Over night, the mother of all iPhone 12 Event rumor drops happened. We’re talking features, release dates, and accessories, including the return of MagSafe — yes, MagSafe! — but in a totally new way. Also, HomePod Mini, and what’s happening with AirPods Studio, the over-the-ear headset, and AirTags, the Find My for everything.
And I’m going to analyze all of it for you — and right now!
Apple has announced the October — yes, October! — iPhone 12 Event and, as always, there’s a lot of confusion and a lot of questions surrounding not just the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, but AirTags, AirPods Studio, HomePod mini, and everything else that might or might not happen at the event.
Apple’s just announced that their Health Records feature, which has been scaling up rapidly in the U.S., is now coming to Canada and the U.K. as well.
I had the chance to chat briefly with Kevin Lynch, yes, that Kevin Lynch, Apple’s VP of software about it, and just had to interrupt my previously scheduled programming and make this quick video sharing some thoughts. Because I love tech and I especially love tech that connects us and makes our lives better. And that’s exactly what Health Records does.
Ok, so. Pause. Rewind. Play. Years ago, while working on the Apple Watch, even early on, Apple realized they’d be generating a tremendous amount of health data, so they created the Health app to store it and HealthKit as a way for it to work with other apps, accessories, and systems.
It’s all private and secure, encrypted on-device, and if you back it up, it’s encrypted in transit and at-rest, basically zero-knowledge and fail-secure in exactly the way you want your personal, private health data to be handled.
But, more recently, Apple also realized that they could use that privacy and security to actually help with the convenience and experience of accessing health records as well.
That’s thanks to to the standardized APIs, application programing interfaces, called FHIR — F H I R or Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources, which supports data types like allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures, and vitals.
Just like in the U.S., it’s starting with a handful of early adopters, but in the U.S. they’ve already scaled to the hundreds and it’s not hard, like at all, to see the same happening in Canada and other places.
A healthcare center just has to go to Apple’s portal and sign up, and obviously their IT, their information technology department has to make sure their system is supplying the FHIR data, and just work everything out with Apple, but then it’s seamless.
Apple doesn’t intermediate any of the data. You go to the Health app, search for your provider, connect using OAuth 2.0, which is the web standard, it’s what you use to sign into Twitter and Insta and for Sign in with Apple, just everything, and that lets you sign in once and get a secure token that keeps you logged in, and then it’s entirely between you and your healthcare center. The data goes from their records to your iPhone, point final.
And once you’re connected, if any additional healthcare data about you gets added, new test results, anything, that goes securely to from the center to your Health app as well, and you get a local notification. Again, Apple’s just completely out of the loop.
That makes it easier for the healthcare center to get you your data and easier for you to access it. So it’s just a win/win for everyone. But even more for you…
Apple’s Health App also lets you connect to multiple healthcare data sets, so if you’ve got old data from where you used to live and the medical center you used to go to, or if you’re currently going to multiple places for general and speciality work, you can see all of it in a way that’s just not possible through the individual health portals. So, like… Super win.
Apple also put a lot of work into the interface. They don’t show medical imaging, so you won’t see your x-rays or anything like that, but they do take the raw FHIR data and parse it and presented it in a way that’s easy for someone like you and me, someone who doesn’t work in a medical lab, to understand. And that includes things like using more common, human-friendly labels for the data. Though, if you’re more medically minded, you can tap into results and see clinical terms, even the raw FHIR labels for everything.
And I love that, I just love interface complexity scaled by depth of engagement. It makes things super accessible to everyone but also keeps the deeper details available for the people who really want to dig into them.
Balancing privacy with convenience, security with functionality is always tricky, and Apple is definitely keeping more towards the privacy and security side with Health data.
For example, usually you can just consent to sharing Health data with an app or accessory, like your steps or whatever, and once that connection is made, it just persists.
With Health data, though, you can still make that connection, but you can also choose whether you want new data shared automatically or on a case-by-case basis if and when you choose to. So, for example, if a new lab result comes in, you can choose to have to authorize that being shared every time. Which is terrific, because inform and consent all the things.
Especially right now where, depending on where you live and what your current circumstances are, it might be difficult to go to public places, especially medical centers, especially if all you need is data, and being able to get that data, that information, at home, anywhere, without having to expose yourself when it’s not absolutely necessary, is just an incredible benefit if not outright relief.
And, I like to think, information is just always empowering. Especially health information, especially in conjunction with your health care professionals.
And that’s why it’s just so great to see this rolling out in Canada now with hopefully many more Canadian healthcare centers to come.
The invitations have gone out. The website is live. The YouTube stream is ready. And the 2020 iPhone event is on.
But… since it’s 2020, it can’t possibly be just a normal event, right?
