An Evaluation of Apple’s Press Event

With the arrival of Apple’s much-awaited September 1st press event, a host of new products and services have been revealed. Are Apple’s announcements as exciting as anticipated? Read on to find out. 

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Next Generation iPod Touch: The iPod Touch has finally received the the makeover it deserved. With dual cameras, video calling,  720p video recording, a Retina screen, up to 64GB and an A4 processor, the new Touch is a veritable piece of hardware. Yet the lack of 3G remains a glaring omission; as Apple would not want to jeopardize its iPhone sales, do not expect a 3G iPod anytime soon. 

The Verdict: Impressive
 

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Nano-sized iPod Nano: Apple’s iPod Nano’s design has been completely revamped. The new Nano now has a screen of a mere 1.5 inches, and will be navigated using multi-touch: no buttons! This brings a particularly troublesome problem; wouldn’t a finger take up half the screen? Nonetheless, the Nano’s small size makes it convenient for exercise, as it can be easily be clipped onto one’s clothing.  The device can hold up to 16GB of media. 

The Verdict: Meh
 

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A Brand new…iPod Shuffle: Another shuffle with buttons and voice commands has entered the market. Dwarfed by its older brothers iPod Touch and iPod Nano, this shuffle fails to impress. 

The Verdict: Dud
 

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Apple TV: The new Apple TV boasts a multitude of features, including a smaller size, an HDMI port, Ethernet and a built-in power brick. Most conspicuous is the device’s lack of a hard drive. With the Apple TV, Apple is moving away from storing media and shifting into the “cloud;”  the device is now a streamer. Owners of the Apple TV will be able to stream and rent, not buy, movies and shows. Prices will range from 99 cents for TV shows and $5.00 for new movies. Apple’s foray into the streaming market ought to be interesting, as we will see how the company will fare against subscription-based companies like Netflix. 

The Verdict: Interesting
 

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Ping — the musical social network: Apple delved headfirst into social networking with its release of Ping. A cross of Facebook and Twitter, Ping revolves solely around music. Users can follow artists or each other and share their musical preferences, learning about new music along the way. Ping already has a user base of  160 million; that number can only grow from here. It remains to be seen what kind of impact Ping will have on social networking and the music community. 

The Verdict: Innovative
 

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Taken as a whole, Apple’s press event was not as impressive I had hoped. While Apple did expand the social networking community with Ping, the company failed to bring any real innovation to the majority of its products. 

Disagree (or agree) with me? Leave a comment!

12 Comments

  1. Not having 3G is not an omission. The Itouch is for people who don’t have AT&T and don’t want to pay service fees

    • While it is true that some users may not want to pay for 3G, it wouldn’t hurt to have the option. One might want a web-enabled device comparable to the iPhone but without having to pay for a phone contract. As technology becomes more web-based, we’re going to see more and more devices connected to the internet. A 3G iPod Touch would set a precedent for other gadgets; it would be the first 3G non-phone device with an established app library and a good browser.

    • The iPad does have 3G; but it won’t fit in your pocket. It’s not convenient to take around everywhere you go.

      I agree Apple wouldn’t give the iPod Touch 3G, as it would be a poor business decision on their part. Nonetheless, that does not mean that people would not like to have 3G on their Touch.

    • If I want an iPod Touch with the capability to access the internet, I’m essentially buying an iPhone sans mics and the SMS app. Aside from the 2 year contract, there is absolutely no difference between the iPhone and a hypothetical 3G iPod Touch (aside from design in which case the iPhone is leagues better IMO) in price or functionality.

      Unless you’re trying to say there are people in the world who either: a. Don’t have a cell phone, don’t want a cell phone, but are willing to pay $15/$25 to a wireless carrier for a mobile internet device b. Hate AT&T so much they’re willing to carry a Verizon phone AND still pay AT&T for a data plan on their iPod Touch.

      My point is, the need of customers to have a mobile device with Internet wherever AT&T offers it is already fulfilled by the iPhone. An iPod Touch with 3G doesn’t offer value in terms of price or functionality over the iPhone.

    • The fact that Sprint is planning to offer a 3G enabling case for the iPod Touch suggests that a market exists for such a product.

      Indeed, some of the comments on Arstechnica (http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2010/07/sprint-set-to-release-3g-enabling-case-for-ipod-touch.ars?comments=1#comments-bar) indicate that people would purchase an iPod Touch with internet access.

      Some quotes from users on Arstechnica, regarding a 3G enabled iPod Touch (specifically one using the Sprint case):

      [email protected] wrote: “If Verizon did this, would buy it in a heartbeat.”

      shimone wrote: “This is really just the sort of solution I’ve been looking for. I switched from AT&T/iPhone to Sprint/Pre because the phone service was terrible in the San Francisco bay area. I have had no problems with Sprint and love their *phone* service but the Pre is no replacement for an iPhone.
      If I could get an iPod Touch 4 (whenever it’s released) with a data plan (like the iPad) and carry a regular cellphone for calls I’d be very happy not switching back to AT&T”

      Kaydot wrote: “Yup interested! I personally only ever wanted an iPod touch with 3G. I don’t want an iPhone (I have a great candybar nokia that does my phone calling. AND it lasts 4 days without a charge – bliss). I think the biggest miss with the iPad is the form factor. Too big! I don’t want an iPod touch with a camera. And I remotely want it as a GPS. But with 3G… it’s the data appliance I’ve always wanted.”

      yonan32 wrote: “as an international consumer, i like the idea. overseas where iPhones are sold contract-free and unsubsidized, they cost at least $600 while the iPod touch is as low as $230. let’s say this device is $150, i will still save over $200, albeit still not getting voice capability (but hey)…”

      Thus, while a 3G iPod Touch may seem redundant to some, it may please others.

