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Apple September 12th Event Overview

17 Sep

The September 12th Apple event keynote video is available on Apple’s website and via iTunes.

Alright, time to put in my 2 cents on the recent September 12th Apple event. The keynote had the usual pattern, with Tim Cook starting off with stats. The interesting part is, Phil Schiller immediately started with the announcement of the iPhone 5. Usually, Apple kept the best for last, eg. they would announce iOS, new iTunes, etc, and then do the finale with the star product. It’s really interesting, as if the iPhone 5 was not really as revolutionary as Apple wanted it to. Regardless, the crowds loved it. Oh, and Al Gore was in the audience too.

So, let’s get right to it. Everything about the iPhone 5 were pretty much known already from the various leaks and rumors. It’s exactly what the leaked photos showed. The surprise was the insides. I predicted that it would have the A5X chip, as that was the chip used in the “new” iPad. Well, Apple took a leapfrog and actually used a new chip, the A6. This is the first time Apple used a newer chip on the iPhone first before the iPad. The A4 started with the 1st gen iPad before going to the iPhone 4. Same thing with the A5, started with the iPad 2 before going to the iPhone 4S. iPhone 5 with Apple’s custom A6 is actually a big surprise. Apple advertised it as twice as fast as the A5.

Other than that, everything else is as expected. 4″ retina screen. Being a master in marketing, Apple said the 4″ elongated screen is “designed” for 1 hand operation. They do have a point, as many of the larger Android devices are not that easy to handle with 1 hand. Another thing is the camera. Nokia one-upped Apple on this one with the optical image stabilization of the Lumia 920. Imo optical stabilization is huge and a step forward for camera on mobile phones. Apple on the other hand was bragging about the sapphire crystal lens cover they used on the iPhone 5, supposedly made the lens to be scratch resistant. Whoop dee doo. No sapphire crystals can save your pictures when they’re blurry from shakes. New feature is panorama. Well, my Galaxy Nexus and Xperia Arc can do that already. We’ll see how good the software Apple has to handle blurriness and stitching.

Also as expected, Apple added LTE on the iPhone 5. Alas, this created a confusion on the different versions of the iPhone 5, unlike the iPhone 4S. With the iPhone 4S, there’s only one version where CDMA and GSM are combined. With LTE, there are at least 3 versions of the iPhone 5 per Apple’s own website. There’s AT&T/Canada version, Verizon/KDDI version (that includes CDMA), and everybody-else’s version. Even worse, seems like international LTE compatibility is limited if you bought the carrier-specific version. I’m going to assume the 3rd version is the unlocked version, thus not allowing you to have LTE with either AT&T nor Verizon. US wireless mafia at their finest, and Apple just kow-towing to them again.

Another marketing point that Apple pointed out is how lighter the iPhone 5 is compared to the “heavier” iPhone 4S. Without cases, my iPhone 4 is fairly light already. The tech bloggers are saying the iPhone 5 is significantly lighter. Another new feature, wideband audio, something that no US carriers would support. Yup, lovely US wireless mafia are only interested in charging you more money than actually improving their services, like oh, I don’t know, phone call audio quality.

Then there’s the smaller dock connector called lightning. Yup, re-buy all your accessories people, unless you want to give Apple $30 for a single ugly adapter. Not liking this. But at least it supports 5GHz wifi n now.

I’m going to skip the iOS6 stuff as most already know this during WWDC.

Price is the same, $199 for 16GB iPhone 5 under 2-yr contract. $299 for 32GB and $399 for 64GB. Considering now that Apple is selling the unlocked 16GB 4S for $549, this tells me unlocked prices are not changed. Boo. Galaxy Nexus 16GB unlocked is just $349. I’m guessing the price of the iPhone 5 goes for the sapphire crystal… /s
Oh, and even more bullshit, US won’t get the unlocked version right away, while other countries will. Complete bullshit. Another proof that Apple has no more backbone, kow-towing to the US wireless mafia. I mean really, what company willing to delay selling their stuff to the customers in its own country? Mind boggling. Alas, it’s the same with Google. The unlocked Galaxy Nexus wasn’t available until much later after the Verizon version. BOOO!

iPhone 5, the biggest thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone… HUH? Yup, that’s Apple’s marketing tag line for the iPhone 5. It kinda makes sense, but it sounds silly.

