7 Times Apple surprised us for better or worse this year. 2022 was a year of surprises from Apple.
From an unforgettable sports team, to a shade of purple that made us question our eyesight, and even the first „visit“ to „Dynamic“ Island, Apple has kept us guessing this past year. And we’re already excited about what Apple has in store for next. But before we head into the near future with the onward march of technology, let’s look back at Apple’s roller coaster year; a year full of twists and turns, some of which may even have accidentally caused „crash detection.“
Sports teams and Apple’s main „daddy“ who made them fashionable
With everything that’s happened in the past 12 months, it’s hard to believe that this is the same year that Apple CEO Craig Federighi wowed us with his interesting outfit decisions at June’s WWDC 2022. Even if this event seems like it took place decades ago, the sight of the Apple boss in a rainbow-embellished white tracksuit is indelible.
Honestly – Federighi is the „cool guy“ at Apple. His charisma is the perfect vehicle to cleanse the taste of Tim Cook, who behaves „meekly“, and it was the only thing from the event worth talking about. In fact, Federighi’s casual „cool“ style was so impactful that it seemed to have a „Kate Middleton effect“ on all the other Apple presenters. Kyle Ardill, Ruby Edmondson and Craig Bolton used the athletic style with their sweat suits. You could say it’s because they all run departments related to sports and fitness, but we think they just wanted to dress like Federighi.
In fact, we think Federighi inspired everyone to let their hair down, so to speak. Darrin Adler went Father Friday style in a floral short-sleeve shirt; Corey Wang wore denim knickers and a bright yellow blouse, while Katie Skinner rocked a denim jumpsuit. We saw not one, but two bomber jackets from Emily Schubert and…drum roll please…Tim Cook.
Tim Cook at WWDC. Image: Apple
Not to be outdone by Samsung’s luscious purple Galaxy Z Flip 4, Apple has announced a „dark purple“ colorway for the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. At first, this looked like a triumph for Y2K trendsetters, but upon closer inspection, something was wrong: the dark purple iPhone 14 Pro wasn’t actually dark purple.
The purple iPhone 14, which is not exactly like that
It all came to a head when tech influencer iJustine posted a video on Twitter of her holding the iPhone 14 Pro Max in what appears to be a dusty purple; one that even looks gray at some angles. Eagle-eyed fans commented, noting their confusion and disappointment.
„idk how in the world that is purple“ – said one of them.
“It looks a lot darker here than in the renders… I’m a little disappointed. It looks like a cross between purple and space gray,” commented another.
In her „official investigation,“ Mashable reporter Elizabeth de Luna got a comment from senior editor Stan Schroeder, who personally attended Apple’s event and held the questionably colored iPhone 14 Pro in his hands. His final opinion? “He’s pretty subdued. It’s not a garish purple. He’s purple.”
There you have it, friends. „Purple“ is not deep. Case closed, but one question remains: Apple, when will we get a pink iPhone?
The technology of „black days“
In 2022, it became clear that Apple really wanted us all to know that the world outside was scary. And the company really wanted you to know that it could protect you.
At the iPhone launch event in September, we were introduced to two new features designed to help Apple users in emergency situations. Crash Detection for iPhone 14 and the new Apple Watch uses motion sensors to determine if you’ve been in a car accident and calls the nearest 911 dispatcher. And Emergency SOS via satellite for iPhone 14 uses satellite communication to contact emergency services in areas without coverage.
Both crash detection and Emergency SOS via satellite have proven effective in real emergencies. This kind of life-saving technology is undeniably a very good thing.
The melodramatic advertising videos for Collision Detection and Emergency SOS via satellite want to say, „Apple’s got you covered,“ but their subtext reads like a thinly veiled threat from Uncle Vinnie offering „protection.“
At this point, we don’t know what’s scarier: not taking the iPhone 14 into the wilderness or not buying it.
The innovative „dynamic“ island
In September of this year, Apple shocked the tech world by finally getting rid of the dreaded notch… sort of.
For years, iPhone users have complained about the black spot where the front-facing camera was located cutting into the top of the screen, especially since Android smartphones have long since solved this problem by embedding the camera and facial recognition scanner below the screen.
