The Apple uber-fanboys waited with bated breath for September 9th. Everyone knew that Apple would be unveiling their next model of iPhone and I think everyone pretty much knew that the Apple TV was finally getting a long overdue upgrade. I know rumors were floating around about the iPad Pro, but I don’t recall if they were ever concrete enough to know, for certain, that Apple would be unveiling it.
I pseudo-watched the live event; by that I mean I watched the CNET live broadcast. Brian Tong and his crew are very entertaining to watch during these big events, especially when Brian is in full nerdgasm mode, which he was during this event.
The Apple Event talked about the Apple Watch, Apple TV, iPad Pro (with Smart Keyboard), Apple Pencil and, of course, the iPhone 6S/6S Plus. There was quite a bit of information disseminated; some of it good, some of it kind of blah. I talk more about each of these after the break.
First up was the Apple Watch. There really wasn’t much they had to talk about. They didn’t share numbers because I know that they are not selling as well as Apple probably had hoped. I can tell you why. Nobody wants to pay $350 for a watch, even if its a “smart watch”. I want an Apple Watch. I want an Apple Watch really bad. This part of the event was just Apple flaunting this awesome product in front of me while my wallet was screaming “NOOOOOOOOOOOO” (in its best Vader impression).
Apple please, please, please do something to make them more affordable! I swear I will buy one at a (much) lower price point.
Apple TV has got to be one of my favorite Apple products. We’ve had our “hockey puck” for several years now and use it daily. I’m not exaggerating, we do use it daily to watch Netflix, Hulu, etc. Its a great device and was in dire need of an update. I’m glad to see Apple finally came through.
Apple TV with Siri is going to be amazing. I’m excited about the new iPhone 6s (especially since I’m at the end of my contract and ready for an update), but this new Apple TV is very exciting. The fact that I can simply say “Hey Siri, play the next episode of Bones” and it will know exactly which episode to play just blows my mind. I think this will be very competitive with Amazon’s Echo system (which I was giving some consideration to, until now). I’m hoping for some great Black Friday deals on this guy when Thanksgiving comes around because “I wantz one”!
iPad Pro (and Smart Keyboard)
I’m not going to buy an iPad Pro. I actually love my iPad Mini because of how much smaller it is. I don’t need a 12.9 inch tablet. I understand the demographic Apple is trying to appeal to, and it will be interesting to see if they are successful. I don’t want a tablet to be a laptop, that’s why I don’t like the Surface. As I’ve talked about in the past, I don’t really like laptops and the Surface is just a glorified laptop. The iPad Pro is obviously trying to directly compete with the Surface by being the tablet that the Surface wanted to be. However, the size will still make it feel like a laptop, especially when you add the Smart Keyboard.
I do think it was smart of Apple to make a “Smart keyboard” (no pun intended) but the price tag hardly makes it worth it. People are probably going to choose the Surface over the iPad/Smart Keyboard combination (because most people don’t see the difference between a laptop and a tablet, noobs). People were comparing the two within minutes of the announcement; clearly most of them were probably Apple haters so you can’t expect too many of them to be objective. Petty differences aside, the Surface will be a better bargain.
The first thing that everyone remembers when Apple unveiled the Apple Pencil, was this Steve Jobs quote from MacWorld, 2007 when the first iPhone was debuted:
“Yuck. Nobody wants a stylus, so let’s not use a stylus.”
I have mixed feelings about the Apple Pencil. Once you add the cost of the Apple Pencil to your iPad Pro and Smart Keyboard, you are going to spend about $1100, which again, gives credence to the Surface Pro 3 being a better bargain. The fact that you have to “charge your pencil” does seem a little goofy to me. If the Pencil only works with the iPad Pro, then I have no interest in it. If I can use it on my iPad Mini then it has definitely peaked my interest.
iPhone 6S/6S Plus
This is what everyone was expecting. Granted I agree with Apple (and the CNET crew) that this is more than just a minor version change from the iPhone 6/6 Plus. They improved all the specs of the phone (with the exception of the case itself) sufficiently enough that I think you could legitimately say its a completely new phone. The 3D Touch technology actually looks pretty cool (and was probably the most “innovative” thing at the whole event).
I’ll admit, since I am so close to the end of my current contract with AT&T that we are running the numbers to see what it might cost to upgrade our phones when it comes time to renew. I’ll also admit that I’m a little excited to get my paws on a new iPhone 6S. Since we leap frog versions, I will be upgrading from a 5S, so that fuels some of that excitement as well.
So the Apple Event probably didn’t really deserve all the pomp and circumstance that lead up to it. Obviously Apple’s marketing did their job well and you can’t blame them because that’s the job they are paid to do. I’m a little pumped about the Apple TV and new iPhone, the rest of it wasn’t really within my cone of practicality. I think Apple does make it rough for the development community sometimes because each new resolution and gadget they unveil means changes to the SDK or new SDKs to learn and implement. It makes me a little anxious and I don’t even do full time mobile development.
Whether you love Apple or hate Apple, the things technology can do these days makes it great to be a geek.