Apple Event: Few surprises, solid advances
There were few surprises at today's Apple event in Cupertino. For me, the two things that stood out were the impressive speed boost of the new A7 chip, five times faster than the iPhone 5, and the finger-print authentication system, Touch ID. I am looking forward to being able to bring my phone to life simply by pressing the home button. Between now and September 20, entering the passcode will be even more of a chore than it is already. Until the Apple site comes back on line I don't know about the prices of the new phones, including the colourful and cheaper 5C. Apple still insists on the ridiculous $x-on-contract prices that seem to have no relevence here in the UK. It would be more sensible to tell us exactly how much the phones cost.
I see the 5S as a more-than-usual solid upgrade to the previous model. It has sufficient new features, speed and Touch ID, to encourage upgrade. At the same time, the redesign of the iPhone 5 into the 5C is sensible and, I am sure, will broaded Apple's appeal. Retaining the iPhone 4 as a free-on-contract device also makes a lot of sense.
The decision to make iWork free is also a significant move and will add further to the appeal of iOS devices as productivity tools. Many iPhone and iPad users will be exposed to iWork for the first time and this will further enhance the appeal of the phone and tablet ecosystem.
Tim Cook scuttled quickly over the introduction of iOS 7, which we will be able to download on September 18, but in a way it is the most significant thing to come out of the presentation. I firmly believe iOS 7 will transform the user experience like no previous OS upgrade. It is available to the majority of the 700-million current customers and, I believe, will be universally welcomed.
All in all, a solid and sensible progress report from Apple. But will it be enough to enthuse the markets? I suspect not. As I write this Apple Inc was down 1.39 percent in after-hours trading.
Notable ommissions: No iPad mentions, no update to Apple TV.