Should we be excited for next week’s Apple keynote? [Friday Night Fights]


Our resident Apple fanboy can't wait!
Our resident Apple fanboy can't wait!
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Tim Cook will take to the stage to host another Apple keynote on Monday, but who cares?

Friday-Night-Fights-bug-2It seems only a small percentage of Apple fans are interested in a 4-inch iPhone, and although the rumored iPad upgrade will be a big one, interest in tablets is falling like Jennifer Lawrence at big events. So that leaves… Apple Watch straps? Please!

Without a major unveiling, is Monday’s keynote really worth getting excited for? Or will it be another disappointment, with interest quickly turning to Eddy Cue’s colorful shirts and Craig Federighi’s impeccable hair instead?

Join us in this week’s Friday Night Fight between Cult of Android and Cult of Mac as we battle it out over those very questions!

cartoonluke_360.pngLuke Dormehl — Writer, Cult of Mac: So we’re only days away from Apple’s March 21 keynote, and — what can I say? — I’m excited about it. Granted, we’re not talking thermonuclear September keynote levels of enthusiasm, referring to when Apple usually debuts its new iPhones, but you’d have to be a cold person not to get the slightest bit pumped-up about an Apple media event.

What have we got to look forward to on Monday? Well, there’s the new 4-inch iPhone SE for one thing. Admittedly I was a bit skeptical when I heard about Apple returning to the 4-inch handset form factor just two years after introducing the 4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhone and iPhone Plus, but having heard the pent-up demand that there is for a slightly smaller (dare I say ladies size?) handset, I think it’s a great move for Apple.

Then there’s a new iPad, which sounds like it’ll be a scaled-down version of the impressive iPad Pro; the promise of new Macs; brand new Apple Watch bands; and the always-lurking promise of a wildcard announcement. Too early for an Apple Car teaser? Almost certainly, but that’s not going to dim my optimism that Tim Cook and crew don’t have something more up their sleeves.

So, go on, tell me why you’re not looking forward to it, Debbie Downer.

iPhone SE will be the star of Apple's March 21 keynote.
iPhone SE will be the star of Apple’s March 21 keynote.
Photo: Martin Hajek

Killian-FNFKillian Bell — Writer, Cult of Android: I’m glad you brought up Monday’s keynote, because actually, I’m not that excited about it. And because it pains me to see you cheerful about something, I’m going to tell you why.

I can understand why Apple’s holding a keynote to announce the iPhone SE, but I think very few fans will be all that excited about it. There’s going to be hype because it’s an Apple event, obviously, but I doubt many of those who attend or tune in will buy the new iPhone.

The kind of people who watch Apple events in real-time are bigger fans than most. They can’t wait to see what the company is adding to its product lineup, and when it goes on sale, they’ll buy the best on offer. iPhone SE won’t be the best on offer.

Yes, it will be a major improvements over the iPhone 5s its design is supposedly based on, with faster internals and a greatly improved camera, but it still won’t be as stellar as the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, with their bigger, sharper displays and 3D Touch.

It seems pretty sad that you’re exciting about an Apple event not because you’re itching to get your hands on what’s coming, but because there will be a new product that might be “a great move for Apple.”

I am interested to see what the new iPad brings — especially if it does turn out to be a smaller iPad Pro. I haven’t used my iPad Air 2 in a while, but I know support for Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard will tempt me. I doubt I’ll buy one, but I’ll be tempted.

As for the new Macs and Apple Watch bands, these are things Apple would normally announce in a press release. They’ll get a mention because there just happens to be a keynote, but if there wasn’t, there would be no fanfare for them — that’s how exciting they are.

I’ll watch the keynote because it’s part of my job, and I’ll probably be involved in the reviews of the new products for Cult of Mac. But as a consumer, this seems like an Apple event that hopes to boost falling sales rather than revolutionize product categories.

cartoonluke_360.pngLuke: It’s taking me out of context to suggest I’m excited about this simply because it represents a good move for Apple. The 4-inch iPhone SE probably isn’t one I’ll be buying, but I’ve spoken to plenty of people who are passionate about that form factor, and I can totally see why.

