Yesterday’s product announcements from Apple make it clear that the company has been busy innovating with more than just pretty colours. At a special event held in San Francisco, CEO Tim Cook and his executives revealed a range of new and updated products with a strong emphasis on high-end hardware, timed for the Christmas market.
And while they continue to charge a premium for their devices, software is free. Most notably, OSX Mavericks is now available as a free upgrade to Mac users with OS versions 10.6 (Snow Leopard) and above. And the iLife and iWork app suites now come free with new Macs and iOS devices.
Apple’s Phil Schiller proudly showed off the new, cylindrical, Mac Pro. He seemed just as proud of the engineering and manufacturing innovations as he was of the finished product. The new Mac Pro is the first Apple product in years to be manufactured in the United States.
iPads also get a real performance boost, with Apple’s A7 processor bringing 64-bit architecture to the range as it has already done with the iPhone 5S. The iPad Mini gets a retina display and a quadruple performance boost from the previous version (x8 faster graphics). The new iPad Air is twice as fast as the previous version, 20% thinner and 30% lighter.
MIMO WiFi technology offers faster connectivity for these two devices, which are definitely aimed at the higher end of the market. In fact, it’s clear from the range announced yesterday that Apple does not intend to compete with the low-priced Android devices announced recently such as the new Kindle Fire HDs.
One interesting statistic boasted about yesterday was the usage of iPads. Whatever about the sales figures, 81% of all tablet usage is iPads.
So, what do you think? Have you upgraded to OSX Mavericks already? Will you order the iPad Air when it ships on November 1? And have Apple done enough to silence their doubters? There’s no question that they’ve demonstrated their leadership in design and innovation. Will they continue to lead in profits as well?