Apple’s event on Tuesday both bemused and excited audiences, with some long-expected items, some slight incremental updates, and some surprises. As a team full of mobile developers and enthusiasts, we sat down (well, one of us was standing) and mulled over some questions and comments on the new products. Here’s what we came up with:
Why release a new iPad less than 6 months after releasing ‘The New iPad’?
It’s down to jacks. The iPhone 5 introduced the new Lighting connector, and people moved in droves to buy it. So, is Apple intended to expect iPhone 5 owners to buy a new iPad knowing its jack won’t play nice with their (equally) new phone? Hardly. Apple’s all about creating a friendly ecosystem across its devices, and matching connectors are a big part of it. While the incremental processor advancements to the ‘iPad with Retina display’ (as it’s now finally dubbed) aren’t going to blow anyone’s mind, not having to plug in an adaptor will.
Where does the iPad mini fit in?
It fits in your purse. Apple fans and Apple critics alike will realize the irony of this release, considering Steve Jobs’ well-known derision of a smaller-sized screen (the exact sound-bite being something along the lines that smaller screens would be ‘dead on arrival’). Whether this was a wily preemptive tactic on Jobs’ part to discourage rivals from entering a space Apple already had designs to enter, or whether it was a legitimate gut feeling from Apple’s hallowed father, we will never know for sure. In reality, the market has clearly shown that there is more than enough consumer support for a device in the 7-inch range (even though Tim Cook is still splitting hairs about that), and Apple’s decision to release the iPad Mini only makes sense. The iPad Mini solidifies its grip over a market that has proven lucrative with products like the Galaxy Tab, Nexus 7, and the Kindle Fire HD, and retain their title as kings of the tablet space. Interactively, this means one less physical restriction to people’s access – if you thought people on iPads in coffee shops were ubiquitous before, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Remember the iMac?
If you didn’t, you do now. Apple’s flagship single-unit desktop hasn’t had its time in the spotlight for a while, thanks to Apple’s heavy focus on the ‘third screen’ market in past years. But with the new razor-thin iMac, the company is betting you’ll take notice. Have Apple re-invigorated a been-there-done-that desktop space? Technologies like the Fusion drive, which combines Flash and HDD technology in one ‘smart’ piece of storage, show a decent commitment on Apple’s part to continuing to improve the computing experience for its users. Will the sheer sex appeal of the new iMac move the needle and convince an on-the-go audience that it needs a new desktop? Time will tell, but you can bet all the hottest agencies and studios have the new iMac on their X-mas shopping list.
So, what’s the analysis?
It’s clear that Apple is making a real commitment to the multi-screen experience (so long as you’re on their products). This goes along with the ‘device-agnostic’ approach that’s so in vogue right now, especially with Millennials. Devices like the Wii U, the PlayStation Vita, the new Windows Surface tablets, are all showing that technology companies are putting a huge momentum into the get-out-of-the-audience’s-way philosophy. The deeper the penetration of technology into the consumer’s life, the deeper the potential engagement. And it’s win-win: hardware developers get to sell more units to a household, while software developers ensure that the length of interaction increases as people take their content all over the house and everywhere they go.
Thanks to our Director of Mobile, Jeff Bacon and our Sr. Product Manager, Nick Tremmaglia, for joining the chat and providing their insights.