I was excited to watch the keynote and wanted to present some of the highlights here.
I’ve tried to be as accurate as possible in presenting this recap of the keynote event. It is however, very likely that I’ve made a few errors long the way. So please refer to Apple’s website for the exact details and specs for each of their new products. Almost all of the photos displayed here belong to Apple. Opinions however, are my own.
The Biggest Announcement of the Day Was the New iPad Air 2
Hallmarks for New iPhone 6
The live stream event opened with a cool video recapping some of the most exciting events from the last 30 days. Reactions which followed Apple’s September Keynote and the launch of the extremely popular new iPhone 6’s, plus the Apple Watch news.
iPhone 6 & 6 Plus
The iPhone 6
1st 30 Days Total Orders
Execeeded All Previous Apple New Product Orders
…by a lot!
Tim Cook reviewed iPhone 6 Sales saying they are the best phones they’ve ever created iPhones 6 and 6+ are the fastest selling iPhones in history!
Apple Watch on the Cover of China Vogue
By the end of this week the new iPhones will be available in 32 countries and on the same day as Apple’s October keynote (Thursday, Oct. 16th) the iPhone 6 went on sale in China. The release was timed to coincide with China’s huge roll-out of 4G. The 6’es will work with all 3 cellular network technologies including TD LTE, FD LTE.
Recap of New Product Announcements
Mr. Cook went on to talk about Apple Pay, Apple Watch and briefly touched upon WatchKit.
Apple Pay News
Apple Pay begins on Monday, October 20th. The concept for Apple Pay is to make purchasing Easy, Secure and Private.
Over 500 banks in the US have already signed on to participate with Apple Pay.
Since announcing Apple Pay in the September keynote the retail community has also flocked to interface with Apple Pay.
Some of the many retailers include:
Apple Watch & WatchKit News
The new SDK WatchKit for app developers is being released in November.
Some amazing new personalized apps have already been developed for Watch including those by:
- American Airlines
Then Tim turned the floor over to Craig Federighi (Sr. VP of Software Engineering) to talk more about ios 8 and Yosemite.
Craig reviewed features & new updates for ios 8 and OS 10 Yosemite – with a focus on seamless integration
Apple is Proud of the Stats For Their Installed ios 8 User Base
(which is pretty phenomenal when you see the numbers)
After just 26 days 94% of ios users are on either ios 7 (46%) or 8 (48%) for a total of 94% penetration of it s user base.
He compared user adoption of ios to that of Android, where 25% are now using the latest OS Kit Kat, 313 days following it’s release. The vast majority of Android users are operating under an OS that’s 2 years old.
My Nexus 7 with KitKat
Mr. Federighi Gave a Brief Overview of ios 8 Enhancements
- Tap to Talk & Easy Location Sharing in Messages
- QuickType with predictive typing feature
- Family Sharing
- 3rd Party Keyboards – he said there’s even an app for typing Klingon!
He also talked a lot about the ‘seamless integration’ features of ios 8 and he even demoed a few of them.
He went on to discuss what, in his opinion, really sets Apple’s whole mobile device product line apart from it’s competitors. Which is ios 8’s potential for developers.
He highlighted the key aspects of Extensions, Sharing, and 3rd Party Actions implemented in ios 8, and illustrated the intent behind these for developers.
He discussed other news for developers, including providing new developer access to photos, keyboards and more, as well as an entirely new language for app development called Swift.
Swift, the newest programming tool for ios, is rapidly gaining wide acceptance. There are already a flood of new apps written in Swift which are available in the App Store. In addition, major universities are incorporating the Swift Language into their curriculum already, as well as Apple’s Enterprise partner IBM.
