Many people were expected to be blown away by Apple's announcements earlier this week. However, the company seemed to have maintained its pattern of releasing a fantastic product one year, followed by small improvements in the following year. The new iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro hit the market with spot-on improvements, which is not surprising at all. For that, Apple deserves to take the podium this Sunday.
On the other hand, leakers had a pretty torrid time with the type of information that they revealed to the masses in the build-up to the California Streaming event. Don't get me wrong, we like to have all kinds of hype before the event happens, but satellite calls and an entirely redesigned Apple Watch were nowhere near to being seen. It makes perfect sense then that rumored announcements about Apple's upcoming products are the biggest losers of the week.
But before we talk about this week's selections, let's also take a peek at other interesting happenings that occurred in the consumer electronics industry over the past few days.
Xiaomi 11T and Xiaomi 11T Pro announced
On Wednesday (15), Xiaomi introduced four new smartphones across different price categories. The Xiaomi 11T and 11T Pro flagships both feature robust hardware configurations and will hit the international market at really competitive prices.
Our first impressions of the Xiaomi 11T Pro have already been published, with the biggest highlight being the presence of HyperCharge fast charging at 120 watts. At that insane speed, we are looking at the handset being charged from 0 to 100% in under 20 minutes. Totally surreal! In addition, we had also announced the new "Cinemagic" camera feature that will certainly help aid content creators in their daily tasks.
Xiaomi announces Augmented Reality (AR) glasses
Yes, on the day Apple announced the new iPhone, Xiaomi tried to steal the thunder somewhat with the announcement of a pair of smart glasses. If you've followed the headlines on tech news channels for the past two years, then you would know that Apple is in the game to launch a pair of Augmented Reality glasses (iGlass?) as well. Are you getting my point?
Well, a few hours before Apple's event, Xiaomi fired off a press release about its Smart Glasses. Xiaomi's smart glasses work automatically and in the manufacturer's demo they look really fascinating. All that remains for now is to figure out how they will function in reality.
Samsung launches Android 12 beta program for the Galaxy S21
We are counting the days for Google to officially announce Android 12 which has been in testing since February this year. While we are talking about this, many manufacturers were already involved with the beta testing program of the new version of Android. However, it wasn't until this week that Samsung decided to get on board.
The South Korean manufacturer opened the Android 12 beta testing program for the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+, and Galaxy S21 Ultra models in selected markets: the United States, United Kingdom, China, India, Germany, Poland, and South Korea. As always, the testing program will take place via the Samsung Members app.
In addition to getting the new Android 12 features, those who participate in Samsung's beta testing program will also get a chance to check out the latest One UI 4.0 firsthand.
Samsung has mentioned that it will release the stable version of Android 12 for its devices before the end of 2021. To find out whether your Samsung smartphone is eligible to receive the new version of Google's operating system and OneUI 4.0, visit our Android 12 update guide for Samsung devices.
Google goes high on Pixel 6!
Before I move on to the highlights of this column, I need to talk about Google and all the marketing effort invested in the new Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. First, the company decided to use one of its social profiles on Twitter to take a poke at Apple this week. After the announcement of the new iPhone, the Google team used the account @googlenexus (remember?) to tweet: "I'd wait for the #Pixel6"!...
Beyond that cuteness, Google seems very confident in the smartphone it's developing, and this week, the Pixel 6 made itself known across a series of billboards in the United States.
As we can see in the photo below, captured by photographer David Urbanke, the company is highlighting much of the news surrounding Android 12 in the images. Just look at the device's home screen: dynamic theme, with system colors and app icons integrated into the wallpaper, and widgets with new formats. Oh, and with the eye-catching camera bar.
Will the Pixel 6 really be the smartphone of the year in 2021? We'll know that when Google announces the device, which should happen in early October if rumors are confirmed. By the way, speaking of rumors, it's time to talk about the winner and loser of the week.
Winner of the week: Apple and the new iPhone 13
If you had any doubts about the company that would star in this Sunday's column, well, it would have been none other than Apple.
As my colleague Antoine Engels put it so accurately right after Tuesday's event, "the iPhone 13 is an iPhone 12S." And this should not come as a surprise, because the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro were smartphones with great success in sales and brought about great new features to the series. And Apple doesn't usually do that two years in a row.
The new iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro brought really relevant features to the smartphone market. In particular, the powerful new A15 Bionic processor and camera features that, until then, were exclusive to the film industry. Now, Apple also offers models with 120 Hertz refresh rate and ProMotion which seem to be really consistent.
The Cupertino giant also introduced the new Apple Watch Series 7, a new iPad mini, and more. Apple, as always, continues to impress, and if your expectations weren't met, perhaps the reason is our pick of the week in the loser's corner!
Loser of the week: Rumored Apple announcements got it all wrong
The possibility of Apple offering a satellite calling feature had newsrooms of tech channels around the world scrambling after more information about such technology (the folks at The Verge even mentioned it in a September 10 Vergecast).
By the way, I must confess that I was really excited about the possibility of Apple finally removing the Lightning port from iPhones this year in favor of MagSafe. I would have loved that. However, just like me, you know that didn't happen. We didn't get a redesign of the Apple Watch which even had the design leaked.
We didn't see the new AirPods, let alone the Always-On Display feature coming to Apple's iconic smartphone series. Anyway, much was said and few were confirmed by the company during the event.
Two months ago, we asked our community whether we should continue to cover rumors about new tech products and you guys told us yes, but not at any cost. And it seems to me that when the subject is Apple, the tendency is to see a series of rumors sprouting here and there, and even without much certainty or probability of it happening, they end up becoming news around the world, creating high expectations along the way. And that, in the end, turns a big launch event into something that is extremely boring and meh.
That's why today, we voted rumors as the biggest loser of the week. Or should we have named ourselves as the biggest loser for believing in such rumors? Here is some food for thought!
I hope I have not ended this Sunday's column with a sense of despair! Do you also agree with our choices this week? What did you consider positive or negative this week and would like to share with the NextPit community? We really appreciate your opinion, so write to us!