Maybe I am a little tired and irritable – Apple’s announcement at 10am in Cupertino California ends up being 3am in Sydney, and I am not a good morning person.
Let me state upfront that I like Apple - its products are good, its walled garden business model is amazing, and it is a premium company in every respect. For once the rumour mills were almost 100% right, predicting the lower cost iPhone 5C and the premium 5S, so today's announcement is a little anticlimactic.
I don’t think the 5C and a 5S are enough to save Apple's steadily declining market share.
The 5C is essentially a redesigned iPhone 5 – same size, same processor – with iOS 7. In other words, apart from a colourful plastic case – same old same old.
It was supposed to be a very much lower cost model to attract new users, but at A$739 for the 16GB model and $869 for the 32GB model it is way overpriced for the specs. To be fair, Apple has never sold on price, so comparisons with Android or Windows Phone are odious – iOS7 has an intrinsic value that must be counted over the ostensibly free Android. If it comes with iWorks (as Windows Phone comes with Office) then there is further value to consider.
The 5S is essentially a souped up iPhone 5. Apple ripped out the four cylinder motor and put in a six. It improved security with a finger print scanner – public reaction will be interesting, especially if the phone has multiple users. It snuck in a 64-bit version of iOS, which will take some time to be used properly as apps need to be upgraded, and the camera is better. But where is the larger screen and the innovative, new, blow your socks off moment Apple desperately needs?
Australian prices are too high - $869 for the 16GB model, $999 for the 32GB model and a whopping $1,129 for the 64GB model.
With iOS part of the equation, Apple can, maybe, justify these prices, but given downwards price pressures in Android and Windows Phone, I can see non-committed users looking long and hard at those most viable alternatives.
Apple did not pull a white rabbit out of the hat today. There was no Steve Jobs moment, nothing that said, “Hey listen up dudes - we are the most innovative, technologically advanced computing device company on the planet.”
Companies go through cycles. Nothing Apple did today indicates that Apple will break the Android domination of the smartphone market. Nor will the announcement will do much to fend off the great gains Microsoft Windows Phone/Nokia is now starting to make in the bring your own device corporate market.