Apple is listening to you, and while it wants to strut its tech stuff by showing us some of the most sophisticated computing devices the world has ever seen, the company delivered several counterpoints that should interest every consumer – and every enterprise pro.
The high end gets attention, but look at the breadth
As I see it, Apple has once again made its annual case for tech industry leadership. The iPhone 11 Pro will inevitably build on the company’s existing hold in broadcast and mobile journalism and takes it into new territories.
- The Filmic Pro demo shows that iPhones aren’t just going to be distributing movies in future, they’ll be making them.
- The A13 Bionic chip with its powerful Machine Learning support and off-the-hook power management isn’t just delivering performance, it’s also delivering battery life management I believe will spread across Apple’s entire ecosystem.
- The new location detection features in Apple Watch and iPhone are fairly compelling, but I can’t help but see them as chapter headings for a story Apple hasn’t even begun telling us yet.
The hardware capabilities are second to none (or at best, a very small few). The 99% customer satisfaction rating exposes that even in that latter comparison, Apple’s still the firm with bragging rights.… But what about the news it made little song and dance about?
Free TV in every box
Apple’s TV Plus channel is a big departure for the company, and while it’s spending a huge quantity of cash on its adventure, dollars don’t always deliver talent – though Apple has got my attention with its trailer for new series, See.
What Apple also announced was that you’ll be able to subscribe to its streaming channel for just $4.99/month (for up to six family members); you’ll get a free trial month; and you’ll get a year of the service for nothing if you purchase a new iPad, Mac, iPhone or Apple TV.
So why should enterprises be interested in this? Two things: Those iPhones you choose to give to your employees just became an even bigger benefit; and Apple just declared that enterprises are going to need to work a great deal harder to separate consumers from their coins.
You’ll need to deliver value added to all your consumer-facing products, and crafting positive consumer experiences is going to be critical. Unless you’re lucky enough to be Amazon, box-shifting is no longer enough, and even Amazon offers Prime.
Wearables for the rest of us
Apple Watch Series 5 is fast, with brilliant battery life, and it’s available in new finishes: titanium and ceramic. If you own one, you’ll be able to make an emergency call almost anywhere you travel (including fall detection) and the built-in compass won’t just tell you where you are, but where you are going.
- This is a real opportunity for developers to create new experiences. Why? Because Apple will let developers access this data. So, what kind of applications can you see? In-store navigation and retail experiences seem like a slam-dunk, but what about automated systems to guide employees through warehouses, powers stations or emergency situations? That looks quite possible.
- The second thing is price. Not only are these new watches a little cheaper, but you can now pick up an Apple Watch Series 3 for just $199 (GPS, $299 cellular). That may not matter to those who always want to be at the cutting-edge of tech, but for people with more modest gadget-based aspirations, those life-saving smartwatches just began looking like a better alternative than Fitbit, in the same price bracket.
Enterprises seeking a way to equip their staff with Apple Watch for any reason may also now be able to extend that planning to a wider congregation of employees.
That $199 price means you’re getting what is still an excellent product at a price your company can more easily afford.
And, of course, this also confirms the other thing – Apple is listening to you when it comes to price, it’s just building a unique approach: The best products still cost more, but it’s reaching to the mid-range, too. That new iPad is a case in point. 10.2 inches for under $400? Cool.
And iPhone came, too
I’m thinking there will be many who will ask themselves what’s so Pro about the iPhone Pro? They’ll see it defined solely by the camera, but perhaps they should think a little more.
What’s pro about these iPhones is their extreme capacity for Machine Learning.
That means these things are fundamentally equipped to empower developers – including enterprise developers – to build increasingly personalized experiences for customers, business partners or for use within any enterprise.
These are highly intelligent computers.
Sure, Apple chooses to demonstrate that intelligence through the highly resonant vehicle of what kind of images its creations can capture. But if you can get a mobile processor to weave together nine video images in real time, then what else can you do?
Retail will love this, but engineering, music production, scientific research and architecture may want to take a look, too.
And as for the potential to develop solutions for health, well – what do you think Apple is investing so much energy in health research for?
As above, so below they say, and you’ve got to also look at the fact that Apple does again now sell an iPhone (iPhone 11 to be precise), and it now costs less than the iPhone XR it replaces.
In addition, you can still buy an XR for an affordable $599, while an iPhone 8 fills out the range at $449. (And has anyone else noticed that Apple now offers two-hour delivery on these things if you buy them from its store?)
What’s missing? A 4-in. model of some kind.
And while I feel like I’m walking through a desert on a horse with no name when it comes to fantasizing about one of these, I can’t help but think Apple is listening; if it hasn’t introduced one yet, it’s because it’s trying to fit such a release inside some bigger picture.
So, where are we?
Apple is offering a wide range of devices, all of which are equipped with the kind of processing power most competitors still dream of. It has listened to its customers on price, and managed to finesse itself into a market position in which even its cheapest offering (iPhone 8) is a device that stands strong against competitors. Indeed, the iPhone 8 may well be all the phone any enterprise user really needs for at least some of the tasks it is equipping its mobile employees to do.
In other words, it has widened its market position without diluting its reputation for market leadership, which is smart.
And as for the value add, think about what you’re getting: Highly sophisticated tech, annual upgrades, a huge app ecosystem, a 99% satisfaction rating and free TV in every box.
I remain confident the company has done enough to tempt the 220 million iPhone 6 users I talked about the other week…
What the analysts say
Dominic Sunnebo, Global Consumer Insight Director at Kantar, has a response that seems closely aligned to everyone else I’ve managed to reach:
“Apple did just about enough from a product innovation perspective to stay competitive over the next year, no more, no less.
“However, the key lesson from these series of keynotes is that Apple just got serious about value. The new iPhone 11, starts at $50 less than its predecessor, iPhone XR, entering the market at $699. The Apple Watch 3 starts at an incredible $199. Apple TV+ starts at just $4.99 and is being offered for free for a whole year for buyers of any new iPhone/iPad/Mac products.
“…By reducing the price of the entry level 2019 iPhone, Apple shows an understanding of consumer pushback against the steep price rises over the last few years, but also an acceptance that without 5G capability there is very limited scope to push prices up further- this will need to wait until the back end of 2020.
“Offering Apple TV+ free for a whole year is an unprecedented move for a new Apple service, but make no mistake, this is not just about helping AppleTV+ gain a sizeable subscriber base, it’s about helping to sell more iPhones and iPads.”
What are your thoughts? Let me know in the usual way…