retroity

September 2020 Apple Event Thoughts

Apple just held their second event during the COVID-19 pandemic, this one being about hardware. Unlike Apple events of the past, and similar to Apple's first event during the pandemic (WWDC 2020), this event was entire prerecorded and livestreamed. The times we're living in are weird, and so was this Apple event, so here's my thoughts on it.

The Event Format

Similar to WWDC 2020, this event was entirely pre-recorded and delivered exclusively online through a livestream. As such, the format of this event is quite a bit more polished than live events, taking place all over Apple Park instead of on a stage, with incredibly smooth transitions, onscreen graphics, and lots of Easter eggs. I definitely prefer this to Apple's live format, and personally Apple should keep it even after the pandemic ends. It certainly makes watching these events a lot more enjoyable.

Apple Watch Series 6

Apple had two major fronts that they made announcements on: Apple Watch, and iPad (with a bit of services mixed) in, and their big announcement on the Apple Watch front was Apple Watch Series 6, a premium Apple Watch that succeeds the Series 5. There aren't that many features on this one, but the new features that are there are still pretty exciting nonetheless. The star feature is the ability to measure your blood oxygen level. The fact that this is in a watch packed together with so many other features is frankly mindblowing. I don't see myself having a use case for it, but it's certainly incredibly impressive. The screen is also improved to be brighter outside, and although I don't have any screen visibility problems on my Series 3, it's still a welcome addition. There's also an always-on altimeter, which will certainly be useful while hiking. The Series 6 includes the S6 SoC, which Apple says is up to 30% faster than the S5 although at this point I'm not sure of the real world difference it makes.

With a starting price of $399, it's a welcome upgrade to the Apple Watch if you've been waiting for one, although if you have a Series 5 you likely won't have a need to upgrade.

Apple Watch SE

The Apple Watch SE is Apple's new budget Apple Watch, and like the similarly-named iPhone SE, it's sort-of a Frankenstein's monster made up of parts from Apple Watch generations past. It has the body and display of the series 4, the SoC, compass, emergency calling & falling detection features of the Series 5, and the always-on altimeter of the Series 6, although it doesn't include the always-on display, ECG, or blood oxygen monitor.

It's starting price is $279, which is about $120 less than the more premium Series 6, although if you wanna go ultra-budget Apple is still selling the Apple Watch Series 3 (which was released in 2017) for $199 ($80 less than the SE and $200 less than the Series 6)

It's honestly a pretty compelling offer, and should go well with the iPhone SE, and would be incredibly smart of Apple to promote those two devices together. I'm strongly considering upgrading to the SE from my Series 3.

Apple Fitness+

To complement the new Apple Watches, Apple announced yet another premium subscription service: Apple Fitness+, a workout subscription service, which features workout videos that sync with your Apple Watch, providing information from your Apple Watch on top of the video, and using the Apple Watch to enhance your workout. It uses your Apple Watch for fitness tracking and an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV for the workout guidance itself. At $9.99 a month it's certainly a bit steep (although if you buy an Apple Watch you apparently get 3 months free), even if it's less than Peloton's pricing (although I have to mention that Peloton was shaken by the announcement, which happened during their first investors meeting). I personally don't have interest in the service, although I'm sure others might find it useful

Apple One

While Apple was on the topic of services, it announced it's long-rumored subscription bundle: Apple One. There are 3 levels of pricing for Apple One: Individual, which includes Apple Music, Arcade, TV+ and 50GB of iCloud storage without the ability for family sharing for $14.95 a month, Family, which is the same as Individual but includes family sharing for up to 5 people and ups the included iCloud storage to 200GB, and Premier, which additionally includes Apple News+ and Fitness+, and ups the included iCloud storage to 2TB. It's an interesting proposition, and for those who use lots of Apple services, it might be a good way to save money. Although it would've been cool to be able to mix and match services and build my own plan.

iPad 8th Generation

The new iPad 8th Generation is a simple spec bump from the 7th generation, now featuring a A12 chip from the previous A10 chip, for the same starting price of the previous generation at a mere $329 for consumers and $300 for educators. If you're looking at getting an iPad but were hesitant on the 7th gen due to it's older, A10 SoC, the 8th generation iPad is a no-brainer, but if you have a 7th gen, there's really no reason to upgrade. That's really all that's changed, so there really isn't much to talk about here.

iPad Air 4th Generation

This is the big announcement on the iPad side of the event, bringing some features from the iPad Pro down to the Air, including the iPad Pro's design, a USB-C port, a 12-megapixel rear camera and 2nd Generation Apple Pencil compatibility. One big difference, however, is the lack of Face ID, instead including a Touch ID sensor, although unlike the previous iPad Air, the touch ID here is included on the lock button, instead of there being a home button. However, what's strange is that this iPad Air actually exceeds the iPad Pro in one regard: the SoC. Unlike the iPad Pro, which features a A12Z SoC, the new iPad Air debuts the new A14 SoC, which Apple claims is on a 5nm process, and gives up to a 40% performance improvement over the A13, making it significantly faster than the iPad Pro.

For around $200 less than the iPad Pro, you now get mostly everything the iPad Pro offers, except Face ID, a LIDAR sensor, a 120hz display, and less maximum storage (the iPad Pro goes up to 1TB, while the new iPad Air only goes up to 256GB), none of those things are must-haves, at least in my eyes. So you now have a less expensive iPad Air which has most of the features of the iPad Pro, but also exceeds the iPad Pro in one important case, so why buy the iPad Pro? It's a very strange situation.

