Thoughts on Apple’s iPhone 12, HomePod mini event

Apple had a big day, announcing four new iPhone models and a HomePod mini at its virtual event this morning. There’s certainly a lot to like about all of the products, but let’s start with the iPhone.

All iPhone models are packed with features, with only a few saved for the higher-end Pro and Pro Max models. That means that no matter which iPhone you choose, you will get a lot of new features and power.

All models come with 5G, Ultra Wide and Wide cameras, the ability for Dolby Vision HDR video, the A14 Bionic chip, Ceramic Shield front, compatibility with MagSafe accessories, and plenty more features.

Some of the higher-end models’ pro features include the ability to shoot Dolby Vision HDR at up to 60 fps instead of 30 fps, 4X optical zoom instead of 2x, longer battery life, and a LiDAR Scanner, among others.

Of course, the screen sizes varies too, ranging from 5.4-inches on the iPhone 12 mini to 6.7-inches on the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

One of the features that people seem most excited about is 5G, and on the surface, it offers some incredible performance bumps. Sadly, not all 5G networks are the same, which may explain why Apple choose to have Verizon on stage at this morning’s event.

With Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network, you can reach incredible speeds, but it’s not available everywhere just yet. If you’re not in one of the cities with Ultra Wideband or you’re with another carrier, you may see speeds just a bit faster than what you currently have on LTE.

This isn’t an Apple problem; it’s a carrier problem. If you’re on AT&T like me, you’ve seen the horrendous marketing hype of 5Ge and other things they do to trick you into believing you’re getting the latest technology. I’ll be honest, I’m sick of it, but hating on AT&T is for another article.

The latest batch of iPhones ensures one thing: there is an iPhone for everyone. If you like the smaller form factor, the iPhone 12 mini is the perfect iPhone. For those that want the largest screen, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is a beast that will give you all of the best features with the largest screen available.

There is enough of a difference in price and features to make the choice of your next iPhone fairly simple. No matter which one you choose, you’ll get the same base features mentioned above. If you need LiDAR or a better camera, you can move up a level and get those options. If not, you have a powerful device that will suit your needs perfectly.

HomePod mini

I have a HomePod in my living room and use it all the time. The sound is magnificent and plenty loud for the space it’s in (and I crank up my Ozzy and Van Halen, believe me).

However, when I saw the HomePod mini during the event, I smiled. I need several of those for the rest of the house, and at $99, it won’t break the bank to get them.

Being familiar with the sound quality of the HomePod, I do not doubt that Apple packed enough technology into the mini that it will sound great as well.

If you put two minis in a room, they will create a stereo pair, making the sound even better. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do that with my HomePod and a mini, though. I’ll follow up with Apple on that.

HomePod is also one of the only devices where I haven’t had any issues using Siri. As I mentioned before, this is probably because HomePod limits what Siri can do on the device, so Siri can control it fairly easily.

The new intercom system looks very interesting too.

A new Intercom feature offers a quick and easy way for family members to connect with each other at home. One person can send an Intercom message from one HomePod to another — whether in a different room, a specific zone, or multiple rooms throughout the home — and their voice will automatically play on the designated HomePod speaker. Intercom works with iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, and CarPlay, so everyone in the household can get Intercom notifications and send Intercom messages from the backyard or on their way home.

I can’t see any missteps in the products Apple released today. From iPhones to HomePod mini and the MagSafe accessories, the company seems to have given the market exactly what it needed.