Last night, Apple wrapped up their yearly conference with a few interesting announcements but not much else.
Every year, the company seems to drift further away from innovation and closer to refinement, as demonstrated by the goodies they had on show yesterday. Nothing at the event was truly ground-breaking, a surprising result for a company that was once considered a trend setter. You could argue that the huge leak by 9to5Mac probably killed the anticipation but the results were still easy to predict. Apple has progressed from a company at their innovative peak to a monolith who’s soul purpose is to remain competitive. The previous year we had the Watch, a direct result of pressure from competitors. Now we have the iPad Pro, a carbon copy of the Microsoft Surface. Snappable keyboard? Check. Ultrabook-sized panel? Check. Stylus? Check. Subtle innovations such as a magnetic power and data connector could not hide what was immediately obvious, Apple views the Surface line as something of a threat in the future and wants to match it.
Evolution, not revolution
For the other notable releases in the show, there was a sense of overall evolution as opposed to direct competition. The new Apple TV fixes some of the shortcomings faced in previous versions, notably UI design and navigation. The company continues to further fragment its division with the introduction of more operating systems, though at least TvOS is built using the same base code as iOS. This should make it easy for existing developers to understand. Still, Tim Cooks claim of changing the way we watch TV couldn’t be further from the truth. Smart TV’s have been around for years and many have better interfaces than Apple TV. Equally, Siri integration is a belated response to Cortana’s voice assistant uses while watching TV on the Xbox One. Lets also not forget that plenty of smart televisions already have speech recognition built-in. Apple’s voice assistant isn’t necessarily doing anything new but it should help the already great experience become even better.
One to Watch
The Apple Watch garnered a large amount of attention for what was probably the least improvements. Notable highlights included new straps, new colour schemes, new finishes and an upgraded operating system. While the Watch continues to sell very well (in smartwatch terms), recent announcements at IFA could really put the pressure on Apple. Still, it was nice to see the app store picking up speed and finally luring third party developers to the platform.
If there’s one thing we have to commend Apple about, it’s their continued ability to improve on others ideas. Love em’ or hate em’, Apple’s engineering team is fantastic at creating attractive, trendy products that fix the shortcomings of competitors. The launch once again demonstrated that the company can bring refined features to the market faster than anybody else and in a stable, immediately usable state. Compare this to Microsoft, who continue to run various preview programs for their software and services even after the official launch. For tech guys this is fine but Apple is still the undisputed king of luring in the average consumer.
For more on Apple, visit What Mobile’s dedicated Apple page.