Likes and Dislikes from Apple’s iPhone 7 Event

(Note: I had previously stated that the Apple Watch Series 2 was the same thickness, it has actually gained 1mm. Sorry for the error, it has been corrected)

I had mixed feelings heading into Apple’s iPhone 7 event (iMore did a good recap here), usually an event that I very much look forward to. Due to the incredible reporting of people like Mark Gurman a lot of key details about the iPhone, the undoubted crown jewel of Apple’s business, had already been leaked.  In addition, the fact that this year’s iPhone was rumored to be a third iteration of the iPhone 6 design added to the fact that this iPhone could have gone down as the most underwhelming new iPhone ever.

The good news: this event exceeded my expectations.  Even if you’re not an Apple fan, whenever tech leaders like Apple continue to push the envelope, it pushes the entire industry forward.

The bad news: not everything is perfect, and nor was everything Apple did today.

In a similar fashion to how I’ve covered previous Apple events, I’ll break down my likes and dislikes for each major category of the Event: Apple Watch, iPhone, and Misc. Observations.

Apple Watch


  • Focus on Health features
    • While Apple may tout their standing as the #1 Smart Watch on the market, that is not exactly a bold achievement.  They remain firmly behind Fitbit in terms of Wearables, a market that Apple surely wants to increase it’s share in.  Their emphasis on fitness features such as built-in GPS, ability to use while swimming, and Nike partnership is a smart move that will make the device more accessible to the fitness oriented market.
  • Speed Boost
    • HUGE! The GPU and CPU both are 50% faster, a welcome need to a device that is painfully slow even for the most basic of things.
      • Note: WatchOS 3 also contributes to the speed boosts greatly.  The new chipset combined with new software will hopefully make using the Watch a more seamless experience.
  • Watch Series 1 Speed Bump
    • I put this separately because I was very happy that Apple added the same chipset in the “Series 1” Watch, allowing for the lower end Watch to also be functionally usable enough for anybody looking to buy the Apple Watch but is on a tighter budget.  Note that for anybody looking to purchase this option it will not have the Water Proofing, GPS, and brighter screen found in the Series 2 Watch.
      • I personally would recommend this to anybody who is looking to get the Watch and doesn’t need the GPS and Water Proofing (the Watch Series 1 is water resistant, so normal water exposure does it no harm). I use my Watch for notifications, Apple Pay, and basic Health tracking, and I see no reason why those things couldn’t be accomplished with the upgraded Watch Series 1.


  • No battery life increase
    • While people who wear the 42mm size Watch don’t run into battery issues with their Watch (I personally have never had an issue), the people who have smaller wrists – a higher % of women – wear the 38mm Watch which packs a smaller battery.  This has led to many needing to charge their Watches in the middle of the day which is a terrible experience and Apple missed an opportunity to make the experience that much better.
  • Increased thickness (1 mm)
    • My last point and this point are related: if the physical dimensions have stayed relatively the same, why hasn’t battery life increased? And if the battery life didn’t increase, why didn’t the Watch get a little thinner? Usually the tradeoff is between battery size and thickness (on a very basic level) and in this case we got neither better  battery life nor a thinner profile.  While I wouldn’t classify the Watch as grotesquely big, it still has a notable width.
      • It has been suggested that due to GPS and more energy hungry processor that the battery life could not change. This is fine but remains a minus point especially for the 38mm version.



