Opinion: Apple’s Spring Event Leaves Much to Be Desired

We all sat around the table as Tim Cook made his closing remarks saying, “this can’t be the end. It’s only been an hour. Is that it?” Beginning at 10 a.m Pacific Time, the Apple Spring Event was exactly what the rumors predicted with a couple unexpected features. Tim Cook began by addressing the ongoing controversy between Apple and the FBI stating, “we did not expect to be in this position, at odds with our government,” but, “We will not shrink from this responsibility.”

Speaking of responsibility, Cook went on to say Apple is launching two new initiatives. He introduced Lisa Jackson to talk about the environmental steps Apple has and is taking. Striving to “leave the world better than we found it,” Apple’s goal is to become 100% renewable. It announced today that its currently 93% renewable including offices, retail stores, and data centers. The company showed off its mega solar farm in China which makes Apple’s footprint in the country carbon neutral.

All of these efforts are important, but left me wondering what the company plans to do about its manufacturing footprint. Will Apple expect those companies to become renewable too? And if not, is Apple really 100% renewable?

Jackson also noted that 99% of Apple’s packaging comes from recycled paper or from sustainably managed forests. We then saw a video of Liam, the robot that separates the iPhone into its components, allowing Apple to reuse the materials and reintegrate those parts into the global supply.

Most notably, Apple announced its new prepaid mailing label you can print for free in order to send the company your old iPhone. That way, your phone will be recycled for parts and you won’t need to pay anything. To read more about the initiative and to print the needed label, go to apple.com/reycling.

 

Next up, Apple introduced the new CareKit. Following the successful impact of HealthKit, Apple is expanding to include CareKit. The difference is subtle but important. HealthKit is meant to help researchers collect information about specific diseases or impairments in order to further advance the medical field. CareKit, on the other hand, will help the people with the disease, or the people who take care of those people, track and compile information on the daily going-ons. In short, it will help patients better manage their illness. Apple used the example of receiving high-tech medical care only to go home with a piece of paper and instructions. That gap between professional care and self care is where CareKit comes in. It will be a symptoms and measurement tracker that’s an open-source development platform. The framework will be available next month.

Product Time!

Apple Watch:

We already knew Apple wasn’t planning to release the Apple Watch 2. However, it did deliver on new watch bands, as expected.

We saw the introduction of a new Woven Nylon Band. Here, I’m super skeptical. I like the colors but, the rest of it looks like those slap bracelets we used to wear in 90s when it was cool.

Apple also introduced new colors for both the Sport band and Leather bands. Plus, the Milanese Loop in black.

Best news for the Apple Watch? Apple dropped the starting price to $299. A move that is terribly unlike the company, but we’re not going to complain.


Apple TV:

Did you get the new Apple TV? Apple released a new tvOS today. See the features in the picture below, then go download the new software. What we want to know is when Amazon and Apple will kiss and make-up so we can watch Amazon Prime on the Apple TV. Come on ya’ll, do it for the good of the people.

iPhone SE:

The 4-inch iPhone is officially titled the iPhone SE. This special edition is exactly what we were expecting. Apple sold over 30 million 4-inch iPhones in 2015 alone, so clearly there is still a market for the smaller displays. And Apple is calling it, “the most powerful 4-inch iPhone ever.”

The iPhone SE will have the same internal capabilities as the iPhone 6s but in a smaller package, meaning it will be fast. You’ll get the 64-bit A9 chip and improved battery life across the board.

Apple also focused on the camera giving it a 12 megapixel iSight camera with the ability to take Live Photos. It also improved slow motion, low light, and the camera can take 4K video.

Apple says the iPhone SE will be three times faster than the iPhone 5s, plus it has an NFC chip for Apple Pay and Touch ID, as well as high-quality Wi-Fi calling.

What’s it going to cost?

The iPhone SE is starting at $399 for 16 gigabytes or $499 for 64 GB. Which means, you can get the iPhone SE free with a two-year contract or at $17/month on Apple’s Trade-In Plan.

The iPhone SE will be available to order on Thursday, March 24. Also, iOS 9.3 with Night Shift mode is available for download starting today. 

 

(baby) iPad Pro:

With no prefix or suffix to separate it from the larger iPad Pro, the 9.7-inch iPad was announced. With the introduction of a smaller iPad Pro (which I’m calling the baby iPad Pro; spread the word), Apple continues to insist the Pro is an laptop replacement.

The company cited that there is over one million apps in the App Store for iPad and over 600 million active iPads that are over five years old.

The baby iPad Pro will have the lowest reflectivity of any iPad while being the brightest tablet available. “It’s the best display we’ve ever build for iPad,” said Apple. Part of that “best display” is the introduction of a True Tone display which changes to match the lighting of your environment. The display can become warmer or cooler to match paperwhite for a seamless experience and Apple is calling it “quite a breakthrough.” But, the True Tone display is really the only surprise of the event.

The 9.7-inch will have four-speaker audio with an A9X chip. It will support cord-free “Hey Siri.” And as predicted, Apple will introduce a Smart Keyboard accessory with smart connectors to fit the new, smaller iPad Pro. Also, it’s compatible with Apple Pencil! Which is the most exciting prospect to me considering the smaller iPad Pro is significantly more affordable than the original iPad Pro (prices below). Apple also announced new adapters for the iPad Pro including a USB Camera Adapter and SD Card Reader.

The iPad’s camera will have a 12mp iSight camera, 5mp HD Facetime camera, True Tone Flash, and be able to capture 4K video. Plus, the iPad will include Live Photos. You’ll be able to get the 9.7-inch iPad Pro in Rose Gold for the first time too.

How much is it going to cost?

The Wi-Fi enabled model at 32 GB will go for $599 // 128 GB $749 //  $899 256 GB. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro will be available to order on March 24 and will be available March 31.

Apple wrapped up its event talking about the new campus which is literally a loop. (Get it? “Let us loop you in.”) It will hold a totally new theatre, and Apple is saying goodbye to the one this event was held in today.

So why did this feel like such a lackluster event?

Apart from the True Tone display, nothing we hadn’t already expected was launched. We kept hoping for “one more thing” such as an upgrade to Macbook, Macbook Air, or Macs. There was also no ending musical guest (what, could Adele not make it?).

The awesome thing about this event were the prices. We saw new products coming out at more affordable prices than we’ve ever seen, and the Apple Watch saw a price drop many months before we expect the next edition to release. So my wallet is satisfied, but my savage desire to be amazed by the company that is Apple feels a little let down. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to wait for WWDC.


What did you think of the Event? Let us know in the comments!

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Conner Carey's picture

Author Details

Conner Carey

Conner Carey's writing can be found at conpoet.com. She is currently writing a book, creating lots of content, and writing poetry via @conpoet on Instagram. She lives in an RV full-time with her mom, Jan and dog, Jodi as they slow-travel around the country.