Big year coming up for me on the mobile computing front. For starters, and unexpectedly, this is an Apple Watch year. With the pending acquisition of Fitbit by Google, it’s no longer tenable for me to rely on my Charge 3 (and given that I’m technically on my third one in a year because of warranty/QA/display issues, it’s not the worst turn of events). I am assured that the Apple Watch is greatly improved since Series 0, and that it is potentially a viable device for those Sunday nights when I don’t want to get the phone out in pub mode.
That’s as may be. I have no doubt that pairing it to a more capable phone than an iPhone SE may work well too, as iPhone processors are rapidly catching up to desktop (or at least laptop) levels of performance. If it’s fast enough that the apps are viable, to let me do Duo 2FA or Transit lookups on VTA or use Siri to dictate text replies and trigger Shortcuts, that would be something. I would like to move into the next stage of mobility computing, where the watch and the earbuds can deliver much of what you need without ever pulling out that phone.
Speaking of phone, the Great Mentioner seems to think the new SE will actually be a notional iPhone 9, which basically boils down to an iPhone 8 with the 3DTouch circuitry stripped out and an A13 processor from the iPhone 11 stashed under the hood. This is quite frankly a Hell of an attractive proposition. I reluctantly concede that a 4″ display won’t get it done in 2020, but a 4.7″ might, and if it means keeping TouchID…actually, the question now becomes whether it’s worth giving up on computational photography and the like.
Because the iPhone 12 supposedly starts with a 5.4″ model that would be the same size. Only more screen, better cameras all around and the possibility that the A14 processor will be as fast as a 15″ MacBook Pro (to some reports). It also means waiting another six months on work’s iPhone X, which is still a hair too big to be a hair too big, and it probably means an out of pocket outlay double what the iPhone 9 would set me back. I also need a minimum 256 GB in the next phone, because I’m tired of playing patty-cake with iTunes in the Cloud to have movies and songs stay available and I also want the ability to work on anything from the home Mac’s desktop in a pinch.
But then the argument becomes – spend half as much now, get six extra months of a phone that will be as fast and powerful as anything currently extant, with a camera no worse than what you already have, and let somebody else go first before buying the next rev of Apple’s flagship phone. And then the counter-argument: you’re buying your next phone for three years, minimum, so what’s the percentage in buying one with half a year already run off the clock and less advanced features?
A similar case exists for the Watch, if we’re being honest; the always-on display is the sole upgrade from Series 4 to 5, but what’s the point in buying before Series 6? If you have to refresh your Apple gear every three years, buying in September gives you a bit of a jump on viability. (And let’s not forget that some of the features may be confined by the fact that I’m still using work’s service, and falling back on prepaid if that somehow ends – an LTE Watch might not even be a viable proposition.)
To be honest, the biggest thing I need is more, faster and better integration with Siri and Shortcuts. I need to be able to roll over in the morning, hold up my arm and ask “how long til the next bus” and hear “the next bus arrives in 19 minutes” so I know I have three more minutes under the covers before facing the bleak day. And frankly, I need to be able to address myself to Cyrano, or Friday, or some name other than Siri. Bring me that and we’ll talk. Literally.