Nope. Hard nope. It’s virtual, to be sure. And this is clearly October, not September like most year. No, this year, in September what we got was… Apple Watch and iPad.
So, now, October. Next week. What are we going to get?
Ok, so, here’s what the Apple Event invitation says:
Hi, speed. Please join us for a special Apple Event from Apple Park. Watch it online at apple.com
October 13, 2020, at 10 a.m. PDT.
And, I know what you’re thinking. If you tap the logo, does it open up in augmented reality on ARKit enabled devices?
You bet it does. In full-on 3D glory. From Apple Logo to date stamp in one hot twisted moment flat. Again.
Alas, this time there’s no Greg Joswiack, no Joz, no Senior VP of worldwide marketing wicked flex tweet to show off the animation like from the roof of Apple Park or anything.
No, Joz tweeted out an iOS 14 home screen photo instead. And… I have so many questions.
Yes, the notch is normal sized, same with the bezels. Stop it. Just stop it. Joz doesn’t self-leak. But News and Home… Gotta be the second home screen, right?
Any way, let’s turn our Zapruder-mode camera from Twitter to the invites…
Now, as usual, as soon as people saw the event logo, there was insta-speculation as to what it could all mean.
And you know we go through that every year. Just all the tea leaf reading.
The way it works is that Apple marketing communications, marcomms, hands off a spec to the graphic design team, GD, who then come up with the art.
In other words, the actual people making the art don’t have any inside info when making the actual design. It’s just based on what they’re told by the people who do. So, think big themes rather than specific Easter eggs.
Last time, it was a nice sky blue and lo and behold, one of the new iPad Air colors was sky blue. This time, we have a dark blue and orange, tinted by teal and yellow. Classic cinema grading colors, exactly like I use for these videos. But maybe also a nod to the rumored new dark blue iPhone 12 Pro and… perhaps something, maybe a regular iPhone orange?
I’d love both those options.
The circles, well… the circles… especially the circle with the Apple logo right in the center… A lot of people are already hoping they represent AirTags. Apple’s U1 ultra-broadband spatial positioning chip-enabled tokens that you can attach to anything, wallets, keys, bags, pets, kids, and use the Find My network to precisely locate them if and when you need to. That would be all those other circles. The other devices locating the AirTags. And the AR, a nod to the ARKit interface, coming soon.
Other theories include the circles representing the new quad-camera system. With telephoto, wide-angle, ultra-wide angle, and LiDAR, which works like the FaceID TrueDepth camera on the front, but on the back, less density but greater range, so you can scan the environment around you for everything from faster focus to better bokeh to full-on 3D ingestion and AR scene building. Yeah, more AR. It’s coming. And fast.
There were a lot of LiDAR and AR hopes and dreams back before the September event as well. But, obviously in hindsight, that’s just all they were.
This time, we’ll have to wait and see. But, certainly, if you have any other ideas, let me know in the comments below.
Next up is the tag line. The teaser.
Get it? Hello speed as in welcoming new speed, and high speed, as in the speed is increasing. Clever marcomms.
And, yeah, there are a few things that could apply to. 5G, of course. Carriers are pushing that hot and heavy around the world. Building out the networks is costing them a fortune and the capacity is there now to withstand an iPhone scale deployment, so the faster they can start getting some ROI off of all of us, the better for them.
Of course, you may or may not have usable 5G, either FR1 low to mid band, or FR2 high band, in your area, but either way, even the LTE on the new Qualcomm modems should be an improvement, especially for people who’ve struggled with signal in the past.
A14 Bionic, Apple’s next-generation system-on-a-chip, or SoC, is also going to be fast. Like Barry Allen breaking the speed force fast. We’ve already seen some alleged benchmarks with legit impressive gains in single core, multi-core, and metal performance, and I’ve already done a whole video on what the new 5mm process and IP generation means for the iPhone 12, so hit up that link in the description. But, yeah, basically, Apple’s still leading the industry there.
Beyond FindMy, Apple’s U1 chip could also be a speed boost for things like AirDrop. I’m just… I mean… did they really think through that branding… because the minute they hit the next generation on that silicon, just what are they going to do… call it U2?
Topic for another video. Seriously, make sure you’re subscribed with the bell on so we can hangout and chat in the comments when new videos go live.
Then, of course, there’s the big hope we’ll get to see the first Apple Silicon Mac at the event.
And this one… I just don’t know yet. Apple could certainly do it. Have Tim Cook come out in 2020 holding the new ASi MacBook like he did the original 12-inch back in 2015. And then just dive into it like it’s One More Thing.
But they could also let the iPhone 12 own this event and come back in November for One More Event. Give the first Apple Silicon Mac and it’s macOS Big Sur variant some solo time to shine.
