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In a now annual ritual its 2016 Apple event held on September 7 left me a lot to reflect on.
- The presentation was telling a hard story to an audience that were likely to be underwhelmed. Phil Schiller rather than Tim Cook carried the most difficult parts of the keynote.
- The piano finish device was an obvious attempt to provide a style angle to the new iPhone and mask the aerial sections. However it is a class action waiting to happen as it will dull over time with micro-scratches
- The story that the audience was told didn’t feel right. Lets talk about the headphone jack. The double camera only appears in the Plus, so the requirement for room isn’t a credible argument on its own, other vendors have managed to waterproof handsets with headphone jacks. I suspect that Apple isn’t sure that its backing the right horse. Its the least aggressive change they’ve made in a while. The inclusion of an adaptor shows that their user aggression still isn’t as high compared to when they got rid of: SCSI, Apple Desktop Bus (ADB), iPod 30 pin port (still pissed about that one), AppleTalk, floppy disks or optical disk playback and storage – I suspect that they are fearfully waiting to see what the pre-order numbers will be like and they should be. A straw poll of AdAge readers (core Apple user demographic) showed overwhelming disappointment
- There is a lot of really nice features in iOS 10 – I’ve been using it for a while, why didn’t they make more of this and macOS Sierra?
- Innovation in the smartphone category has flattened out. The iPhone 7 provides reasons for laggard iPhone users to upgrade, but nothing for 6 and 6S series users. There are few if any innovations for the likes of Huawei to ape in their new models
- Innovation in smartwatches has plateaued. Apple is coalescing around fitness and dedicated products are much more cost effective for consumers. In China Xiaomi’s fitness band sells for about £15, for many consumers it would be enough. Fitbit is doing well – Apple’s wrist computer (alongside Samsung Gear etc) looks like a sledgehammer to crack a nut
- Apple have done nothing to address the latent demand for new laptops amongst consumers (I am still happy with my 13″ Retina MacBook Pro). There was no replacement for the Cinema display (again, I am happy with my current set-up, but where is the pro-user love)
- Apple abandoned its flirtation with luxury by discontinuing the gold Watch. They are still holding out to be viewed as stylish by doubling down with Hermes and a white ceramic device – it would work on the opposite wrist to a Chanel J12
- It was curious that Apple moved away from talking about security and privacy; the collaborative document working using iWork which could be seen as a potential attack vector on to the desktop. The Air Pods that sync seamlessly with a device without visible security precautions. iPhone security was addressed in the James Corden car karaoke skit at the beginning of the show rather than woven through the materials.
- The speech about the app store was to try and bolster developer support, I suspect that services will shore up the Apple financial numbers over the next 12 months
- The Nike branded Apple Watch was part of a broader move reposition the Apple Watch 2 as a fitness device and probably the biggest transition of the 2016 Apple event.
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