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It’s Been Way Too Long

October 16th, 2014

I’m not exactly sure what has been “too long for”, but another Apple event is now past and gone without leaving too much excitement behind.

As we are now used to, thanks to early leaks Apple events are never a big surprise anymore. Usually we forgive Apple because the quality of the product is great, but this time I feel like there’s less forgiveness that can be distributed.

But let’s talk about one item at a time.

iOS 8.1

On Monday we’ll be treated to a new release of iOS 8, that is going to address many of the “feedback” received from users worldwide (hopefully this update won’t fry my iPhone).

The main two features of this update are ApplePay and Continuity. The first one will only be available if you are in the U.S. (apparently coming in early 2015 to U.K. as well) and will allow you to use your iPhone 6/6+ to perform contact-less purchases. I’m not sure if ApplePay will be available worldwide at least for online payments (we’ll wait and see), but that could be a good start for the rest of us.

Continuity instead will be available to you if you have one of the latest generation Macs with OS 10.10 Yosemite. This is definitely a feature that I’m looking forward to, because it’s finally promising to really tide all my Apple devices together, making activities almost platform-agnostic. The ability to start a task on one device and then seamlessly transition to a different screen has the potential to increase productivity and reduce dead times.

Mac OS 10.10 Yosemite

I could spend time trying to write about what’s new in this release but I would just waste your time. Instead I will point you to the best review you on the internet: John Siracusa Ars Technica review. Since the beginning of times it has always been the best and will always be. Let me just quote this opening statement:

For the first time in forever, the Mac could be noticed by someone.

On my part I’ll just say that Yosemite is a very welcomed update for two main reasons: the visual update brings parity with the UI language we first discovered with iOS7 and the Continuity features that will make the Mac relevant again.

New iPad Air 2

I’m not sure if the name is long enough.

Joking aside, the new big iPad is the one I’ll buy. My last iPad was the first generation Mini and it’s time now to go back to the full size version to really take advantage of the new hardware/software features. The new hardware (outside) it’s a small upgrade compared to last year model, with the exception of Touch ID that finally removes the awkwardness of having to type your pass-code (so 2013). Inside there’s an all new chip, super fast graphics and…the same battery life.

We’ll get up to 10 hours. Same as before. I don’t know how much more width they want to remove but it’s getting almost ridiculous now. 6.1mm is just too thin and of course you need to compromise on something. In this case battery life was again the one to suffer from the cut. We’ll see in real life testing how it will behave.

iPad Mini 3

This is Apple dropping the bomb on the iPad Mini and possibly an early signal of throwing the towel on this model.

The iPad Mini 3 is exactly the same as last year model except for the introduction of Touch ID. This is also why Phil Schiller spent approximately 25 seconds talking about this iPad model.

The pricing structure is interesting. $100 more for Touch ID doesn’t seems easy to justify, but we all know how Apple works.

iMac with 5K Retina Display

Another easy name to remember.

We knew it was coming, we knew it was going to be the premium 27″ option, we didn’t know it was going to be so “cheap”. Starting at $2499 it’s cheaper than a stand-alone 4K monitor while delivering more pixels (5K) and having an entire computer behind.

First impressions of whom was able to play with it are good but not overwhelming so we need to give tester more time to play with it. Let’s hope this first generation won’t suffer from the same lag and refresh issue that the first-gen MacBook with Retina display had to suffer.

No signs of the rumored MacBook Air with Retina display, but I’m sure it won’t take too long before we’ll see it.

Mac Mini

Yes, the Mac Mini is still alive. Again few seconds were enough to introduce the “new” model which enjoys a well deserved refresh of some internal components, expanded I/O with additional Thunderbolt ports and a price drop that will make it even more affordable as a great choice for an entry level-media station machine.

With the refreshed Mac Mini Apple has dropped the Server version, but I’m not sure tears will be consumed over its departure.

Final Thoughts

All in all it was quite a busy event, longer than usual for this time of the year.

Nice upgrades, nothing revolutionary but a clear step toward this new unified ecosystem that has the potential to become the best on the market. One of the other take away from this event is that Apple right now is just mostly stretching time until they will be able to release the Apple Watch which is the clear new focus of the company. That I believe will be a much bigger and defying moment for Apple because it will represent the final piece of a jigsaw 7 years in the making.