I've had the fun of working on Apple keynotes. Like someone who knows a magician's tricks, I won't talk about what goes on backstage. On stage, though, this keynote was up to Apple's standards. Mostly.
The necessary elements were all there. It was unusual for the first thirty minutes of a one hour keynote to be devoted to privacy, environmental issues, and health rather than updates on Apple's financials. Those are three areas I suspect Apple would love to see other companies copy, and it's great Apple used today's platform to talk about them.
It certainly reiterates Tim Cook's commitment that Apple is not just about making great products but also changing the world, and making it better. It just wasn't that captivating after awhile, at least for me.
That's one thing I felt permeated the event — a lack of energy. At prior events, I felt Steve had just finished something awesome in his garage, and raced up to San Francisco because he couldn't wait to tell me about it. This keynote was by no means dull, but it didn't recapture that feeling of urgency for me. That desperate need to share something new and incredibly great.
The new Watch bands will definitely sell well. The ability to change bands easily is a great purchase driver. As someone who struggled (and failed) to change the band on my mechanical watch, Apple's design remains brilliant. The most notable news, though, was the Apple Watch Sport price cut to $299.
Think of iPhone SE as an iPhone 6s, in a 4-inch body but without 3D Touch. It definitely fits into the lineup nicely and, I think, it will be a device that drives a lot of iPhone 5s and earlier owners to upgrade, and Android owners to switch.
The new 9.7-inch iPad Pro is really important and for more than just being a "baby Pro". It's a direct target towards Windows users with aging hardware. No more "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC". Mac will be around for a long, long time but I think we're going to see more and more about iOS as Apple's key platform.
Apple still lacks a compelling narrative about iPad, though. Saying it's a PC replacement for some people isn't enough. Targeting design professionals isn't enough. For example, I'm a little surprised that Apple hasn't talked about how useful Pencil is for the rest of us. I personally use it for note-taking, marking up documents, and cool apps like Pigment. It's also pretty sweet for navigating. Apple could do far more in showcasing just what and how the iPad can do relative to a Mac… Or a Surface.
After most Apple events, I typically want to race to the nearest Apple Store (or, in the recent past, beg the nearest product manager) for all the cool new stuff. I didn't feel that as much this time, but I also realize this event wasn't targeted at customers like me.
This event was targeted at customers getting into Apple's ecosystem for the first time, customers due for an upgrade, or customers ready to make the switch from Android or Windows. They can now navigate the lineup and find what's best for them.
I won't personally be making any changes, though. My iPhone 6s Plus is pocketable and almost an "iPad nano". My iPad Pro is my key productivity device, and my MacBook comes in handy for things my iPad can't do just quite yet.
But I'll be waiting to see what comes next. This event has solid products that also tee up the rest of the year for a new flagship iPhone and new Macs.
Did Apple's event make you want to switch to an iPhone or iPad or upgrade what you have? Let me know!