30 years ago, Steve Jobs stood on the stage of the Flint Center and unveiled a computer that changed computing as we know it: the original Macintosh. The Macintosh was the first publicly available computer that came with a graphic user interface. For the first time, computers could be used by virtually anyone. Famously, Steve took one to Yoko Ono’s New York apartment, where a young Julian Lennon marvelled at how easy it was to draw a house.
30 years later and the technology world has its eyes on Apple once more. Over the past few years, Apple executives have been dropping hints that it has some truly exciting products in its pipeline. Earlier this year, Apple SVP Eddy Cue, said that the products coming out of Apple this year are the best he’s seen in 25 years. Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, has also dropped numerous hints that Apple has an ‘incredible pipeline of new products and services.’
If the rumours are to be believed, Apple will introduce its take on the wearable market this year. Whilst it isn’t the first to bring out wearables, many believe that it’s only really Apple that can turn the category from an early adopter category to a mass market, desirable category that will propel Apple’s value further into the stratosphere.
Apple is well known for not being the first to a product category, but being the one to completely change how people view it. Many people recognise the introduction of the iPhone as the introduction of smartphones. This is far from the truth, Nokia’s N900 was released 10 years before the iPhone. Over the intervening years, Nokia, Sony and other manufacturers made devices that are classed as smartphones; yet they were seen as niche, business devices.
Nokia N900 versus the N7
If Apple does bring out a smartwatch on the 9th September, it won’t be the first to do so. Various manufacturers, such as Sony, have been making ‘smartwatches’ that link to smartphones for the past few years; though they don’t appear to have made a dent on the market. Since September last year, Samsung has also had its own line of smartwatches that it bundled with its Galaxy Note device. Despite some success, they haven’t ignited the market for wearables.
In what many may see as Google scrambling to be the first to have a dedicated smartwatch interface, following a large number of rumours about Apple’s entry to the market, earlier this year it launched Android Wear. Early reviews of devices running this software have been mixed, with many aware that, being Google, it will improve rapidly.
Apple’s invites are renowned for containing hidden clues that become apparent after launch. Richard Lai, editor-in-chief of Engadget Hong Kong astutely pointed out that the invite looks like a sundial.
We fully expect this to be an event where Apple shows off its timepiece. All of the signs point towards this, from hiring some of the most powerful people from the fashion industry, to Nike shutting down its wearables hardware division, with the majority going to Apple. Ever since Apple saw the popularity of the iPod Nano as a watch, it appears to have been putting significant focus into evolving this.
Aside from a few software and hardware missteps over the past few years, when Apple launches a new product, it makes sure the world notices and that consumers want it.
‘Wish we could say more’
The event on the 9th September will hopefully see Apple unveil up to two new iPhones that may be bigger, thinner and more powerful than before. The evidence suggests, Apple may also use this event to launch its wearable device(s) and show how its products all work seamlessly together like never before. We hope the event will focus on its HomeKit system to show how the phone (and/or wearable) can be used to control the home. The Health app may also play a significant role in the launch, showing how data can come together and tell us more about ourselves to help make improvements to the way we live.
The 2014 Apple event is expected to be the biggest event Apple has done since the introduction of the iPad in 2010. We expect Apple to unveil its solution for real-world payments, to focus on iBeacon and lay the groundwork for the next few years of Apple. Apple is clearly excited about the event, wishing it could say more.