'5G' Will Be the Least Interesting Element of Apple's iPhone Event Tomorrow

Sizes and colors and 5nm, oh my!

The eve of an iPhone event. Yet in typical 2020 fashion, this year feels a bit different.

I don’t think it’s because we likely know everything that’s coming tomorrow — that has been the case with at least the last several iPhone events. And I don’t think it’s because the iPhone is any less exciting — it remains the most important and most-used computing device. The whole spectacle just feels a bit more muted, perhaps because of the lack of in-person, but perhaps more so because well, there are just more important things going on... Still, the show must go on.

If I had to guess about tomorrow, I would imagine the key areas of focus are going to be around the plethora of sizes Apple will (supposedly) be announcing. Not only the (again, rumored) “iPhone mini” — finally — but also the (apparent) largest iPhone ever. And colors. Blue Steel, anyone? (Yes please.) And industrial design. A call back to the iPhone 4 and the more recent iPad Pros. And finally, the chips.

It feels like tomorrow may be the middle act of a play Apple set in motion at WWDC when announcing the full move to their own silicon. Last month’s new iPad Airs with the A14 chips was step one. Tomorrow’s iPhones will be step two. And step three will be the ARM-based Macs. And again, if rumors are to be believed, we won’t see those tomorrow. But instead, next month. And per the discussion John Gruber and myself had on The Talk Show last week, this would seem to make sense.

The transition of the Mac to Apple Silicon is not only symbolic, it’s important. Apple seems poised to take their amazing chip technology to a level they feel as if no rivals can match. Tomorrow will showcase that on the power-per-watt side along with the 5nm flex. But next month could be something entirely different.

Also, I’m honestly interested to see what Apple has to say and show with regard to the (rumored) $99 ‘HomePod mini’. The initial HomePod was a strategic error (which some of us recognized before it was even released). With the right product, Apple has a shot at course-correcting. But I’d be more interested if they do an end-run-around with the Apple TV as well. A true living room hub? With gaming finally taken seriously?

We’ll see.


Links

  • Speaking of things we may see tomorrow, a resurrection of the ‘MagSafe’ would be welcomed and could wash away the bad taste of ‘AirPower’… 🔋

  • There are many reasons I would like the world to fully open back up, but visiting Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios in Japan may be near the top… 🍄

  • One of my favorite books growing up was Michael Crichton’s Sphere. Hollywood all-but ruined it in movie form, can the Westworld team do something interesting here for HBO? 🦑

  • You’ll noticed one thing I didn’t mention above? 5G. To be clear, Apple will clearly tout the tech tomorrow, but it’s a technology largely out of their control, so they have to be careful here not to over-promise and under-deliver. Maybe they have some new technology layer on top of it they can tout… 📲

  • The idea that a startup can create a new supersonic jet — the first real aviation breakthrough in decades — sounds crazy. As all of the best ideas do at first. 🛩

  • Another shameless link to the podcast I recorded with John Gruber last week. Beyond the Apple stuff, there’s a lot in the 2.5 hours here. 🎙

  • I completely missed the fact that Apple made special Apple Watch country-themed straps for the Olympics four years ago. And they’re doing it again. ⌚️

  • Bret Taylor, who many people will know as President and COO of Salesforce (though I prefer to remember him fondly as the co-founder of FriendFeed), created an iOS app solely to give us all a PurpleAir widget for iOS — something very sadly needed here in California with the fires. Bless his heart. 🌬

  • I liked this framing of SPACs by Reid Hoffman:

    Our vision is that SPACs like Reinvent Technology Partners will be able to take the proverbial startup baton from great venture investors that have spent a decade helping build a great business. Reinvent will take the company public, and then guide it through its next decade of growth and reinvention. This kind of reinvention is essential, whether in the case of Netflix shifting from mailing movies on DVD to streaming original programing, or Amazon launching AWS and becoming a cloud computing platform as well as “the everything store.”


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