This year's fall event for the iPad has come and gone and it was interesting no matter how you sliced it. There was a little of everything for everyone in the community from MacBook Pro upgrades to free upgraded software to new iPads through to the introduction of the all-new Mac Pro. You could tell there was a lot of depth behind some of Apple's upgrades, though I must confess that I thought Apple fumbled on the Mac Pro's introduction. I also think that Apple's focus on thin being a big innovation is getting a little old and tired. I'm sure there's a lot of engineering that goes into making a product thin, no doubt. Yet it sure would be nice if Apple would deliver a little more zing. I mean, why didn't the iPad get the new Touch ID this year? That should have been a natural but instead we got more thin air in the form of the iPad Air. Yet all in all, Apple delivered a solid round of product refreshes and we once again applaud the Crazy Ones in Cupertino for their hard work.
Phil Schiller on the Mac Pro
After four long months of pumping the all-new Mac Pro promotional video in theaters all summer and building it up for a grand entrance at Apple's October fall event, it all fell flat rather quickly. There was no drama like the Mac Pro rising from within a pedestal with the spotlights focused on the beautiful design. There was no crazy theme song and the presentation was void of style.
Instead of a little showmanship to bring this incredible design to market, we got Phil Schiller putting on his used car salesman cap and ran through slide after slide of specifications as noted below.
After such a great buildup for the Mac Pro, I was expecting at the very least to see a new Cinema Display in the same finish as the new Mac Pro mini tower and one that was a 4K display. Doesn't the Mac Pro support new 4K displays? Yes of course – but not one from Apple. Ouch.
I was even hoping that Apple would apply a little shock and awe to give us a "Wow" moment by introducing a new wireless charging system or something to complete a package of innovation that would have been the buzz of the day having a ripple effect for weeks in the press.
But no, we got stats from Schiller the salesman instead. All that hype, all that build-up, with a crescendo … consisting of spec slides. They were nice specs, but specs nonetheless. There wasn't even a demo of the Mac Pro in Action by either Stuart Price or Dean Devlin who were highlighted in Phil's slide show to charge us up. Nope, we just go more slides.
I realize that Steve Jobs is gone and that "new Apple" wants to carve out their own way of doing things. But if this is new Apple, then it's dangerously boring. They had such a great build-up and it fell off a cliff when it was time to deliver. It was a blown opportunity plain and simple with a half-baked product.
While I loved seeing the video of the manufacturing side of things, it just wasn't the crescendo that I or others were hoping for. Yet maybe, just maybe, Apple will surprise us at the official launch in December with "One More Thing." Time will tell.
Yet showmanship aside, it eventually all boils down to what's under the hood of this new beast and the all-new Mac Pro is a hot new powerhouse within the sexiest tower casing that you can find on the market today. The slides show you the Mac Pro's new brain and you can get all of the configurations and pricing for it here.
The all-new Mac Pro that's made in the USA goes on sale this December.
Tim Cook on the App Store
Apple's CEO Tim Cook loves his stats and this event was no different. Cook stated that "The App Store continues to grow in size and scope. We now have over a million apps at the Apps Store and our users have downloaded an astonishing 60 billion times (cumulative downloads).
And the App Store continues to be the best place for developers to be rewarded for their creativity. Developers have now earned over 13 billion dollars. It's hard to imagine your life without these phenomenal apps. It's been an enormous sea change. "
Tim Cook on the Competition
"Our competition is different: They're confused. They chased after netbooks. Now they're trying to make PCs into tablets and tablets into PCs. Who knows what they will do next?
Well, I can't answer that question, but what I can tell you is that we have a very clear direction and a very ambitious goal. We still believe deeply in this category and we're not slowing down on our innovation."
Tim Cook on Apple's Vision
Apple described the iPad when it first debuted as "our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device." Tim Cook reminded us that many didn't see it that way back when it first debuted. "Some didn't see the need for it. Still others didn't think it could compete with a netbook." Cook chided: "who remembers netbooks?"
Still others doubted it would have any impact on the industry at all by saying "Anyone who thinks it's a game changer is a tool" (Laughter erupted at the slide).
Cook continued with "but we believed in our vision, and the iPad has gone on to become one of the most successful products in Apple's history; and one of the most successful in the industry."
Last month Apple hit the 170 million mark for iPads sold to date. "This is an incredible number and I can't think of another product that's come so far so fast," Cook added.
Then Cook stated that "Now everybody seems to be making a tablet, even some of the doubters are now making them. But regardless of what you might hear or read about how many are bought or sold or activated, iPad is used more than any of the rest. And not just a little more, a lot more. iPad is used more than four times more than all of those other tablets put together.
And this is what's important to us. Because when you make a great product with a great experience, this is how you know it (pointing to the slide noted above) – People use it." The stat that Tim Cook presented as later confirmed by Chitika.
Celebrating Apple's Customers Creativity and Genius using their iPads
Then Tim Cook did something new during his presentation. While talking about the iPad he stated that "We designed the iPad to be the best tool for the things you do most often. But honestly, we could have never imagined all of the ways that our customers would be using them. To celebrate our customer's creativity and genius of using their iPads, we've prepared a short video." Below are just a few photos of that video segment that is part of Apple's Keynote.
A New Apple Hook: Free Software
While Apple's product event in San Francisco will be better known for the introduction of new iPads, MacBooks, and Mac Pros, what may be more interesting over time is how Apple has decided to give away key software for free. With the purchase of any new major hardware like a Mac or iPhone, consumers will get iWork, iLife and OS X Mavericks free. It's a way to keep Apple customers always up to date with the latest and greatest software across all Apple products. Not that this move will cripple Microsoft's Office overnight. But it's the beginning of a trend that might have teeth over time.
At the end of the day, Apple's new product upgrades are putting smiles on faces around the world and that's what it's all about at Apple; Creating products that connect to consumers like no others.