What We Didn't See

The event was unusually short, only lasting an hour, and omitted several things, such as iPhone, Apple TV, the Mac, among other things. Also missing are several long-rumored products, such as AirTags, over-the-ear AirPods, and the first Apple Silicon-based Macs that Apple announced would be coming by the end of this year at WWDC 2020. So perhaps we'll see these things at a potential October Event? It's certainly a strange situation, but hey, these are strange times.

Closing Thoughts

Overall, I'm actually a bit underwhelmed by this presentation. I'm certainly pleased by what we did get, but this event was unusually short and didn't have as much as we thought it would. There are also a few questions raised by some of the new products announced, such as the new iPad Pro. I guess we'll see if there's an October Event?

ICE tells international students to transfer universities or leave the US

ICE (Immigration Customs and Enforcement) recently notified international students that if their universities are going entirely online for the fall semester than they must either transfer to another university, or leave the country. This is a massively harmful policy that is undoubtedly going to screw over a ton of students. These students not only study in our university, but they also do research and work in university labs, all of which they will no longer have access to, which can ruin study plans for many students.

Not only that, but this massively screws over a ton of universities, so this will likely kill some especially struggling universities. International students massively contribute to this country, it's development, it's technological and scientific strength, and it's economy. Many of these students will contribute greatly to their own countries, and that's not even considering the students who decide to live in the US full time, contributing to this country even more.

There is frankly no reason for this change by cruelty. It is punishing students for not being American. It is a move that will likely discourage international students from studying in the United States in the future. It is a decision that was made with no regard to the lives of the students, or the universities that they study in. It is a absolutely shameful decision and I hope it is overturned.

Coming to Terms With My Past

Everyone has skeletons in their closet, so among everything that's been happening, I feel like I need to share mine. I've been thinking about it a lot, and I feel like I can't be at peace with myself if I don't come clean.

I was raised in Texas in a very conservative household. A place where homophobia, transphobia, racism, etc are the norm. Furthermore, when I was 14-15, at the height of far-right and alt-right populism, I feel down a far-right rabbit hole. As a result of these things, I said and did many things that I regret today.

I made statements during that time that were homophobic, transphobic, sexist, racist, etc. I've handwaved white supremacy and systemic racism as no big deal, despite the presence of these evils in American society today. I've supported movements that are hateful, or would become hateful.

I've abandoned those views about 2-3 years ago and I've vowed to fight against these very evils that plague society today. The things I did and said during that time is one of the biggest regrets in my life. I wish that I could go back in time and slap myself for saying those things. But what's done is done. There's no going back, and all I can do is try to be a better person in the future.

To anyone hurt by the hateful things I've said or done in the past: I'm sorry. They were unacceptable then and they are unacceptable now. Even though I feel like I've changed quite significantly for the better in the last 2-3 years, I understand that I will always have to strive to be a better person in the future.

Thank you.

A Note on 2019 (and The Entire 2010's)

As I'm writing this, 2019 is a little over an hour from ending in my timezone. So I figured I may as well write a blog post about it, as well as look back at the decade in general.

I'll be frank: 2019 was a rough year for me. I've struggled with depression and anxiety, and it really hit me hard this year, and resulted in my mental health taking a nose dive. Luckily though, I recently started seeing a therapist, and I'm hoping to improve my mental health over time. It's for these reasons, in addition to me working on finishing up high school, working on other things, and a couple other things, that I haven't really made much this year. I haven't delivered on any of the promises that I made at the end of 2018 for The FNaF Archive, I haven't written here as much as I planned to, and most importantly to me, I only uploaded 2 videos this year to my YouTube channel. I'm terribly sorry about all of this, and I hope to be better, and make more in 2020.

On the positives for this year however, I've applied to, and have been accepted to a few colleges, I started seeing a therapist to improve my mental health as mentioned earlier, and I've made major efforts to try and be a more empathetic and overall better person. I also came to run the official OverSimplified subreddit, and then subsequently create the official OverSimplified Discord server, alongside GamersVille101. I can say that this Discord server has really changed my life. I've never had this much responsibility over something online before, so this taught me a lot.

This decade was also incredibly important. It was this decade that I started my online persona, later becoming Retroity. I started my YouTube channel, and learned video editing, photo editing, web design, etc. The Retroity YouTube channel has put me on a career path I'm still going down. It was the decade that I joined the FNaF fandom, which significantly changed my life by allowing me to meet lots of wonderful and wonderfully talented people, and a place where I could be myself and have a purpose. It's also the decade that saw me creating the OverSimplified Discord server, and meeting several wonderful people.

So here's my shoutouts for this year, and this decade:

Chase88 - Thank you for so much. Thank you for letting me be a part of Ravenger, thank you for being my friend, and thank you for introducing me to many other friends. You're the best.

Chess46 - Thank you for sticking by me, and for being a good friend. Thank you for being willing to put up with me.

Kizzycocoa - Thank you for trusting me as a moderator for the FNaFLore Discord server and for generally just being really cool.

The Entire FNaF Fandom - Thank you for tolerating me, and for using The FNaF Archive, and it's predecessors. 

The OverSimplified Discord Moderator Team (GamersVille101, SharkSideOfTheMoon, Cobra, Doc, Swagbear, Tetra, & Vultige) - Thank you all for being super cool and for everything you do. You're all the best, and I couldn't ask for a better team. To GamersVille specifically: Thank you for coming to me with a proposal to make the Discord server. Without you none of this would've happened.

Every content creator that I've watched during this decade. Your stuff is the best, has significantly inspired me, and has helped me get through this year, and this decade.

Finally, thank you to everyone that has supported me during this year, and during this decade. You're all the best. Seriously, thank you all so much.

Here's to a good 2020, and here's to a good decade. Happy new years, everyone.