Apple surprised pretty much nobody with this week's new product launch; the leaks ahead of Wednesday were fairly accurate, which seems to have disappointed share market investors who expected something with more wow factor.
That seems hard on Apple though. Take the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus which have in some quarters been slated for containing just cosmetic changes to the earlier models.
I'm not quite sure what investors expected, but a new, much faster A9x processor, 3D Touch (that's Force Touch renamed) buzzy, haptic feedback screens and a substantially improved camera go beyond cosmetic changes, surely?
Perhaps Apple should've built the 6s and 6s Plus with bendable cases to keep the insatiably innovation-hungry happy? The downside to the new iPhones is that the falling NZ$-US$ exchange rate has made both very expensive — pricing and availability details can be found here.
Apple TV and the tvOS platform that comes with a software development kit — available for New Zealand developers from next week — is also cool stuff. TVs already come with apps, but they haven't taken off as they have on smartphones. Combining Apple iOS for mobile devices with TVs and well-thought out hardware though could change that. Plus, third-party games controllers will be supported too, which is kind of a big deal.
The iPad Pro is the most intriguing new device though. Mainly because it's kind of the antithesis to the device design philosophy that Steve Jobs set out in his lifetime.
It's aimed at business users, it's very large at 12.9 inches diagonally, and can be had with a detachable keyboard which meant it was immediately compared to Microsoft's Surface Pro "laplet" or "tabtop".
What's more, there's an expensive Apple Pencil for the iPad Pro which must be bittersweet for Microsoft which has championed styluses for tablets (including the Surface Pro) for years, and not really got anywhere with it. Given that Microsoft was asked to join in on the Apple launch of the iPad Pro by showing off PowerPoint, you have to wonder how long Redmond has known about the new productivity-oriented iPad.
Apple's success in hardware is of course the reason why Microsoft is working so hard to port its Office and other productivity software to iOS so it can run on iPads and iPhones, a phenomenon that must feel very odd in Redmond.
There it is though, an iPad Pro. With a stylus. Not that we should call it a stylus, but a ... creative accessory? Art supply? Something like that. Hope there's a holder on the iPad Pro for the Apple Pen though.
OK, I'll stop trolling about the stylus-pen for now. It'll be interesting to see how well it works with the iPad Pro.
I've never liked the experience of writing and drawing on hard and slippery screens compared to paper using a stylus at least not on the devices I've tried it on so far.
What would be cool is if Apple devises a way to make tablet screens more paper-like to scribble on, perhaps by using 3D Touch or similar technology to simulate friction and feedback to the pen. Watch this space, I think it'll happen.
The iPad Pro seems a bit of a gamble for Apple, as it may eat into the company's laptop and iPad sales since it straddles both. This could be one reason why the sharemarket disapproved of today's product launch, in fact.
Apple also updated the Watch operating system, calling it OS2. I'll just leave that one out there for the old-timers in the audience to snigger over quietly.
Although the Wednesday launch was very broad — that's a big range of hardware and software being made available — some things were missing.
Chief among these in my opinion are new standalone 5K Cinema Displays. iMacs can be had with 5K high-resolution screens, so shouldn't such screens be available for MacBook Pro and Mac Pro computers too?
People have been waiting for them since the past two years so it doesn't look like they'll appear however, which seems a shame.