4 biggest surprises from Apple’s totally unsurprising update

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Will we get more than the iPhone 7 next week?
None of today's announcements were keynote-worthy.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s “surprise” announcement of new products and software wasn’t all that surprising if you’ve been keeping up with the latest rumors.

Today’s updates were practically announced yesterday when the company said its store would be down in the morning for “maintenance.” Despite all the rumors of new iPads and RED iPhones that have been out for weeks, Apple still managed to sneak in a few surprises that were both good and bad.

We’re eagerly awaiting Apple’s rumored April keynote, but here’s the biggest, most surprising news from today’s teaser.

Clips

clips

Apple’s decision to take on Snapchat with a new social sharing app called Clips is perhaps the biggest surprise of the day. There was a rumor last year that Apple planned to launch a social app in early 2017, but considering how badly Apple’s previous efforts in social have gone, we didn’t think they’d actually do it.

Clips launches next month. Instead of being a closed platform, Apple’s app will let users export their videos and photos to be shared on Facebook, Instagram and iMessage.

Fat iPad

ipad
iPad is more affordable than ever.
Photo: Apple

Apple dropped the price on the iPad Air 2’s successor (now simply called “iPad”), but it’s also thicker and heavier. That’s sacrilegious to Jony Ive’s entire design philosophy. It could help Apple move more units, though: With a $329 price tag, brighter screen, faster processor and improved cameras, the new iPad could be a big hit in the education market.

White-face (RED) iPhone

red iphone 7

Rumors of a (RED) iPhone surfaced more than a month before the limited edition device’s official unveiling today, but we didn’t know it was going to be quite so lame. Sure, the red casing looks fine, but it would look so much better with a black front instead of an ugly white face.

The new (RED) devices are also the most expensive iPhone models around. Apple should’ve made them $50 cheaper than the baseline iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus to get more people to upgrade. Instead, prices start at $749.

New Apple Watch bands

apple watch bands
New colors for a new look this spring.
Photo: Apple

The rumor mill never caught wind of the new Apple Watch band colors before Apple rolled them today. The Spring 2017 collection includes a variety of new color options for woven nylon, sport, Nike Sport and Hermès bands — including some with stripes.

Apple loves coming out with new bands every few months to attract fresh attention to the Apple Watch, so the new spring straps didn’t come totally out of the blue. Prices on the new bands range from $49 to $689 (the price point on the high-end Hermes band isn’t new, but it’s still slightly shocking). The new Apple Watch bands are available today.

  • Ian Weir

    So nothing new out of Apple. It is really looking like Apple has lost it’s shine on innovation and is just doing what other hardware manufactures are doing, going with the statues quo.

    • NoBot

      Oh look a troll.

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    • Galp_Nation

      This wasn’t a major product announcement. Why don’t you save the judgement for WWDC and their fall events where they typically announce their major updates to software/products for the year?

    • OUfan08

      Here we go with people throwing out the “innovation” argument. Despite the fact that Apple has innovated plenty 3D Touch, Touch ID, Touch Bar on MacBook Pro, A10 Fusion chip, motion co-processors, etc. Give me a freaking break with this tired, lame argument. It’s a mid-year product addition, not a new line. Stop acting like the competition is innovating constantly and Apple’s just stagnant!

      • DrMuggg

        There is nothing new from the competition at all…. everybody is looking what Apple does. The only company doing at least something interesting is MS with the Surface.
        I know it sucks, it does not sell but I have to give MS – it is at least something different.
        Lenovo tries hard with a portable where they focus on the hinge…(Duh?)

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      • CHRIS

        With respect, the Touch Bar was hardly an “innovation”, nor was/is Touch ID or 3D Touch.

        Written on 2016 MacBook Pro 15″ with “innovative” touch bar.

      • OUsooner08

        Good job trolling! Please tell me who else has a multi-touch, contextual OLED bar ondtheir laptops. Or seamless touch id logins.

        I work in the tech industry so I’ll help ya! No one! Sorry but you might want to actually read the definition of innovation, because those fit the bill.

    • digitaldumdum

      No, Ian, nothing new. Nothing from Apple at all. Sorry you’re so disappointed. No new products every single week or month. No innovation, ever. Run-of-the-mill cell phones and computers. Poor sales, lousy stock value, poor products held in low regard by consumers worldwide, no resale market. As so-called “president” Trump would say, “Failing Apple! A complete disaaaaster. BAD Apple!!”

      Sorry Ian. Maybe you can find something more worthwhile in the ads in Popular Electronics.

  • Zoidbert

    > it would look so much better with a black front instead of an ugly white face.

    To each his own; I think this looks great.

    • Bud Hardy

      Exactly. It looks just fine.

  • Mac McIntire

    “Apple should’ve made them $50 cheaper than the baseline iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 to get more people to upgrade.”

    Haven’t the RED products always been more expensive since part of the proceeds goes to fight AIDS?

    • solublepeter

      Yes, that was a stupid suggestion in this article- so Apple should direct customers to buy a version it is giving away much of the profit from? I don’t think so!

      • BusterH

        I don’t think they’ll sell many at that price. Apple makes more money than God. It can afford take a small hit on profits in the name of charity. They’d sell way more if it was at least as cheap as the normal iPhone 7 colors.

