5 Things We Learned From Apple’s Fall iPhone Event

The new phone is thinner, lighter and more powerful. But it's really all about 5G.

Apple iPhone 12 launches
Five new colors and four new models of the iPhone 12 launched

There were no shocking new announcements at Apple’s tech launch event on Tuesday. Instead, it was all about speed.

The (annoying) catchphrase of Tim Cook & Co.’s presentation was “5G just got real,” and almost everything in the hour-plus demo revolved around the wonders of a faster network.

We’ll skip over a few things here, such as the new and probably useful MagSafe cases and accessories that allow you to wirelessly charge your device a bit easier (because magnets). And also Apple going 100% carbon neutral by 2030, which is great … but it means the company is sacrificing both a wall charger and earbuds in its packaging for their new phones.

The real upgrade? That new blue shade of new iPhone 12. That is stunning, my friends.

Five things we learned today:

Apple HomePod mini

HomePod mini is your new cheap smart speaker

Available November 16th at just $99, the 3.3″ 360-degree speaker features a good-looking mesh fabric around the base, a backlit touch surface on top and some cool new features, like the ability to “hand off” what you’re listening to on the HomePod mini to your iPhone just by proximity. It also plays nicely with all your other Apple gear, which means it’s ideal if you want to use one particular new feature, as noted below.

Intercom is the best way to annoy your family

Via Siri, you can now send voice messages to any HomePod in your house or any other Apple device (including CarPlay). I can’t see this being used for good, but it could be fun.

5G is the centerpiece of all things Apple

All the new iPhone 12 models have 5G capability, although the presentation was pretty much about the soon-to-be-expanded Verizon 5G nationwide network (other carriers? Maybe wait a bit before upgrading). The key here is that most apps on the iPhone 12 will be able to utilize these faster speeds without requiring more power. And the phone will shift to a lower-energy LTE mode if you’re not doing anything that requires a more-intensive download.

New Apple iPhone 12 models in blue

The iPhone 12 is a handsome and compact upgrade

There were four new iPhone models introduced, starting at $699 for the iPhone 12 mini — which is basically the same specs as the 12 but smaller, thinner and lighter — through the core iPhone 12 release (starting at $799) and two iPhone 12 Pro variations that really leaned on their expanded photo and video capabilities.

Each of the regular 12 models features an edge-to-edge OLED display, an improved A14 Bionic chip, a “Ceramic Shield” display with four times better drop performance than the usual smartphone glass screen, improved Night Mode and five “fresh” finishes (again, that blue is hypnotic).

League of Legends is coming to Apple products

It’s one of the world’s most popular PC game, available soon for your iPhone 12 (under the name League of Legends: Wild Rift). Speaking of wild rifts, was Apple’s fawning announcement of the game a chance to promote their 5G network and enhanced A14 Bionic chip, or a distraction and a veiled shot at the still-barred Fortnite app?

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