Apple: September Keynote 2020

Tharuka Kodituwakku

No matter how tech-savvy you are, you likely heard about the release of the new iPhones. You don’t need me to tell you how rough this year has been. For Apple, the effect of this year is that their routine September event was split in three. The first was the obligatory September event, where they released new iPads and Watches. The second was the recent iPhone event. The Mac event is yet to come. They released four new iPhones this year, just last week. They also released a new Homepod, which no one cares about (although you should). This year, there are few compromises with the iPhones. All four models have 5G and OLED. It is yet to be seen the effects of no LCD on iPhones as Apple makes some of the best LCD screens on the market. 5G connectivity does not matter very much as coverage and range is not very good at all yet.

 

It appears that this year’s iPhone release had a theme of cementing the idea that Apple is a special brand that caters to everyone, not just geeks like me. On the flip side, they showed how they have a kind of clout that no other tech company has by slyly exerting their dominance over the American smartphone market. You’ve all seen that Verizon ad. You know, the one where Marty the zebra Chris Rock says “5G just got real.” NO IT HASN’T! 5G is far from “real”. Coverage is pathetic with the majority of the country not having 5G connectivity within 10 miles of their homes. Besides, it hasn’t been a meaningless or nonexistent feature. At least 30 mainstream Android smartphones have 5G. Even then, one may argue that there was no cultural impact of the feature until the iPhone release. That is not true. Simply search for videos of conspiracy theorists burning 5G towers claiming they cause COVID-19 or cancer. Although it may seem like it, a feature being put onto an Apple device is not always the flip of the switch on when a feature truly matters or has a cultural impact. Such is the case with 5G which many people knew very much about before iPhones had it.

 

By the way, the Apple Homepod is a dumb smart-speaker, but a really good speaker for sound (if you can get around the fact that the source has to be an Apple device). The Homepod Mini is, like its older brother, named with the wrong category and mistakenly accused of having bad value. The name “Mini” makes one think of the Amazon Echo Dot and the Google Nest Mini, even though the Homepod Mini competes with the vanilla Amazon Echo and Google Home with the same price and better sound quality (subjective) than the data thieves’. This is the same criticism people had of the original Homepod which should compete with the Amazon Echo and Google Home because of its lack of another word, even though it also competes with the Amazon Echo Studio and the Nest Audio. Maybe you should consider the Homepod if you are in the market for a $99 smart speaker and are a big fan of Siri. That might be a slim market, though.