Okay, the next part of the keynote was iTunes and new iPods. This actually seems to be the main focus of the event. New version of iTunes coming in October. Apple can claim whatever they want on how they revolutionize the music industry, but all I know is I still cannot have the same selections in iTunes US as iTunes Japan.

New iPod nano, 7th gen. Looks like a mini Lumia with a home button. Unlike the rumors, it doesn’t have wifi, only bluetooth. 2.5″ screen with multi-touch. Video playback is back. No, it’s not iOS, which is silly. Seems like a no brainer at this point to shove iOS into the nano. At least it comes in multiple colors. 16GB for $149. Since Apple has literally no competition in this market, I guess they can do whatever they want. Oh, of course it has the new lightning connector. The tag line? Completely renanoed. Huh?

The biggest thing in this event imo is the new iPod Touch. Last year, the iPod Touch didn’t get any updates at all, only a white color. Now Apple updated it to the A5. Yup, the A5, not the A5X nor the A6, which imo is silly as Apple is trying to market this as their portable gaming player. The good things are, it has the same 4″ screen (and yup, now it has oleophobic coating too!), and anodized aluminum back (HUGE yay! No more scratch-tastic back). Another huge update is the camera, where the iPod Touch finally has a real camera. 5MP iSight camera (presumably the iPhone 4’s sensor with the sapphire crystal lens cover). The Facetime camera is 720p now, matching the iPhone 5. Same thing with support for 5GHz wifi n.

Oh, and it has Siri. Wait, Siri for the iPod Touch, but not my iPad 2? WTF Apple?
At least the new iPod Touch now finally comes in colors. $299 for 32GB and $399 for 64GB. The old is still being sold, 16GB (first time) for $199 and 32GB for $249. Expensive? Well, again, Apple has virtually no competition here. The tagline for the new Touch? Engineered for maximum funness. Who made these taglines?

Oh, iPod Touch loop… Apple’s wrist strap for the iPod Touch. Can’t wait for cute straps being made by 3rd parties.

Why did I say that the new iPod Touch is big? Well, not only Apple is targeting this as a portable gaming player, now Apple is targeting this towards point-n-shoot cameras with the proper camera. The wrist strap should be a clue. You wouldn’t believe how many people, mostly teens, using the older iPod Touch as a camera, despite the crap-tastic excuse of a camera. This is Apple’s target.

Lastly, new earbuds, called ear pods. Only Apple can make a documentary video about earbuds, starring Jony Ive. Doesn’t look comfortable for some reason. Included with everything introduced at the event (iPhone 5, new nano, and new iPod Touch). Apple claimed it sounds as good as other earbuds costing hundreds of dollars. I’ll stick with the in-ear.

Oh, the old shuffle is still there, 2GB for $49, no change. The iPod classic still hangs around too, refusing to die. Oh, and no iPad mini.
How was my prediction? I nailed the shuffle, missed the iOS on the nano, nailed most of the price points (except no 8GB nano, and the older Touch on the $199 price point).

So, not as grand as some of previous Apple keynotes, mostly because we saw the iPhone 5 already from the leaks. The new iPods are okay, but Apple could’ve done better, pushing things further. But I guess since there’s no competition, trickling updates is the way to go.

Having plenty of iDevices already, I don’t know if I’m going to get any. The iPhone 5 pricing irks me, especially with US carriers charging an arm and a leg just to have basic smartphone service. The new iPod Touch is interesting, but I don’t see a point if I have an iPhone. I barely use any of my iPods. For apps and games, I rather use my iPad. An iPad mini would interest me more.

As a closing note, I wish Apple can grow back their backbone. Tell the carriers to shut it. Offer unlocked iPhones right off the gate with competitive prices. I mean come on, it’s obvious the US carriers are stifling innovation from the get go, from MMS, tethering, Facetime via wireless, and now LTE, by making the service so expensive and draconian bandwidth caps. Apple, Google, Microsoft, wake up. Your cloud strategy on mobile are fruitless with carriers stifling everything you do. I wish Apple, Google, and Microsoft would work together against the wireless mafia instead of bickering with each other.

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Posted by on September 17, 2012 in apple, Keynote

 

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