Was anyone else left wanting more?
Apple held its annual iPhone event yesterday (Sept. 12), where it showed off its latest phones—minor updates to last year’s models—along with an impressive new Apple Watch. But beyond that, there really wasn’t much else on display. Many analysts, journalists, and leakers who watch the company closely had expected a larger trove of gadgets to be announced.
At last year’s event, Apple announced that it expected to ship a product called AirPower in 2018. It was a custom-designed wireless charging mat for Apple products. In the photos Apple showed at the event, the mat charged three devices at once, including an iPhone X, an Apple Watch, and AirPods in a new wireless-charging case. The company never gave a hard deadline on when AirPower would be available, but it hasn’t given an update on the charging technology since last year’s announcement.
AirPower was not mentioned in yesterday’s presentation, and there’s barely any trace of it on Apple’s site, barring a short note on the AirPods page saying it’s “currently unavailable.”
At the same time Apple announced AirPower last year, it previewed a new case for its wireless earbuds that would be compatible with the new charging mat. That new case didn’t materialize at this year’s event. Some had expected that Apple might also unveil a completely new set of AirPods at this year’s event, in order to address minor complaints with the original version that could be satisfied with a longer battery life or stronger microphone. It did not.
Apple didn’t release a new iPad Pro over the summer, as it did last year, so there was some expectation that it might announce one at yesterday’s event. Apple has reportedly been working on a new iPad with a larger display, no home button, and the same FaceID security technology found in the iPhone X. Perhaps it’ll debut in the spring, when Apple often has another product launch event, or at a separate event.
Reports earlier in the summer had suggested that Apple was gearing up to revive its Mac Mini, the squat computer that is Apple’s cheapest desktop (it ships without a monitor, mouse, or keyboard) and hasn’t been refreshed in four years. But alas, fans of Apple’s easiest computer to hide behind computers, under desks, and in cabinets, will have to keep waiting. Maybe forever.
Along with the Mini, Apple was expected to update the MacBook Air, its cheapest laptop, at the event. But other than a quick mention that macOS Mojave, its latest computer operating system, would be out soon, computers were ignored altogether yesterday.
Last year’s update to the Apple TV streaming box was a minor one (adding support for 4K streaming), so there was some hope Apple would update the device more fully this time around. But again, no dice. There had also been talk that Apple was preparing to release some of the original content it’s been amassing and filming over the last year or two, and perhaps even offer it to Apple device-owners for free. But other than a brief mention that the Apple TV now supports Dolby Atmos 4K movies—a new surround-sound audio format—the device was glossed over at the event.
The late CEO Steve Jobs had a tradition of announcing “one more thing” at Apple events, saving the best new gadgets for last. Many had hoped Apple would unveil connected glasses, autonomous vehicles, or a myriad of other products it’s been developing with the vast sums of money it spends on research and development each year. But apart from a brief mention of the Apple HomePod speaker’s software, no Apple products other than the phones and watch were discussed at the event.
Apple’s big reveal at the event was the iPhone Xr, a more affordable version of the iPhone Xs it unveiled earlier in the presentation. While this might be a boon (paywall) to Apple’s business in emerging markets, it’s not exactly the “one more thing” many were hoping for.