Last night marked the date for the annual Apple Special Event, held at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, United States. The event, much like last year, was to showcase the upcoming hardware offerings by Apple, with the primary focus being the upcoming iPhones, but before jumping into that, let's go through the other product lineups that the company had to offer.
Apple is also hopping on to the booming video streaming services market bandwagon with the launch of Apple TV+. It is a monthly paid service that gives access to multiple exclusive Apple originals, without any ads, and support for Dolby Atmos, for up to 6 family members for just US$4.99 per month. To get more traction, Apple is also offering a 7-day trial for all users, and a free 1-year subscription on the purchase of a new iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac, or Apple TV.
The new iPad
Among the plethora of products in Apple’s iPad lineup, ranging from the iPad mini to the Pro, only the OG iPad got an uplift. The screen got a bump up to 10.2 inches from 9.7, while maintaining the same pixel density as before. In addition to that, the iPad also got some feature updates such as the inclusion of the Apple Smart Connector, eSIM support, Gigabit-Class LTE-A, and more. And even though other aspects such as the processor itself still stayed the same, at a starting price of US$329 for the WIFI only 32GB model, makes it a pretty good value for money.
The 5th generation Apple Watch
Ever since the introduction of the Apple Watch, it has led to a disruption in the global smartwatch market. Apple started off this year’s Apple watch unveiling with a very heartwarming video made by apple and some of the users of the previous generation of Apple watches, showing how Apple watch not only transformed people’s lives but also helped save multiple, and this was the stepping stone for the company towards the improvements that Apple brought to the next-generation Apple Watch. Nifty features such as a notification update in case of heartbeat irregularities, applications to track mensural cycles, a Noise app to let users know when outside sound can be damaging to their years, and the list goes on. This not only has assisted in increasing the popularity of smartwatches around the globe but has also led to an astounding impact on the wearable healthcare devices market. Not only that, the watch now also features an integrated compass, which along with measuring which direction you are facing, also measures your elevation, incline, and latitudinal and longitudinal position. Plus, the watch features all the other cool things from the previous generation like support for Apple Pay, access to cloud music services, among other things. Oh, and before I forget to mention this, the watch also does, tell time.
Apple Arcade was already unveiled by the company back in the year and now has finally put a release date and price on it. The Xbox’s GamePass like service allows users to access a multitude of titles at a fixed monthly price. Apple Arcade is set to launch on September 19th and will cost US$4.99/month. Users can also access one-month worth of service for free on signup and can share access with up to 6 family members.
The Brains of the iPhone – the A13 Bionic
Before we jump onto the star of the show, we need to talk about what is powering Apple’s next flagship. The A13 is Apple’s latest and greatest microprocessor featuring a set of 2 performance CPUs, and 4 efficiency CPUs with 20% faster performance and up to 40% less power draw compared to the previous generation chipset. Moreover, it also boasts of having the world’s fastest GPU ever on a smartphone. The chip also features a 3rd generation 8 core neural engine AI accelerator and 4 Gigs of LPDDR4X ram. In terms of raw number-crunching performance, this chip is very tough to beat. That combined with the in-house and fully compatible development of the software to run this chip further amplifies the potential of the chip even further. However, the chip lacks any 5G modem, and thus won’t be able to tap into the new wave of 5G network spreading across the globe at an unprecedented scale. In addition to this, the growing integration of this chipset from smartphones to tablets and more is also projected to bring a positive impact on the global microprocessor market.
TABLE 1: Popular mobile microprocessors specification comparision
Now coming to the part everyone is waiting for, the iPhone 11. The iPhone 11 features, that uber-powerful A13 chipset talked about above, a set of dual cameras, a liquid retina HD display, and more, and is more of a successor to the iPhone XR. And then to upgrade their premium/power user segment phones, the XS and the XS Max, Apple unveiled the 11 Pro and the 11 Pro Max. Like the previous generation, these two phones provide the absolute best that Apple has to offer. The display is the company’s newly named Liquid Retina XDR display, which has complete HDR support, with a pixel density of 458 PPI. The smaller one is available in a 5.88” screen size while the bigger one boasts a 6.5” display. The phones also offer a triple camera setup with multiple integrated AI features such as night mode, smart HDR for photos, and more. Furthermore, the front camera also kept the TrueDepth 3D smartphone camera with multiple shooting modes and enabled Apple’s Face ID facial recognition system. Moreover, Apple also announced that due to the great power-saving advantages granted to them by the A13 Bionic chip, all the new iPhones offer considerable battery advantages in comparison to their previous generation counterparts.
