Posts tagged “keynote

Apple March 2018 Education Event Breakdown

On March 27, 2018, Apple let the world know that it aims to take on education.  There are numerous reasons as to why getting into education is a good thing when you’re a large technology conglomerate:

  • Device infiltration from an early age, thus creating Apple users for life
  • Competing in a new area

For some time, Google has been dominating the classrooms with the help of their Chromebook line.  These inexpensive, easy to configure and deploy laptops running only the Chrome browser (Chrome OS) are a mainstay in American schools because they are so affordable and Google services are free (we always pay — even for free services, more on that later).  While Apple has always wanted to be in the space, the company has yet to show how fully committed they are to providing tools that schools and administrators find useful or affordable.


Overview

The highlight of this event is an all new 9.7″ iPad, coming in a just a little over one pound, that supports Apple Pencil, which is a big deal and will likely cause increased adoption of this new iPad by those wanting to use Pencil.  The device starts out at $329 for consumers and $299 for students.  This updated tablet features an A10 Fusion SOC, which is the same as the iPhone 7 and should provide lasting performance for years to come.  In addition to the Apple Pencil, Apple partnered with Logitech to create the “Logitech Crayon”, which will be available for $49, which is half of the price of Apple Pencil at $99 ($89 for students).  Logitech also created a rugged case, featuring a keyboard for $99.  This lower cost iPad does not feature the set of pogo pins, which would allow the attachment of Apple’s keyboard cover used on iPad Pro models.

Child-drawing-on-new-2018-iPad-with-Apple-Pencil

In addition to the smaller hardware announcements came big changes on the software front in iWork featuring updates to Pages, Numbers and KeyNote — all featuring Apple Pencil support.  One feature to note is “Smart annotation” to bring markup to Pages, which has been available for some time in other competing apps such as Google Docs.  Teachers will now have the ability to create digital books in Pages, which could be shared with students.  A feature that we’ve long asked for, Shared iPad, will be available for students featuring an interface where the student taps their picture and they are thrust into an experience designed for them because it will have all of their apps and settings available, regardless of device.  All of the Apple IDs created for students will be done through Apple School Manager, which can create 1500 IDs in under one minute.  Remarkable.  In the future students will be able to get handouts and more from their teachers in the Schoolwork app and be further managed in the Classroom app for Mac, which will debut in June and all work done within these apps will not be accessible by Apple.


Issues

Apple has done a great job playing catch up; however, there are still lingering problems that I see in this approach.  While the 9.7″ iPad will only cost a school $299, there are Chromebooks that cost $150 — while Apple will never say outright that they are competing against Google, the truth is they are.  In addition to the fact that in order to gain a full experience you need a pencil and under certain circumstances, certainly as the children get older and the type of work changes, you need keyboard support.  See a sample cost breakdown:

  • Apple iPad 9.7″ $299, Logitech Crayon $49, Logitech Rugged Case $99, bringing the total to $450
  • Any budget Chromebook $150-200, consumer purchase, note that a school will pay less

So for the experience that Apple is displaying, it will cost over 50% more (in fact, Apple Pencil itself can cost up to 66% the price of a Chromebook) when the end goal is the same, putting technology in the classroom to shape our future generation.

chromebook-or-ipad-for-classroom-debate


Wrap-up

Apple has made headway into education now by fully marketing towards educators; however, I feel like they’ve still missed the mark because the deployment of one iPad alone without any other accessories still costs almost double the price of one Chromebook.  It would’ve been nice to see them hit a $200 or $250 pricepoint here and with services that never seem to fully pan out — I struggle to see this changing Google’s lock on education any time soon. The hard truth is that if Apple wanted to create a true low cost competitor in this market for schools, they could — but as this announcement has shown us, they simply have not.

Additionally, many fans wanted to see a new iPhone SE or MacBook Air — this was an education event, for those of you who wanted those devices they may or may not come at a later time.

