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September is always Apple’s busiest month, and this time it shook up the Apple Watch, showed the world how to do the notch, and left last year’s processor in the making. iPhone 14.
Apple has come a long way since Steve Jobs would name a product with choose from a list his PR agency suggested. Now you wouldn’t be surprised to hear that there was an entire division involved Apple Parkdedicated to naming products.
Then you sometimes wonder if there’s another department next door whose job it is to see what everyone thinks a product is going to be called – and change it if necessary.
Apple name changes have been made for legal reasons, such as the iTV being Apple TV because of the British broadcaster of that name. And perhaps the Macintosh SE/30 would have sold better if it had gone by what would have been its next logical name, SEx.
Then there was the iWatch that became the Apple Watch. And there was iMusic which became iTunes at the last minute. That could have been worse, it could have been iPop.
And the most amusing thing was the term Slate, which everyone was so sure that Apple was the… iPad that they rushed to use the term first.
In September 2022, many people were sure that Apple would release an iPhone 14 Max. No doubt the name it ended up with, the iPhone 14 Plus, made more sense in the lineup and from what Apple previously called bigger phones.
Still, the certainty about the word Max wasn’t limited to people outside of Apple. Even after it launched, even after you were able to pre-order the iPhone 14 Plus, it’s pale that Apple’s website is full of semi-hidden references to the iPhone 14 Max.
Attention to detail
Never underestimate the amazingly large and complex task of creating, maintaining, and updating Apple’s website. It must be harder to make millions of new iPhones every year, but Apple not only manages to get both done, it sweats out the details about everything, which is what makes it work.
Except for those website references to the wrong name.
And excluding bugs and inconsistencies and some rough edges in this month’s release of iOS 16. The latest betas from macOS Ventura have weird moments when things just don’t seem as polished as usual, but at least Ventura is still in beta.
Still, iOS 16 and iPhone 14 Pro Max wobble camera shakes aside, this was still the biggest and most anticipated month of Apple’s year. At once, Apple launched:
- iPhone 14
- iPhone 14 Plus
- iPhone 14 Pro
- iPhone 14 Pro Max
- AirPods Pro 2
- Apple Watch SE
- Apple Watch Series 8
- Apple Watch Ultra
If you bought the base model of each of these, it would cost you $5,492. It’s harder to know for sure what it would cost to buy the most expensive versions of each as Apple Watches come with a range of increasingly expensive bands.
But to buy the top-of-the-range, maxed-out editions of each of these together would need you at least $8,232 in your pocket.
Incidentally, it’s still true that Apple Watches have a bewildering array of band choices, but the new ones Apple Watch Ultra is actually the simplest watch you can buy yet. Besides being the most expensive in the range at $799, Apple Watch Ultra comes in one case for one price, and there’s only a GPS version.
It also comes with the idea that it will only be bought by mountaineers who like to dive in their spare time. Apple will never tell us how much of something has been made or sold, so you can’t really measure its success, but of all the new products, the Apple Watch Ultra is one of the few that sells out quickly and has been backordered for weeks.
And it certainly can’t be that all YouTubers buy one to try to break. Not when they are to do that with the new iPhone crash detection.
Hit and maybe miss
While we’ll never see real numbers, it looks like the new big iPhone 14 Plus hasn’t caught on. Last year it was the iPhone 13 mini that was reportedly enough of a flop that it got cancelledit will be curious to see what Apple tries in the iPhone 15 reach.
However, there is a clear Goldilocks effect. The iPhone 13 mini was too small, the iPhone 14 Plus was too big, but the iPhone 14 was exactly right.
Except it didn’t set the world on fire either. And that is not allowed. If you don’t already own an iPhone, the iPhone 14 is an excellent choice, but if you want one of the… iPhone 13 range, then it’s not that much.
This is the first year in a while that Apple has made only minor changes to the mainstream iPhone. It’s also certainly the first time Apple has left last year’s processor in this base model and reserved the new one for the Pro models.
It’s not that many, or maybe even just one of the millions of iPhone 14 buyers, will think about the processor. And it’s not like it means the phone is slow in any way.
But it’s like it means you should think twice before paying between $799 and $1,099 for an iPhone 14. And it seems like people have thought twice.
