5 secret things you probably missed at Apple's launch event


Apple events. It seems like that the brand is having one every five minutes, with more iPhones and iPads to show off, but no new iPod Classic to be seen around.

But, when you've attended enough of these to get a feeling about what's really being said, and what's being hinted at through omission, there's always a hidden story to these Apple launches.

Liam could kill us all


Let's gloss over the fact that Apple's invented a robot – and even more so let's just skip over that it's called Liam with no reason for that moniker given.

It sounds like a system that's too good to be true, a machine that will suck up your old iPhone and pull it apart for its useful bits, making sure that your unwanted old handset isn't just clogging up space in a drawer but is actually working to help the environment.

The video showed a very efficient little robo-arm that could pull out the SIM tray, yoink off the display and pull out the battery with ease, saving the best parts and discarding the old.

But wait... What if Liam suddenly decides it's bored of iPhones? What if it looks to its human overlords and decides we're not using our organs well enough and begins harvesting the livers of those it doesn't think deserve them?

Could WE be recycled?*

*Probably not. We'd have to turn ourselves in at an Apple Store, for a start.

The new iPhone isn't THAT good

iPhone SE

The new iPhone SE is much what we expected: the shape of an iPhone 5S, the price of an iPhone 5C and the brains of the iPhone 6S.

In a world that's been crying out for a smaller, more palm-friendly phone this could be the winner in an unloved space, the 'super-mid' tier that Sony's been going after for a while.

But there's one thing that's not been upgraded: the screen. It's got an 800:1 contrast ratio and 326ppi, which is identical to the phone which launched two and half years ago. Lest we forget - one of the lures of buying an iPhone is that it looks new, so the iPhone SE could struggle as a result, so sticking it in the same shell isn't much fun (unless two and half years old counts as retro now?)

Given we spend most of our day staring at that screen, it's a shame it's not sharper or higher on the contrast ratio scale to give more dazzling whites and rich blacks.

The iPad Pro 9.7 is a much better tablet

iPad Pro

The new iPad Pro 9.7 is almost certainly the death knell of the iPad Air. It might limp along to the iPad Air 3, but the super thin slate wasn't selling well enough, and Apple needed to give it new features to jumpstart sales again.

A 9.7-inch screen is a good size for a more portable tablet, but the new version of the 'professional' iPad is actually better than the Pro that launched in 2015.

It's got a less reflective screen, a better camera, and the display can adapt to the lighting conditions to represent the color temperature of the world around you.

It's a shame the battery life isn't longer, but given there's a smaller power pack in there it kind of makes sense - but we all want longer time between charges.

The Apple Watch 2 is almost certainly on its way

Apple watch

If there's one thing that's certain, a price drop means one of three things: a product has failed and the company wants rid of it. There's a new version on the way and the company wants to clear space for the new model. The original product wasn't selling well enough, so the company has tried to make it more palatable to shift more units.

Apple has historically only ever dropped the price of anything when it's been replaced, or on rare occasions when it's got something new in the pipeline. If the Watch was a failure, there's no way Apple would even still be talking about it, let along publicizing a discount. It would have ushered it into a corner, put the loss in a column on a spreadsheet somewhere and been done with it.

And there's no way Apple would have mis-priced the Watch. For all the failings of the smartwatch world, people seem reasonably happy with the price Apple's shoved out its wrist-dweller at.

So the logical explanation is the Apple Watch 2 is nearly here - and we're expecting it in September, so a six month push to get more units off the shelves (and suitably far from Christmas so anyone that spent a huge wedge of cash buying one for their other half won't be frustrated) should see some uplift in sales before the new model appears.

CareKit was the most important announcement from Apple


Let's be honest here - you've spent your time reading about the latest incremental updates to the latest, expensive hardware from one of the world's richest companies. In the grand scheme of things, it's not life-changing.

However, the technology that's being offered has the capability to be, and the launch of CareKit could be the start of something big. Let's take Apple out of the equation here, as I'm talking about all brands starting something similar.

The apps that launch with CareKit - such as those that allow Parkinson's sufferers to test their motor skills before and after medication or exercise - aren't particularly ground-breaking, as they're something that could have been made by any developer.

But the framework provides a link between patient and physician, taking away a considerable barrier at a time when people are at their most vulnerable, and that's a fantastic thing.

Apple has the infrastructure to offer this the easiest simply because of the limited number of devices it offers and the ease of coding that brings, but there's no reason why other brands couldn't do the same thing and Android devices can join the connected caregiving revolution too.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.