This was a really excellent and interesting event, showing how Apple sees itself post Steve Jobs, and the role of different voices within the compay.
There was the basic message that, we are an execution machine. And this was BEFORE Apple actually got around to what they were announcing.
Then there was the usual table setting around a converged Mac + iOS Universe:
- 3M iPods sold since launch (includes Shuffle Nano, Touch)
- 200M devices running iOS 6
- 300B iMessages sent this year (28K per second)
- 160M Game center accounts
- Shared photo streams (I love this feature): 70M photos shared
- 700K apps (275K iPad apps)
- 35B app downloads
- Mac outgrowing the PC six years straight (#1 desktop + #1 notebook in US)
But, factoids aside, Apple is a company that can hang their hat on visionary thinking, great design and a strong execution culture focused on the customer and rapid evolution.
I loved Phil Schiller's sermon on how iMac's evolution is representative of how Apple embraces, then iterates, markets. Not a bad lead-in for announcing the next generation of the incredibly cool iMac.
It's fascinating to see the role of polymorphism within the company. Consider the Retina screen, which now serves two different MacBooks Pro segments, the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
Look at the evolving relationship between iOS and OSX and the natural symmetries between iCloud, iMessages and iTunes.
Case in point, it seems that the catalyst for the new iBooks App to gain continuous scroll is to better serve iPad mini users.
I love how Apple is baking sharing into everything, and books are a natural for this.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention the Fusion Drive (marries HDD and Flash) in the new iMac. If it works, it could really up the user experience.
Controlling all facets of the system, as Apple does, is what can make such a robust storage service truly standout.
iPad mini AND iPad 4!?
This was a shocker and also makes a lot of sense. Moreover, it sets up an interesting inflection, which I will get to.
Apple has now sold 100M iPads in just 2.5 years, which is faster than the rise of iPhone. iPad accounts for over 90% of the web traffic from tablets. Apple is very well positioned in education, which happens to be where the next generation is growing up.
When Tim Cook said, "We are not taking our foot off the gas," he wasn't kidding. It was a two-fecta. A new form-factor in iPad mini, and the newest iPad in time for Christmas.
This says something since heretofore, there was the March event to announce the new iPad.
To give that up (they have to, right?), they must: A) Recognize that the market is at a point of maturity and imminent competition (maybe); B) Be factoring that the competition aims for the holidays to release their newest gear, and not want to disappoint the 'new-seeking' customer; and C) Figure that since Apple's holiday quarter is generally nuts, why NOT swing for the fences?
- iPad is 9.7" vs. the iPad mini at 7.9" diagonal. But since both devices share the same pixel count (1024 x 768) all software for iPad and iPad mini will work without modifications. As a developer, I can tell you that this is huge. We gained another BIG segment for free.
- Apple gave Android a bunch of air time in the early portions of the call. As someone on Twitter noted, that doesn’t feel confident.
- iPad mini is the first iPad that you can operate using one hand. Logical segments: education; women with handbags; porn. I jest.
- I was a bit surprised that they didn't price the mini below $300 ($299). That seems to be a logical segmentation point for the market, right? Why leave a wedge for Android? Noneteless, this will kill during the holidays. Not Retina, though.
- The fact that Apple killed the spring iPad event, to me that means Apple is planning to announce a NEW product that they feel is worthy of that calendar spot. Otherwise, they will disappoint the market, who has been spoiled to expect a spring event, g-d dammit!
- If Apple is all about the devices, Amazon is all about the services (GigaOM)
- HP, Dell and the Paradox of the Disrupted (GigaOM)
- Apple vs. Google: Lessons from Bill Gates' playbook (GigaOM)