I will just come right out and say it: Apple's 2013 "September Event" was the most boring, typical, 'Apple cookie-cutter' of an event, ever. It could not have been worse.
Apple has not done anything different with their keynotes for three years now, and it is absolutely sad. The keynotes were the keynotes, because it was STEVE JOBS. Move on from that. Move on from that because the remaining cast sucks at it. Without Steve to open, announce, and close, things are horrible. It is just plain sad because they try so hard to keep that "Steve Keynote feel". Heck, I'd take a Ballmer moment at anytime now.
I can't believe I just said that.
The 'script' that Steve was able to make entertaining, or believable (i.e. the 'Steve distortion field'), does not work under Tim Cook and company. The low lights, the same-exact-presentation of numbers, 'facts', and hype, really only worked to a point. IMO, that point was when Apple didn't have near the competition it has now. It worked for Steve because he was the tech celebrity, prodigal son of the underdog tech company talking about crazy stats and statements. Remember "Flash is dead?". 🙂
Yes, yes it is.
But Apple isn't the underdog in the post PC world now... they're the top dog. Number 1 or Number 2, depending on the week and the tech journalist.
Tim and company need to change the keynote m.o.
The only way you can look at this latest Apple yawn-fest is to look at them with no expectations. It's kinda hard now though when the tech journalists "wag the tech-dog" so bad months prior to. With this being said, I will try to remove my expectations. I am going to try and look at this from a logical, neutral POV.
Apple discontinued the 'carrying of the former product', or former iPhone model, and instead gave us a huge presentation why the former iPhone is going to be great in plastic. This was the most overhyped product launch event Apple has ever done. It is 'literally' an iPhone 5 in a plastic shell. B... F... D.
Look, I get it, an iPhone 5 that feels like an iPhone 3GS. That's cool... it's a smaller Galaxy S3, or a Nokia Windows 8 phone. Why in the world spend 30% or more of the event discussing this? It's an iPhone 5 in a colorful package. Colors.
Dare I say it, Steve would not have agreed with this.
Okay, so Apple needs something "fun" to entertain other markets that have money (China). I get that, but Steve would have insisted they offer a mute color, like black and grey to the line up. What if I wanted to get a less expensive iPhone 5 this year? My color choices, (which they made a big deal about) are colors not even found in a Crayola box, but the ones from shirts from George Michael concerts from the '80's. C'mon, the only safe color for a 36 year-old dude in the 5C class is white. I want black. Thus, I think this is a fail for Apple. Heck, they could have marketed it along with the new "Darth" Mac Pros. Personally, I am sad that I will not be able to get a 'slate black' iPhone now. But I could get a yellow one! Seriously. WTH.
The 5C is an iPhone 5 in a 3GS feeling plastic case targeting kids that like bright colors. And as much as that is not a bad thing, (and as cool as it may be to see the technology behind making a plastic case), it is not worth more than a quarter of the stage time it got during the revealing parts of the event. When we got to see a video of a robot making the plastic case in a plastic mold (for last year's phone) and being told how awesome that plastic case is, that was the moment when I realized how ridiculous the hype I was hearing was. No, really... a robot, filling a mold with plastic... and that was supposed to be 'amazing'. We've been doing that since 19-forever. To actually spend the money and effort to make a video, and then have a script talking about the design of last year's phone in a plastic case... and... oh well... I just have to stop. I am losing respect for Apple.
I can imagine what Apple's board room was like:
"What do we have this year?"
"Nothing? Okay... show a robot making a plastic case for the iPhone 5"!
Getting away from the presentation and focal points and on the the actual iPhone 5S itself, the device is actually sort of exciting. I was kind of floored by the 'S' specs, and I know many are asking the logical question... "Who needs a freaking 64 bit processor in a 'phone'"? ANSWER: "This Guy"!
Again, away from the presentation and focal points, Apple literally just ran another year ahead with technical specifications - all the while throwing colorful (but not black!) plastic duds at them in their wake. In my opinion, having a 64 bit processor in a phone is complete overkill. There are no apps that will utilize it 100%, and that's really because there's not enough RAM in an iPhone to make a 64 bit hum. What gets me excited though, is having a 64 bit processor in an iPad (the "PC Killer"). Yeah, an iPad can use a 64 bit processor and some nice RAM to go along with it. But what I think is going to happen...and call me crazy... I think the Macbook Airs are going to receive a processor like this in the years to come. And as much as I will not like the draw away from the industry standard Intel processor, (thus killing the major uses of VM's in OS X), I can see Apple doing this.
If I have to be honest here...I wish this '64 bit processor' was on a tablet with 4+GB of RAM, along with an OS with apps that will actually use it.
The new finger print technology was delivered really well. Really well. It was the only thing that made me even consider upgrading my phone. It was the first thing I heard that made me say "I gotta have a 5S". I really enjoyed the technical presentation behind such a small feature. Being a security guy in tech, I agree with Phil's statement behind passwords. Most peeps don't use them or have REALLY weak ones (thus defeating the point of having one to begin with). Enforcing that the person to use the Fingerprint scanner through the use of a MDM or something, interests me greatly. I am left wondering just how good and fast that "Touch ID" technology is. I remember the Android ATRIX 4G's fingerprint scanner worked, but it was clunky and only worked if you did it 'just right'. I watched many a people swipe their fingers over and over to 'log into' their ATRIX. By that time, my "weak password" and I were already in my phone. Apple touts Touch ID will work in 360 degrees - so I want to see it.
The new camera is as always, awesome. This is one area of technology that really have a good handle on... digital photography. It used to make me sick when someone bragged about having an Android phone with a 12, 15+ megapixel camera, when real digital photography is all about the light sensor in the camera - and then the lens taking that photo. Photography itself is all about light. If your lens sucks with letting light in (and then the digital sensor not being able to manipulate the white balance), who cares how big your megapixel count is? You can easily brag about having a 41 megapixel camera (phone), but that light sensor and your lens better be amazingly awesome - or you're bragging about taking really big horrible pictures that waste your hard drive space. The iPhone 4, 5, etc., cameras have ALWAYS been the best in the market for very good reasons.
What's the number one camera used on Flickr? Wait for it... an iPhone.
Lastly, I'll have to wait to see the new camera flash to believe it. Currently, I turn my flash off - because flash is only worthwhile if you have a defuser or can bounce the flash off of an object. Flash (when used straight-on) kills any picture - it doesn't matter what camera you use. It could be a $3k camera... doesn't matter... if you use flash straight on, you're a photo-taking-poser. Oh, I've met quite a few of them in the last five years. If I have to use flash for a picture, I won't take the picture. It's a waste. So if Apple really did come up with a flash "not even professional cameras can do", call me skeptical. Besides, I think a statement like that only Steve could pull off. And by the time this technology was discussed during a "Steve Keynote", he already would have sucked me into his reality distortion field.
One last thing... RIP slate black iPhone. You were probably killed because you couldn't hang with the scratches - but you were beautiful out of the box. I am still enjoying your slate blackness on my iPad Mini (which I baby in a nice black leather case, because you suck so bad against the mighty scratch). But seriously... you were hawt. Ah well, at least I'll have your half-breed brother from planet Zelex, "Space Grey".
Alas, we're at the end of the show and this piece. The presentation is now over, and it was not enough for me. iOS 7 is enough of an upgrade for my iPhone 4S - which I still love. At this point, I am fine holding out for an iPhone 6 or 6S.