Impressions from the 2020 Apple Event
It’s that time of year folks, as the Autumn leaves begin to turn, and sadly this year, as the glow of so many western fires begin to fade in the US, once again it’s time for Apple to unveil its latest and greatest innovations.This year has been challenging for everyone, including Apple, and for the first time in forever, we won’t see any new iPhones in September. For those, we’ll likely need to wait at least another month, but in the meantime, Apple did have plenty of interesting news and some exciting new products to share with the world during its September event. If you haven’t checked out our Twitter coverage of the #AppleEvent, please take a moment to follow the official MobileIron Twitter account.
Watches and Tablets
As expected, Apple rolled out two new versions of the Apple Watch. The series 6 is the high-end version (MSRP $399, $499 with cellular, more for the larger face) and it touts an extremely important new tool in the worldwide battle against Covid-19: a Blood Oxygen, or SpO2, sensor. Curiously, we didn’t hear about that aspect of the watch very much, possibly because Apple didn’t want to make any contentious claims. Or, maybe it’s because the other watch that was introduced, the Apple Watch SE (starting at $279) doesn’t have the SpO2 monitor. Both watches will run WatchOS 7 and tout some important new capabilities like handwashing detection and Family Setup, which extends parental controls to the watch and allows the phone to pair with a single iPhone in the family as opposed to a dedicated iPhone for every watch. If you think Apple’s wearable business segment isn’t important, remember that in 2019 Apple claimed that the business segment, which also includes AirPods, was the equivalent to a F200 company.
We saw the introduction of two new iPads, the iPad Generation 8 starting at $329 and the higher end (but not as hush as the iPad Pro) iPad Air 4, starting at $599. Both will be available in October 2020 and will run iPadOS 14. Although both claim to have leapfrogging improvements both over their predecessors, and even desktop PC’s and Android tablets, the Air is by far the more powerful of the two and will harness Apple’s own A14 processor while the iPad Gen 8 will use the A12. The new iPad Air will also integrate TouchID into the power button, and both of the new models will move to USB-C for charging. Thankfully, it looks like we are finally coming to the end of the era for proprietary chargers, which aligns well with Apple’s environmental goals of becoming fully carbon neutral by 2030, including in its supply chain.
An unexpected twist
Although the rumors leading up to the event were strong, I wasn’t expecting the launch of a Peloton-busting fitness subscription service called Apple Fitness+ at $9.99 per month or $80 per year. I wonder if Apple hasn’t considered purchasing Peloton. With the combined hardware offerings of the bike, treadmill, Apple Watch and other devices like iPhones for viewing, they could break the whole home fitness field wide open. Peloton bikes run a variant of AndroidOS, but I’m sure it could be ported…
Apple is serious about subscription revenue though, and today they unveiled a new bundle squarely at the Apple fangirls and fanboys of the world called Apple One. Apple already has some serious subscription streams for hardware aimed at people who want to stay up to date on the latest iPhones, but if you want every streaming service + iCloud, it will cost you nearly a dollar per day. This begs the question: if Apple were a bank, how big would they be? Do they even need Goldman Sachs to issue the Apple card?
What we didn’t hear
Notably absent from the dialog was any mention of 5G. The rumors are fairly strong that the next batch of iPhones, which we assume will be announced in October, will incorporate 5G chipsets made by Qualcomm. In fact, they may even have a high-end and low-end version of these chipsets. For now though, both the new iPads and watches will have to settle for LTE connectivity, and Apple did mention the LTE radios would be up to 30% faster than the previous generation.
We also didn’t hear very much about Apple TV, although tvOS 14 - along with iOS 14, iPadOS 14 and watchOS 14 - will be released on September 16th. The newest version of tvOS brings support for Homekit compatible video cameras, picture-in-picture, and Apple arcade. I’d expect to see more here; Covid-19 has changed our viewing habits, Apple has new subscription bundles to sell like Fitness Plus, and market leadership still appears to be up for grabs.
Stay tuned for more
As usual, we’ve got a lot of great innovation to look forward to from Apple this year. For those of you wondering about how MobileIron is going to manage all of the great software innovations in iOS 14 and iPad OS 14, please continue to watch our blog and product announcements as we announce our “Day One” support and we begin to share our excitement about the new capabilities!