Apple iPad Event Summarized in Four Words: iPad, Mac, Free Software
By Jim Lundy
Apple had its second fall event (Apple iPad Event) on October 22nd in San Francisco and delivered on most of the speculation on what they would announce. In many ways, they went further. This blog post summarizes the key announcements in three key sections – four words in all.
iPad Holiday Train arrives on-time
Apple depends on sales to consumers, so the big news for Apple is the timely announcement of new iPads, which are probably as significant in their refinement as it is for the lack of any revolutionary features. A lower price to $299 for the iPad Mini will make it more appealing. That along with the iPad 2 at $399 make each of them the value buys in the iPad fleet, which now has 4 models in different memory configuraitons . The iPad Mini Retina and the new sleeker, thinner and lighter iPad Air will attract traditional iPad users (upgrades) and new buyers.
One of the things that Apple keeps mentioning is that design and Manufacturing are closely intertwined. Based on that, we’d observe that Apple has a two year monetization timeline for its hardware designs. Some, such as the iPad 2, have an extended life. The new iPad Air represents the newest form factor for the larger iPad and the base for future deriviatives.
One of the reasons that some of the innovation in the iPhone 5s didn’t appear in the new iPads is partially due to component availability. We expect Apple to offer more options (e.g. Touch ID) next year as they optimize the manufacturing and get costs down through volume.
iPad, iPhone and 64 Bit iOS 7
It isn’t trivial when a vendor shifts its Operating System to 64 Bit. It brings up words like scalability. We feel that some of the features in iOS 7, combined with its 64 Bit architecture, will create new classes of apps. As evidence of this, with the new iPhone 5s, we see new apps like Photo Burst Mode and Slow Motion, which films at 120 frames per second.
New Macs and Mac Pro
Apple has a large market franchise with its MacBook Pro line-up and the new smaller form factor that was introduced in 2012 is now present across the entire MacBook Pro lineup. This means that the SuperDrive is gone, but so is excess weight. One will have to look closely at the MacBook Pro options and compare them to the new MacBook Air units that were introduced earlier this year. That said, there is now only a $100 premium to get the Retina display. Since we have had a 13″ MacBook Pro since last fall, we can say that the Retina display resolution is worth the extra price.
The Mac Pro just became the must have computer for all of the creative professionals. I have many friends that probably just put this on their corporate “must have” list. Performance is strong, the design is even stronger and the manufacturing assembly is coming back to the US. Apple spent a fair amount of time showing how the MacPro is being manufactured and it is an impressive story.
Free Upgrade for OS X and Free iWork with new Device Purchases
Apple probably didn’t need to pick a fight with Microsoft about upgrades and editors, but they did. OS X 10.0 (Mavericks) is available as a free download to existing owners of a MacBook, MacBook Pro or iMac. There are many cool new things that Mavericks can do, but it is mainly about shifting it to more of a complete and efficient 64 Bit Operating System.
One that caught our eye is the much better support for dual monitors. On top of that, Mavericks is advertised by Apple as being up to 1.4x faster than Mountain Lion. Finally, it appears that this OS X is much better at managing energy so battery life should be improved.
iWork Apps are free and 64 Bit
Apple has updated all of its iWork Apps ( iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) and made them free with a new Mac or iOS device purchase. The bigger news is that they are all 64 Bit apps, giving them additional scalability. For mobile professionals in an enterprise, iWork becomes a compelling option for certain types of work. We would note that iMovie, the video editing and publishing tool is very easy to use on a Tablet. For those that have not edited a movie on an iPad, it is quite easy and with the new version of iMovie, it just got better. Video Content is the new Document and Apple is ahead of the curve on video. Microsoft should take note of this.
So, Apple refreshed its line-up and continues to push the envelope with its Mobile Ecosystem (Apps, Devices, OS and Content). Given all these new products, there is no doubt that Apple Stores will be busy this holiday season.
Editors Note: We will be publishing a new analysis of the new round of Tablet Wars next week.