2016 Apple iPhone Keynote, Recap

Tim Cook, Pharrell Williams and James Corden appear in a car singing their favorite tunes along with small talk about the new iPhone.  They arrive at a door and Tim gets out and walks onto stage at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium — and it begins.
AppleEvent9_7

Stats from Tim
Apple Music
Apple’s music service is noted to have reached 17 million total subscriptions and features numerous exclusives from various artists such as Drake and Frank Ocean.
App Store
Since it’s inception there have been 140 billion app downloads.  The catalog contains approximately 500,000 games, making up the largest category on the App Store.  This incredible figure makes the iPhone/iPad combination the largest gaming platform.  Due to these feats by the iOS devices, Mario — that’s right — Mario, our favorite plumber will be gracing iOS with a new game entitled Super Mario Run!
Super Mario Run

Super Mario Run

This is the first time that a Mario game has been pushed officially by Nintendo to a mobile operating system and I’d easily say that they made the right choice by pushing it to the App Store.  It is created with one-handed gaming in mind and features competitive features in the mode “Toad Rally”.
Education
ConnectED is a national initiative to bring technology to underserved students.  With this Apple is working to donate iPads to 50K students.  Additionally, we’ve seen updates to iWork with improvements in collaboration similar to other applications like Google Docs where the user can see additions made by other collaborators.

New Products
Apple Watch
The Apple Watch was second only to Rolex in the world for sales revenue in the year 2015 and is the top selling smartwatch overall.
Introducing Apple Watch Series 2.
With these impressive stats Apple has worked to produce Apple Watch Series 2 that is completely redesigned on the inside to provide water resistance.  Additionally, the new wearable will be touting the Apple S2 processor, which garners faster app speeds on the device.  This new mobile processor will also make it’s way to the first-generation Apple Watch, which will still be sold by the company.  Furthermore, with the advent of the new Apple S2 processor, comes the new GPU that is 2x faster than the previous generation.
The display has been updated to be 2x brighter, blasting out pixel at 1000 nits (really bright, this is the brightest display that Apple has even put inside of one of it’s devices).  With new processors built for speed the new drove of Apple Watch devices are poised to be great for new adopters.
Sport and fitness have been some of the highlight features of the Apple Watch and these alone have made it be one of the premier fitness trackers in the industry and with the introduction of GPS things are only going to get better (if the GPS feature is not something that you long for, opting for Series One is still a good idea or even the first-generation without the new processor if you can handle a device that is a tad slower).  GPS tracking is a crucial feature for runners, cyclists and more who want a precise recap of the exact route that they followed.  Apple has also partnered with Nike to create the Apple Watch Nike+.  This specific model is similar to the Hermes Apple Watch that comes with a different band and a new watchface.   The Nike+ watchface will provide a sporty interface in addition the watch will remind the user to run and get active.
The Series 2 device with an additional finish of ceramic will start at $369 and the updated Series 1 (first-generation Apple Watch) will be sold at $269.

iPhone
The Apple iPhone is the best selling product of it’s kind in the history of the world and has sold 1 billion units.  Changes coming to iOS 10 include a newly redesigned Maps app that includes the ability to book rides and more directly from the app, changes to HomeKit, which is supported by virtually every major home automation product manufacturer, that are throughout the Home app that truly integrates home automation unlike any portal integrated into any mobile OS, changes to iMessage for more expression and tweaks and improvements that make this the fastest and best version of iOS to date.  But with it has to come new hardware, right?
Introducing iPhone 7.
The iPhone 7 is coming to us with a slew of new features, which are detailed below:
  • All new jet black and black colors (Apple notes that the Jet Black color option may scratch easily and promote the use of a case)
  • Home button is changed from a physical button to a Force-touch button, similar to the trackpad on the MacBook and MacBook Pro line that works based off of the patented Taptic engine (see below, the removal of the headphone jack allows for this innovation)
Apple home button Taptic engine placement.

Apple home button Taptic engine placement.

  • Water and dust resistant (IP67 certified) with gaskets throughout the housing
  • Camera features OIS on both 7 and 7 Plus models (additional camera features below)
    • F 1.8 aperture
    • 6 element lens
    • 12 MP sensor that is 60% faster than the previous model
    • Quad-LED true tone flash
    • Wide color gamut photos
    • RAW image capture
    • 7 MP facetime HD camera
    • 7 Plus features two 12 MP cameras, one wide-angle and another is telephoto so that the focal length can be manipulated and achieve the bokeh effect — these features will come as an update to iPhone 7 Plus users
iPhone 7 camera details.

iPhone 7 camera details.

