Posted in Tech

Being the best is boring

ipad-proThe rumors have subsided, iOS devices updated, and the new iPhone s has released. Usually, this time of year is exciting for me. But I find myself underwhelmed with Apple’s selection of new toys for me to buy. The tingly feeling of unboxing a shiny, new iPhone every year is virtually gone, replaced by apathy for, not only Apple products, but almost all consumer tech products today.

The three biggest products launching this holiday season are the iPad Pro, new Apple TV, and the biennial iPhone s.

The imminent launch of the iPad Pro was something rumored for the past couple years. It was a certainty that Apple would try to infringe on Microsoft’s Surface Pro market by releasing their own oversized tablet with a keyboard and stylus. Apparently, the iPad market isn’t squeezed dry just yet. Apple wants to get a few last drops of juice (ha ha) out of it before it’s completely overtaken by the 5.5″ and up phone market. Now, not only does Apple have a phone you can’t fit in one hand, they also have a tablet that doesn’t fit on your coffee table.

The comically large size of the iPad Pro keeps with the trend of Apple foregoing innovation and staying safe with the same product line. Whether it be a bigger iPhone, a small iPad, or more powerful innards, Apple hasn’t scratched the surface of  revolution since Steve Jobs’ tragic passing. In fact, most of these “new” Apple steve-jobs-stylusofferings contradict Job’s philosophy on consumer hardware sizes. The original 9.7″ iPad was created that size because Jobs believed that was the perfect size for tablets. Same with the iPhone: Jobs believed the smaller 4″ phone was the perfect size for the human hand, even in a market where 4.5″ plus Android phones were selling like hot cakes. Definitely the largest slap in the face to Jobs this past September was the introduction of the egregiously priced Apple Pencil. In the original introduction of the iPhone, Jobs famously mocked styluses, telling us our fingers were the perfect tool to interact with touch screens. These were all one man’s opinions on what people want, but considering Apple’s meteoric rise after Jobs took back his CEO position, I’d say his opinions were pretty reliable ones.

With a price starting at $800 for the 32GB model, plus the heinous $150 and $100 for the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil respectively, I have to wonder who exactly this iPad is for.

The new Apple TV was a no brainer if you look at the past year’s media players. When Apple TV relaunched back in 2010 in its smaller, black box it was one of the only products of its type, joined by Roku and Xbox 360. Now, there are a plethora of media player devices with a plethora of apps, making the 2010 Apple TV feel underpowered by today’s standards. The new Apple TV will have its own dedicated app store, voice controls, and a unified search engine. With seemingly every tech product today acting as a Netflix player, the new Apple TV is hardly a must have, especially if you’ve been enjoying 2010’s model. But, if you’re in the market for a new media player, at $150, the new Apple TV is one of the better options.

The obligatory yearly iPhone complete with its newest features from the Apple gimmick machine released on September 25th. To its credit, iPhone 6s’ sold 13 million units during its first weekend world-wide, which is no small number, however not outselling last year’s iPhone 6 in the same amount of time. The fact that most people are on two-year contract cycles and usually don’t adopt s models as heartily as proper numerical iPhone iteration makes it obvious that the 6s was never going to outsell its older brother. I, myself, am not going in for the newest iPhone this year for the first time since the 3G. I figure I just got my iPhone 6 last November, I guess it can last me another year until the iPhone 7 release.

os_3dtouch01

My brief hands on with the iPhone 6s confirms my belief that yes, its most advertised improvement is a gimmick. 3D Touch is the main interface addition to the iPhone lineage, proceeded by Force Touch on the Apple Watch and MacBook. 3D Touch makes it a little faster to get where you need to go around your iPhone, but only stock apps and a couple third parties like Instagram take advantage of the feature. For example, when you hold down the Phone application, certain selections pop up on your home screen like Favorites and specific contacts. I couldn’t help but feel that remembering this is a feature and using it as it’s meant to be used would take longer than simply opening the app and selecting Favorites. Of course, if I actually lived with 3D Touch, much like Touch ID, I’d eventually get used to it and couldn’t imagine a phone without it. And that’s good. Touch ID, while gimmicky now, does project well for future phones and applications. I’m sure all other companies will soon follow suit with all their Android-powered phones, using 3D Touch in their own way. If Apple isn’t revolutionizing on a large-scale with new hardware launches, at least they can make your boring old devices feel a little bit newer.

Apple won’t be introducing anything that changes our lives in the near future. They don’t need to. We have to remember why they revolutionized in the past and why they will again: money. Apple is the most profitable company in the world.  For as much shit as people give them for standing pat on their hardware, fact is that everything they sell just works. Their phones are the best in the world, their tablets are the best in the world and their smart watches are some of the best in the world. Apple is never first, but they are the best. I guess the best is boring.

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