Craig closed with this:
Major Software News Announcements
New iWork for ios and Yosemite Free Today (both mac and ios app stores)
OS 10 Yosemite Free Available Today (mac app store)
ios 8.1 Released on Monday, October 20th
His last comments were regarding ios 8.1, which will be available on Monday. He said they were pleased to be bringing back the ‘Camera Roll’ (due to popular request!), as well as officially beginning the new iCloud storage plans with this pricing:
The focus was then brought back to CEO Tim Cook. Which led him to start his introduction for: The Biggest News of the Day
Tim Cook announced that this year is the Mac’s 30th birthday (which is a bit hard to believe for us old-timers!)
Happy Birthday Mac
Tim’s Introduction to New iPad Announcements
Tim reviewed aspects of the huge market-share iPad has captured and how customers worldwide have both embraced, and contributed to advancing iPad’s technological innovations.
Success of the iPad (in terms of Sales volume)
He marveled at the numbers: ‘225 Million iPads sold in the last 4 years‘ and discussed how those sales figures compare to computer sales of PC’s in the current year. The sales figures he showed are below, but it left me wondering about why this comparison was used, rather than one to a more comparable technology such as tablets.
In doing so, he was essentially pointing out Apple’s dominance over Microsoft. But the ‘apples to oranges‘ comparison left me puzzled and seemed to add an air of concern Apple may feel towards satisfying investors and Wall Street.
Sales of iPads in 2014 to Date Compared to Sales of PC’s from the Top Four Makers in 2014(Includes laptops, notebooks, desktops, 2 in ones, all in ones, refrigerators and toasters in one)
Acer 24 Million
Dell 40 Million
Hp 54 Million
Lenova 57 Million
iPad 70 Million
He ended this brief look at the financials by stating that those numbers weren’t nearly as important to Apple as their more significant counterpart, customer satisfaction.
Tim’s Words (as best as I can remember them) regarding Customer Satisfaction and the iPad Air:
But what’s most important to Apple, (what makes our hearts sing) is that the iPad holds the #1 Spot in Customer Satisfaction. The iPad mini Retina has scored an unheard of 100% For Customer Satisfaction. Why? It’s unique blend of simplicity and capability. The fact that you can do so many things, in such an enjoyable way.
iPad’s Versatility is Tied to the Apps
The ‘Verge’ named the iPad Air the Best Tablet You Can Buy
Tim introduced Phil Shiller (head of international marketing) to present the newest hardware releases with this question:
“How do you make the ‘Best Tablet in the World Better?”
Phil Shiller discussed the New iPad Air 2 at length, highlighting it’s many technological innovations and it’s amazing aesthetics.
iPad Air 2 Features
- New A8X Chip – was created specifically for the iPad Air 2 – Amazing speed, power and image signal processing
- New Anti-Glare Display Reduces Reflectivity by 56%
- New iSight 8mp Camera – takes 1080p photos and video
- New Photograph Capture Features – for the 1st time Air can take Panoramic, Time Lapse, Burst Mode Photos & SloMo Videos
- New HD FaceTime Camera with a new, much improved sensor
- Faster WiFi 802.11ac with MIMO
- Faster LTE with more bands (20)
- Touch ID
- 10 Hour Battery
- New barometer, accelerometer functions and sensors providing motion tracking & calibrating motion
iPad Air & iPad Mini 3 PreOrders Began Friday October 17th and they will begin shipping on Monday, October 20th
My Personal & the General Public’s Main Disappointments Regarding the iPad News
The fact that there even is a new iPad Mini 3 is a somewhat confusing I think. The topic has generated a lot of disappointment and criticism amongst Apple fans. Oddly, although Phil briefly mentioned that there is a new Mini, Touch ID and the new gold color seem to be the only features that were upgraded.
I have the iPad Mini 2 (which I love), so for me personally, I wasn’t interested in or anticipating the possibility of a new mini being announced. What I was interested in however, was the possibility of a new, larger iPad, with true multitasking capabilities. Given Tim Cook’s sales figure comparisons to PCs, it seems to me that this is comparison is really only relevant if or when there is an actual iPad that can do all of the things that a PC can. But I guess one company can only do so much in such a brief span of time, and hopefully his comparisons are predictive of things in the pipeline for Apple.
