All the things we didn’t get at Apple’s ‘Hi, Speed’ event

By

Hi, Speed event image with wishlist in background
Apple's "Hi, Speed" event offered up some nice updates to the iPhone 12 and HomePod, but left some boxes on the wishlist unchecked.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

It happens before every Apple event. The rumor mill, tech blogs (hello), and iPhone-obsessed nerds pin every hope, dream and desire on the next version of Apple’s devices.

More often than not, those desires are dashed, pushing those wants off to another event. While Apple’s iPhone 12 event showed the steps the company is taking toward iterating on its most popular device, there were also some things left on the wish list.

iPhone still has room to grow

One of the hottest wish list items for the iPhone 12 was a faster screen refresh rate. With many Android devices now sporting 90hz or 120hz, and Apple already packing a higher (dynamic) refresh rate into the iPad Pro and the Apple Watch displays, this upgrade seemed plausible in 2020. Unfortunately, neither the iPhone 12 nor 12 Pro models offer Apple’s ProMotion technology. Instead, things Cupertino stuck with the more battery-friendly 60hz refresh rate.

Another wish list item that seemed possible for the iPhone 12 was a return of Touch ID. Over the past few years, various Android devices have experimented with in-display fingerprint scanners. Then, in September, the fourth-generation iPad Air showed off Apple’s new side-button fingerprint reader. Either of those options, combined with broad-scale mask wearing, offered hope that the iPhone would get a convenient, secure Face ID alternative. Instead, Apple stayed tight-lipped about device unlocking, simply mentioned Face ID on the new iPhones’ feature slates.

The latest iPad Air saw Touch ID moved to the side button
The latest iPad Air saw Touch ID moved to the side button.
Photo: Apple

Another feature that some hoped for in the iPhone 12 (or, more specifically, the 12 Pro Max) was Apple Pencil support. With the screen getting bigger once again (up 0.2 inches to 6.7 inches), and the popularity of the new Apple Pencil features in iPadOS 14, seeing Pencil support come to the biggest iPhone would have been huge. Instead, we’re still left using our fingers, regardless of what size iPhone we carry.

Not as much hardware as we hoped

Rumors leading up to the event suggested we could see a landslide of new hardware. From AirTags and over-ear AirPods Studio headphones to updated Apple TV hardware, an Apple Arcade gaming controller, or even the first Apple-Silicon-powered Macs, expectations soared.

Apple AirTags could debut Sept. 15.
Apple AirTags are super sleek. But don’t expect them just yet.
Photo: Front Page Tech

Instead of a mountain of hardware announcements, Apple only showed off a smaller, more affordable HomePod mini, as well as the new lineup of iPhone devices. The only mention of other hardware was execs’ recognition of last month’s Apple Watch and iPads event. (Apple once again  neglected to provide an update on availability of the upcoming iPad Air.)

On the topic of the Mac, at this summer’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook promised the first Macs powered by Apple Silicon would arrive in 2020. With the iPhone announcement typically being the company’s most anticipated event, it’s somewhat surprising Apple didn’t take opportunity to tell the world more about new Macs. Oh, well: There’s always November.

There’s always another Apple event

With Apple rounding out its first year of Apple TV+, the upcoming launch of Apple Fitness+ and Apple One services bundles, and a slate of other products still rumored to be coming “soon,” we could be gearing up for monthly product announcements out of Cupertino well into 2021.

This leaves plenty of opportunities to rewrite our Apple wish lists, and dream of the impossible for as long as it takes to come true. Eventually, we’re bound to get something right.