  • New Colors
    • While this is usually mocked, the two new Black colors (Jet Black and Matte Black) are really nice iterations of the Space Gray color that has been the norm for people that wanted darker color phones.  The Jet Black is stunning in pictures but by Apple’s own admission may be more susceptible to fingerprints and scratches, so may not hold up.
  • New Cameras
    • I’m not knowledgable enough about the world of photography, but the camera improvements that Apple makes year over year have always been impressive to me.  The iPhone 7 adds Optical Image Stabilization (previously only found in the 6 Plus/6s Plus) to the “normal” sized iPhone, but the star of the show was the dual camera system on the iPhone 7 Plus.  The Plus was always a superior device to me for many reasons, but the camera improvement made this year makes the gap even wider.
      • What the dual camera system allows for out of the box is double the zoom with the same level of focus.  In a few months, Apple will release a software update (YUCK – should’ve been ready, Apple!) that will allow a “3D” effect called bokeh.  I’m excited for this while knowing next to nothing about it.
    • The front-facing camera received significant improvements as well, which will thrill all of the selfie takers.
  • Water Resistant
    • No more weird rice rituals if your iPhone lands into the sink by accident.
  • Speed, battery life, screen improvements, stereo speakers
    • While all impressive, these are general across the board improvements that are always welcome and make the experience better but there’s not much else to say.
    • For those that listen to music or watch videos on iPhone using the speakers, the stereo sound will be a welcome addition
  • Storage
      • That’s all I have to say. About damn time.
  • Headphone Jack Removal 
    • Don’t worry, this is a dislike as well.  Look, this sucks. But also it’s what makes people a fan of Apple as a company.  This is the same company that we were outraged by their removal of the Floppy Drive, the CD Drive, the 30-Pin Connector etc. but the industry moved forward as a result.  The audio jack is a comparatively ancient technology that was some day going to be replaced.  Apple does what it does and they decided to be the ones to set an expiration date.  Progress doesn’t come without it’s pain points, otherwise everybody would do it.
    • They still haven’t abandoned everybody clinging onto their AUX cables.  Apple is packaging an adapter with every iPhone and are selling the adapter for $9, the cheapest peripheral I’ve ever seen them sell.  For comparison, when Apple changed the 30 Pin to Lightning port, at a time when the market REALLY wasn’t ready for the change, their adapter costed $29!
    • The Air Pods (doesn’t come with the iPhone) have a really impressive pairing technology that works far better than Bluetooth.  Impressive work, Apple.  This technology is also being passed along to the new Beats line of headphones.


  • Home Button Changes
    • I put these in the category of “preparing us for the future today”, similar to the removal of the headphone jack.  I conceptually understand that the next iPhone is supposed to be such a drastic re-design that the iPhone won’t be able to support a button that actually clicks (and possibly removes the Home Button altogether), but I’m old fashioned in the sense that I need a button to click when I press it.  Similarly, the new MacBook’s trackpad technology is impressive in that there’s actually a “click” feeling without pressing down on anything, it still just doesn’t feel right.  For as much as iPhone users press down on the home button, for it to feel a little off is actually a big downside.
    • If you’re going to make a change this large, be prepared to make a good case for why the change needs to happen.  I feel like this is the biggest weakness of “Tim Cook’s Apple”.  The MacBook went to one port, the Force Touch trackpad is on all new MacBook Pro’s, the iPhone’s home button changed, the headphone jack was removed, and the message was never clearly conveyed as to WHY.
  • Headphone Jack Removal 
    • If this move is to make way for the re-design coming next year, why was it made this year? As with my point above, if you don’t have a good answer to this question, you’re not ready to make the change.  Intellectually, we all understand that the audio jack is an older technology, we’re all moving to Bluetooth/wireless, but if it’s not necessary – why make the change now? Change for change’s sake is the worst reason to do something, and I don’t believe Apple did that – so improve the communication around this. This will be an adjustment for many, a rude one at that, with very little real reason given for it other than “it’s 2016”.  That’s not good enough.
  • Lack of True Tone Display
    • The True Tone Display was introduced with the 9.7″ iPad Pro and as a person who uses that iPad daily, I noticed the improvement immediately.  Essentially what True Tone does is adjust to the “temperature” of the light around you when you’re using the iPad which allows for a consistent viewing experience.  This change is most notable at night, and the iPhone really could have benefitted from it.
  • Jet Black Warning
    • You’re better than this.

Misc. Observations


  • Nintendo Partnership!
    • I’m so pumped about this. I hope this is the beginning of something big.  My dream scenario is Nintendo puts their entire back catalog onto the Apple TV/iOS platforms, that would get the current generation of kids that have abandoned Nintendo for Minecraft etc hooked on the same Mario games that have aged so well.
  • Ability to Adjust
    • For a company as large as Apple, they do a good job of understanding their market.  The iPhone’s camera improvements and color options are no mistake, they listen to the customer base and know what they want.  More importantly, they abandoned what didn’t work on the original Apple Watch software and adjusted their approach in a relatively short amount of time.  With their partnerships in fitness and hardware changes, they clearly are making the right decisions with where to improve the product.  For somebody who bought the Watch early, I became worried about the long term future of the platform – no longer is this the cases.