TABLE 2: Top premium segment smartphones comparison
Aside from that, not only Apple and tech fanatics were excited about that event, multiple investors were too. Apple’s stocks have been on a roller-coaster ride in the past year, and the company’s September events have influenced the company’s stocks multiple times. The company saw major falls in the months of December, May, and August, and the investors were looking up to this event for a surprise announcement by Apple. But in terms of sheer products, the event did disappoint a lot of fans and investors, and it seemed like multiple investors would sell their stake in the company, but the introduction of subscription services and integration with multiple 3rd party developers have resulted in the company’s stocks to show a 1.18% increase from 9th September to 10th September.
To sum it all up, the next generation of Apple’s smartphones is a great no compromised device, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. The event was a bit lackluster, not in terms of the content shown and made available by Apple, but regarding the fact that the products showcased did not have anything outstanding or industry-changing. It almost felt like Apple played safe in the hardware department this year while focusing more on improving the services provided, and the software experience in general. The features such as triple camera setup, the display, and almost everything else have already been available in the smartphone market and have also been a lot improved upon by some of its competitors. Also, even though 5G is not readily available in multiple markets around the globe and will still have a lot of scopes to improve in the coming 2-3 years, it seems kind of wrong to charge users US$1,000+ for a device and still not giving them an option to pick a 5G variant for some degree of futureproofing. However, Apple does deserve a lot of credit as they will be manufacturing all of the 7th gen iPads, 5th gen Apple Watch, and the iPhone 11 from 100% recycled aluminum.
But what about the competitors? Well, it seems like they got off the hook pretty easily this time around, as the products announced weren’t as surprising or innovative as hoped before. But still, Apple is a feared competitor in the premium smartphone market segment, primarily because of the company’s brand image. It is still the dominant smartphone brand in regions such as North America, and the launch of the newer iPhones is estimated to positively influence this share in the years to come. However, it is almost impossible to neglect the products being offered by the competitors with almost similar or better features at significantly lower prices, resulting in a huge chunk of premium smartphone users moving to the upper-middle smartphone range category, which is bound to negatively impact the sales of iPhones. However, to counter that, the approach that Apple has adopted since the last iteration of the iPhones has significantly helped them recover their sales. Last year the iPhone XR was the most sold iPhone, with the main reason for it being its price, and with the pricing trend which Apple has gone with this time, they are hoping to replicate the same thing with the iPhone 11, while still maintaining their dominance in the premium segment with the 11 Pro devices.
So, to conclude, there isn’t any major impact or difference that this year’s Apple event has brought to the global smartphones, tablets, and wearable devices market. However, Apple’s movement towards the video streaming services market, combined with the ample of resources that the company backs on, is bound to disrupt that market in the coming years. Similarly, video game subscription services market, is also an up and coming thing making its way to the consoles and media devices near you, and Apple’s recent announcement is not only going to aid that market but has also pushed its competitors such as Google, to fasten the launch of their video gaming pass for Android.
All in all, it was a good event by Apple showing a lot of promising products, however, it left multiple expectations unfulfilled.
About the Author:
Prithvi Gulati is a Market Research Analyst at KSI, working on estimates and global reports on multiple industries spanning from IoT to food and beverages, with a special knack for semiconductors and consumer electronics. With the addition of his formal education in Economics, Mathematics, and Commerce, he is able to provide more light on the macro aspects of the story. To read more articles by him, and for more information regarding multiple global markets, visit https://www.knowledge-sourcing.com.