As is usually the case, Apple’s special events where new products are presented or launched, the company didn’t really disappoint, but one thing was dramatically clear. For better or worse, Apple of 2015 is Tim Cook’s Apple. Here’s what happened and how it’s obvious that Apple has changed even though it looks the same.
Of Legacy And Future
Apple under co-founder Steve Jobs maintained what could be considered a laser focus on new product presentations. Cook has twiddled with Jobs’ formula by introducing more executives heading each product discipline.
Monday’s ‘Spring Forward’ event in California was a perfect example of how Apple straddles the past while moving the bar toward and beyond the future. While customers want a new Apple TV, Cook merely added content and dropped the price to $69.
HBO Now at $15 a month sounds impressive and it’s another hole in the armor plated cable TV companies and their stranglehold on content delivery, but the whole package is just more of the same. Same Apple TV, lower price, more content.
Cook then walked through a variety of Apple’s newest products and opportunities, from Apple Pay to HealthKit to ResearchKit; all impressive, yes, but all will need time to make a dent in the digital universe.
iPhone is the company’s bread and butter these days but the Mac is a healthy business but when Apple says it has ‘reinvented the notebook’ it’s adding new meaning to iterative innovation. The new, and much more expensive, MacBook model is anything but a re-invention. It’s still a clamshell notebook with a faster CPU, thinner and lighter case, higher resolution display, multiple case colors, nifty new keyboard and trackpad, and a single all-purpose USB-C port.
That’s hardly a reinvention of anything, even when considering that less is more, and the new MacBook costs much more than an entry level MacBook Air. Innovation, yes. Reinvention, no. Some of the new tech was handed down to the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, but this is the first new MacBook model in a few years.
Watch The Watch
Steve Jobs didn’t hesitate to trot out a few executives so he could catch his breath, and let underlings share a few moments of on-stage glory, and Tim Cook carries the tradition forward; Phil Schiller, Jeff Williams, Kevin Lynch, pretty face and health advocate, and Apple Watch user, Christy Turlington took turns sharing the stage.
In an event that was expected to be all Watch, Apple devoted more time to everything else than it did the Watch itself. Maybe that’s because Watch has been sliced and diced more than any Apple product since the iPhone back in 2007.
I don’t recall a new product presentation where nothing about the technical side was presented. Apple Watch is all about what it does and how it looks than how it does what it does inside. That’s the new Apple. It’s less about what’s inside than it is about what works on the outside.
Alright, we know Apple’s Watch pricing and it’s not really scary except for the gold Edition model. No matter how you slice and dice the number of models, Apple Watch prices range from $350 to $10,000, making it one of Apple’s least expensive new products, and one of the most expensive new products.
A number of things became painfully clear during the ‘Spring Forward’ event. Like it or not, agree or disagree, Apple remains unafraid to charge higher prices for what it perceives to be higher quality. The new MacBook starts at $400 more than the MacBook Air. Apple Watch Steel can easily tip the scales to nearly $2,000 with the right band and case combo. And, as is often the case with Apple products, the total is greater than the sum of the parts because it’s increasingly obvious that Apple Watch doesn’t really solve a problem as much as it solves many little problems.
Will I buy an Apple Watch? Yes. But I’ll be very careful when selected which model and band, and I won’t stand in line to buy it or view it.