  • Lack of Mac
    • The MacRumors Buyers Guide is a fantastic resource for anybody looking to buy any Apple Products.  Currently, they recommend NO MacBooks that Apple currently sells because they are so overdue for changes.  The expectation was that because they missed the Back To School market by not announcing at WWDC, it was logical that the MacBook Pro/Mac Pro/Mac Mini etc was going to receive some love in preparation of the Holiday season.  It may still be the case if Apple can make an announcement in a month or so, it’s another missed opportunity for them to shine light on what many consider a neglected part of their business.
  • Lack of iPad Features
    • At WWDC, iOS 10 was largely an iPhone only update.  While the iPad received some cleaning up, if the iPad Pro really is a laptop replacement, as Apple likes to remind us, the software simply hasn’t caught up.  The rumor is that iPad-centric software features might come mid-season, I would have appreciated a little bit of iPad software love at this event.


Thanks for reading!



Likes and Dislikes from Apple’s “Loop You in” Event

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While the March 21st Apple event didn’t generate, nor warrant, the hype of a WWDC (new software) or Fall event (new hardware) does – it still was a productive Monday morning for the company.  Here is my “Likes and Dislikes” from the event, broken down by section. For Fall’s event that saw the launch of the iPhone 6s, iPad Pro and more, please click here.

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Daily TSP: September 29th [Tech, Sports, Podcasts]

Good morning! Lakers-centric sports section today, with a great iPhone review and a podcast recommendation. Thank you as always for taking the time to read.


Jason Snell (for Macworld) Reviews the iPhone 6S & 6S Plus

Yes, the “s” models look more or less like their predecessors, but for quite a while Apple has used these cycles to upgrade a lot of the stuff on the inside. This year is no different: The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus offer some major improvements, with better cameras (front and back), much faster processors, more responsive Touch ID, and the single biggest improvement to the iPhone’s user interface in its history.

iPhone reviews bring the best out of the tech writers online, and this year has been no different.  Jason Snell’s general takes on Apple products are spot on, and I found this one no different.  I myself was fortunate enough to buy the iPhone 6S Plus (64 gb, Space Gray) and have been using it since Friday. Some general thoughts:

  • This thing is fast. It’s really noticeable beginning from the faster Touch ID sensor that is so fast that I don’t even know what my lock screen picture is anymore.
  • The iPhone has always had a great camera, but this year’s “selfie” camera and video recording took HUGE steps up.  I normally don’t take selfies, but I went outside in the dark and was shocked at how nicely the selfie came out, utilizing the screen itself as a substitution for true flash.  In addition, 4K videos are remarkably crisp and the optical image stabilization built into the 6S Plus make for a great experience.  I’ve enjoyed just taking videos, pausing them, and zooming into small portions of the video and being amazed at the level of detail that is present.
  • 3D Touch is a good feature that will simply be great in the 6 months to one year it will take developers to fully integrate it to their apps.  I worried when Apple announced the feature that I will either accidentally trigger it or have a difficult time activating it when I want to use it.  Thankfully, neither of those issues have occurred.  One tiny suggestion: it would be helpful if Apple had some kind of visual way (maybe some small mark on the icon?) to let the user know if a specific application has it enabled or not.  I find myself 3D touching every app on my home screen just to see if it works.

Overall, I’m loving the phone. Please read the review!


Baxter Holmes ( talks to Kobe Bryant about the Lakers

When asked if he envisions his role changing, Bryant said, “Probably. It’s hard. I don’t know what to expect. My philosophy has always been, whatever you are asked to do, try to be the best at doing it. Whatever the role, you’ve got to figure it out. Whatever it is, try to do it to the best of your ability.”

With so many key young players that the Lakers must develop into the potential future core of the franchise, does Bryant now become more of a teacher and facilitator than their top option?

“I’m not really sure what that stuff means, honestly,” Bryant said. “I think a lot of that stuff is media conversation or debatable content. The reality is, we’re all mentors, we’re all teachers in our own respects. Whether that means scoring a lot more or assisting a lot more — whatever the case may be — depends on the identity that the team takes on. It’s my responsibility to plug in those holes where we’re lacking.”

