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Apple’s next big thing feels further away than ever

Apple announced a ton of goods during its California Streaming event, but nothing was truly new.

Apple’s “California Streaming” event (Apple’s next big thing) was meant to be the fall’s highlight. Apple’s first fall event arrived with a lot of expectation, loads of buzz, and oodles of intriguing rumors, sandwiched between Samsung’s foldable-heavy presentation and Google’s Pixel 6 showing.

But it was difficult not to be unimpressed by Tim Cook’s keynote wrap-up on Tuesday. Yes, we got the iPhone 13, iPad mini, Apple Watch Series 7, and a new ninth-generation iPad, but the items Apple unveiled felt more like iterations than breakthroughs, a spate of so-called “tick” devices that are more about sustaining the status quo than making a statement.

I can’t recall another event where every product was only a version of a previous one. The iPhone 13 is a significantly improved version of the iPhone 12. The Apple Watch Series 7 is a larger version of the Apple Watch Series 6. The iPad 9 is essentially an iPad Air 2 with upgraded components.

Even the show’s highlight, the iPad mini, was more of a variation on a theme than a whole new product. It’s just a smaller version of the iPad Air. It also boasts an A15 processor and a 12MP ultra-wide front camera with Center Stage, which are both improvements over the previous iPad Air. However, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. At its “California Streaming” event, Apple didn’t just play it safe.

‘S’ marks the spot

Is Apple at a loss for what to do next? There aren’t as many compelling reasons to upgrade from the iPhone 12 as there were throughout the iPhone “S” years. Siri was available on the 4s, Touch ID was available on the 5s, 3D Touch was available on the 6s, and the XS included a Max variant. The notch on the iPhone 13 is slightly smaller.

The iPhone 13 isn’t all that different from the iPhone 12 in terms of features. There are a few new colors, a few camera upgrades, and improved battery life, but none of the new features are very interesting if you’ve recently purchased a new iPhone.

The new iPads are fine, but they’re nothing special.

The iPad is no exception. It has some nice improvements—True Tone is especially welcome—but it’s essentially a five-year-old design that’s not that different from the one that debuted more than a decade ago. It’s easily the best tablet for the money, but it’s not going to persuade everyone to buy it.

With its larger display, the Apple Watch Series 7 may entice some Series 6 and Series 5 owners to upgrade, but the majority of those who purchase one will be first-timers and older-model customers. It’s the first time the Apple Watch hasn’t received a significant update in a year:

  • Series 2: GPS, water resistant to 50 meters
  • Series 3: LTE, Altimeter
  • ECG, fall detection (Series 4)
  • Series 5 features an always-on display and a compass.
  • Sp02 blood-oxygen sensor (Series 6)

However, the Series 7 boasts a larger screen, new colors, and faster charging. Those aren’t horrible upgrades, but it’s the least impressive new Apple Watch since it debuted in 2015—to the point that Apple is still selling the Series 6 while announcing Series 7 will be released “later this fall.”

On the lookout for the next great thing

For years, we’ve heard rumors about Apple’s “next big thing.” It’s the Apple Car some days, Apple Glasses other days, or a foldable iPhone. One or more of those devices may materialize at some point, but for the time being, Apple appears to be in a holding pattern.

The iPhone 13 isn’t a bad phone by any stretch of the imagination. It will most likely be among the best you can buy once we have a chance to review it. The Apple Watch Series 7 and iPad mini are in the same boat. But that’s mostly due to the fact that they were so good the year before and the year before that. Apple’s goods are so fantastic that it can go a few events without making any changes and still sell a bazillion of them.

The iPad mini is a fantastic little tablet, but it’s essentially just a smaller version of the iPad Air.

All of this isn’t to suggest that the California Streaming event didn’t result in significant changes to Apple’s product lineup. Since the iPad was first released in 2012, the iPad mini has been the best improvement. For $329, the iPad is a fantastic deal. The iPhone 13 Pro features a beautiful screen and a superb camera. The Apple Watch Series 7 is the most beautiful wearable device ever creat.

However, if you were seeking creativity, Tuesday’s program failed to deliver. The most intriguing speculations failed to materialize, leaving us to wait for the iPhone 14 or Apple Watch Series 8 to deliver the big ideas. The Apple Watch Series 7 is the most beautiful wearable device ever created.

However, if you were seeking creativity, Tuesday’s program failed to deliver. The most intriguing speculations failed to materialize, leaving us to wait for the iPhone 14 or Apple Watch Series 8 to deliver the big ideas. That is, provided Apple hasn’t already sold out.

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