Commentary: iPhone, Watch, Operating Systems Bringing Enhanced Awesomeness

What would the coming of Fall be without a coveted Apple event. To be honest, some of the most recent events were a bit long in the tooth, and simply went on forever. At an hour and 45 minutes this latest event wasn’t exactly a short affair, but it rolled by a tad faster than previous displays of Apple goodness, and the faster pacing of the content generally helped the time fly by.

The event opened with a cheeky-fun Mission Impossible style action sequence all for the sake of introducing Tim Cook in an interesting manner while showcasing product. (Did you catch those AirPods stayed in her ears?) I found the intro fun … and being able to see that gorgeous Apple campus on display was really cool. However, and I don’t know if they intended it, I found the suitcase in the opening overture reminiscent of the adventures of Vincent and Jules. I’m sure Apple had no intention of mimicking such a Pulp Fiction-esque reference. At least when Tim opened the case it didn’t glow gold from the inside. 

Apple Watch
Full disclosure: I’ve been an Apple Watch fan from day one. While I’m far from a fitness-style person, I really like all the notifications, complications and heart/health monitoring capabilities. The new Apple Watch simply offers some next-level awesomeness in this regard. This is huge for people dealing with any kind of heart/health condition, and even for those who aren’t. This is true life-saving tech, and at some point in the future it may seem odd not to have a health monitor on you.

My other loves of the Apple Watch are simply how it makes certain things faster or less obtrusive. Get a text, glance at your wrist versus take your phone out. When you’re home, you can leave your phone elsewhere in your home, and just travel around with your watch on. In short, for me it’s the convenience factor, but it also gives you much needed time away from your iPhone, allowing you to focus on other items, or that coveted family time. For me it’s time with the wife/daughter/dogs along with a plethora of too many hobbies.

I think while this new Apple Watch is a leap over the previous series, it’s a pathway that’s going to get even better as the years go on. My recommendation if you’re looking to step up: the Apple Watch Series 4 offers plenty of reason to do so and kindly re-gift your old watch to a family member or friend. I’m definitely in the market, as I crashed my original Apple Watch on a one-wheel adventure with a fellow OWCer in Austin this spring. Oops. Though my Apple Watch did live a long life, it will soon be headed to Apple for recycling.

My wishlist for Apple would be to make a $199 Apple Watch. I think that would get it out in front of so many more people. Of course, if you wait for older model sales, you’re almost at that price.

iPhone
During the keynote Apple threw everything at us. Can you tell the iPhone is Apple’s premier product? Why, yes. Yes, it is. Admittedly, the tech geek in me loved Apple diving into some of the “tech and specs” side of things more than they usually do.

I mean, what didn’t Apple improve upon with the iPhone X series?

There are three sizes. All feature-packed to the hilt. I mean, seriously, all they would need to add is a knife and the Swiss Army knife business would collapse overnight. Overall, everything’s faster, the software is greater, AR is coming, the cameras are crazy, the speaker sound seems awesome and photo and video quality are even better than previous versions. Apple delivered a better iPhone X. Did we expect any less?

I think the cheaper iPhone Xr (above) will be their top seller. Not because of price but, rather, because of color. It harkens back to the iPhone 5C and people simply fell in love with those models and kept them for years beyond normal use. That and the iPhone Xr actually shares most of the tech in the other X models.  

Of major note, Apple’s custom chip achievements are actually the story behind the story. How fast is the iPhone compared to most laptops or desktops? ARM has to be coming to the Mac lineup — sign me up for 40-hour battery life! I’ll take a two-year processor performance hit versus the latest and greatest PC processing capabilities.

Just as OWC promotes, and long before I came to be an OWCer, I run my computers for years, not months, and I’ll take a power-sipping ARM chip any day of the week. Hey Apple, make a macOS laptop that runs on iPhone hardware … we’ll call it “MacBook” — if only such a thing existed. Maybe. Soon. Please.

The Price. Oh, the Price.
At $749, $999 and $1099 for the new iPhone Xs models, some people will say “ouch.” Yes,  the Xs is expensive. I also remember paying $599 + two-year contract with AT&T for my original iPhone back in 2007 on iPhone Launch Day — otherwise known as “Day 0” in Apple year canon. I jest, they don’t call it that … I think. ;)

And Apple knows the “rental” carrier plans out there make an iPhone a monthly payment vs. all up front.