This is just the fan in me talking, but I am so excited for the Lakers this season.  Look, there will be games where Kobe is upset that the young guys aren’t stepping up and he’ll take matters into his own hands when he should be more patient.  At the same time, I think that the roster is built full of guys who are confident in their ability and will be able to play with him just fine.  The veterans the Lakers have added like Roy Hibbert and Brandon Bass will assist Kobe in setting the tone of professionalism this season, Jordan Clarkson is a young and very confident guard who has already been around Kobe, and D’Angelo Russell has the kind of edge that Kobe can appreciate.  We’ve been hearing the right things from the coaching staff, as skeptical as I remain, and although this team will not be a playoff team, I’m just glad this won’t be another lost season.  Lastly, if this is indeed Kobe’s last year, I hope he goes out on his own 2 feet, healthy, and doing Kobe things on the court.


Exponent: Episode 053 – Connect the Dots [Posted September 27th; Length: 68 minutes]

Another great installment of one of my favorite podcasts hosted by Stratechery’s Ben Thompson and Harvard Business Review’s James Allworth.  This one started off talking about Volkswagen’s emissions fraud, but it took a strange and interesting detour into a discussion about life decisions that somehow connected really well with their final topic about the Apple Watch.  Ben and James not only have a really interesting professional perspective, but a really diverse personal background that lend itself to really insightful talks.  Thanks for another great episode!

The Daily Teaspoon: September 24th [Tech, Sports, Podcast]


Vlad Savov (The Verge) on the “Apple Bias”

The funny thing is that everyone’s right. Readers are right to claim that the iPhone is treated differently from other smartphones, and reviewers are correct in doing so. Apple makes more in quarterly profit than many of its mobile competitors are worth, and the success and failure of its smartphone plays a large role in shaping the fate of multiple related industries. The iPhone is reviewed like a transcendental entity that’s more than just the sum of its metal, plastic, and silicon parts, because that’s what it is.

Interesting read from somebody who’s on the reviewer side of technology.

Dan Moren (Six Colors) on His Apple Watch Usage 5 Months In

In practice, I use almost none of them. Sending sketches fell by the wayside a couple weeks in. I take the occasional phone call, but doing so on the Watch is almost never the best experience. Siri generally takes a couple tries to respond, so I end up using my iPhone, or, well, Alexa. Most of the apps are too slow and too limited to be of significant benefit to me. I vastly slimmed down my number of Glances, both because having a huge number of them was practically unusable and because most of them took too long to be useful. (I may have to revisit both apps and Glances under watchOS 2 to see if they deliver on promised performance improvements.)

Dan’s experience with the Apple Watch staggeringly matches mine, almost line for line.  Dan specifically mentions that this piece isn’t meant to be disparaging, and I agree.  It’s just the reality of a very new platform and a very new product category.   I love my Watch, and I wear it every day from the time I get up to the time I go to sleep.   The only specific difference between Dan’s experience and mine is that I LOVE everything about the fitness including the lack of social features.  As a person who’s been severely out of shape for my entire life, having a device like the Watch constantly tracking my activity without any social pressure at all has made a gigantic difference in my health and by extension, my life.

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The Daily Teaspoon: September 23rd

Welcome to my first “Daily Teaspoon”.  This is a not-very-clever play on the common abbreviation of Teaspoon, TSP [Tech, Sports, Podcasts].  I plan on sharing 3-5 articles a day, covering my interests which are most commonly sports and tech, with 1 podcast recommendation.  I will hold myself accountable to do this Monday-Friday, posting these at approximately 9 A.M.  Thank you for taking the time to read, if you like what you see, PLEASE share and tell a friend. Thank You Thank You Thank You.

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Likes and Dislikes from Apple’s iPhone 6s, Apple TV, and iPad Pro Event


Today was a JAM-PACKED event that contained much more content than I had expected.  Coming into it, I expected new iPhones (standard) and the much-rumored revamped Apple TV.  I believed that the iPad Pro would be unveiled at its own event, as the iPad Air 2 had been announced the same way.  I have divided my analysis into 4 parts, in the order they were introduced: The Apple Watch, iPad Pro, Apple TV, and the iPhones.

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Podcast Recommendations: Week of July 13th

For previous weeks, please click here.

