Sunday, 18 October 2020

Apple October Event


 This week Apple announced it's iPhone 12 in it's reassuringly impressive announcement videos. An Apple announcement is usually incredibly professional and wonderfully produced. It is the summer blockbuster of the tech announcement world. Other companies try to do the same but they all lack a certain something. Microsoft can't manage it because they are a company focussed on the technical. Microsoft also seem curiously unable to produce a flawlessly finished product that people can buy days after. Instead it always looks like a "pre-production" event. 

YouTubers can do a better job than me of breaking down Apple's announcements. However, I have a few thoughts. 

The HomePod Mini is a $99 home speaker with Siri. Welcomed by Apple enthusiasts as a realistic product to take into that device category. Their previous effort was the expensive $399 HomePod. It was really just a music player that only worked with Apple Music. No matter how it sounded it was just "something else". 

The $99 HomePod Mini is the $99 product in a $49 world. The current batch of Google and Amazon speakers have been the impulse purchase of the consumer. Apple's HomePod Mini is "cheap" by Apple standards but twice as expensive as the others.  For those deeply embedded in the Apple ecosystem it will work well. Most people have probably got and Amazon Echo or a Google device.  Apple's new HomePod Mini doesn't seem to support Spotify for music. The choice of millions of people. So again it doesn't really say "device for everyone". 

Privacy could be the big selling point. People don't like the idea of "big tech" listening to them. If  people feel home speakers need privacy then it could sell it to some people. 

The big announcements were about the iPhone 12. What struck me was the Iphone 12 Mini is a 5.4 inch screen device. The iPhone 8 Plus from just a couple of years ago is 5.5 inches.  Mini seems an odd marketing faux pas. It seems meaningless against the iPhone SE at 4.7 inches. 

The design is a revival of the square Iphone 4 look of 10 years ago. So it should look distinctive in a world of rounded edges of Android phones. Above all the selling point seemed to be 5G.  All iPhone 12 models have 5G but most people can't access 5G. It's something for the well connected. It seemed that Apple were trying to create a symbiotic relationship of selling 5G and thus selling iPhone as the best device to access it. 

If you are fully invested in the Apple ecosystem and want the latest then this will be enough to get you. If you have an iphone that's a couple of years old then the device you have is probably good enough. If you live in a 5G area and really need the speed then this could be worth an upgrade. Apple will sell millions of these but they remain premium devices at a premium price. 

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