This year's annual September keynote usually would introduce a new iPhone model. However, this year's been very unusual, as we're all aware. CNet notes production delays may result in the new iPhone models being announced next month at their own keynote. As such, Apple's opted instead to introduce its usual non-iPhone-related mobile product updates last Tuesday.
Below are my thoughts on the major aspects of interest. Engadget has a summary of everything announced.
Apple Watch gets an SE variant
Apple announced two new versions of the Apple Watch: the Apple Watch Series 6 (starting at $399) and the Apple Watch SE (priced at $279). The former features the usual major new features for the Watch line (in this case, blood oxygen monitoring).
For the SE, it's a cheaper version of the Series 6, with most (but not all) of the modern Apple Watch's features. Missing are the Series 6's chip (it's using last year's version) and the blood oxygen monitoring.
Apple's released a new version of the iPad Air. The new model features an A14 chip, a 10.9-inch display, and comes in several colors (rose gold, blue, green, black, and silver). The new Air also works with the second generation Pencil. Prices start at $599 (for a 64GB version).
Meanwhile, the entry-level iPad has received an A12 processor, but otherwise is largely the same as before. Prices still start at $329 (for a 32GB model). Given the entry level iPad's often been on sale (and should work fine for most people), it likely didn't need any major changes? That said, I wonder if costs kept Apple from making it second-generation Pencil compatible.
Apple's also released iOS 14, the newest version of its mobile OS. The good news is iOS 14 will work with the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus on up (those two were released back in 2015). Basically, if it ran on iOS 13, it'll run 14, as Apple didn't drop any iPhone support this year. That said, I imagine next year will be the end of the line for my iPhone 6S Plus, so I might want to consider options in 2021 (perhaps the new SE?).
Apple's launching its own take on Peloton with Fitness+. For $10/month (or $80/year), anyone with an Apple Watch can gain access to various classes/workout routines, all tying into said Watch.
I'm still wondering what the appeal is to Peloton itself, but I guess it's popular enough to merit rival services. Never mind it'd be cheaper to just use a DVD/YouTube video/etc. to work out. Still, Forbes offers a few reasons to justify the existence of Apple's workout service.
Apple One bundle
Finally, Apple's getting into the bundle game (a la Disney+/ESPN+/Hulu) with the launch of Apple One. For $15 a month, Apple One is a bundle of existing Apple subscription services, including:
- Apple Arcade
- Apple Music
- Apple TV+
- iCloud (50GB)
A "Family" plan is available for $20/month. It supports up to six people, and offers the 200GB tier of iCloud. Finally, there's a Premier tier for $30/month, and that includes Fitness+, Apple News+ (their Netflix-like magazine service), and the 2TB tier of iCloud.
Those who're all in on the Apple ecosystem might find Apple One worthwhile, as it does save some money. The Family tier in particular seems like a pretty decent deal for, well, a family. As for News+, depending on where you live, the library likely offers a similar digital magazine service for free. My city's library offers dozens of magazines this way, including Consumer Reports, PC World, etc.
Photo by Andres Urena (Unsplash)