Two new apps for the Air were introduced by Mr. Shiller. The apps were featured and alongside their respective developers who gave really interesting demonstrations of each.
The first app featured was Pixelmator, which was developed in Lithuania for the Mac. It’s a full featured image editing app, which appears to be extremely powerful and it includes features such as layers and cloning. When this app is released to the public it will make great use of the new A8X cpu and all that processing power!
The second demonstration was of an app developed in France for easy and creative video editing. It’s called Replay, and I can personally attest to it’s ease of use and uniqueness. Immediately following the keynote, I went to the app store to search for both apps. I found Replay instantly. In much less time than it took me to select and crop some of the screenshots I took during the live stream, the app created a really cool little video with them, set it to music, and uploaded it to YouTube.
Please keep in mind that this video was created for purely done for testing purposes, but I was so impressed with the results, that I decided to leave the new video on YouTube for a while.
As I mentioned above, Replay is already available in the app store and it’s free! Although to remove their watermark it costs $1.99, and if you want to have access to a huge assortment of styles there’s an additional bundled fee of $9.99 for everything (which includes removing the watermark). One unique feature Replay has they call the volumetric lighting technique. It’s functionality that’s never before been offered on a mobile device, and it gives video editors the ability to manipulate captions and text with advanced light processing control.
After an in depth look at all the new hardware features and processing capabilities of the iPad Air 2, Phil went on to discuss several more product upgrades and redesigns. The two main product announcements here included the new 27″ iMac and a brand new Mac Mini line.
There are three iMac’s available in the new iMac lineup.
But there’s only one that’s been upgraded. Although ‘upgraded’ is a bit of a misnomer here…actually, its been entirely re-engineered…the 27″ iMac 5K Retina.
New 27″ iMac Retina 5K
The redesign, specs and power of this new iMac seem truly amazing. In addition to competing with state of the art desktop computers, it’s also targeted to compete with some of the most advanced 4K televisions available currently. It’s probably the most expensive iMac Apple has ever produced, and seems to also be targeted towards professional graphic designers in a large array of fields. Everything from engineering to architecture, fashion design, graphic design, professional photography etc., it seems to me that this machine will be able to handle it all!
Personal digression most people will want to skip…
Unfortunately for me personally, the price for this new iMac which starts at $2499, will not be a viable replacement for my family’s very old ‘late 2006‘ 20′ iMac with the ‘Core 2 Duo’ computer. We got our old iMac to share and primarily to broaden our graphic processing capabilities, which PC’s back then lagged behind in (and sort of continue to do so today). Granted it was the 20″ and it was late 2006, but we paid $1559 for it back then.
Summing it Up
It’s clear to me Apple continues to strive for excellence and in doing so works hard to offer products that are unparalleled in the industry. The company seems to slowly be making a shift towards opening up their platforms to the world’s developer’s, which I believe is the key ingredient for securing their almost revered position amongst tech companies.
Am I disappointed there weren’t ‘more’ and ‘grander’ new products? Of course, but perhaps the desire to provide a really solid customer experience is, in the bigger picture, a wiser, more mature move for Apple. That the Mac celebrates it’s 30th year this year tells me this: What began as young, cutting edge start-up in a garage so long ago, has evolved into a new phase. One which melds corporate foresight, with sound financial strategies. Yet also aims to serve the new global market with great technology, great service, and innovations aimed at improving everyone’s lives.
CNET published an insightful article at the end of 2013 entitled ‘Why Apple’s 2014 won’t be like 2013′, in which they summed up Apple’s future goals:
“What’s becoming clear is that Apple isn’t just focused on trying to create another hit product. The company has long been preparing for a future in which technology is deeply woven into the fabric of everyday life. It’s about creating an experience and brand that represents the best of the digital future.”