New iPhones, new Watch: Apple, bored now

I have never been less interested in an iPhone launch. I think I’ve become immune to the 30% faster, 50% quicker, take-better-photos bullshit that Apple and other tech companies come out with every year. Not much technology excites the way it did in the first decade of this century. Apple, though, does know how to put on the razzle-dazzle. It’s just, it’s the same razzle-dazzle, year after year after year. We all know the words inserted into presentations to make the fans go ooh. It’s just, some of us fans are harder to make go ooh these days. 

Give it a year or two more with my fantastic iPhone X, maybe I would notice a real difference on a new model. But the truth is, in practice, the end user notices barely any difference at all if they upgrade annually.

As for the Watch, mine’s a ceramic – last year’s Series 3 with ESIM for calls – and they’re not doing them with that finish anymore, which is a real shame as it is completely scratch-proof and as good as new. It wasn’t cheap but it was clearly built to last in a way I don’t think the aluminium or stainless steel ones are. I mostly use it to tell the time or check the date – I know, right? Gasp! Radical! – and it has its share of really irritating frustrations, like Siri being slow to respond and often asking me to repeat what I said, sometimes more than once.  

I’m not driven to lust for the new Series 4 Watch just because it has a bigger screen you can fill up with tiny icons you need your glasses on to read, nor does the fact that the new one will do ECGs thrill me to the core. I think the screen on the Series 4 as shown in photos so far looks awfully busy, too cluttered for my taste. And, whatever hype is going down right now about it, I can almost guarantee you that Siri will still be shit. 

If you’ve never owned a Watch and want one, I’m sure you’ll like the new one. For all its faults, I like my Series 3. I don’t love it but I like it. I can make calls from it, and rarely do. I can leave my iPhone at home and listen to music or podcasts on it, but, again, I rarely do. It’s a (lower case) watch first and foremost. The new one, for all the fanfare today, remains a watch as well. It won’t beam you up anywhere. Sorry. 

If you have a really old iPhone and want to (and can afford to) upgrade, then do. But changes these days tend to be incremental year-on-year, as in, tiny and minor, never that radical, not life-changing. I think the iPhone X has, in the year I’ve owned it to date, been the best iPhone yet. Larger than the original iPhones but not as huge as an iPhone with a Plus in its name. Calling one of the new ones Xs Max, though – and let’s be honest, everyone will call it Excess Max – makes it sound like a label on the side of a vibrator box aimed at those who want something eye-wateringly, painfully ambitious at bedtime. 

The truly interesting stuff, for tech-heads and Macheads like me, wasn’t on show today – namely a hoped-for redesign for the iMac and an almost-certain complete remodelling of the iPad Pro. My verdict on the product launch today? Meh. The MacBook Pro revamp a few months back, though, for all we didn’t see huge changes, was exciting. Maybe that was because my 2011 iMac died on me after a long, trouble-free and productive life, back in the spring. Anyway, I got one and am as pleased with it as every other Apple product I’ve ever owned.

We’ve not heard a peep about the Apple TV this year, I note. I have the model before the current 4k one, mine being capable of showing HD up to 720p. Again, 4k – and only when streaming – wasn’t a sufficient draw for me to want the newest model. If they do bring out another in the future, and it won’t be this year I’m sure, it needs a wow factor or I still won’t be interested in upgrading in the age of Netflix, Prime and 4k TVs.

That’s what’s missing across the board with Apple, post-iPhone-X: the wow factor. It just seems like business as usual, same old, same old, no matter the snake oil they try to sell, though the prices seem to get regularly upgraded to outrageous levels. Especially for us Brits. And with Trump’s protectionist anti-trade measures in the US ongoing, coupled with the shit-shower that is our imminent Brexit (or as I call it, Brexshit), I can only imagine how much new Apple products will cost this time next year. The way the world is going, the market for secondhand tech is surely the only tech market set to grow rapidly for quite a while. 

myfibromyalgia book cover

Andrew’s latest book, myfibromyalgia: one man’s experience of living with chronic illness, is out now in all Amazon store territories the world over. The ebook is £5.99 and the paperback £8.99. UK Amazon link.

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