Apple’s second fall launch took place Thursday Oct. 16 2014. To state it in a nutshell, Apple certainly has become a force to be reckoned with. The Launch was not like the iPhone launch as it was more understated. However, what Apple launched, is to say the least, impressive.
Apple’s final delivery of technology for the year can only be said to be tremendous. It is elegant yet powerful, thoughtful yet envisioned and will make for a very happy consumer. Additionally, I suspect the released products will change the way we do things. Apple’s primary goal, I would say, would have been to launch both their new iPad Air 2 and Yosemite primarily. Both products, and I’ll get more into this, were no less than impressive. Yet, something else is occurring that is of a very significant nature.
Apple Pay and Yosemite are the Really Major Announcements
Although, in many ways, the launch was about the iPad 2, which is extremely impressive, Apple Pay is probably the major thing that Apple announced, and should it take off, will revolutionize the way we’ve been paying for things over the years. It promises to bring a whole new level of convenience to the current mechanisms of paying for goods and services.
I want to discuss, in more detail, Apple Pay and the importance of Yosemite, from the infrastructure side, that helps to make this all possible. To start with though it is probably wise to look at the addition of the iPad Air 2 to the lineup and what this brings to the table.
iPad Air 2
It’s hard to imagine that Apple could have improved on the iPad Air but they have in a very substantive way. The iPad Air 2 is thinner, lighter and faster than its older sibling. It is also less expensive if you opt to buy more memory.
In all categories, the differences are impressive. This is a continuing move on Apple’s part to provide the best technology can buy but by no means for technologies sake. Rather, the goal is to improve the user experience with the best that technology can deliver.
The speed differences will make a large impression on anyone especially those that work with media. The weight difference will be valuable to everyone but will be definitely appreciated by the person that uses their Air to read a lot. The extra thinness makes an already impressive looking device all that more impressive and you almost have to wonder how they do it.
Tablet Sales have Fallen of Late but…
Probably the most significant thing in Apple’s eyes about the announcement was that of the iPad Air 2. Without a doubt, this was very important. The iPad Air was already the best tablet on the market with its sleek lines and powerful processor.
Of late, tablet sales have been dropping off but this is through no fault of the technology or marketing. It simply reflected a maturing market that was becoming saturated. Further, unlike phones, people keep their iPads for longer periods of time. If someone was happy with their iPad 2, it wasn’t unusual to find them using this device even though the current device is the iPad Air.
Apple is hoping, with the release of the iPad Air 2, it will stimulate sales and it could very well do that as this is about as powerful and beautiful as you can imagine. From the perspective of design, Apple was actually able to slim an already slim device and make it slimmer.
Further, Apple in the slimming of the device has made it even lighter and it was already incredibly light. The Air was easy to hold and read with one hand. Thus, from a looks perspective you have an amazing machine.
The Air 2 is a Powerhouse
The iPad Air had an A7 chip in it making it already one of the most powerful tablets if not the most powerful tablet available. In the Air 2 they have provided that with an A8X processor. It is now the most powerful tablet available and certainly developers couldn’t be happier as it is making the tablet into a desktop capable machine.
Everyone benefits from these strides but those that will benefit the most are those that work with images and media. The processing of photographs or the work with a media file will go all the faster.
Thinner, lighter and faster. For those who have an iPad Air the pressure to move to or change to the Air 2 is of course substantially less. But those with a 3 or 4 are using devices that are heavier and thicker although they are great machines. Their push to move will be greater. The older your iPad the more incentive there is naturally to consider the move to the Air 2. Then of course there are those that just have to have the latest and greatest. Regardless, this is one capable tablet that anyone will appreciate.
The Mac’s new Screen is Breathtaking
The launch wasn’t all about the iPad though. They unveiled a new iMac whose screen resolution is breathtaking. 4k screens are considered the best you can buy. However, on the new iMac the screen is a 5k. It is absolutely stunning when you look at it as the resolution is staggering for a screen of this size.
The amazing part of this piece of the launch was the price when you consider you are not just getting a screen but a full fledged, decked out iMac for $2500. To put this into perspective, 4k screens alone would start at approximately $3000.
The Mac Mini
Apple seemed to have something for everyone. They also released a new, updated Mac mini often considered the entry level desktop. However, the mini is frequently used in a household on the network as a full fledged device. The price remains the same but without going into it the machine was fully rejuvenated with enhanced, pretty well, everything to make this entry level or peer device in a household a good little unit.
The launch of Yosemite was certainly not unexpected. It also has been very visible for a number of months as developers and beta testers got their hands on it right after WWDC back in June. Within a short time, Apple opened the beta up as a general beta to 1 million users. The tires were well kicked on this one before it was released.
Yosemite I think is Apple’s finest OS. Although there was nothing revolutionary in the OS it is probably the most visually beautiful of all the OS releases they have had.
