Ten Observations From Apple's iPhone X Event

Apple's event today was officially called "Let's meet at our place," but I'm willing to bet that a couple of years from now it will be remembered as "the iPhone X event." In no particular order, I've got ten observations from this event.

1) Steve Jobs continues to dominate the way Apple presents itself. The new theater at Apple Park is, of course, named after him—but it goes much deeper than that. You can tell that many in the company do ask themselves "What would Steve do?," but I'm not sure they're getting the answers right.

2) I'm going to assume that "Super Retina Display" is Apple's new way of describing an OLED display, but there's no confirmation of this. We'll know if the next MacBook Pro offers a Super Retina Display to compete with the OLED displays that Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Lenovo already offer.

3) Apple has lately been emphasizing how hard it is to is to achieve what many users see as incremental gains, and they did this again at the event, mentioning that sometimes you have to step back and appreciate how amazing some of these technologies are. I am sympathetic to engineers who go to the ends of the earth to get a millimeter thinner or an ounce lighter. However, I'm not sure many are listening.

4) This iPhone introduction marks a new strategy from Apple—they introduced two separate model lines (the iPhone 8/8 Plus and the iPhone X) that were both an upgrade from the previous "latest and greatest" iPhone 7. Whether this is just a temporary state of affairs until they can get the price and complexity of the iPhone X configuration down or whether this is the new normal remains to be seen.

5) Few phrases during this event illustrated the rate of change in technology as well as Jeff Williams' "40 million songs on your wrist" quote, which emphasizes the ability of the LTE-enabled Apple Watch 3 to stream Apple Music. This phrase, of course, recalls the "1000 Songs in Your Pocket" tagline from the release of the original iPod back in October 2001.

6) Apple events are always strange, in that the technology press wildly cheers the CEO as he walks on the stage. This behavior makes me a little uncomfortable—I can understand polite clapping, but I'm not sure about the applause. Perhaps this can serve to make us mindful of how many of these individuals who are covering Apple owe a significant portion of their success to the company from Cupertino.

7) Great photos taken by skilled photographers with brand-new smartphone cameras mean just about nothing—from any manufacturer. I wish smartphone vendors would stop making a promise that "normal" people are going to be able to shoot pictures like this if they just buy that one special smartphone.

8) macOS High Sierra was not mentioned at all during the event, but Apple did commit to a release date today—10.13 (with its brand new file system) will drop on September 25th.

9) It's quite surprising to me that Apple's wireless charger is not ready—usually, they try to be first to market with relevant accessories for their products. Perhaps they're trying to emphasize that they're truly participating in the Qi open wireless standard. Apple's AirPower charger (I'm not sure about that name) will be available sometime in 2018.

10) I believe Steve Jobs would have objected to a few things in this event—one obvious thing was the piano tinkling in the background during his voice-over at the beginning.

You can decide for yourself—Apple has posted the full keynote here.

John Mulhern III, Posted 9/13/2017