Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.
Connor Bynum // Film Critic
It’s no question that Apple really has changed the game for the world of technology over the years. Having pioneered the fields of smartphones, tablets, and computers for decades now, it really doesn’t come as that much of a surprise that the folks over at Apple think pretty highly of themselves. But after sitting through Apple’s annual circle-jerk Keynote Presentation yesterday, I think it’s safe to come right out and say it: it’s time we have an, “iNtervention,” with Apple.
Their Ego Has Gotten Out of Control.
From the start of this event, it was clear that Apple’s trademark sense of self-satisfaction has never been stronger. After spending nearly 10 minutes bragging about their new corporate headquarters, and taking the time to let us know that they will now only ever refer to their retail stores as, “Town Squares,” I knew something was amiss.
But things only got worse from there. When we (finally) came to the first product segment, Apple CEO/everyone’s favorite awkward uncle Tim Cook attempted to convince his audience about how the surfer community was in dire need of an Apple Watch tailored exclusively for them.
Yes, it’s cool that the Apple Watch can now make calls and texts without that pesky iPhone within proximity, but do they really think owners of existing Apple Watches are that eager to shell out another $300 for a slightly nicer one? Listen. I own an Apple Watch. My wife owns an Apple Watch. We’re good. This is not the same thing as upgrading your iPhone every year. In fact, with the added LTE functionality in the new model, it’s practically buying a second iPhone at this point. Herein lies the single reason that motivated me to write this article in the first place: Apple simply believes it can do no wrong.
They’re Never Late. Their Competition Is Just Early.
Hey, not every presentation can be a winner from start to finish. Maybe Apple just needed to get the less exciting products out of the way before moving on to their real groundbreaking stuff. And judging by the way they presented it, you’d think that was exactly the case. As Cook boldly announced the launch of the new Apple TV 4K, he felt it necessary to explain just how 4K and HDR work to an auditorium filled with thousands of people who apparently never bothered to mention that 4K and HDR have been around for over a year now.
But I get it. There’s nothing wrong with being a little late to the party if the party only gets better after you show up. But please, Apple. Do us a favor and drop the act. 4K and HDR are not new anymore and it’s okay to admit you’re late to jump on board. Just own that fact and say you’re here to make it better than ever. If you’d stop pretending that you’re out there pushing boundaries that don’t exist anymore, maybe people would take you a little more seriously. As these thoughts raced through my mind during the presentation, it all made sense.
They Don’t Need To Try Anymore.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Apple doesn’t seem to be as revolutionary as we all remember. These presentations used to be filled with non-stop game changers and people would eat it up.
A pocket-sized rectangle that can hold 1000 songs?
Sign us up.
A multi-touch screen phone with apps, internet, and iTunes?
A tablet computer that you only thought possible in the movies?
Shut up, and take my money!
How about the same phone you bought last year, but with a slightly nicer camera?
Wait, what? I mean, sure I guess.
See, that’s the thing. Apple has forgotten what we want. Sure, having a nicer camera is cool, but does that really justify making an entirely new iPhone? I simply can’t imagine why someone who already owns an iPhone 7 would ever bother upgrading to an iPhone 8. This isn’t innovation; it’s just plain lazy.
But wait! What about the iPhone X? When it’s taken this entire presentation to even get to the first product to actually be excited about, the damage had been done. Yes, the face tracking system is interesting, and the all encompassing OLED screen is surely a sight to behold. But $1000 for the base model is a pretty tough pill for a lot of us to swallow. And judging by what looks to be a trend here, none of this will matter in about a year’s time anyway.
Let’s be real. I’m probably going to get the Apple TV 4K. It’s the cheapest thing they announced and to give them credit, upgrading my existing iTunes HD movie purchases to 4K for free is a pretty sweet deal. And despite all of my frustrations, it’s still unlikely that I’ll just switch over to Android. When you have an iPhone, iPad, iMac, Apple Watch, and an Apple TV, you’re pretty much committed. It’s just a shame that Apple knows it.