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With new iPhones -- and a watch -- Apple moves on from Jobs

Ryan Faas | Sept. 11, 2014
Apple certainly had a lot to announce and preview during its almost-two-hour media event for the launch of the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which included not only new phones but the company's new mobile payments system known as Apple Pay and the first preview of the Apple Watch -- set to debut sometime early next year.

Apple certainly had a lot to announce and preview during its almost-two-hour media event for the launch of the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which included not only new phones but the company's new mobile payments system known as Apple Pay and the first preview of the Apple — set to debut sometime early next year.

The event, for which Apple built a special facility at the Flint Center of DeAnza College, the Cupertino facility where both the original Mac and the first iMac were introduced by Steve Jobs, was also significant because it was also the first truly post-Jobs Apple product launch.

Although CEO Tim Cook and his team have launched several products since the iconic co-founder and CEO died three years ago, including three generations of the iPad and two generations of iPhones, they were all iterations on existing product lines. (The only product that you could truly call post-Jobs to date is the iPad mini, which took Apple into the small tablet market, something Jobs publicly derided before his death.)

The first real look at Apple under Cook happened during the company's annual WorldWide Developers Conference keynote in June. That keynote very much illustrated that Apple had found its bearings again in the post-Jobs world. Yesterday, however, offered the first glimpse of the products and services that Apple has taken on without Jobs' influence — and it should finally put to rest the ridiculous idea that Apple was no longer capable of innovation.

Right is better than first

Yesterday's showcase melded both the classic Apple showmanship with a slightly different, more open company. And it reinforced a hallmark of Apple's strategy: It's more concerned with doing a product right than doing it first.

Apple announced a larger iPhone and its first phablet. Neither category is new, and neither smartphone was a surprise. It also introduced an NFC-powered, contact-less mobile payments system. There have been several attempts by Apple's competitors and industry consortiums, including Google Wallet and Softcard (the industry group formerly known as Isis). Indeed, Apple was long thought to be working on such a system and many people assumed — correctly — that Apple's Passbook was a stepping stone to that goal. Apple is also far from being the first company to produce either a wearable fitness tracker or a smartwatch (or a combination of the two).

The same could be said of the first iPod (not the first portable MP3 player), the original iPhone (not the first smartphone), and the iPad (not the first tablet — and if you consider the Newton line, not even Apple's first tablet). Yet, Apple threw out the design and user interface rulebook for each of those categories, went back to the drawing board on how to best design a device for them, and then created category-defining products that turned obscure technology into mainstream sensations and disrupted whole industries.

 

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