Apple fanboys (and girls!) are at the edge of their seats in anticipation of the company’s planned Sept. 10 event. What will they reveal? How many and how soon? Let’s hope one of those is innovation—a key ingredient that arguably the world’s favorite tech brand has been lacking for quite some time.
Since the loss of founder Steve Jobs, Apple has struggled to maintain its own high standards for beautiful, user-friendly tech. And in the time that the company has taken a few steps back, others, like main rival Samsung, which is the largest mobile manufacturer in the world, have made leaps and bounds. With no fear to go big, go small or go cheap, Samsung has proven that it can give consumers what they want, and how they want it, with many more options than Apple has ever offered.
But this latest round of devices may be the most important yet. Rumors, leaked photos and the general wants and needs of the public suggest that Apple will unveil both an iPhone update, the iPhone 5S, and a cheaper, pared-down version, possibly called the iPhone 5c (for ‘cheap’—or China). This would mark the first time that the Cupertino, Calif.-based company pays some attention to the value-conscious consumer—a growing demographic in a world full of economic crises and $600 mobile phones. Apple may reportedly also unveil an Apple TV, while other updates, including iOS 7 and iTunes Radio have already been teased.[more]
While new Apple devices always create some kind of palpable buzz and market activity, the new mobile phones may still be a bit of a let down in a market saturated by a ‘bigger is better’ mindset, which Samsung and other mobile makers cater to quite well. The Wall Street Journal reported today that Apple is working on an iPhone with a six-inch screen—nearly two inches larger than what currently graces the cover of the iPhone 5. But that reported phone isn’t in line to be revealed this time around. No, Apple-faithful consumers will have to wait, for an unknown amount of time, if ever, for that reported big-faced phone to appear in stores.
And therein lies the rub. While Apple has continued to make small tweaks to its core group of devices, including its Mac computers, iPads, iPods and iPhones, other manufacturers are adjusting to market needs at a much faster pace. Granted, while Apple has a reputation for utter device perfection—an attribute that could certainly slow down the release process—it doesn’t seem like too many consumers are turned off by perhaps less perfect, but more of-the-moment offerings from competitors.
And Samsung recently provided a perfect specimen. Earlier this week, the company unveiled a much-talked about piece of technology that is arguably the next step in the saturated smartphone market—the smartwatch. While there have been other iterations, like Pebble, for sale, Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch is the first wrist accessory made in conjunction with same-brand mobile devices, creating a seamless experience for users of a range of Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones.
Apple too is rumored to be planning a a move into wearable tech with its own smartwatch, the iWatch, but any rumors as to when it will be revealed are pure speculation. Once again, Samsung has opened up a new market ahead of Apple. Is Samsung’s smartwatch perfect? According to analysts, no, but it might not need to be. The fact that Samsung crossed the finish line first means Apple has risked losing out on converting teetering Samsung owners to their brand, a decision that could have been influenced had Apple revealed its own companion device first.
But Apple is just being Apple. The company’s exclusivity is a large part of its DNA, so trying to be everything to everyone may not only be a bad idea, but an out of character one.
Slow and steady wins the race, right? Apple hopes so.