Monday, July 13th

  • Slate’s Whistlestop: Ford, Reagan, and the Halloween Massacre [length: 28 minutes, originally posted May 13th]
    • Really interesting podcast about the behind-the-scenes dynamic between Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan prior to the 1980 Election.  Fascinating that Ronald Reagan was challenging an incumbent (even though he wasn’t elected) President for his own party’s nomination.  (There is a part 2 to this I haven’t heard.)
  • Stuff You Should Know: How Zero Population Growth Works [length: 51 minutes, originally posted April 16th]
    • This is another really good podcast that I’ve slowly been catching up on.  They discuss an incredible variety of topics, and this one was really interesting.  Many population theories exist about how long we can sustain our population with our scarce resources and hosts Josh and Chuck go through a good amount of detail to talk about them, specifically focusing on Paul Erlich’s 1968 prediction of famine and mass death. You know, the fun stuff.
  • Dunc’d On Basketball: July 11 (News and Summer League with Seth Partnow) [length: 96 minutes]
    • Nate Duncan, Daniel Leroux of RealGM and Seth Partnow of Nylon Calculus discuss the ongoing off-season news well and sprinkle in some thoughts on the Summer League action.  I will always take their audio quality to task, but the depth of analysis of the basketball and contractual fits of all the moves in the league remain top-notch.

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Podcast Recommendations: Week of June 29th

Welcome to another wonderful week of podcasting!

Light day today, I didn’t have much time.  For previous weeks, please click here.  Please note that I only recommend podcasts that I’ve listened to, so they won’t necessarily correspond to the days that they have been posted.

Monday, June 29th

  • Fastbreak Breakfast NBA Podcast: Fastbreak Breakfast Ep. 34 “The Trill and Sauce Show” [length: 64 minutes]
    • A new addition to my NBA podcasts! This podcast reached out to me over twitter, recommending that I listen, and they were so right.  THESE ARE MY PEOPLE.  A really fun NBA discussion between three friends (2 Grizzlies fans, 1 Heat fan).  I don’t know these guys’ names yet, I’m not familiar with their weekly segments, and it never really mattered.  I laughed out loud multiple times, and if you’re a fan of the NBA and comedy, this is the podcast for you.  Don’t let me undersell the content – they know their stuff, they just happen to be really funny too.  Really glad I listened, and I recommend them wholeheartedly.

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Connecting Apple’s Dots: iPad Multitasking And What It Says About the Company

(This is the first time I am writing about tech. I am not a developer and don’t have any technical skill, but I can get my computer to say “Hello World” so I’m kind of a genius at the same time. Seriously, anything I write will be from the perspective of an average tech user, please excuse technical errors)

One of the more fascinating things to me about Apple over the past few years has been to think about how features and products come together by mapping its external development timeline.  To me, one of the most fascinating such features has been the announcement of iPad Multitasking with iPad Slide Over and iPad Split View.

How did we get at one of the classic “finally” arrived features for the iPad? Let’s trace this step by step. First of all, at WWDC 1 year ago, Apple implored its developers to use new size classes to allow their code to flexibly adapt to any sized device.  This was of course a prelude to Apple announcing the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, the first time the company has announced multiple display sizes for a same generation iPhone.  In addition, one of the unique attributes of Apple is their legacy device support for software.  iOS 9 will support the following screen sizes: 3.5 inches (iPhone 4s), 4 inches (iPhones 5, 5c, 5s), 4.7 inches (iPhone 6), 5.5 inches (iPhone 6 Plus), 7.9 inches (iPads mini, mini 2, mini 3), 9.7 inches (iPads 2, 3, 4, Air, Air 2).  Why is this relevant? Apple could have simply announced that iPad finally has multitasking, developers – get on board! Or, they could have planned a product evolution that not only made sense, but allowed for slow and steady adoption that maintained the stability that users of Apple products expect.  In the case of the latter, which has been Apple’s path consistently, developers already have done the work and will benefit from the iPad multitasking with minimal work.  This isn’t about the developers, although Apple has great value for them, but this is mostly important for the end user.  I don’t want to buy an iPad Air 2, launch YouTube and Evernote and be told that they’re not ready for multi-tasking.  This is the standard that Apple has set and continues to meet.

In addition, I believe that the iPad Pro is real, and the increased screen real estate will finally be useful.  I believe that the seeds that Apple has sown with Force Touch will yield the increased support of a stylus (though not necessarily their own hardware) that will help artists create even better art on their iPads.

I myself fall into the trap of “why the hell hasn’t Apple done this already?” (aka the finally fallacy) The truth is, we are as consumers better off with a company taking it’s time and then sticks to their values and their beliefs as a company.  For this reason, I don’t anticipate a Macbook sequel with more than one USB C port.  With iCloud Drive, Photos, AirPlay, AirDrop etc. Apple has been improving its cloud capabilities precisely to prove their vision of what the next generation of MacBooks “should” look like.

Thanks for reading!