To say that Apple events have become boring is a cliche. With rare exceptions, such as the first iPhone launch, they’ve always been overhyped publicity stunts that feature incremental and largely predictable updates to familiar product lines. And yet they matter nonetheless because nearly a billion people rely on Apple’s gadgets as their constant companion and portal to the online world. At that scale, incremental changes can have big impacts.
All that said, Tuesday’s Apple event really was kind of boring. Yes, the company unveiled a slew of new devices — that is, new models of old devices — and launched two new subscription services (TV and gaming). On the other hand, none of those new products came as a surprise: The event announcements mostly confirmed leaks and filled in the details. There was no “one more thing,” and even the relatively minor new device category that some expected — a Tile-like tracker for lost items — didn’t materialize.
Rather than bemoan the things Apple didn’t announce, however, let’s look at the most worthwhile things it did. Here are five, ranked by a highly scientific and objective criterion that I’ll call “interestingness.”
1. An Apple Watch that tells the time all day
Yes, wristwatches that display the time at all times were invented in the 19th century. But it took five versions of the Apple Watch for Apple to get there. The Series 5 watch has an “always-on” display that merely dims when you aren’t looking at it, rather than going black. That’s a significant feature for a device that many use as a health and fitness tracker: Now you can see your watch face even if your arm is occupied. It’s an even more significant feature for a device that many use as, well, a watch: Now you can steal a glance at the time without conspicuously raising the watch to your face and staring at it.