Split the range
This case of having the older processor in the base models and the new one in the Pro editions does make that gap clearer. In a year where there’s not much to distinguish between the iPhone 14 series and the iPhone 13, at least there’s this clear water between the base and Pro versions.
Perhaps that’s exactly why Apple did it, in which case the company probably plans to continue doing so with the iPhone 15 series. Or maybe it has to do with the global chip shortage, maybe because the yields of the new processor are not that high.
However, if there is a gap between the models, it should be larger. At launch, Apple was pretty nimble in how it chose to compare the new A16 Bionic to 2019’s A13 Bionic, but not nimble enough.
The chart showing how incredibly better the A16 Bionic is over the A13 Bionic had the minor flaw that it actually looks like the new one is only about a fifth faster. And it had the big flaw that you immediately knew Apple said that because there is little difference between this A16 Bionic and last year’s A15 chip.
Where the differences count
The Apple Watch Ultra sold out quickly, as did the iPhone 14 Pro Max. More so than the iPhone 14 Pro, the Max version slid straight into backorder, practically before Apple’s pre-order page could load.
Apple would have you believe that this is the best smartphone ever made, and you’d have to be a true Android fanatic not to agree. DisplayMate tried to give some numbers on how good the screen is on the iPhone 14 Pro Max and finally succeeded have to change the measuring scale to accommodate it.
But then there are plenty of Android fans who of course will never go for this phone because it runs iOS. And there are iOS fans who will never go for the iPhone 14 Pro Max because it is a very large phone.
To which you should shrug from the Android fans, maybe even pointing out that there are now more iPhones in active use in the United States than all Android phones combined. And you can then point everyone to what could be the sweet spot in the whole range – the iPhone 14 Pro.
For the balance of features, price, and the ability to use at least half of the features with one hand, the iPhone 14 Pro is a winner. Unless you’re a iPhone 13 Proin that case you really really want the new one Dynamic Island.
Fortunately, everyone wants the new Dynamic Island. Including Android users.
Many people also like the 48 megapixel camera in the two Pro models. Apple has been saying for years that 48MP isn’t the most important thing, but it’s what you do with the megapixels you have.
To be fair, Apple still says size doesn’t matter. To the extent that it hides the ability to shoot in 48mp by default, and if you do, it gladly processes that into a 12mp shot.
If you shoot ProRAW 48mp, however, the resulting image will look good. It looks so good it’s worth it that those photos take so long you can take sandwiches with you.
The sound of silence in the new AirPods Pro 2 is also quite good. Visually there hasn’t been much of an update since the original AirPods Proso if you’re more concerned about looking good than anything else, you can keep using the old one without anyone noticing.
However, if you like the sound quality, or if you’ve had your original one long enough to see the battery inevitably deteriorate, AirPods Pro 2 will sound better.
They also make the world sound better through noise cancellation and the new Adaptive Transparency – which may or may not come in an update to the original AirPods Pro.
It wasn’t just about product releases
September will be remembered for everything Apple released, but there was also the usual focus on everything it didn’t. Plus there was the unusual focus on the Apple Carwho listed a new survey as Highly appreciated by drivers – even though it doesn’t exist.
More than the Apple Car doesn’t exist, Apple still doesn’t even admit that there could be one. So it’s pretty impressive that Apple is so associated with quality that’s why motorists are already rating it so well.
It’s almost as if Apple doesn’t have to advertise since word of mouth is so strong. But Apple has never been shy about advertising, and this month it was revealed that its ad sales.
That’s roughly how it sells ad space to other companies, and the questions are how much it sells them. Also, how much does Apple take advantage of its own privacy features, which are so damaging to the profits of others, such as Facebook.
But despite all that, Apple is a company, and an incredibly successful company, it’s still not all sell, sell, sell. On September 8, Apple dropped the entire homepage of the website and replaced it with a homage to the British Queen Elizabeth II.
When she was born, the phone was 50 years old. The first satellite was not launched until she was 32 – about six years after she took the throne. And yet, when she died, we could all hold a phone that… connects to satellites.
Or we could if we live in the US and Canada. And if we have our pre-order in time.