Today, in roughly 3 hours (1:00pm EST) Apple will be hosting its big iPad unveiling in Cupertino. Due to numerous supply chain leaks as well as Apple’s own “accidental leak,” much is known about what will be announced. A new iPad Air and iPad mini will most likely be the highlight of the event with a slightly thinner design, a more advanced processor (being deemed the A8X chip), and long-awaited Touch ID amongst other run-of-the-mill marginal camera and display improvements. Alongside the new iPads we should expect to see a Retina iMac (personally most exciting), the launch of iOS 8.1 (with ApplePay), and OS X Yosemite. For the previously listed, I am confident they will make an appearance at today’s event.
There are a few other possibilities discussed on various rumor sites that may also get some airtime. These range from the more likely, such as more information on the previously teased “Photos” app that will be replacing both iPhoto and Aperture, to other longshots, such as a 12-inch “pro” version of the iPad or new 12-inch MacBooks.
Whatever does get announced, as an Apple evangelist (most people refer to me as a “fanboy,” but I much rather prefer the other term for reasons which won’t be listed here) I do have concerns for Apple. Apple has had a rough September/October with the iOS 8.0.1 botched update bricking 40,000 iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices, the overblown #bendgate scandal, the live-stream of the iPhone 6 announcement that was unwatchable, the late discovery of a critical flaw in HealthKit removing a big feature of the iOS 8 update right before its launch, and users being upset over the U2 album being automatically pushed to their Apple ID accounts. Despite this, Apple has had a wildly successful launch of the next generation iPhones and received a positive welcome by the general public to the teased Apple Watch. Today’s announcement can further Apple’s strength and push the month’s tribulations to the back burner.
My concerns for today’s keynote are as follows:
- Will an evolutionary, already-expected update to iPad be enough to reignite otherwise slowing sales? When the iPad was first introduced in 2010, iPhone displays were 3.5” and MacBooks were heavy, less-portable devices. Today the environment is not only different externally with a plethora of cheaper, arguably more functional tablets available from competitors, but Apple’s own product lineup consists of a smartphone display as large as 5.5” and Retina MacBook Pros with intense processing power packed in an extremely lightweight design. Apple was never afraid to cannibalize themselves, but they have almost squeezed out the need of the original “in-between your Mac and iPhone” intention.
- Is this truly the best product pipeline at Apple in 25 years? Eddy Cue, Vice President of Internet Software and Services for Apple, boasted earlier in May of this year just that, “later this year, we’ve got the best product pipeline that I’ve seen in my 25 years at Apple.” Granted the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is a huge advancement for iPhone and the Apple Watch is definitively the best smartwatch out there (remember I said I’m an evangelist?), but a marginally updated iPad, and no revolutionary new Apple TV or iPod or Mac? I doubt we can verify Cue’s claim if this keynote is only what we expect it to be.
- Speaking of Apple TV/iPod/Mac, when will Apple update some of these products that have some serious dust on them? iPods have become almost forgotten (probably rightfully so with the mass adoption of smartphones). The Mac Mini hasn’t been updated in almost 2 years, the MacBook Pro in over 2 years, the Apple TV in almost 3 years, and the Thunderbolt Display in over 3 years! Is this what the “It’s been way too long” tease is referring to from the media invitations? I am excited and desperately awaiting a new Apple TV personally and I know many other consumers feel the same way towards the Mac Mini and the Thunderbolt Display.
The last Apple keynote was thrilling and the definitive point in Tim Cook’s career where he officially took over Apple in the post-Jobs world. I hope Apple will live up to Cue’s claim, address some of my concerns, and truly continue to show us amazing products today. I know I will be gripping to the live blog(s) and hoping for a “One more thing” slide!
(Image from Business Insider)