As for the iPad, I’m definitely excited to see what Apple can do. My iPad Air 2 feels a bit long in the tooth, and if Apple does turn out to be introducing an iPad Pro at iPad Air-size, I’ll be at the front of the queue to buy one on launch day. How can you not be excited about new Macs, either?

The fundamental difference between an Apple keynote and a Google one is that you know that what’s being shown at an Apple event is ready (or almost ready) to ship; compared to a glorified research product that is there to drum up interest for something which may — or just as easily may not — be hitting shelves three years down the line.

Is this going to be Apple’s most exciting keynote of the year? Perhaps not (although I’m hoping Tim Cook takes a bit of time to talk about the FBI case, which could may make this an eventful keynote), but it’s certainly one I’m pretty buzzed about.

The next iPad Air could be a mini iPad Pro.
The next iPad Air could be a mini iPad Pro.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Killian-FNFKillian: That’s still not a good enough reason to be excited, in my opinion. That’s like saying, “I’m super excited about the Guatemala budget reveal because my friend lives there.”

How does your iPad Air 2 feel old? My wife is still clinging onto an original iPad Air that feels just as speedy now as it did the day we bought it. And you can’t say the iPad Air 2 looks old, because it’s probably the prettiest tablet on the market. I bet the new model looks exactly the same.

I’m not excited about new Macs because I rarely buy Macs anymore. I do have a MacBook Pro that I use from time to time, but as I’ve mentioned many times before, my main machine is a “Hackintosh” that cost a fraction of the price of a Mac Pro and is still more powerful.

When was the last time Google announced something at a keynote that never never shipped? I don’t recall that happening. And at least you can guarantee a few surprises at a Google keynote; not everything that’s there has been in the news for months.

In recent years, Google keynotes have given us Google Glass, Android Wear, affordable virtual reality in Google Cardboard, and drones that deliver high-speed Internet to remote locations around the world. These were genuinely new and exciting things.

What have Apple’s keynotes delivered? Slightly larger iPhones, a larger iPad, a thinner MacBook, and a watch that’s basically the same as everyone else’s — except with an Apple logo.

If Tim Cook speeds onto the stage in an Apple Car, fires t-shirts into the crowd and announces an iPhone that catches up to Android, then I’ll be excited — and I’ll eat my hat and my socks.

Until then, I’m more enthused about this fresh coffee that’s sat on my desk, so I’m going to go enjoy it. Unless you have anything else to add?

cartoonluke_360.pngLuke: What I’m talking about with Google is the whole Tomorrow’s World vibe of it all. Sure, Google Glass technically shipped, but there was never a version of it that was remotely as revolutionary (or successful) as what was suggested to us when it was shown off as a research project. Same with cardboard VR and the like. Google events are fun to watch for the sci-fi wackiness on show, but they can’t be compared to an Apple event.

If you don’t buy Macs, then of course it makes sense that you’re not excited. I can’t afford a new Tesla, so I’m probably going to be disappointed by any Tesla announcement that doesn’t concern a car I can buy for under $20,000.

As for the need for an iPhone that “catches up to Android,” I like your Friday trolling style… but I’m not going to bite.

You’re not an Apple fan or a regular customer, and I can appreciate that. But if you are, then regardless of what Apple product you’re into, you’re probably going to find something to like about Monday’s keynote.

Suddenly the weekend can’t go fast enough! But let’s turn this over to readers. Are you excited about Monday’s event? Or do you side with Killian and think that Apple’s in a rut and that the March 21 keynote is likely to be the product unveiling equivalent of watching paint dry? Whatever your thoughts, leave them below.

Friday Night Fights is a series of weekly death matches between two no-mercy brawlers who will fight to the death — or at least agree to disagree — about which is better: Apple or Google, iOS or Android?


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