Apple’s October special event invitations were graced with the tag line “It’s been too long.” The special event delivered refreshed iPads (which are typically upgraded on an annual basis), a rev to the Mac mini line up and a 5K 27" iMac was also added. Surprisingly, there were many Macs in need of major facelifts or minor updates that were left waiting and wanting. Apple’s next special event could simply recycle the tag line, as many Macs are well overdue for something new.
It was just a couple of months ago that bloggers across the globe — including a few of us at T-GAAP — were asking whether Apple CEO Tim Cook was ever going to take Apple forward. More iPhone, iPad, an Mac updates, it was becoming an innovation snooze-fest as Apple hadn’t entered a new market category or created a revolutionary new product for years.
While WWDC gave developers an entire suite of new software tools such as Metal, Heath Kit and Swift, consumers were wondering whether the magic of creating something new had died with Steve Jobs. Don’t get me wrong, Tim Cook has done a wonderful job managing the company, but users of Apple product expect more than just good company management, they expect cool new technologies that no one but Apple can deliver.
We have predicted, and now it comes true — here, here and here. Apple is to hold a special event on October 16, 2014, with the teaser on the invitation stating "It's been way too long." Since the Cook-era at Apple, this is the third year in a row where the company has held a special event in both the months of September and October.
October is a special month for Apple as it is the first month in its fiscal year, which is important on many levels. Most importantly, launching new products at the beginning of their fiscal year sets the stage as to what must happen throughout the next 12 months in order to make internal projections. If a product is given 12 months to succeed, versus 6 months, less panic sets in and clear thinking can prevail. October also allows enough time for newly announced products make their way onto store shelves and into shopping carts for the Christmas season.
Apple’s latest update to iOS, version 8.0.2, removes many 8.0 glitches and is certainly an an improvement over iOS the ill-fated 8.0.1! One of the items that has been problematic with iOS and some iPhones is the axis/gyroscope sensor determining which orientation to display items on the page. Even when turning iPhone around in a circle the orientation in iOS 8 seemed to be “stuck”. This bug seems to have been eliminated in iOS 8.0.2.
Bugs aside, Continuity is a key feature of iOS 8, and while it currently works with other iOS devices, to take advantage of it's seamless workflow between an iPhone or iPad and a Mac requires OS X Yosemite (due next month). To see how Continuity works, if you have an iPad that is WiFi only, and for example, if you are traveling in your car, the WiFi only iPad can now see your iPhone and begin using it as the hotspot. This is different than legacy hotspot capabilities, as there is no need to do anything on the phone. It can remain in your pocket, or on the dashboard or in a purse and still be found and used by Wi-Fi only devices — which includes Macs.
This weekend I spent some time watching college football and some of the NFL. I always find it fascinating to see who is spending big bucks to advertise in this expensive sports-drama space. In August Microsoft made a big splash about the Surface Pro 2 tablet (modified for exclusive NFL use) being the NFL’s sideline tablet of choice, after paying the NFL $400 million to join in of course. This weekend I saw a few commercials for the Surface Pro 3, going head-head against a Macbook Air. I also observed several Samsung commercials. One Samsung ad explained how the iPhone 6 Plus 5.5" screen is no big deal because Samsung had such a device in 2012. And then there was the Google Now commercial, where Google’s digital personal assistant is asked how long Koala bears sleep (up to 18 hours according to Google Now — if you’re curious).
This is for reference or if you completely missed the Keynote presentation where Apple announced the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Pay and Apple Watch.
September 12, 2014 — you can place an order for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
There is a saying, “It doesn’t matter how you start it is how you finish that matters.” Those of us who were unable to attend Apple’s Silicon Valley Gala, found streaming the event quite the challenge during the first 30-40 minutes of Tim Cook’s Keynote. Immediately Twitter was a-buzz concerning the inability to stream the event on Apple TV or through the website. But fortunately Apple fixed the problems and we were able to see, without interruption, “One more thing...”
For the past several years owners of Apple’s stock must be pleased with the company's leadership. The stock price hit a lul during the first half of 2013, but since then AAPL has returned to its pervious value. The real question is what will happen next.
Last night, while stumbling upon Penn & Teller’s whimsical Fool Us TV show (sorry, I really don’t watch much live TV anymore — thank you Apple TV), I found myself watching what I thought was another Microsoft Surface commercial, wasn’t a Microsoft ad at all. Rather, it was a generic Intel tablet commercial, pushing the idea that Intel-based tablets are what people need (not ARM-based or iPad tablets). Just how desperate is this dual-force Microsoft and Intel I wondered?
Microsoft’s failing campaign to sell their heavy, battery draining 2-in-1 Surface Pro is one thing, but Intel trying to sell the idea that the only type of tablet worth buying is due to something the user will never see, touch or understand – the processor. Apple’s dark decade of the 90’s laid the groundwork for Intel to advertise to, what could be described as, low technology information consumers. Intel was successful in pushing the idea that when looking to buy a new PC, that only an ”Intel Inside” PC was worth considering.
2010 was the last time the Apple faithful were treated to a new product category launch. The iPad made its debut just three years after the incredibly successful iPhone introduction. Over four years has passed since the iPad was announced, yet Apple has produced nothing “new.” Over the years iPhone and iPad have certainly improved — iPad now has a mini companion — but Apple’s history has set expectations for the company to launch something yet unseen, yet unknown, or yet to be done, every few years.
This Fall presents Apple another opportunity to break the cycle of just another set of upgrades to current product categories. The iPhone 6 (aka iPhone Air) is most likely going to sport a larger display (or displays), but it may be a new product that steals the show. Under Tim Cook’s leadership, there have been two special events in the Fall. A September show (2012, 2013) and an October show (2012, 2013). October is a special month for Apple as it is the beginning of its fiscal calendar. If you have never worked for a fortune 500 company, let me tell you, that is a big deal. Never under estimate when products launch and how they are tied to how bonuses are calculated.