Far out indeed! – Manila Bulletin

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Published September 8, 2022, 8:43 AM
by Professor Rom Feria
Apple’s “Far Out!” event brought us updates to three of Apple’s prime product lines, the AirPods Pro, the Apple Watch, and as expected, the iPhone, now on the 14-series.
With the exception of the new AirPods Pro, the two product lines are indeed “far out” - with the Apple Watch Ultra paving the way for the athletes out there who push the human body to the extreme, in super extreme weather conditions, and the iPhone 14 models going far out of the Earth by supporting emergency access via satellites (available in US and Canada and free for the first two years)!
Exciting times again! Waiting for the other camp to say that Apple copied these features from their beloved platform! Haha, I kid. 🙂 What excited me from this September 2022 event? Well, not a lot, really. I guess I was expecting too much, like USB-C iPhone models and a blood glucose sensor on the Apple Watch. However, the new features, whilst modest, IMHO, are pretty impressive, but some are not for me (like the ovulation tracker on the Watch!). So yes, Apple is doomed once again!
Anyway, let’s start with the Apple Watch. The new Series 8 introduces body temperature sensor, but more targeted for ovulation tracking. Any new sensor is good to have on this device, just hope that the temperature monitoring works like heart rate monitoring - for all, not just exclusive for ovulation tracking. As I have said, it is a boring update, but am due for a new Apple Watch anyway, so I’d get one. BUT WAIT, Apple just introduced another model, the Apple Watch Ultra, a model with bigger screen, bigger battery, better water resistant rating, weatherproof, and with an added programmable button as well!
Whilst the Ultra is targeted for the super extreme sports (the video they’ve shown highlights divers, surfers, trail runners and marathoners!), unless you consider couch surfing as super extreme, this model is not for me. That being said, the technology Apple embedded on the Apple Watch Ultra will trickle down to the “ordinary people” models in the future, so exciting times, right?!
Before I go to the iPhone 14 series, let’s talk about the new AirPods Pro. This new generation sports a next generation processor, with better everything - battery life, noise cancellation, transparency mode processing, personalized spatial audio, a charging case that comes with speakers and a loop for a lanyard. Since I have a fully working AirPods Pro, this update is ‘meh’ for me.
Now on to the iPhone 14. Apple re-introduced the Plus line, with an iPhone 14 Plus, in addition to the usual iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max line-up! Rumored to sport the iPhone 13 Pro series processors, the iPhone 14 series run on the A15 Bionic, a processor that still beats most, if not all, the current processors found in competing smartphones!
As expected, Apple concentrated on the camera system on both iPhone 14 and its Pro siblings. In my opinion, incremental updates, but taken as a whole definitely makes the iPhone 14 a more affordable option than going Pro.
The creme de la creme of the iPhone series, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Max come with 48 megapixel main camera as one of the tentpole new features, along with always-on display with pill-shaped cut-out (instead of the notch), and of course, a new A16 Bionic processor.
I always go for the most basic Pro model, and I am glad that, like the 13 Pro series, the only differences between the two are the screen and battery sizes. The new camera system is an expected upgrade (though I was hoping for more telephoto like 5X, at least), the always-on display and pill-shaped cut-out were rumored early on (expected?), but the Dynamic Island, a new, never rumored, never before seen, feature on available on the 14 Pro models is very well worth the upgrade, IMHO.
The Dynamic Island is a fancy term for moving the status/notifications on the same area, i.e., the island, occupied by the pill-shaped cut-out on the display (which houses the true-depth camera and other sensors). It is dynamic because it provides an actionable area for notifications and it changes its size depending on the type of notification or status. The Dynamic Island is best seen in action. I cannot wait to have my hands on a purple model! 🙂 The Apple Watch Series 8, Ultra and an updated SE, will come with watchOS 9.0, which is currently in release candidate version, with a scheduled release on the 12th.
The iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max will sport the new iOS 16, with more personalization options and more. iOS 16 is also on release candidate version and will be released along with watchOS 9 on September 12. Which one to get?
Well, depends on which one you really want (and can afford). All are superb new devices. This 2022 line-up from Apple is really solid, but as always, Apple cannot please everybody (and Apple delays some must-have features for next year, e.g., WiFi 6E, USB-C, more telephoto), so expect some “this feature has been available for severals on this platform already”, “can’t innovate”, etc., comments, too.
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