Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Archive for September 10th, 2019

Assorted Items of Note Following Apple’s September 2019 Product Launch Presentation

I haven’t done one of those posts for a while where I list off several notable things mentioned during and after today’s product announcements, so here goes. I feel like this announcement is perfect for that: major upgrades wrapped in modest refinements of last year’s tailoring. That’s something I can get behind: most people don’t upgrade year-over-year, and stretching a two-year upgrade cycle to three is just fine by me; but, if you were to upgrade from an iPhone XS or a Series 4 Apple Watch, you’ve still got a lot to look forward to.

Anyway, onto a list:

  • The rumour mill missed a lot this year. The always-on display of the Apple Watch wasn’t even rumoured. Nor was the new green colour for the Pro, or the camera combination in the iPhone 11, or the enormous battery life improvements across the board. Then there were the things that didn’t materialize: no new mute switches, Sleep Tracking on the Apple Watch, or the ability to wirelessly charge devices from the back of the new iPhones. The latter two are perhaps possible through software updates.

  • The Apple Watch is now being sold as an entirely customizable product from the point of purchase. Deirdre O’Brien showed off the retail store implementation what they’re calling the Apple Watch Studio, and it’s also available online.

    When I bought my first Apple Watch, I thought this was how the buying experience would be. The table in the store had all of these bands laid out and you could swap whatever you wanted — with the assistance of a staff member, of course. But you couldn’t buy an arbitrary combination of watch and band. You could only buy a watch and then additional bands. I’m glad to see that’s changing, but I can’t imagine how difficult it must be at Apple’s scale.

  • The titanium Apple Watch looks very special in all of the photos I’ve seen.

  • The new U1 chip in the iPhone 11 line went unmentioned during the presentation, but it’s Apple’s implementation of ultra-wideband. Apple’s marketing webpage says that this will prioritize nearby devices for AirDrop, but it could also be used for the forthcoming item tracking beacon that also did not appear today, or the rumoured Walkie Talkie feature.

  • The iPhone 11 ships with a USB-A Lightning cable, while the 11 Pro includes a Lightning-to-USB-C cable and compact 18W wall adaptor. The now-perennial rumours of the iPhone’s impending switch to a USB-C connector have been greatly exaggerated.

  • Like last year, promotional photos that show the front of the phones feature a wallpaper that makes the notch visible on the base-model iPhone 11 and hides the notch on the iPhone 11 Pro. Most of the product photography seems to emphasize the camera bumps on each model, however, which reminds me of the iPhone 7 campaign.

  • These iPhones don’t have “iPhone” written on the back any more. There’s nothing on the back except the cameras and an Apple logo. It looks clean, but it’s hard to adjust to the centred logo when it’s been about a third of the way from the top for so long.

    I can’t find it right now, but I remember an old piece of advice — possibly in the HIG — that said that items mathematically centred vertically tend to look like they’re lower than they are. The suggestion was that a visually vertically centred item typically needed about twice as much space below the item compared to the space above it.

    Update: On page 184 of the 2003 edition of the HIG (PDF), Apple recommends visually centring application windows: “[the] distance from the bottom of the window to the top of the Dock (if it’s at the bottom of the screen) should be approximately twice the distance as that from the bottom of the menu bar to the top of the window.”

  • Federico Viticci says that iOS 13 will be available September 19, while 13.1 will be released just eleven days later. It sounds like iPads won’t get a x.0 release, only the iPadOS 13.1 update.

  • WatchOS 6 won’t be available until later this year for Series 1 and 2 models.

  • 3D Touch has been wholly replaced by Haptic Touch. It’s likely that the requirements for the dynamic range of this display wouldn’t work with the additional screen layer required for 3D Touch. I bet it’s also easier to integrate an under-display Touch ID scanner without worrying about a 3D Touch layer.

  • You can get an Apple TV Plus subscription and an Apple Arcade subscription for the cost of an Apple News Plus subscription.