Just as the introduction of the original iPhone informed the look and feel of virtually all the smartphones that followed, Apple Keynotes (the company’s pet name for its annual and semi-regular presentations of new devices) have shaped consumer technology launches. The format is as follows: huge screen displays in blacked-out rooms, making the most of the painstakingly compiled design reveals, followed by a (walking) talking head to take us through the specifications. Lecterns have long since been abandoned.

The 2019 “fall event” (we can forgive them this bit of US-centricity, I think) last week was as slick and production-managed as ever. Besides very rare exceptions — such as the infamous connectivity fail years ago that prompted Steve Jobs, mid-presentation, to ask everyone in attendance to get off the Wi-Fi — Apple events are also the unicorn of tech events: live technology demos that don’t glitch out inexplicably...

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