  • Stereo speakers (one on top another on bottom)
  • Improvements to the Retina HD display that make it 25% brighter and support for a wide color gamut
  • No headphone jack, lightning ear pods are included (additionally a lightning to 3.5mm adapater comes with every iPhone 7 device)
  • Wireless AirPods, which feature the Apple W1 chip, are wireless buds that require one time setup and sync across all devices through iCloud
Apple's new AirPods, starting at $159

Apple’s new AirPods, starting at $159

  • Apple Pay support in Japan
  • Performance improvements through the newly design A10 Fusion chip, which is a 4 core 64-bit CPU that contains 2 high performance and 2 high efficiency cores (these can help save battery life when doing less intense tasks such as Email, calculator, light web-browsing and more)
A10 Fusion chip details.

A10 Fusion chip details.

All of these features for the same price as the previous generation, with the addition of more storage.  So, starting at $649 you will get the iPhone 7 models that come in either 32, 128 or 256GB configurations with these options replicating down to the existing iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.  The iPhone 7 will be available for preorder on 9/9 and will ship on 9/16.
iPhone Storage Configurations

iPhone Storage Configurations


Bottom line and takeaways:  This is a very solid announcement for Apple and a leap forward for the iPhone and Watch lines.  The camera is certainly the biggest selling feature on this device and with pictures becoming more and more important in our lives — it should be a focalpoint.  The removal of the headphone jack may make some upset, but it’s 2016 — get over it and use wireless devices.  Why tether yourself to a device that is meant to be mobile?  One note is that the AirPods are absolutely disgraceful — they are hideous, if you don’t get the point.  One of the newly released pairs of Beats wireless headphones seem to be a better choice here.  Additionally, revamping the home button is something much needed as that is the primary button on the device and it is known for collecting dust and sometimes becoming inoperable on older devices — this is huge.

Apple Watch Series 2 simply builds on the great foundation that was laid out by the first-generation device.  Now with better waterproofing, a new ceramic case and a faster processor — these updates bring it into 2016 with a bang.

Of course with any update, this is the best iPhone to date, with better storage options, same pricing scheme, snappy A10 Fusion chip — what more could we ask for?


Let’s end with a quick hands on of the newly announced iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2 devices below, Enjoy.

iPhone 7 Hands on.

Apple Watch Series 2 Hands on.

iPhone 5, why it isn’t that great

Apple, a company known for making beautiful looking and innovative products are equally known for entrapping customers in their ecosystem and releasing incremental upgrades that you “have” to buy.  The iPhone 5 is exactly that, an incremental upgrade that honestly is not that great.  Why?

Let’s start off by getting the facts out of the way.  Apple has the largest app collection on the planet, top-tier developer support, recurring users and devices that look like they should be walking down the runway.  On the other hand, with all of these facts that they can tout; they still do not have the highest global market-share like Google’s Android.  When Apple releases a product things are greater than “big”, they are gargantuan.  The press loses its mind, there is leak after leak and fan-boys worldwide almost pass out as the new device is unveiled.  However, things just were not the same with this release.  Apple not only released this update to the phone because the iPhone 4S had been out for a year, but because they had to play catch up with the market leader.  To prove a point, these are a few of the upgrades to the iPhone:

  • 4G
  • 4 inch screen
  • Faster Wi-Fi
  • Thinner
  • Battery improvements
  • Call screen options (such as: send a text to the caller letting them know you are in a meeting etc.)
  • Panoramic photos
  • Can captures pictures will recording video

Now, with these “upgrades” in line, let’s debunk them.  4G LTE is a technology that practically every high-end device released in the last year and a half has taken advantage of, the iPhone should have included it in the 4 or 4S, but it did not.  As usual, the company forced it’s customers to wait on a technology that, at the time, was already advanced enough to go into their phone.  The part that is even worse is that the buyers of the phone accepted it; which I will never understand.  The iPhone has had the same size screen since it’s “revolutionary” debut in 2007.  Why?  The screen size of 3.5 inches should’ve been discarded with the iPhone 4 iteration, imagine if they debuted their retina display on a 4″ or 4.5″ display — that would’ve been truly resolutionary.  Honestly.

The rest of the list of “upgrades” are things that older phones have had for a while.  On the other hand, when Apple releases these same features they are treated as if they are brand new and unbelievable. Whether you love the iPhone or not, it is hard to say that these additions weren’t a long time coming.

Bottom line:  I watched the keynote, not to climb on an anti-Apple perch; but, to honestly hope to see something great and new.   I saw something good, the iPhone 5 is a beautiful looking device, perhaps the best design on the market.  But when you pair a list of improvements that aren’t new with the same stale OS from 2007 – it just isn’t that great; but Tim Cook had the audacity to say, “It is the biggest thing to happen to the iPhone since the iPhone.”