I like that Apple kept the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 in the lineup. I’m rocking a one-year-old iPhone 7 that is one of my favorite iPhones I’ve ever owned. With iPhone 7 starting at $449, there’s definitely different prices to suit a variety of different peoples’ needs. I’m certainly more than fine with my iPhone 7, but over the next year, I think it’ll find its way into my daughter’s possession, and one of the new iPhone X models will find a home with me. Again, that reuse thing. Pass it on.

As a heads up, we’ve just released KX cases for the new iPhone X models. Whether you’re gearing up for the new, or passing along your iPhone, KX is a great case to protect your iPhone investment for the long-term. And it won’t break the bank like other protective cases out there.

 

macOS Mojave
Mojave is one major macOS upgrade, and I’m grateful Apple didn’t go ad-nauseum on the OS releases which were heavily detailed in the Spring … I’m of the mindset to “just release it already.” And, luckily, that time is finally here. I’m usually an early adopter of the final release, as I gave up on betas long ago and judging from Apple’s take rate … many of you out there upgrade early and often, too.

That said, one thing many reviewers aren’t covering: if you’re on a machine that isn’t upgradeable to Mojave, you don’t have to go out and get a new Mac. Apple will support the previous OS with security updates for years to come. The general compatibility for macOS Mojave is Mac models from 2012-2018. However, should you determine it’s time for your next Mac, we have some great Mac options with savings for you. Or you can upgrade your current Mac to be even faster with the next upgrade with Memory, SSDs, Drive DIY kits, iMac kits or other upgrades to make your current Mac even faster.

There’s a lot of great features in macOS Mojave, but one we’re most excited about is eGPU support. You can plug in an external GPU via Thunderbolt 3. It’s a game changer, especially for those whose laptop serves double duty as a desktop and anyone who wants to easily add a faster GPU with the greatest of ease.

iOS 12
iOS 12 iconWith iOS, Apple is just packing in a ton of great features and improvements to elevate the iPhone and iPad experience. Honestly, I’m tired of Apple talking about all the great features — of which we can’t use yet — and I’m glad we’re finally nearing the release date so we all can actually experience it. Sadly, one of the cool features — multi-person FaceTime support — won’t be available at launch. You’ll have to wait a little longer. Jeez … more waiting. But I’m expecting one heck of an update with plenty of cool and nifty improvements we’ll all be exploring over the next few months.

watchOS 5
Like iOS there’s a decent amount of features in the Watch OS. The only downside to any Apple Watch software update is that it takes forever-and-a-day to update. So I wouldn’t recommend doing an update if you’re in a hurry. The only point of note is for original Apple Watch owners, as watchOS 5 doesn’t support the original. Only Apple Watch Series 1 – Series 4 are covered by watchOS 5. That doesn’t make any original Apple Watch worthless; it just means you won’t get the new features, and you can still rock that original Apple Watch to show off that you were among the first.

Recycling and Longevity
One thing I loved in the keynote is that Apple spent solid time promoting that these products are intended to be used for years, and then recycled. It’s one major thing that made me switch to the Mac back in 1999 (the longevity and appliance-like nature of the Mac vs anything out there). My first iMac from 1999 still works — original hard drive and all. Nowadays I keep it around as my personal museum piece; after all, it is my first Mac, which was followed by the first iBook, B&W G3 tower, Ti PowerBook, Al PowerBook, G5 Tower, iMac 2008, MacBook Pro … to now my coveted iMac 5K + MacBook combo.

Building devices that are reliable, secure and built to live a full life, while promoting reusability — and eventually — recyclability, runs at the core of what we promote at OWC. We strive to extend and improve the usefulness of the gear you have now, and the ability to make it faster so it can serve you or the next person longer. We strive for renewable resources and promote recycling and conservation. We’ve utilized wind power since 2009 at our Woodstock, IL, headquarters and have added solar to the mix in Woodstock as well as our Austin, TX, campus.

It was a breath of fresh air to have Apple devote a solid amount of time to the importance of long product life spans, quality and recyclability. They breathe it, as we do. Conservation is that important, smart for the future and smart for business to lead the way.

Now, Only Two Questions Remain…
What Apple Watch should I get now and which iPhone X model should I get later? Good job Apple … you sucked me into the awesomeness vortex again.

Thanks for reading, and I hope your next computing experience is a great one!


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