      • BIG

        I don’t think so. God makes a LOT of money.

  • DefectiveSpleen

    Where are updated PRO MACS?

    • Nikolas Karampelas

      pros are no longer a target group for apple

      • Pablo A. Pucci

        You are wrong. Apple has a lot pro users… Not only heavy intensive app users are pro…. there are a lot of professions that doesn’t´t need super performance, just a solid and reliable experience…

        In the case of the heavy intensive app users, the 2017 macbook pro will shut all the Mouths speaking nonsense out here

      • Nikolas Karampelas

        because pros still trust on apple to get the job done, this doesn’t mean apple still care for pros. I’m still on my macbook, but after the latest macbook pro and the lack of mac pro desktop update I don’t feel confident that apple still care about me.

      • chris

        Yes, I didn’t purchase the MacBook Pro for it’s touch bar, I purchased it for the same reason I renew my car each year, to reduce the risk of failure.

      • chris

        I highly doubt it, I bought the 2016 Touch bar MacBook, it’s really no different to the previous 15″

    • Andrew Mondt

      Macs usually get their own rollouts. Wait for WWDC.

      • Glenn Gore

        It’s been 3 years for Mac Pro, and it’s been a couple years for meaningful iMac and laptop updates. We have waited. I will wait longer as I am an Apple fan, and I have NO intentions of moving to the godawful Windows 10, but we have waited long enough.

      • Passi Nice

        I’m a mac user since 2007. I recently installed windows 10 as dual boot on my mac. It’s extremely fast and looks just beautiful :)

  • Bud Hardy

    Um, I like the white face on the red iPhone. I think it looks fine. Calling it “ugly” is like saying it’s the ONLY way to see it. It sounds like something Donald Trump would say by label something as fact when it’s really just an opinion. You’re a good site, Cult of Mac. Really hoping this isn’t your new blogging style because I enjoy reading what you write.

    • Lloyd Griffith

      Fake iPhone face! Sad! lol

  • Glenn Gore

    Apple has quite obviously been taking a sabbatical for the past 3 years, which coincides with the construction and preparations for the move to their new headquarters building and R&D facility. Hopefully in a year or so, after the move is complete and they have settled in, Apple will be back to launching new products and far more meaningful updates and upgrades of current products.

  • sonoftroy

    Apple needs to design and make a Space Yacht so I can use my iPhone as a drink coaster for my Pangalactic Gargeblaster cooled with liquified comet ice.

  • Richard Hallas

    “…we didn’t know it was going to be quite so lame. Sure, the red casing looks fine, but it would look so much better with a black front instead of an ugly white face.”

    I respect your opinion. Nevertheless, repeating it many times doesn’t make it fact, or objectively correct. This is the third time I’ve read on this site how lame the red iPhone looks and how much better it would have been with a black face – and even that the silver ring around the TouchID button is another detracting factor.

    You’re welcome to this opinion, but shouting it repeatedly along wth every mention of the red iPhone isn’t going to make Apple go “Whoops! Our bad!” and withdraw the current design, to replace it with your preference. Apple has chosen the colour scheme it’s launched and it will stick with it. You don’t have to like it, but lots of people will.

    Personally, in this instance I happen to think that Apple has made the right choice. Some colours work better with black than with white; others work better with white than with black. Generally, the brighter the colour, the better it works with black, and the more subdued the colour, the better it works with white. Some strong colours that fall in the centre of the ‘vibrancy range’ work pretty well with either black or white.

    The red shade used for (PRODUCT)RED products is one of the latter. It can be used successfully with black – see the one-off (Mac Pro)RED; see the (iPhone Battery Case)RED with a black-faced iPhone inside it – but overall, on balance, it’s *just slightly* to the ‘works better with white’ side of the colour-vibrancy scale.

    Look at all the other products Apple has previously released in RED versions; the various RED iPod models. Are their click-wheels black or white? They’re white. Is the Apple logo on the back black or white? It’s white. What about and text printed on them; is it black or white? It’s white.

    So a white face on the (iPhone)RED should NOT be even remotely a surprise at this stage. let alone something to complain about repeatedly. And for my taste, I think it’s absolutely the right choice. I think it’d look pretty overpowering to have a black face with that strong red body. But then, I wasn’t a fan of the iPhone 5c series, which made exactly this mistake.

    As for the ring around the TouchID button… yes, I tend to agree that it could have looked OK if that had been red too (though it might have made the button distractingly obvious). But I suspect that making a red ring was probably a step too far; creating the right colour-match would probably have required far more effort and trouble than the limited-edition nature of the product would have warranted. And of all the existing colours (black, silver, gold, rose gold), the only choice on a white face that would complement the red back is silver. So I reckon that’s why Apple went with the silver ring – and again, I think it was the right choice.

    So personally, I feel that this is as classy as a screaming-red phone is likely to get. If were in the market for a bright-red iPhone, I’d be very happy to buy this. I think it looks really good.

    Indeed, if I were Donald Trump and needed a bright-red phone for my hotline to Russia, I’d want one of these lovely red iPhones exclusively for that purpose. It’d make it harder to start WWIII by accident, on account of having simply picked up the wrong phone. One again, Apple is setting the highest security standards to protect us all.