Product Thoughts

Yesterday gave us an evolutionary event from a company best known for its revolutionary products. When it comes to Apple, the big years were 2001 (iPod and OS X), 2007 (iPhone), and 2010 (iPad, with the product best realized a year later with the iPad 2).

Apple has always been a “premium” consumer product line, competing on quality over bargains but they did so at price points that appealed to middle-class households.

Yesterday’s announcement felt almost hallucinogenically elite. From Hermes watch bands to the iPad Pro, there was little on offer outside the iPhone refresh to invigorate middle class buying, not even a nod to the recently refreshed iPod line.

The pencil announcement played poorly to the group I was watching with but I found the notion of a low-latency, high-accuracy stylus intriguing. It’s one of the things that really grabbed my interest yesterday and I’m curious to how it will deliver on performance.

Both the pencil and the keyboard are a nod to the reality that the casual-use tablet has a new role in work and education, taking off where the finger stops.

While I personally loathe low-profile, non-mechanical keyboards, the keyboard case plays an important role in re-positioning the iPad to a more traditional Surface-y adaptable work tool. Pro, pencil, and keyboard are poised for a MacBook smackdown as people re-evaluate what laptops really can do for them in a tablet age.

I don’t see either category going away soon. The new accessory line supports the notion that the distinction is going to become blurrier.

Apple TV got its rumored refresh and now supports apps. I don’t know enough about the remote, its feel and utility, and how the onboard motion support works, to give an honest evaluation of its potential. The whole Siri thing and the bright white backgrounds feel more like a response to Amazon than a consumer-driven refresh but I’m willing to be convinced otherwise.

Consoles are a very odd market right now and I’m seeing bits of promise but it feels way early and under-baked. This should have been a huge splash of a product wave and instead it came across as more a puddle.

The phones are, of course, beautiful and once again the camera features really shine. The bit with the Facetime camera flash fill in particular sounds intriguing. But the big news to me is more how they positioned the sales:

In the end, I don’t see anything I need to buy right away for work or for family.

One Comment

  • I’m excited about the iPad Pro for sketching out/diagramming ideas. I do this all the time with pen/paper when I’m breaking down a real life problem into it’s components to convert into classes, properties and methods. Also useful for playing around with UI ideas, custom controls, etc. My house is littered with scraps of paper where I do that kind of stuff. It wil be nice to keep it all organized (and color coded). It’s going to be an important tool for making apps IMO.