I watched my first Apple keynote today. I enjoyed it, because it was a window into an amusing culture. But I did not see much that I wanted to throw money at, and you probably won’t either.
Full disclosure: I lack the quasi-erotic relationship with personal technology that many of my contemporaries enjoy. That’s not to say I am any less tethered to my gadgets—you can catch me working on my Apple desktop and intermittently pecking at an iPhone, with my MacBook in a nearby backpack. These technologies are all pathetically essential to my lifestyle. But I don’t experience any frissons of delight when our gods unveil shiny new tools. Like whatever drove the crowd to erupt into applause because CEO Tim Cook uttered the mere words “our new woven-nylon band.” Or whatever inspired an Apple higher-up to slather the words beloved, gorgeous, and beautiful on a single product over the course of a single sentence, probably reducing his children to tears because he’s never used those words to describe them.
I like using Apple’s technology. I am impressed by the ingenuity of its creators. And I am definitely another victim of their immaculate, sterile, aspirational branding. But I am not subject to gadget lust. With that disclaimer, some highlights:
* There is a new iPhone, more or less the guts of an old iPhone (the 6S) inside the body of an even older iPhone (the 5S). I can’t claim to be an industry insider, but this maneuver feels a little slimy: “Last gen, we swelled this device to a size that infuriates small-hand-havers and skinny-jeans wearers, and now we have shrunk it back down for your convenience, so buy this one, too.” I don’t know. Maybe buy this if you didn’t upgrade your 5S, or you count yourself among one of those aggrieved demographics.
* There’s a new iOS. You can get it right now. Or, you can hold off for a little, like scaredy-cat me, waiting for them to iron out any wrinkles. This iOS will bake in the Night Shift feature, which tapers off your screen’s blue light as the day goes on, giving you a warmer, less harsh display at night to improve sleep quality. I’d enjoyed this feature for years through the app F.lux. (RIP F.lux, you were great.) If you’re going to be staring at lurid lit rectangles the majority of your waking life, you might as well minimize the disruption of your sleeping life.
* The Apple Watch is cheaper now. You did not need an Apple Watch before, and you still do not. Resist the allure of brightly colored nylon and hold onto your $299.
* Are you trying to preserve your mortal shell? CareKit may be of use. It’s an open-source platform for researchers to build apps, largely to monitor health stats and relay that information to medical professionals. Its first feature is aimed at Parkinson’s patients, but their presentation rattled off a whole of potential use cases, including autism. Apple mediates my existence! I’m happy that they are trying to improve the quality of that existence. I’m just not inclined to pay them more money to do that, or at least not today.
Hit up Gizmodo for more coverage of Apple Day.
Photo by Getty.