Today was Apple's second post-apocalypse keynote delivered from their billionaire-bugout spaceship. I started watching this one with low expectations for anything interesting. Those expectations were shattered at the end of the presentation when they made the 2020 iPad Pro, released six-months ago, obsolete.
Apple Watch 6
The 6th Apple watch was announced today. This is the 6th time Apple has tried to sell a watch to a world that stopped wearing watches decades ago. Undaunted by the purposelessness of the device, Apple continues to push faster processing into this year's model.
Instead of presenting a "killer app", or any reason at all for these things to be a thing, Apple tried to position this as a fitness tool. The watch will be pivotal to tracking your activity with a new subscription service, Fitness+.
Fitness is important, so I won't give them too much shit for this. I will say though that an iPad or iPhone is a much better investment if you're looking for something to keep you entertained doing boring activities like treadmills or stationary bikes. Play a game that keeps your mind occupied and you can keep going for ages. This has been my own trick for years, and I'm still hitting the treadmill every single day; often 2-3 times per day.
iPad Air 4
Today was the day my shiny iPad Air 3 was scheduled for obsolescence. This is something every customer has to come to terms with and accept. Which I did. No one was prepared for the iPad Pro from just six-months ago to also become obsolete today.
The new iPad Air 4 is only 10.9", so the iPad Pro still has 0.1" on it and supports Face ID. Beyond that the new iPad Air 4 is crushing the Pro on specs. The new iPad Air even gets all the Pro features: USB-C, Apple Pencil 2, and even Smart Keyboard support.
The iPad Pro released in March sports an A12Z processor, which I noted was an incremental improvement from the previous Pro's A12X. The new iPad Air comes with an A14 manufactured at 5nm. This lets them pack a hell of a lot of transistors into a tiny, energy efficient, space. The A12Z includes 8 CPU cores, but only 4 of those are full-tier CPUs, while the other half are "efficient cores" according to Apple's marketing department. The A14 includes 2 high-performance CPUs, and 4 efficient cores.
We don't yet know the speed of the CPUs in the A14. They could be faster than the A12Z thanks to the 5nm manufacturing process. Perhaps the 2 extra CPUs in the iPad Pro are superior to the A14's offerings, but calculating the price:performance ratio has gotten complicated. The new Air is $100 more than the previous model. The price gap between a top-tier 256GB iPad Air and a bottom-tier 128GB iPad Pro is now only $50!
The new iPad Air 4 arrives next month in a variety of color options, as $600 64GB and $750 256GB models.
Correction: This article listed the 64GB iPad Air 4 as $700. Thanks to zaubrer for pointing out this typo.
The Verge condensed the whole presentation down to just 12 minutes!