The wait is almost over. In a few short hours Tim & Company will take stage and tell us how well Apple is doing and what great things they have been working on behind closed doors. While the theme of this year’s developer conference is “The epicenter of change” this is one of the least anticipated developers conferences in recent history. We are still reeling from a stumble out of the gate on two very exciting new products — Apple Watch and MacBook — so we don’t foresee any new hardware showing being announced. As for OS X and iOS, expect more bug fixes and stability rather than earth shattering changes or gotta have features.
With all of that said, here are the five things you should NOT expect Apple to announce on Monday morning:
Apple has been rumored to be making the TV network rounds once again, in order to build an affordable and disruptive streaming service. Sounds great, but there is one mammoth hitch. If pricing is not aggressive enough it will not be well received.
Consumers dislike their communications companies as much as they disliked their mobile phones before iPhone. Comcast, Time Warner and DirecTV bundle packages are overpriced and deliver far too many programming options people do not care about. If Apple can bring to market a set of desired network options at affordable rates, Apple TV and its service would force cable entities to offer more choices, or lose subscribers.
The amazing Apple Watch was once available to own starting April 24, 2015. Now the watch is only shipping to customers who have pre-ordered the device on April 10th. Yesterday Apple removed their 04.24.2015 date stamp on the Apple Watch’s home page, replacing it with "The Watch is coming." According to The Telegraph, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail and Online sales, Angela Ahrendt, sent out a letter to Apple retail employees explaining the watch will not be available until June.
If you think massive lines will accompany the Apple Watch launch tomorrow, you may be in for a shock. Apple is deploying a new strategy in an attempt to eliminate long waits and roped off lines. The goal is to avoid sticking would-be buyers in lawn chairs and tents for hours or days on end. Apple's new retail rollout, spearheaded by Angela Ahrendts, Apple's VP of Retail and Online Sales, may help reduce lines, but try as she may, odds are high that consumers will still be waiting in some form of line tomorrow and on through the weekend.
The first change to Apple's line-elimination-strategy, is to soft launch Apple Watch. While the Apple Watch is available to try on and explore tomorrow, it is only available for pre-order, and will be available to purchase and pickup at Apple retail locations April 24. For the "gotta have it now" crowd, seeing it without being able to walk out of the store with the Apple Watch in-hand may delay their impulse shopping, spreading out that buying contingency over a few weeks time.
As we approach the launch of the new MacBook, with the latest Air and Pro updates already on store shelves, Apple may be preparing to make this one of the last Intel updates to high volume Macs for the foreseeable future. The only Mac requiring Intel hang around for some time to come is Apple’s Mac Pro, which is a low-volume, high-powered Mac, largely dedicated to the video and creative markets. Beyond the Mac Pro, every current Mac is open to being replaced with Apple’s own A-series of processors. Ironically, Intel’s focus on power consumption versus raw performance is aiding ARM, thus Apple, as they are catching up to Intel’s performance figures at a rapid pace.
It's happening, today at 10 AM Pacific, Apple's Special Event. We thought it high time to put out our pricing predictions vs what Apple delivers on stage:
Next Monday, March 9th, Apple is holding a special event in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Invitations Apple sent to the media were titled “Spring Forward” hinting at Saturday night’s U.S. time change, and therefore the Apple Watch. A few new features are expected to be unveiled, along with pricing and more details on battery life. Apple has again constructed another demonstration “tent” just outside Yerba Buena for what should be a hands-on after-event. The initial announcement of Apple Watch also showcased a temporary facility for the watch, but the media’s time with Apple Watch was strictly controlled. Monday’s event promises a liberal hands-on policy for journalists to explore the watch’s abilities, as it is a launch ready product. But could the event be more than just a rehash of Apple Watch with price points and a few new features thrown in for good measure?
As I stated in January, the highly rumored 12-inch MacBook may be a strong possibility for this event. Apple Watch is the main draw for Monday’s event, therefore it dictates any other announcement being the first product to be discussed. Apple has a specific cadence to their events. Apple CEO Tim Cook is likely to give a State of the Apple Union address, touching on various points of interest, ending his discussion with MacBook lineup. Apple's Sr. VP, of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller would then take the stage, introducing the all-new laptop.
In an interview released by Motoring, Mercedes-Benz CEO, Dieter Zetsche, warned Apple that entering the automobile market would be a great error in judgment. This is an interesting statement since Mercedes-Benz’ recently lost its North American research and development chief, Johann Jungwirth, to Apple to work on Titan (the project name for Apple's Car). Apparently Mr. Zetsche and Mr. Jungwirth have different value systems in what makes a good decision and what doesn’t.
When asked whether Zetsche was worried about Apple entering the automobile market, he responded by saying,
Getting well beyond the rumors of an Apple designed car, and thoughts of its possible mileage breakthroughs or handling, I began to wonder what the experience of an Apple created car would be like. Cars are an extension of our personality, or perhaps more importantly, an expression of how we wants to be seen by others. Cars are personal and emotional. We spend years of our lives within a car, and thus they tend to be a big deal.
Steve Jobs always groused about how there were concept cars which looked amazing, and how he would buy one today — if it were available. But when that car finally went on sale it looked like everything else out there. Apple has always never valued the auto laden world of focus groups and has instead relied on their own internal abilities to ferret out good designs from the poor. An Apple vehicle would likely follow this same philosophy.
Rumors continue to heat up that a new MacBook Air is just around the corner, as European dealers noted Apple has stopped restock shipment requests for the popular laptop. In addition Apple has approved the lowering of exiting U.S. supplies in order to clear channel inventory.
This can only mean one of two things: Apple is discontinuing the MacBook Air or they have an updated version that is to ship soon. We highly doubt this will change will include a rumored 12" MacBook Air model as such a shift would demand a special event to kick off the new laptop. Instead we can expect Apple to update the current 11" and 13" MacBook Air models with the latest Broadwell chipset from Intel. Pricing is likely to remain static unless Apple has seen softness in demand and needs to stimulate the product line.