Yosemite Represents more than just an OS Update
As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, Yosemite and Apple Pay are probably the two most significant aspects of the launch. This really began with the shift to Mavericks. Although to the end user, the OS has simply added more useful functionality, under the hood Apple was working with the OS to sort of harden it up if you will. Yosemite represents the culmination of a lot of this under the hood work that really isn’t visible to the end user except in terms of new, very advanced apps that are beginning to appear.
Combine Yosemite with powerful end user devices/Macs and the Cloud and the type of app capability that is coming is phenomenal. To do this though requires all three components.
Yosemite with iCloud and many other Cloud Services
Apple of course touts the power of Yosemite in conjunction with iCloud. The new iCloud, if you will, is the way iCloud should have always been. Apple is showing more interest in infrastructure work and they have done and are doing marvelous things.
Yet, combine Yosemite with Office 365 and you have a spectacular system. There are aspects of Office 365 that need work such as Office for the Mac. It is sad to see that this product is now almost 4 years old and can’t work with the Mac properly. However, does Yosemite and IOS work with Exchange. Without a doubt. Is it able to harness the power of Onedrive. Most definitely.
Yosemite works with Office 365 better than anything Windows
This is not to be underestimated. Microsoft is very strong at infrastructure and are struggling with both the OS and the end user device. They would try to make you think otherwise but this is to say it in its gentlest form magical thinking.
However, do people love their Macs; do they work incredibly well; do they have a strong lifespan and on I could go. Yosemite works with Exchange and Microsoft’s cloud services as well as or better than Microsoft’s end user stuff. That is the power of Yosemite.
Yosemite’s Power has a Boundless Quality
I do not say this lightly. If you want you can run Windows 8.1 on your Mac basically at full speed and with 100% compatibility for a seamless experience working natively in the Windows world. Yosemite’s architecture supports virtual machines such as Parallels 10 and VMWare Fusion 7 flawlessly.
Although Office for the Mac is as close to a travesty as you can get, you can run Windows Office, if that’s what you want to do, in a virtual machine.
Yosemite or the OS meets not only the Mac infrastructure with aplomb but so too that of Microsoft and others. With the Mac, you can work with a huge variety of cloud services and take advantage of all that they have to offer.
This cannot be done with Windows 8.1. Microsoft is so busy trying to even get an operating system that works with the platforms they work on well and in a fashion that someone wants them it is quite the turn of the tables.
Yosemite meets Tomorrow
It is Yosemite’s power and capability combined with that of IOS 8 that is enabling such applications that people simply marvel at. As an example, there is a wonderful service that gets you a cab via an IOS app takes you where you want to go and the companies system, using your credit card on file does all the billing and sends you an email receipt as you’re leaving the car.
This is simply the beginning of that which will be possible due to Yosemite and IOS 8. Apple Pay is another app that is potentially so profound it could alter the way we pay for things dramatically. The front end based on Yosemite and IOS 8 combined with the infrastructure of companies that have billing systems in place have the capability to bring this about. It is truly astonishing when thought about.
A Hushed Wow
Though many have concluded that this years Apple deliveries are not wowing in nature, they really are just in a quieter, almost behind the scenes way. There are few that would say that Apple has nailed it with Yosemite and IOS 8. Apple Pay has the potential to be revolutionary and although at first glance the change to the iPad may seem subtle you suddenly now would have desktop capability in your hands. This is certainly also the case with the iPhone 6.
Many people are giving up their desktop computers for mobile computing solely. Yet where there remains growth at the desktop it is most definitely happening with the Mac but certainly not the PC.
Apple has delivered in a big way. The rubber has certainly met the road and a Mac with Yosemite should not be doubted for its ease of use and power. Combine this with continuity and IOS 8 and the system is stunning and possibly only Apple can pull off this level of integration, power and capability.
Consider this. Run Windows on a Mac Pro late 2013 with just the 6 core capability. I don’t think there is any dedicated PC that can run Windows as fast as the Mac Pro.
As the Clouds Form
Cloud services are getting cheaper at an extremely quick rate. What would have been difficult to pull of say a couple of years ago due to cost is no longer an impediment.
To do our work, we need the cloud and different cloud services in some cases to do what we want. These services are arriving in an extremely cost-effective fashion. People such as Nadella of Microsoft and Chen of BlackBerry see where things are moving and are positioning themselves to deliver.
Apple has delivered some very amazing capability able to tap into the clouds that are forming. They do this on devices people want, that are capable and that deliver astonishing applications. I would say for 2014 Apple has come on strong and we as end users will be able to do a multitude of things cost effectively that we could only dream of a few years ago.
We are arriving at an interesting place and in some ways at the starting gate. Apple is so well positioned. They not only will be able to deliver their own cloud solutions but leverage that of many others.
Chen of BlackBerry is repositioning his company to do this also and he is doing a good job. But for the purposes of this article we discuss Apple’s 2014 deliverables and launch and really, for all intents and purpose, they have done a marvelous job.