By now, you’ve probably heard all about the new product offerings announced at last week’s “Hey Siri” event. I’ve had a lot of time to read through and process all of the announcements and, like most people, am quite excited. However, it’s not for the reasons you might be thinking. Let’s do a little rewind back to the event and, since this is my blog, I’ll add some of my own commentary to the mix.
Before I comment on specific products, I was absolutely amazed at how accurate the rumor mill was regarding what we’d actually see. An iPhone 6S? A 6S Plus? A 12.9 inch iPad Pro? I’m interested in speculation that inevitably appears in the tech press but I try not to take it too seriously because some rumors might be correct while others might be false. This time, however, the rumor mill got it right, to the point where the Apple event felt almost anticlimactic because I’d already read the book and knew how the story would end.
We’ve been hearing rumors about a 12.9 inch iPad and the rumors have finally been confirmed. I’m sure the iPad Pro will prove to be a nice device. I have mixed feelings about it, however. While I’m sure it will be an excellent computer, it’s still running iOS, with all of the limitations you get with that particular operating system. Don’t get me wrong: I love iOS. I use my iPhone every day and the operating system’s commands and gestures are now burned into my neural pathways and using it is an extremely enjoyable and, for the most part, efficient experience. However, it does have its limitations and, for the most part, you’ll still encounter most of them on an iPad Pro. The new tablet may have more screen real-estate with lots more pixels, the ability to run two apps side by side and four audio speakers with immersive sound. However, at the end of the day it’s still running iOS and to quote Shania twain, “that don’t impress me much.” Now if apple would release a 12.9 inch tablet running OS X then I’d be impressed, enough to make me want to save up my pennies to eventually own one. I’m aware that an iOS device is capable of running some very powerful apps which can allow you to save and retrieve documents and other projects to and from the cloud. However, iOS doesn’t allow me to create my own user folders or move and copy files to and from those folders the way I can with Windows or OS X. The Surface Pro 3 tablets, by contrast, are running Windows, allowing me to perform all of those tasks, in addition to providing more than 128 GB of storage. Give me a Mac with a tablet form factor and then we can talk.
On the plus side, the iPad Pro is definitely going to prove to be far more secure than the Surface Pro 3. Since the iPad Pro is being marketed to business professionals, security is an important issue that we can’t simply ignore. With all of the advantages of the Surface Pro, it’s running Windows, which simply doesn’t offer the same level of security as does iOS. while I admit that iOS has some limitations, it’s highly unlikely that your iPad or iPhone will get hit with a virus or some other nasty type of malware that corrupts and steals your valuable data.
New products and upgrades from Apple are often accompanied by a reduction of prices on some of the older products. I’m quite happy that the introduction of the iPad Mini 4 has given Apple an opportunity to offer the older iPad mini 2 at a reduced price of $269.00 for the 16 GB version, making an Apple tablet a bit more affordable to customers who previously wouldn’t have been able to consider buying one.
the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus
I’ll admit I’m excited with the new iPhone models. The better camera technology will potentially make OCR for visually impaired users even better and the 3D Touch feature offers some pretty interesting possibilities. However, the introduction of these newer models means that older iPhones will be offered at a reduced price, such as the price cuts on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Even better, the iPhone 5S can be acquired at no cost under a contract.
This new edition of Apple’s set-top box does excite me, as it offers Siri, a new voice-controlled remote, along with a dedicated app store. However, its $149.00 pricetag for the 32 GB version, $199.00 for the 64 GB version, is higher than its competitors such as Google’s Chromecast, Roku and Amazon. However, it definitely offers more accessibility than these products and I likely would consider purchasing one. The previous edition of Apple TV is still available, costing $69.00.
New OS Versions
I’m quite excited that we’ll soon have new versions of our favorite Apple operating systems. As an example, September 30 is when we’ll see El Capitan for the Mac, which promises many new features and a speed boost. I’m personally excited about iOS 9 being released on September 16, which will run on many of today’s iOS devices. It offers many, many new features and improvements, too many to cover in this short post. However, just a few include better searching, the ability to use Siri’s voices on VoiceOver and more accessibility features for users of Bluetooth keyboards.
In conclusion, I’m always excited and interested in any product Apple has to offer. However, what excites me just as much as the new products is the fact that slightly older and still very useful products are available at reduced prices, making them more affordable for consumers who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do so.
What are your thoughts on the latest announcements from Apple? Are there specific offerings that really excite you? Feel free to offer your feedback in the comments section.