This year, Apple finally tackled the notch problem, but not in the way we expected. In the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, the notch was replaced with a pill-shaped notch called the Dynamic Island. It’s an interactive „button“ that shows you notifications and information based on the apps you’re using
Mashable’s Stan Schroeder, who reviewed the iPhone 14 Pro, found the „dynamic island“ to be unobtrusive and genuinely useful. Schroeder also gave credit to Apple for trying something new, saying:
„Until now, none of the smartphone manufacturers had thought to turn this area into an interactive feature.“
But Apple’s real achievement here is creating a delusion. The „dynamic“ island is so original that it’s almost enough to make you forget its real purpose, which is to hide the cut out „pill“. Is it really an innovation if it only exists to cover something up? Or is it just a flashy patch with a trendy name?
The „dynamic“ island is undoubtedly a great feature. But the fact that she reuses the notch instead of removing it detracts from the gimmick. It’s the kind of slick move that makes you wonder what Apple is hiding. Not just the notch, but the inability to remove it?
The move to USB-C (because you have to)
Apple prides itself on its Think Different philosophy. But when it comes to different charging ports, we all collectively hate this approach. Why, oh why, does Apple mandate the use of its Lightning port on the iPhone when the rest of the world charges their devices with a USB-C cable?
For years, Apple has resisted making this change, arguing that the move to USB-C would create an „unprecedented amount of e-waste“ by making Lightning-compatible accessories unnecessary.
But it will also lose the money it makes from all those accessories that iPhone users are forced to rely on.
Well, MEPs must be iPhone users because they finally decided to do something about it. In October, the EU officially approved a law requiring all phones, tablets and cameras to have a USB-C port. The EU claims the law will „eliminate the so-called technological lock-in effect, where the consumer becomes dependent on a single producer“. It will also save consumers „250 million euros per year in unnecessary charger purchases,“ which ultimately amounts to 11,000 tons of e-waste per year in Europe.
What was it that Apple said about environmental waste?
So…surprise! iPhones will finally be compatible with USB-C. Many Apple devices such as the MacBook Air M2 and newer iPads now have USB-C ports for charging. And Apple insiders Ming-Chi Kuo and Mark Gurman reported that the company is internally testing the idea of a USB-C iPhone. But rumors aside, it will surely happen by 2024, which will finally put an end to Lightning port hell.
Tim Cook gave Elon Musk a tour of Apple headquarters
Nothing surprises us anymore about the depth of Elon Musk’s Twitter antics, but we were surprised by Tim Cook’s tactics for deflecting online provocation.
When Musk tweeted that he was ready to „go to war“ with Apple over an alleged threat to remove Twitter from the App Store, Cook said, „Hey Elon, want a tour of Apple Park?“
We’ll never know the details of what transpired between Cook and Musk as they gazed out over the tranquil lake at the heart of Apple’s headquarters. But Musk later tweeted:
“Good conversation. Among other things, we resolved the misunderstanding about the potential removal of Twitter from the App Store. Tim was adamant that Apple never considered doing this.“
Apple has never publicly stated that it will remove Twitter from the App Store. But whatever threat Musk had in mind, it was quelled by Cook’s masterful diplomacy. With a little ego-stroking and an invigorating walk in nature, it was all resolved. It’s unclear whether the two discussed the 30 percent fee Apple charges app developers, which was part of Musk’s feud with the company. But if we’re ever invited to check out Apple Park, we’ll know Cook is on to something.
And one more thing… but not yet
2022 is the year our dreams of Apple’s mixed reality headset were dashed. Every time Tim Cook took the stage – first at WWDC in June and then at the iPhone 14 event in September – we held our breath for an announcement about the long-awaited device, but… nothing. The XR headset was originally expected to arrive this year, but software issues and supply chain constraints have reportedly pushed its launch to the second half of 2023.
That leaves a lot of time for speculation and hype. Here’s what we know so far: It may have iris-scanning technology for ID verification and payments, a „ski-goggle“ design that’s in stark contrast to Meta’s Quest Pro and Quest 2 headsets, and its operating system it may be called xrOS. And it could cost you $2,000.
It’s clear that Apple has had its share of setbacks this year, and not just with its XR project. But hopefully 2023 will be the time when we get back the innovative Apple of yesteryear.
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