    • [email protected]: His problem with the iPhone is the carrier, not the product itself. If the iPhone was on Verizon he’d buy it in the heartbeat over a 3G iPod Touch. His issue isn’t that there is no 3G iPod Touch but that AT&T has shit service.

      Shimone: His problem is with the carrier not the product as well

      Yonan32: I don’t think he realizes that an iPod Touch with 3G would be significantly more expensive than the current iPod Touch. In terms of hardware, the only difference between an iPhone and a 3G iPod Touch would be the lack of microphones, a back camera, and a GPS chip. Those components are not the reason for the $400 difference between an iPhone and an iPod Touch. Apple prices the iPhone because it can (carriers subsidize the price so the iPhone is effectively cheaper to the customer) not because it has to. If Apple introduced a $230 iPod Touch with 3G it would cannibalize the sales of the far more profitable iPhone (Apple makes more money up front plus receives a portion of the monthly contract). Thinking a 3G iPod Touch would be significantly cheaper is ridiculous.

      Of those, only Kaydot has a specific need for a product like an iPod Touch 3G. There aren’t a lot of people like him. The primary market for iPod Touches is kids whose parents don’t want to buy a data plan. Anyone who can afford a data plan and an iPod Touch can buy an iPhone. The only real concern here is the carrier but a 3G iPod touch would run on the same carrier as the iPhone so this is a non-issue.

    • Same article:

      “Verizon data network + Skype could be a real threat to the AT&T strangle hold on the iPhone.”

      Again its the carrier and not the product.

      “Definitely interested in a pay-as-you-go. I have an emergencies-and-travel-only cell phone on a pay-as-you-go plan. I also have an iPod Touch that I use a lot at work where wifi is available. What would be FANTASTIC would be to have a decent pay-as-you-go data-only plan that I could use while traveling. Bye-bye usurious hotel and airport wifi rates!”

      In this case his problem is that carriers (in America) don’t let you use an iPhone on a pay-as-you-go plan. That’s because carriers subsidize the phone and need the revenue from the monthly contract to cover the lost revenue. However, in this case he assumes that a 3G iPod Touch would be priced at the same points as a regular iPT which will probably be untrue. He also assumes that carriers will allow the iPT to go on pay as you go plans.

      “The Touch is a terrific PMP (except for Apple’s lame BT). Some of us who don’t want to deal with AT&T for whatever reason (poor local coverage compared to Sprint, for example).

      However, a Touch + Peel (personally, I prefer the allusion of Mrs. Peel versus Apple Peel, but one can’t compare Apples and Oranges, now can one?) + Skype = iPhone without having to deal with AT&T. ”

      Again the carrier

      “Seconded. I have a cheap feature phone for calls and a touch for internet browsing and music. GPS would be cool to have… Before I got the Sprint thing I’d wait and see if the new touch will have a 3g version.”

      I don’t think he understands that combining his calling plan and adding data to get the iPhone is the same as carrying around his featurephone with a calling plan and an iPod Touch 3G with a data plan.

      In general, the Sprint case works outside of Apple’s intended use for the iPod Touch. You can’t be sure that even if Apple made a 3G iPod Touch they would put it on an alternate carrier, what they would price it at, or if they would enable a pay-as-you-go system like the iPad. Regardless, most of the desire for a 3G iPod Touch stems from the carrier the product runs on, not the product itself. Also Sprint’s data plan for the iPT case is more than three times as expensive as the cheapest iPhone data plan ($15 for iPhone, around $50 I believe for 4GB data on Sprint)

      The desire you cite stems primarily from the carrier (which from all we know is set to change in January), not from the advantages of a iPod Touch 3G itself.

    • Let me put it like this:

      If I buy an iPod Touch I most likely have a phone. There is no difference between paying for a voice plan for my phone and a data plan for my iPod Touch vs. paying for a voice and data plan for the iPhone. So what’s the point?

  2. I do believe that Sprint is offering a 3g sort of case that enables 3g on the Itouch. But like Vybhav said, it is meant for users who are looking for the functionality of the iphone 4 (w/o phone obviously) without paying the monthly access charge

  3. First – I like HostMonster.

    Okay, sorry for posting without really being invited to, but I wanted to just say maybe the possibility of an iPod touch that costs more than the going price for an unactivated iPhone with 3G without a monthly service charge (like what the Amazon Kindle has) wouldn’t be a horrible business decision.. People don’t buy iPhones just for an iPod with 3G – I know hate carrying a phone and an iPod with me all the time, as I’m sure a lot of other people do. I don’t think the people who pay for iPhones are really all that price-sensitive: they already can afford iPhones.

    I won’t pretend that I know a whole lot, but that’s my two cents.

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