👋 Welcome to your DGiT Monthly for September! As the end of summer and transition into fall hits home properly, there's just enough time to pause and look back at the almost daily big news launches, and consider October as well, which looks just as drenched with new tech goodies.
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Here’s your September tech timeline for everything that mattered. Hold onto your hats:
September 3: The month started with a smartphone splash, as the Samsung Galaxy A90 debuted to bring 5G to a Samsung flagship without the huge expense.
September 4: The big Android 10 release by Google was unveiled, while Samsung also talked up its new Exynos 980 processor. And my favorite mouse got an update: Logitech’s new MX Master mouse was unveiled. Also, IFA 2019 news and announcements started.
September 5: More Samsung news, as Samsung confirmed the Galaxy Fold will be released in September, we had word of a 4.7-inch Apple iPhone for 2020, Facebook’s phone number lookup was scraped and likely, your data was sold.
September 6: Facebook announced Facebook Dating, new smartphones at IFA galore, Pixel 4 90Hz leak, Apple Music came to the web, and much more happened
September 9: Useful AI: Google Assistant on Pixel 4 might wait on hold for you, as soon as next month
September 10: 48 US states filed an antitrust suit against Google, as the world’s tech media readied for iPhone 11 launch day.
September 11: The iPhone 11 hit and it was all the post-Apple iPhone 11 launch news, focusing on not-unreasonable new pricing for the 11 and XR range, plus secret innovations not mentioned during the launch. What Apple’s launch told us, and what it hid.
September 12: The Google Pixel 4 went from leaked to just basically completely out in the open, with multiple YouTube reviews in 4K.
September 13: Apple’s A13 chip showed its CPU benchmark glory, the Realme XT launched, and Smart Displays were examined in detail.
September 16: A great debate between tech pundits: Who’s right about the iPhone 11’s lack of 5G? Both sides have points.
September 17: After all the beans were spilled, Google announced its Pixel 4 launch date, including its new orangey-color. October 15th, NYC.
September 18: iPhone 11 reviews all came out and the verdict was as strong as I’ve seen in years: Apple is onto a winner, with big camera and battery life improvements. Although many of the reviews say just get it, and not a Pro for an extra $300.
September 19: Facebook boldly said “what trust/security concerns?” and brought video calling to various ‘Portal’ branded devices, including an add-on for TV. Not a bad idea but until security and privacy are number one for Facebook, those trust/security concerns might mean these are niche.
September 20: The Huawei Mate 30 series arrived (without Google), while Apple released iOS 13 into the wild (and immediately had all kinds of issues with bugs, hence iOS 13.1).
September 23: After 72 hours grappling with the Huawei Mate 30 Pro and its lack of Google services and apps, we got an early verdict: it’s still pretty good, even if buyers could look elsewhere.
September 24: Google Play Pass: Anything Apple Arcade can do, Google can do later and differently. More seriously, Play Pass is quite a different approach, without exclusives, and without anywhere but the USA for its immediate launch. (The $2 early subscriber deal runs until October 10th, by the way.)
September 25: Project xCloud details are revealed: You can almost try Microsoft’s game streaming service, if you’re lucky.
September 26: Amazon’s big day with all kinds of new Echo devices for 2019. But with Alexa now everywhere, is Alexa useful enough for people to want wearables? Amazon is hoping yes.
September 27: OnePlus, new devices! The OnePlus 7T is great but OnePlus has become confusing, while the OnePlus TV didn’t cut many corners and taking on LG and Samsung with a first-generation is not an easy thing.
September 30: Wireless charging might now be good enough to make wired charging redundant. Maybe. But it seems inevitable, too. That Apple hardware hack is a major thing too.
I went on vacation for a week in September. And, look, that may have been a mistake? September is busy. It’s now the biggest month on the tech calendar by far.
As recapped above, in 2019, Apple, Google, Facebook and Oculus, and Amazon all announced big new hardware or software updates, from Android 10 to the iPhone 11 to the Alexa-infused Echo 2019 devices. And if you give or take a week, you can add big new launches from Samsung and Microsoft to that list, plus Huawei, OnePlus, LG, Xiaomi, Nokia, Motorola, Oppo, Sony, Lenovo, Dell, TCL… Everyone, across all categories, really.
So why is September the techapalooza? Let's explore. (And should anyone be able to go for a holiday in September without feeling guilty? Probably not, but Greece sure was nice...)
Black Friday and Holiday season
The holiday season for shopping, buying, and gifting, is bigger than ever. Black Friday (29 November in 2019) and Cyber Monday are probably now the biggest shopping days, rather than the eventual run-up into Christmas. To have devices in stock, ready to go, and top of mind, reviewed and in some early-adopters’ hands already, you need to launch in September, get stocked up in October, and have retailers ready by November.
A bunch of Amazon’s Echo 2019 devices announced this week aren’t available for pre-order until November 7th. But September is the time to announce your tidal wave of tech products.
Apple and IFA
IFA in Berlin is Europe’s largest trade show. The big question for every tech journalist on the ground to any brand is "What new stuff do you have for us?” because that’s what everyone wants to know about. Long has it been in September, even as the likes of Apple (never an IFA attendee) and Samsung (now doing its own pre-IFA events) decided they’re Too Big For IFA launches.
Apple has made September its own, as well. And made it difficult for others. The OnePlus 6T launch, in 2018, had to be moved by OnePlus, rightly, because Apple announced its launch on the same day. Apple’s first September or fall event was for the iPhone 5, back in 2012. It had previously mixed a June/summer release for iPhone hardware with WWDC, and October/fall announcements for the iPad and “S” series iPhones.
Now iPhone releases seem to happen in September, with a “we still have more stuff” for October. The expectation is that this may happen again in October, although it’s not a given.
*Each awarded an IFA 2019 award, filtered for true availability and post-event reviews where possible.
🌵 The Intelligence of Plants. Plants seem to learn, and remember. How? (The Paris Review).
📷 The Ringification of Suburban Life (WIRED). Normalizing 24/7 property monitoring makes people fearful of living in their own communities.
💭 Four Years in Startups: Life in Silicon Valley during the dawn of the unicorns, by Anna Wiener, who has a book coming out (New Yorker). (The companies are not named, but hardly hidden: Mixpanel is the analytics startup, which is still around.)
Much to look forward to, especially tomorrow's Microsoft launch, and the Pixel 4 on the 15th.
That's it for the Monthly! See you in the DGiT Daily, and until next time - Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor
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