Everything Apple Didn’t Announce at Its September 2018 Event

Today’s Apple announcement was hardly a surprise for most Apple enthusiasts. Leaks of the three new iPhone specifications and new Series 4 Apple Watch were accurately disclosed weeks before. However, there was no sign of the new iPads, AirPods, and elusive StudioPod that Apple was rumored to release.

Related: Meet the Newest Generation of the iPhone Family: iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max & iPhone XR

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With Apple’s presentation already running near the two-hour mark with nary a peep of anything other than iPhones and Apple Watches, it became clear that anything else included in the event would be less than a footnote. It would have been an enormous coup for Apple to offer such a broad refresh of its entire iOS ecosystem with the inclusion of new iPads and AirPods. Obviously, Apple wanted the focus to be mainly on its three new iPhones and the cool edge-to-edge display and ECG sensor of the new Apple Watch. Here's everything Apple didn't announce today:

New iPads

While we didn't get even a hint about new iPads, the fourth quarter of 2018 still holds promise for more new product announcements from the world’s most valuable company. I still anticipate an edge-to-edge iPad Pro featuring an even faster processor than the new A12 Bionic chip in the new iPhones. The iPad’s larger display will also help minimize the Face ID notch that still obtrusively takes up way too much space on the iPhone X line. The new iPads will likely also use the higher-grade glass, with the top iPad Pro using an expensive OLED display for stunning color and luminosity.

One question I am eager to see answered when the new iPads are announced is the fate of the iPad Mini. Its current specifications are woefully ancient compared to even the low-end iPad released last spring. Now that the iPhone XS Max’s screen is only an inch or two smaller than the iPad Mini, does the Mini even need to exist? I suspect Apple will let it sit on the back shelf along with its macOS cousin, the Mac Mini, until Apple decides to completely revamp or let it drift into obscurity. One day, perhaps not too long from now, someone will mention that the iPad Mini is no longer for sale and hardly anyone will care.

New AirPods 

These would have been a nice five-minute “one more thing” announcement, perhaps with news of longer battery life and shorter stems. When the AirPods were introduced two years ago, in my view nothing else came close to what Apple’s innovative wireless audio solution had to offer. Now the market is so awash in wireless earbuds that it takes a huge spreadsheet just to compare and contrast the variety available. Compared to other wireless earbud offerings now available, the AirPods are somewhat middle of the road in audio quality and decidedly “for use with Apple-only products” by design.

New StudioPods

A brand new product that Apple audiophiles hoped to see introduced today was the rumored StudioPods. With Apple controlling the entire audio stack from the music format, delivery, and reproduction into the ear canal, it has the ability to literally shape the sounds we hear. The first-generation AirPods offered such an opportunity that has yet to be fully realized. Such realization was hoped to be seen in a StudioPod announcement that unfortunately didn't happen today either.

Regardless of what Apple didn't announce, I am still very excited about and looking forward to the new iPhone and Apple Watch models. The new Apple iPhone XR is essentially the iPhone SE of the iPhone X line, and the new iPhone XS Max is in a class by itself. And I can’t wait to see how accurate the new Apple Watch records ECG’s, and how easy it is to see on my wrist the P and T waves of the heart’s systole contraction and ventricular recovery in real-time. It’s like science fiction... for real!

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Mike Riley is a frequent contributor to several technical publications and specializes in emerging technologies and new development trends. Mike was previously employed by RR Donnelley as the company’s Chief Scientist, responsible for determining innovative technical approaches to improve the company’s internal and external content services. Mike also co-hosted Computer Connection, a technology enthusiast show broadcast on Tribune Media's CLTV.