The Godfather III of Apple Events

Apple had three events this year, WWDC, the iPhone/Apple Pay/Apple Watch announcement, and the iPad/iMac Retina announcement. WWDC was welcomed by enthusiastic reviews, easily surpassing expectations. The iPhone event, issues with the live stream aside, was hailed as the true beginning of the Tim Cook era. And then there was last week’s event. Much like The Godfather Part III, it wasn’t a bad event per se, but did not at all compare to the previous two. It was an odd way to end what really was otherwise a banner year. The event had several flaws.

Numberless

In the last two events Tim Cook more or less skipped the usual, “here are the numbers” intro. This time he reverted to form with a notable exception, there were no numbers. It was almost Amazon-like in its obtuseness. Yes, the numbers came out a few days later in the quarterly earnings statement, but then why take time at the event?

Everybody’s a Comedian

The skits, oh the skits. The community is divided here. I have seen some people claimed they liked the humor and self deprecation. And normally I do too, but they called so much attention to it here that it felt like more that they were begging me to laugh than anything else. And if you are going to take up all this time demoing an operating system, at least show something new. We got a mini review of WWDC, which I don’t think most of the people tuned in to this live stream needed. By this point we pretty much knew there was no “One more thing” at this event.

iPads, All Five of Them

The announcement we all knew was coming was for the iPad line. We got a new iPad Air, which really does look like a nice upgrade. I mourn the loss of the side switch which I use all the time, and really question not moving the sleep/wake button to the side to match the new iPhones.[1] The iPad mini 3 though, that was a true disappointment. No upgrade at all beyond TouchID and a gold option. That’s it. And the iPad mini 2 and 1 are both remaining on the market, along with the iPad Air 1. That’s five distinct models in two sizes each with two or three colors, most with two or three capacities. Oh and cellular options too. This is way too much for the average user to have to consider when purchasing a tablet. I pity the poor salespeople who have to run down all these options.

iMac Retina

This announcement was awesome and I have no complaint about it. The price is incredible and lower than I would have expected. Only complaint is that there is no standalone display for the rest of us.

Mac mini

My parents have an old mini and need a new one. So I of course told them to wait for this event, given how notoriously long in the tooth the Mac mini had become. Well we got an update, and the price dropped back to $499. But then you look at the specs, and that $499 unit should be avoided at all costs. It is dramatically underpowered compared to the $699 unit, and unlike previous minis, nothing is user upgradable in this machine. And spinning hard drives still, really? If the Mac Pro can go SSD all the way, can’t the mini?

Been too long for what?

Apple’s invite for this event said “It’s been way too long”. What was this in reference too? Not Yosemite, it came out right as we all expected. Not the iPad, same there, unless you consider that the iPad mini 1 means that it’s been way too long to still be selling an A5 based product. Not the Retina iMac, we wanted one, but it doesn’t feel late to be announcing it now. That leaves the Mac mini. And yeah it has been way too long, I agree, but the mini was hardly the focus of the event.

Where was the AppleTV? There it really, REALLY has been too long. Hardware and software both are crying out for an update. But nothing, nada. The only mention we got of the Apple TV at all was that it can now be AirPlayed to without a network. Yay, but next time I will be more specific with my wish of “say something about the AppleTV”.

Again, I did not hate the event. It was fine. Certainly not as bad as the iPod Hi-Fi event back in the day. But it was an underwhelming to what was otherwise a pretty spectacular year of Apple announcements. If anything, it think they would have been helped by an invitation title that was more subdued, and a shorter, tighter presentation. But if recent history holds, we have some time now to build up before the next one.


  1. I still press in the wrong place every time I pickup my iPad.  ↩
The Godfather III of Apple Events was last updated October 21st, 2014 by Michael Truskowski