After watching the latest Apple Event this morning I walked away thinking that there was something missing. Something fundamental had changed.
Have a look at the Apple Event for yourself here.
Yes, Steve is well and truly gone but the fire in the belly of Cupertino also seemed to be less than what it was before and in my mind it showed in the products which signalled a possible change in direction for Apple.
Instead of making everything bigger with 50% more wow and throwing in the exciting “One more thing” at the end of a presentation, the team seemed to take a conservative step back from pushing the envelope. The focus now seems to be on usability and affordability with an obvious nod to the developing markets as well as the budget concious markets. Are we all feeling the squeeze to the point where even Apple is willing to build to a budget?
- Apple opened with some tough talk on it’s cornerstone of what makes its products so compelling. Security. Pointed comments at the US Justice system about how Apple will not compromise on is responsibility to the consumer.
- Environmental impact followed with progress on how Apple is doing in its goal to reach 100% renewable energy on all operations around the world. They clocked in two years after the initiative with a very impressive 93% of all of Apple’s operations.
- Right on the tail of the renewable energy announcement, the topic of recycling was covered and a robot was introduced capable of taking apart 1.2 million phones a year. It makes sense that a robot can do this as the insides of a phone are identical to another so repeated tasks like removing screws and components are ideally suited to automation. Pretty cool to see in action.
- Health was the next to be covered which was pretty awesome. So many clever ideas and what I was really impressed with was that the Health Kit is going to be released as open source. No licence needed to develop apps that use the health kit. Good on you Apple!
- Apple Watch was the first hardware item on the list. New bands and a price drop? Nice.
- Apple TV has a larger App Store, Folders, Wider Siri search access to include more Apps in the search space, Games and Live Photos.
- iPhone was what we were all waiting for. Turns out that the iPhone 7 is not going to happen any time soon. Instead, Apple introduces the iPhone SE. Essentially all the brains of the iPhone 6s shoehorned into the body of the 5s. The 4 inch phone format has been so popular that Apple has seemingly turned its back on the 6 and 6s designs.
I can see where they are heading with this. A price drop in an easy to use form factor. No more outlandish phablets, just a design that works well. Looks like Apple is no longer playing the one-upmanship game with Samsung when it comes to phones. NFC, LTE, 4K, 12MP camera and starting at US$399 for the 16GB version available from March 31.
- The iPad pro also got a downsize with a new 9.7 inch form factor to match the iPad Air2 but with the same features as the 12 inch tablet. This is also a move to the budget concious end of the market that wants a powerful tablet that is very portable. I can see this as a popular choice for people looking to upgrade from older tablets. This should perform really well at US$599 for the 32GB Wifi model.
Over all this announcement could have been covered with a few press releases and it almost felt like going through the motions. The sizzle was certainly gone from this event. I was wondering what Apple would do in reply to the Samsung Galaxy S7 and they simply focussed on their own game. No matching features and no one-upmaship that we have come to expect. Simply identifying untapped target markets and simply catering to them. Looks like Apple is getting down to the business of the long game.