This week has been a busy one for Apple. We had reported earlier of their decision to allow ads to be blocked on Safari on iPad and iPhone and the potential impact that could have but the biggest Apple news of the week was always going to come from the Autumn Apple Event which took place Wednesday.
We were (digitally) at the event and take a look back and see the news that came out of it and just what that means for Apple and the rest of us.
Something’s got to give
The first thing to mention about the event is what wasn’t at the event. Apple traditionally holds two end-of-year events which covers mobile, Mac and everything in between. This year marked a change to the dual format with all of Apple’s news crammed in to a single two and a half hour event. Something had to give, and it did.
Mac users were treated to the merest sniff of an upgrade and while Apple cannot be expected to rewrite the (Mac) book every year it nevertheless did seem disappointing that the old flagship has been relegated to the back of Apple’s mind.
There were plenty of positives coming from the event however, but the movement to a single event inevitably means that not all of Apple’s products are going to see massive air time. The upside of that is that some products had more air time.
Apple release the iPhone 6s
The iPhone 6s was launched to much fanfare with a graphics and performance boost compared with the the existing iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 + devices. It’s a bit unfair on Apple to question the upgrades (the devices look essentially the same) but the improvement in power and the features such as moving pictures (think gifs) don’t really suggest that the 6s will be a world beater. The devices will be released later in September at the same price point of the existing models. The improved front and back cameras do look like producing sharp images but a camera upgrade on a new phone model is pretty much a given these days. That said the new and improved iPhone 6s and 6s plus will provide iPhone 4 and 5 users with food for thought but existing 6 users will likely give it a miss.
Will a pencil save the iPad?
A new iPad was also unveiled at the event, this time aimed at the more professional market. Aptly named the iPad Pro it is said to be “The biggest news in iPad since the iPad,” according to Apple CEO Tim Cook. iPad sales have been dropping in recent years as a combination of competition and lack of real features (what else can you do with it apart from watch films, browse the net and play games?) have resulted in fewer people upgrading devices.
The iPad pro then is set to position Apple a little differently in the marketplace as this is fashioned as a powerful work tool for graphic designers, illustrators and others in creative industry. The iPad pro is going to be released with an additional stylus accessory to make the tablet lightweight and functional for work as well as play.
Hold Wacom a minute…?
Yes, the elephant in the room is that Wacom is already established in the industry as the de facto must have tool for design creatives, and for good reason too, as it is the best. Although Wacom has been introducing more slim line and travel friendly devices recently it is ostensibly a workplace tool so Apple has a chance of fitting in with the entertainment/work sphere. It is priced well too at comfortably less than Wacom’s offerings so it may well appeal to students as well as designers needing an extra tool for travel as well as having the ability to watch a film or two.
The Future of TV is Apps – TVOS
Speaking of films, Apple TV got a much needed and long overdue upgrade at the event. If any criticisms were to be made of the original Apple TV it would be lack of app support. Quite simply the device did not support enough applications to make it worthwhile as a home entertainment hub. Apple TV mark 2 is something different with tons of support in addition to better memory and performance and a remote that can be voice controlled thanks to Siri and you have a device that is a potential player in the TV market.
Apple said that it was taking TV seriously and the new Apple TV announcement showed that this was true so you have to give Apple credit for putting their money where their mouth was so to speak.
All in all it was positive steps for Apple if not great leaps which cannot be expected every time. They have gone to some lengths to alter the image of its struggling brands like the Apple TV and the iPad and diversify its brand image somewhat. It remains to be seen whether the likes of Sky or Cintiq can be challenged in their established domains but the moves are generally positive and both the TV and professional tablet, the TV especially, look like credible devices rather than the ‘Apple Toys’ they had come to be known as. The iPad and Apple TV upgrades at least give the two devices a fighting chance in their respective marketplaces.
While this won’t be one of the more memorable Apple events it was certainly a steady and positive movement forward for the company. With Apple you always get the impression that something big is around the corner. If this was a graded paper you would give the event a steady B ‘good, but can do better’. And the thing is with Apple, you know they will.