By: Owen Fugit
Media Production Editor
Apple just unveiled its new 2022-2023 product lineup of devices. The company loves putting on a show to unveil new technology: Steve Jobs did it at Macworld in 2007 with the new iPhone, when he stated “an iPod, a phone, and an internet communications device!” Tim Cook did it in 2017 with the iPhone X, the first phone without a home button. On Sept. 7, they did it again.
It is critical to understand that in the 15-plus years Apple has been holding these events and expos, the events themselves have changed significantly. Until the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple held all of its events in person. After the pandemic, Apple switched to a pre-recorded theme for its events, adding a movie-esque feel to its announcements. Apple stuck to its online-only event theme for this year’s event as well.
THis year, Apple unveiled upgrades and add-ons to its existing iPhone, AirPods, and Apple Watch product lines. The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) boasts a brand-new H2 chip, allowing for higher-fidelity sound and a new audio driver to go along with the H2, which reduces distortion when listening. While not a substantial difference overall, the new AirPods bring some welcomed improvements.
Apple also announced the new Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE, and a completely new watch variant, the Apple Watch Ultra. The Series 8 may seem like the Series 7 on the outside, but it’s the inside that really matters. The Series 8 comes with two major features: car crash detection and the ability to estimate ovulation. Car crash detection builds upon the existing fall detection from the Series 7, which sends a message to emergency contacts if it detects a fall. Moreover, the Series 8 is fitted with a new gyroscope, accelerometer, barometer, GPS, and more to allow the detection of a serious car crash. Following detection, it will automatically connect the user with emergency contacts and services. Apple has also fitted this same feature to the new iPhone.
Additionally, the Apple Watch Series 8 has the ability to estimate ovulation. Series 8 combines multiple different input streams, from thermometers in the watch to information input by the user, to create data sets used in estimating ovulation. Critics say that this is Apple’s way of commenting on the current women’s rights situation in the U.S, but others think it is just a typical innovation from Apple.
Apple also announced the Apple watch SE at the event, replacing the Series 3 as its entry-level watch. With minor improvements, the new SE is not something to get too excited about. The captivating Apple Watch Ultra, however, is the newest addition to the Apple Watch family. Designed for adventurers and extreme athletes, the Ultra is the extra-rugged, souped-up version of the Apple Watch. It boasts a brighter, tougher screen, a more precise GPS, battery life that lasts days, and the ridiculous price of 799 dollars! The Apple watch Ultra is truly crazy in every way and many perceive this as Apple’s attempt to merge into the fitness watch market. Competing with established companies like Garmin, the Apple Watch Ultra has major expectations to live up to.
Finally, perhaps the biggest announcement was made: the iPhone 14 lineup. The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus are still mighty, but they look nearly identical to the iPhone 13, and the interior upgrades aren’t as good as anticipated. The iPhone 14 Pro, however, is a different story. The most obvious change to the iPhone 14 Pro is the all-new Dynamic Island, an oval-shaped bar around the camera. Dynamic Island replaces the iconic ‘notch’ design used to house the camera until now. While this alone may not sound exciting, it’s what Apple has done with its software that’s enthralling. The “dynamic” in Dynamic Island refers to the cutout’s ability to change sizes to accommodate different notifications throughout the day. From calls to calendar updates, Dynamic Island changes the user interface of the iPhone 14 Pro forever. It is instantly recognizable, adding to Apple’s symbol of ingenuity. The way the engineers are able to combine software and hardware together keeps people coming back to Apple year after year, even for what seems like minor upgrades.
This event already has some community members wondering if Apple’s ability to create larger, more impactful changes in its products is fading and if tech innovation as a whole is plateauing. For now, though, the new upgrades to the AirPods, Apple Watch, and iPhone are not necessarily needed, but still welcome.
(Sources: Apple, 9to5mac, The Verge)