One thing Apple does incredibly well is market – creating a tremendous sense of anticipation for their launch events. And when the hype is at a fever-pitch, the stakes are high to deliver. Yesterday’s event was a disappointment, leaving many unable to watch the live stream AND underwhelming us with a barrage of “me, too” products. So what? These products are not earth-shattering but are o’plenty to keep Apple on their trajectory as the top-shelf digital product company of our age.
Briefly, the issues with the stream: really bad. From the continual drops/resets, the “rainbow screen of death,” the Cinese translator voice-over…at least it created great Twitter fodder.
Apple Branding: Interesting…no “iWatch” or “iPay,” rather we get “Apple Watch” and “Apple Pay.” Getting away from naming everything “i” is probably smart, although it might hint at a perceived need to underscore the Apple brand. In either case: applaud, good move.
Phones: I will admit, my most likely next phone will be the iPhone6. It looks like a winner. Since the 6 Plus (likely) won’t fit in my pocket, I’m unlikely to fork out the extra dough for that one. Plus (pun intended), I already have an iPad. Not sure I see the brilliance in the phablet strategy from Apple – sorta nullifies the use case for the iPad Mini, doesn’t it? Mostly “me, too” in the phone category, catching up with Samsung and others.
Apple Pay: Smart. Makes a TON of sense, highly anticipated and expected entry for Apple into the burgeoning mobile payments space. However, as Business Insider observes, Apple is rolling with a safe (smart) strategy to start here, working closely with the credit card companies and banks vs. going the direct route (ala PayPal). I can see the smarts here – stick with what you do best and how you can enable and improve your portion of the value chain. On the flip-side, seen in context with the bold moves of Apple in the past this feels like a defensive maneuver.
Lastly, the Apple Watch. Looks a little too much like the Samsung Galaxy Gear. However, some of the UI features that were demonstrated show that Apple put thought and care into the experience to get it “right.” Whether you agree with VentureBeat – Apple Watch is ugly and boring (and Steve Jobs would have agreed) – or you like the design, there is no doubt that Apple’s entrance into this space will EXPAND wearables to a much larger category in 2015 and beyond. And remember the their first gen iPod (pictured above) – we will look back on this first Apple Watch with the same nostalgia as the company pushes the design ahead in the coming years.
What do you think? Will these launches cement Tim Cook as a capable visionary? Will Apple stay on their rockstar trajectory?