Apple’s October Event: A Review

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My initial overview thoughts from today’s October Apple Event.

Software

The biggest news here is that all of the software updates: OS X, iLife, & iWork are all FREE!

The software business has a trend of moving to subscription based services (Adobe’s Creative Cloud, Microsoft’s Office 365, etc.) and Apple has taken another path… giving it away.

The advantage Apple has is that they make money on the hardware and as a result, they can afford to give the software away, as a perk of being a part of the Apple ecosystem.

Today was a massive software release for Apple: OS X, iLife (iMovie, iPhoto, GarageBand), and iWork (Pages, Keynote, Numbers) all saw updates. iLife and iWork also saw major iOS version updates and iWork has new cloud based versions for online collaboration as well.

Along with these major updates, Apple quietly released iOS 7.0.3 with some bug fixes and new features for iCloud keychain that work with OS X Maverick. Details here on what was updated.

I plan to share more individual thoughts on each of these software updates as I have a chance to install and use them.

Hardware

While Apple didn’t release any totally new products today (AppleTV, iWatch, etc.), they did make some major upgrades to existing products that matter.

First, more details (including price) were released regarding the all new MacPro. At $2999, this is clearly a PRO level machine but practically a bargain for the power it provides. This machine looks incredible and the specs on it will be a dream for anyone doing major video or audio production. For the average business, including our web design business, this is WAY more than they need however.

The MacBook Pro received a speed bump and a price reduction at the 13in size.

The largest upgrades came to the iPad lineup. The top of the line iPad has been renamed the iPad Air. It’s better in just about every way: faster, lighter, smaller footprint with the same size screen, thinner, better camera,  and improved wireless connections.

The iPad mini also saw a major upgrade that is very tempting. It now boasts the beautiful retina display, it’s significantly faster, has advanced wireless capabilities, and more. 

I would be hard pressed to pick between the two iPads. The new iPad Air is so much lighter and thinner it takes away the negatives of the old iPad, BUT the price point for the mini is a huge advantage.

The new iPhone 5S, iPad Air, and MacBook Pro keep Apple well ahead of the curve with regards to overall hardware offering for mobile users. Their build quality and overall software integration is hard (read: impossible) to beat at the moment.

If you want to see a full video of the announcements, you can see that on Apple’s website.

Apple, Innovation, and Revolutions

There seems to be a growing number of people “disappointed” with Apple’s latest products because they are not revolutionary enough. There are increasing calls that Apple is just rotting without Steve Jobs. Is it really?

The latest iPhone has a graphics processor 56x faster than the original iPhone and uses LESS power for MORE battery life. And they are not innovating?

Apple is the driving force to push retina level displays with crystal clarity to laptops and mobile devices.

The new iPhone has an integrated fingerprint reader (that by all accounts works really well). Right now that may seem like more of a trick than a revolution, but what happens when they tie that into passbook and payment mechanisms. Credit cards, receipts, and wallets could be a thing of the past. Apple isn’t calling it the “most forward thinking phone” for no reason at all.

I know, I know, the question everyone has is “but what’s the next big thing?” I don’t know any more than you do, but to act like Apple isn’t working on that just because you don’t know about it is silly. No one knew anything about the iPhone before Steve Jobs introduced it — or the iPod or the iMac (all of which many people said would be failures out the gate).

Clearly the iPhone has been more of an evolution with each release, but if you look at the capabilities of the current iPhone (hardware & software) compared to the original, it’s staggering.

Would we prefer Apple push out products like Google Glass? Just because no one has done something like that before doesn’t make it revolutionary. Products that are a dud don’t start a revolution. No one is seriously going to walk around with those glasses on — it’s a beta prototype at best.

I continue to believe that Steve Jobs best invention was not the iMac or iPod or iPhone but Apple itself. To act like Apple can’t continue to innovate without him is a disservice to the incredible talent and leadership that works there. Apple continues to provide the very best design and technology products available anywhere in the world.

Revolutionary products don’t rotate through on a 6 month cycle, they take time, investment, and lots of creative juice. Those are three things Apple has a plethora of.

Will they be the ones that release the “next big thing” — I have no reason to believe otherwise. Who else will it be?

iPhone 5: What’s New?

The big question most people will have about the iPhone 5? What’s new?! Here’s a list from the event today of things that are new or improved…

  • thinner
  • lighter
  • better battery life
  • better camera
  • 4" tall
  • upgraded software
  • metal back
  • twice as fast
  • panorama photos
  • shared photo streams
  • improved video
  • front camera now 720p
  • 3 microphones for better sound in
  • improved speaker
  • new dock connecter (80% smaller, improved durability, all-digital, reversible)
  • iOS 6 installed
  • All new “EarPods” (upgraded headphones)

Pricing Update:

  • $199 for 16GB. $299 for 32GB, $399 for 64GB with contract.
  • iPhone 4 is now FREE with contract.
  • iPhone 4S is now $99 with contract.

Availability Update:

Pre-order this Friday the 14th. Ships on the 21st.

Also, iOS 6 rolls out September 19th.

When the iPhone debuted, it was widely criticized for having no buttons/keys. Now people [Samsung] think the iPhone’s design is ‘obvious.’

Dan Frakes