I know everyone wants everyone immediately, but with the iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, AirTags, AirPods Studio, yeah, the over-the-ears ones, maybe an updated AirPower, it’s just a lot already.
To fit into one event, sure, but also to fit into our budgets.
We got the first Apple TV back in 2007. Yeah, the one based on stripped down version of OS X Tiger that shared the stage with the original iPhone. We got the second one, the first iOS-based on, in 2010. Then the second, the one that went from 720 to 1080p, in 2012.
After that, the Apple TV spent some time in the desert, going through numerous false-starts. From DVR to higher-end gaming console to… in the end… the future of TV is apps. That hit in 2015, and then got revved to 4K and HDR in 2017.
Then, nothing. Despite all the leaks. Despite all the rumors. Just nothing and more nothing. Until now.
With rumors of an updated A12Z-based Apple TV, maybe even an A14X-based high-end gaming Apple TV and… dare we hope.. an Apple TV dongle stick?
I’m Rene Ritchie and, yeah, this year, Apple released not just one… but two new Watches. Like 2016 all over again but, instead of a Series 2 and Series 1, we’ve got a Series 6 and a not-Series SE.
I’ve already reviewed the Series 6, link in the description, so now it’s time to dig into the SE. But… not how you might expect.
Sponsored by Ting.
So, ok. Yes, straight up at the top. Apple Watch models aren’t that different year over year. Just like car models. Fridge models. TV models. Pretty much everything.
And despite how fixated on yearly upgrade cycles some of the tech community has begun, literally no one, certainly not Apple, expects you to upgrade your Watch every year, not any more than your car or fridge or TV.
If money is no object and you just love tech, or you’re on some leasing or financing plan, or you’re buying this year so you can hand-down last year, or whatever, of course, you do you.
And, who’re we kidding, you already did. That’s why I’m aiming this review at everyone else. The 75% Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, said were first-time Watch buyers. And the vast majority of the rest, who likely have an Apple Watch Series less-than 4 and are looking to upgrade after not one but a few or more years.
And what I’m going to tell you is this — if you can afford it, get an Apple Watch Series 6. It has absolutely every one of the latest, greatest features, which means you’ll never find yourself missing out on something later you want or need and could have had for what amounts to just a few more dollars a week.
And that includes the computer system inside the watch, which means not only will you get more now, you’ll continue to get software updates for as long as possible going forward. Increasing that value over time.
But if you can’t afford it or if you’re on the fence about whether or not you should spend your hard-earned money on a starting at $399 for Wi-Fi, $499 for LTE Series 6 rather than saving some by going with the starting at $279 for Wi-Fi, $329 for LTE… SE, well, here’s what you’re giving up for that $120 to $170…
Both displays come in 40 or 44mm, high density, high contrast. But the Series 6 comes with what’s called always-on. That means, after a few seconds, the SE display turns off complete. The Series 6 display, though, just goes into always-on mode, which is slightly dimmer and less graphically intensive.
In other words, it lets you use your Apple Watch as a watch, not just when you tap it or raise twist your wrist to wake it up, but all the time. Any time you want to just glance at the time or your workout stats.
For me, this a high priority feature, something I’d been asking for… for years. And, at this point, is a complete deal-breaker that would prevent me ever going back to a not always-on display again. If you don’t care about it at all, though, you can save some money by going with the Apple Watch SE instead.
Health & Safety
Both Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE come with all the same safety features, from fall detection to international emergency calling. So, if you have an accident, and you can’t call 911 or whatever the local equivalent is, the Apple Watch can call for you.
Both also have noise level detection, to warn you of potential hearing damage, and low, high, and irregular heart rate warnings, so if the optical heart rate monitor detects anything amiss, it’ll let you know so you can go and get yourself checked.
And all these features really do save lives. Repeatedly.
The SE also supports the new Hand Washing feature, which reminds you to disinfect when you get home, and gives you a 20-second countdown while you wash so you don’t have sing happy birthday to yourself not once by twice.
The machine-learning based soap and water sound and hand turning motion detection system works well enough, but if I stop for any reason in the middle I can never get it to start up again and, hilariously, if I’m cooking and food is sizzling in the pan, and I turn the pepper-grinder, it’ll also start the countdown. Which is just too much pepper for anything but cacio e pepe.
Likewise, you can use Family Setup for both. That means you can give an LTE-enabled version of the Apple Watch Series 6 or Apple Watch SE to your children or parents who don’t have or want iPhones of their own, and keep in touch with them, know that they’re safe and sound, any time, any where.
What the Apple Watch SE doesn’t have is the electronic heart rate sensor and the ECG - electro cardiogram app — to go with it. It’s not available in all countries, so it may not matter to you if it isn’t available in yours, but if it is, in coordination with your doctor, it can help you keep better track of your heart health.
