Just a few minutes to jot down my next-day percolations on the event yesterday:
iPhone 6. The 3d(née force) touch thing seems like it will be interesting. The phone has suffered from horrendous feature bloat and poor design choices since the release of iOS 7. If the force-touch can correct some of that stuff and offer a better experience, then that's really cool. I'll be getting a 6s plus to replace my 5s this weekend.
Apple Watch. The new band colors are nice. I really wanted to see a butter yellow and a lighter orange; perhaps yellow is hard to get consistent results on? I still can't see myself spending $1500 on a watch that has a custom face and a fashion-forward leather-band, but then I bought the sport with the blue band and am very happy with the value proposition of that device at $350. I like the new watch colors, too. Still don't really care too much about the apps stuff; the basic apps are fine for me. I don't really need twitter on my wrist. The medical stuff was pretty killer.
AppleTV. Feels like they missed an opportunity with the games. I really wanted to see them pick up Nintendo. It could have been a great pairing. Maybe they tried, and it just didn't work out -- Nintendo remains a proud company that will go out in the most Japanese way possible, I guess. But I think an acquisition would have been STELLAR if they could have pulled it off. The MLB app, if unlike me you give a shit about sports, seems great ... I think the apps is the right direction for the telly, tho I was not not particularly inspired by all of the demos -- how many people want to sit at their TV and order clothes (who names their fashion-focused, first-world essence company Gilt ??? ) The game was cute. I'll get one and see what I think.
iPad Pro. OK, even I was laughing when they brought out the keyboard -- "OMG, the MS folks have gotta be vacillating between fury and uproarious laughter."
I gotta say, tho... The pencil is classic type-A Apple and the snarky, predictable, and sad reaction to it is classic haters drinking the haterade:
Everyone's all eye-rolly over Jobs' famous "if you see a stylus, they blew it" quote, and here they come with this thing that looks like a stylus but it's called a "pencil" and somehow that makes them a bunch of dumb hypocrites ... The pencil is not a stylus, sorry haters. I bought a stylus, too, the Cosmonaut. As stylii go, it is a great stylus. And I used it regularly for all of about 3 or 4 weeks and decided Steve was right. I like it, but the value versus my finger can't justify me getting up and going and finding it when I have 10 stylii at the ready all the time. THAT was the full context of Steve's statement: that we all have what we need -- our fingers -- to use a touch device. We do not need a stylus because it's extraneous. If someone has a stylus, they blew it because they didn't think deeply enough about the product before bringing it to market.
The finger is the ultimate touch controller. But for some tasks, a better tool makes sense: You can use a wrench as a hammer, but a hammer works better. You can't hold your finger at 45 degree angle, for example, and shade something. You can't get a .7mm line out of your finger reliably.
Apple is about bringing forth technology that is ready. And readiness is a meta concept - the confluence of the readiness of the technology, the readiness of users to accept and understand the technology, the readiness of a design that makes the product intuitive and natural. When those things align, the product will be put out there. In this case, until you can have a surface that reacts to surface pressure and a device which registers pressure and reacts to the surface pressure it is exerting and works in a familiar, natural and intuitive manner, only then does a product bring enough value to the table to justify being.
Apple's assessment is that they NOW have the technology to "do a stylus justice" and make it actually bring real value over a fingertip. The question to anyone who isn't just trying to find a way to be a contrarian dorkuss should be "Did they do it? Did they bring enough value to this that it was worth it?"
The emotional side of me says "YES! iPad Pro: I want one." It's neat; the demos were well done, the idea of a 13" retina display that you can just tote around anywhere is cool. The rational side of me that signs the checks says, "Hmmm. $1000? A 13 inch tablet? It's heavier than the first iPad? Hmmmm. Let's wait for this to hit a store and go look at it in person."
Bottom line for me on the whole iPad Pro versus the Surface dealio is this: the Surface is a device that can only succeed when it is a great laptop (which I think is folly, but good luck just the same, Microsoft, if you can pull it off). The iPad Pro, however, will succeed by being a great iPad ... The best iOS device you can get. As to whether it's done that or not? We'll have an idea in November and know sometime in February after the holiday buyers have had it for a couple of months — long enough to figure out whether keeping up with their new Pencil is worth it or not.