine, but these ones are no longer available, though which is sad. 😞 The new world timer watch face is one of the best looking in recent years! It’s already up and running on my Series 6 watch running RC of watchOS 8. 😎 The Series 7 screen should be more durable too. Because of the bigger screen size, the Series 7 now offers a new input mode: a “full-size” keyboard. Some are pissed off by Apple enabling a “full keyboard” experience on the Apple Watch Series 7 while kicking some apps out of the App Store.
Again, another cool intro video for Series 7. We will have plenty of time to admire the Series 7 on the web because we won’t be able to get our hands on it soon.
Introducing Apple Watch Series 7 | Apple
Introducing Apple Watch Series 7 | Apple
Visual summary of Apple Watch Series 7 key features
Visual summary of Apple Watch Series 7 key features
The iPhone
The most important segment of the keynote, the last one, was dedicated to the iPhone 12s 13. The iPhone is still the most important product of Apple these days. The rest is just noise. Well, maybe not. Lot’s of “speed and feeds” to talk about the iPhone. Too much maybe. Yet, we learned the iPhone 13 Pro is heavier and thicker. Jony Ive is no longer working for Apple, remember?
A few surprises like the macro photography mode but no starry night mode. I’m looking forward to testing macro photography mode but from what I’m seeing from Apple, not all examples are great. Same glossy device edges. I would have liked a matte finish instead. No always-on display; which would have been more gimmicky than the 120 MHz display the way Apple chose to implement it. Battery life improvements while pushing the envelope on features are really impressive and what most people care about anyway. System RAM is still at 6 GB which is double compared to my 11 Pro. Wallpapers used in this year’s iPhone 13 are much better looking than last year but are not included in the release candidate of iOS 15 apparently.
Here is something weird though: Apple is comparing performance gains of the iPhone 13 to non-iPhone devices. Is it because the A15 chip compared to the A14 chip offers only a marginal improvement? According to this article, something troubling is happening at Apple’s CPU team that could partly explain the situation. I would argue this: let’s not forget that Apple is right in the middle of a transition with its Apple Silicon. We may just be witnessing some resources stretching here. Yet, the A15 GPU is up to 55% faster according to the latest benchmarks that were uploaded online.
Marco Arment
A15 is X% faster “than the leading competition” — no longer comparing against the prior SOC. Probably not a massive upgrade.
I skipped the iPhone 12 last year. The iPhone 13 Pro is my next.
I skipped the iPhone 12 last year. The iPhone 13 Pro is my next.
The notch may be smaller (Apple won’t use the space for more status icons) but the camera assembly is much bigger, prominent. Apple isn’t shy about it. Still no battery pourcentage level shown, though.
I’m going to upgrade from my iPhone 11 Pro to the iPhone 13 Pro (my previous upgrade was from an iPhone 7). No advantage of going with the iPhone 13 Pro Max, from a camera‘s side of the story. Yet, It will be a massive upgrade. For the first time ever, I’ll use Apple’s trade-in to return my older device. Who knows what they will do with it.
Cue the intro video after the break. Not as funny as the others, yet, it shows iPhone 13 Pro abilities. I thought about checking the 5G coverage in my city. I should get 5G coverage around my office downtown and at home. 😎 But, no satellite connectivity apparently. No need for that.
Introducing iPhone 13 Pro | Apple
Introducing iPhone 13 Pro | Apple
Whodunnit | Cinematic mode | iPhone 13 | Apple
Whodunnit | Cinematic mode | iPhone 13 | Apple
Visual summary of iPhone 13 Pro key features
Visual summary of iPhone 13 Pro key features
I loved my iPhone 7 dark matte finish. This year's iPhone 13 Pro seems lighter. Not sure I like it.
I loved my iPhone 7 dark matte finish. This year's iPhone 13 Pro seems lighter. Not sure I like it.
Oh, one last remark, as pointed out by Mike Rockwell: still no USB-C on the iPhone, even the Pro… but it’s ok for the iPad mini.
iPhone cameras
We buy the latest iPhone for its cameras, right? Yes. Coming from an iPhone 11 Pro, I think it will be a noticeable upgrade in capabilities and quality. Can’t wait for ProRAW support and improvements to sensors quality which allow for more lights to come in. The cinematic mode looks cool and demo-ish, I’m not a big fan of videos with my iPhone. And about the Photographic Styles, well, let’s see. I would argue that pro photographers have their own style and prefer to start from scratch, oops, from RAW in order to create their image with their visual signature. Interesting Twitter thread here about cinematic mode:
Michael Steeber
Cinematic mode (and portrait mode before it) get to the heart of a concept that I haven't found a term for, but am calling "computationally raw." The post-processing power is in optical edits, not light and color adjustment. https://t.co/PmRToQpPF2
Sebastiaan de With
Wow, this new iPhone 13 Pro camera array sounds absolutely insane.

3x telephoto for a 77mm full-frame equivalent
macro-capable 13mm ultrawide lens with autofocus
an EVEN LARGER 26mm wide angle camera
#AppleEvent https://t.co/LfaRFGWxXk
Austin Evans
I think Apple includes an iPhone with your camera this year. https://t.co/ElYH2PyW15
Michael Steeber
Event day reflection: In just a few years, the iPhone keynote has become one of the most pivotal events of the year for photographers, creative directors, and the entire filmmaking community. The gravity of these changes year over year is impossible to ignore. https://t.co/mqXBrDrKXB
Left overs and reactions
Interesting notes from David Spark on his blog.
That’s Apple all over, though. Less a company, more a trillion-dollar California cult designed to brainwash us with pleasant high-tech visions and the comfort of a walled garden.” - Chris Taylor for Mashable
Basic Apple Guy
“With the lenses arranged diagonally”
aka
“So people will know you have the new one”
#AppleEvent https://t.co/8uXpbq0DlH
Apple has made annual upgrades seamless. And herein lies the beauty of Apple’s seemingly boring annual upgrades: annual upgrades! Pulling customers into a faster upgrade cycle. Combine all this with Apple’s advertising (from the event itself to 30-second spots to product placement in Ted Lasso), and the company’s world-class marketing capabilities are clear and obvious. Gene Munster
Narrower, yet a tad taller
Narrower, yet a tad taller
I think that your perception of this keynote is greatly influenced by your desire to upgrade or not. If you own an older iPhone and are looking to replace your device, you might think this keynote was another great one. If you own an iPhone 12, you might think this was an underwhelming event. On the other hand, analysts are mostly positive about Apple’s announcements. Other analysts’ comments. Again, vastly positive.
It was fun to put this newsletter together. I hope you liked it. Now I’m looking forward to the next virtual Apple Event in mid-October to build the next issue.
#MacBookPro and #OneMoreThing?
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JF Martin
JF Martin @apple_observer

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