The Apple Watch SE also doesn’t have the new pulse oximeter, which means it can’t measure blood oxygen. Apple has made this a wellness feature not a medical feature, so it’s available everywhere. But if you need something with medically certified accuracy, or you don’t need anything like this at all, it may not matter to you either.
If you’re a high level or more extreme athlete or have very specific health and wellness needs, or you’re just a nerd like me who likes to have and test out these features, they can be great to have. If you’re not, then you can save some money by just not having them.
Apps & Features
Aside from the ECG and Blood Oxygen apps, both the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE can run all the same watchOS 7 and App Store apps like Maps, Messages, Mail, just everything you’d expect on a modern computer watch and much of what you’d expect on a modern computer phone as well. Also, nw features, like Sleep Tracking and Watch Face sharing.
I covered a lot of the base functionality in my Apple Watch Series 6 review, so I won’t repeat it here, but if your’e completely new to the Apple Watch, make sure you check it out.
It’s what separates the Apple Watch from longer-battery life but far less functional fitness bands and watches.
Features cost battery life. The more a device can do the more battery life it eats up doing it. So just like you need to charge your smart phone every day, you need to charge you almost-as-smart watch every day.
If you really want an Apple Watch, though, but want as much battery life as possible, and the new faster charging feature to boot, you can get an Apple Watch Series 6 and turn off some of those features like Always On, and the heart rate monitor for workouts.
That’ll lower power draw. Personally, I hate trading utility for battery. But, again, you charge you.
The Series 6 will also launch apps faster and apps will work faster on it. If you’ve never used a Series 6, though, you won’t notice the difference. Just don’t use a Series 6.
You also don’t get the U1 chip on the SE, which is Apple’s new ultra-wide-band spatial positioning chip. It’s not used for anything right now but Apple says it’ll eventually be used for CarKey-style features like iOS 14 is bringing to the iPhone. And, of course, almost certainly for next generation Find My Network features whenever those roll out.
Otherwise, both have NFC which means both have everything from GymKit, to connect to any exercise equipment that supports it, to ApplePay, for tap-to-pay at any businesses that support it. Which, outside the U.S., is pretty much everywhere.
What you don’t get any more is an AC adapter plug. Apple says it’s to combat e-waste, but for anyone new to the Apple Watch, it means scrounging for or sharing an existing adapter, plugging into a USB-A port on a PC or power bar, or coughing up some extra cash for a separate adapter.
I still wish Apple would make it a discount option at checkout.
In terms of fitness, both are the same. Same activity tracking, for stand, exercise, and move rings. And with watchOS 7, you can finally, legit finally, change your stand and exercise goals, so you can have hardcore or even light or rest days if you want.
Also, same workouts available, same digital compass and new, always-on altimeter if hikes and climbs are your thing.
Both also work with Apple’s upcoming Fitness+ service, where you can integrate the Apple Watch with the iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV and do a variety of guided workouts whenever and pretty much wherever you want.
The major difference between the Series 6 and the SE are the finishes you can get.
Both the Series 6 and the SE come in silver, space gray, and gold aluminum for the regular version and silver and space gray for the Nike+ version.
Yeah, both have Nike+ versions and they cost exactly the same as the regular version so, if you don’t want the gold color and like the Nike+ bands and watch faces at all, like at all at all, get one of those. You can always switch the Nike+ to regular bands and faces, but you can’t ever switch the regular to Nike+.
Both the regular and Nike+ have sapphire crystal over the sensor on the back but ion-exchange, which is to say, chemically hardened glass over the display on the front.
It’s the same material that’s on pretty much every smartphone but it’s not sapphire crystal. So, if you want that back and front, and if you want any material other than aluminum, you’ll have to go with the Apple Watch Series 6, and the even pricier stainless steel or titanium versions.
If you don’t think anything like that is worth paying extra for, though, you can save some cash by sticking with aluminum and the SE.
And that’s really the TL;DW of this whole review, the spoiler I dropped right at the beginning.
If you want a modern Apple Watch, but you don’t want to pay Apple Watch Series 6 prices, and none of the extra features that come with the Series 6 are compelling to you, never mind deal breakers, then the Apple Watch SE is great.
I was watching Justine's iPhone 12 rumor recap when it happened: She came across "leaks" so silly she had to double-take. Twice. And eye-roll. So hard. And she's absolutely right. What's going on with these "leaks" and how are they ending up in major tech pubs? So... this video!
This week, topic one is all about Georgia's failure... er... informed choice not to update her operating system and apps, compared to Rene's reckless... er... enthusiastic embrace of all things beta. Humans hate change but also boredom. We're funny that way!
Topic two is all about Amazon's new announcements, including a Ring security drone for inside your house that's either super cool or super creepy, and how they're using cute animal designs try and get microphones in the rooms of our children.