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  • After the WWDC II: Did I Say Cheaper?

    June 8th, 2009

    You have to hand it to Apple. They sure know how to catch your attention. While their stock began to dip in the run up to the WWDC keynote, and expectations were fairly centered on the iPhone and Snow Leopard, Apple did something few expected, and that was to cut prices on their entire note-book line.

    In addition, the artificial line of demarcation between the unibody MacBooks and MacBook Pros was eliminated. They are all MacBook Pro now, and only the $999 white version remains a MacBook. What’s more, there were price cuts ranging from $200 to $700. The 15-inch version received Apple’s non-removable extended life battery with an advertised life of up to seven hours between charges and there were various and sundry configuration changes almost across the board. So Microsoft is going to have to alter its irritating laptop comparison campaign real quick, but it’ll still be screwed up regardless of how they mismanage it.

    The Snow Leopard demonstration addressed now-familiar ground, covering the enhanced support for multiple core processors, offloading tasks to the graphics chips and providing full support for Microsoft Exchange servers. Although there are a fair number of enhancements, the alleged Marble theme was nowhere in evidence. That was clearly a rumor site fantasy.

    Now I said I expected it to ship by the last week of August, but Apple has selected non-specific September release date instead. Oh well, I was close. That puts it, though, roughly a month earlier than Windows 7, and you can expect the marketing engines will be running full steam on both shortly. During the WWDC keynote, for example, Apple continued to disparage Windows 7 as a warmed over Vista with the same fundamental deficiencies, such as DLLs, Registry, Disk Defrag, UACs. If you don’t know what all that means, there’s no reason to be concerned, if you’re a Mac user. Meantime, Apple developers registered with one of their paid programs are getting near-final betas to pound on and make compatible with their own products. The rest of us will have to be content with the final version of the Safari 4 browser, now shipping in both Mac and Windows versions.

    And, in keeping with my predictions, Snow Leopard is restricted to Intel-based Macs and will cost just $29 for a single user license and $49 for a family pack upgrade for Leopard users. It appears to me that Tiger users will stay pay the full $129 upgrade price. In any case, Apple boasted that the Mac user base has grown from 25 million in 2007 to some 75 million this year.

    On the iPhone front, very little seemed surprising. There are now 50,000 apps on the App Store, and some 40 million iPhone an iPod touches have been sold. iPhone 3.0 has, as previously stated, over 100 new features, and 1,000 new APS for developers to play with.

    I won’t repeat what most of you have read about already, such as the long-delayed cut/copy/paste feature, push notification and such. Among those new capabilities, multimedia messaging, or MMS, will require carrier support, so you won’t see it right away. AT&T will have it later this summer. Of Apple’s carrier partners in 26 countries, 29 will support MMS on the launch date.

    You will also see tethering support, which means you’ll be able to use your iPhone to share your Internet connection via USB or Bluetooth, but that, too, requires carrier support, and Apple said 22 carriers in 44 countries would let you do it. So start calling AT&T or your local iPhone carrier and get your complaints handy if they are not yet on the list.

    One feature that will really help listeners to our two radio shows is support for HTTP streaming audio and video. So at last you’ll be able to click on the Play buttons on our show sites and hear the live or on-demand broadcasts. Way to go Apple!

    Another intriguing feature, Find My iPhone, works with MobileMe, and allows you to easily hunt for your lost iPhone. It works by showing you a map of its location, and letting you play a sound by which to identify it. And if it falls into the hands of thieves, you can send a command to wipe your data. Not to worry. When you recover or find the phone, you can easily restore everything via iTunes.

    After all was said in done, yes, there’s a new iPhone 3GS coming shortly, sporting the same case design b

    Now despite predictions that the iPhone software would be available today, all that’s happening will be the delivery of a Golden Master seed to developers. The actual release is slated for June 17.

    As the rumors predicted, the new iPhone 3G S will offer roughly twice the speed as the existing version, adding support for voice commands, including voice dialing, and a 3 megapixel autofocus camera with video capturing capability. There will also be a digital compass and additional battery life.

    The form factor is identical, otherwise, to the current model. The price of the 16GB model will be $199 and $299 for the 32GB version and both will be available in black and white. The existing 8GB iPhone 3G is repriced at $99, which is sure to kickstart the market in a major fashion.

    The new products will be available beginning June 19, and availability will spread around the world in July and August as, I suppose, networks are upgraded for the 3G S. And, no, Steve Jobs was nowhere in sight and, no, Apple’s stock price didn’t rise all that much upon the conclusion of the two hour event.



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    20 Responses to “After the WWDC II: Did I Say Cheaper?”

    1. I’m pretty happy with what was announced. I’m curious to find out how much of the new phone features are hardware or software based. It seems that voice dialing should be a software rather than a hardware feature. I also like that Snow Leopard will be only $29.

    2. shane blyth says:

      yes I thought the same voice dial should be software.

    3. Andrew says:

      I was especially happy with the EOL (end of life) pricing on the old MacBooks. I just snagged a 1.86 GHz MacBook Air with 128GB SSD that yesterday sold for $2499 today for $1499. Yes, the new model is only $300 more, but the differences are insignificant.

    4. Richard says:

      Tethering…at what price? AT&T is bound to price it out of reason for those whose casual use would not make much difference in bandwidth usagae anyway. I suspect that “jailbreaking” will remain popular.

    5. Karl says:

      On a purely marketing standpoint, AT&T should of had a data plan in place already for tethering. I assume they will when the new iPhones ship. Personally I think it should be part of the “standard” package but a company needs to make money so I can see them offering it at an additional cost. But the MMS should just be part of the standard pricing structure.

      All I can say is that AT&T better get on the ball with their network. They have had a great run as part of the iPhone and should be able continue to capitalize on it if they keep up with Apple. If the iPhone ends up on Version, AT&T will ultimately lose a big advantage.

    6. Daniel Decker says:

      Just a small note Gene. Apple boasted that OS X user base was 75 Mil. not the Mac user base. They explicitly stated that they were including iPhone OS users in that number.

      Best regards,
      Daniel Decker

    7. Richard says:

      Karl,

      Rumor has it that AT&T has a price in mind…$70/month, which would make it a non-starter for most consumers.

      Yes, AT&T would stand to lose business in many markets where their coverage & etc is not up to par, but that is not Apple’s fault or problem. Apple’s DUTY is to make money for its shareholders and I question that the current marketing agreement with AT&T fulfills that responsibility.

      Cheers!

    8. Karl says:

      @ Richard,
      $70 a month… didn’t hear that rumor. But would certainly be a non-starter for me as I would only rarely use tethering.

      Your second comment stressed my point even more that AT&T should be on the ball. Between the two companies Apple’s iPhone is a better product then AT&T service. All the more reason why AT&T should continue to jump through hoops to keep the iPhone exclusive. As Apple could really take the iPhone to any carrier and continue to make money.

      Agreed that ultimately Apple needs to look out for Apple. But in any relationship when both parties feel like the deal is working then success follows. At this point, Apple’s best interest is for AT&T to “keep up”. Tethering and MMS have been around for awhile, why is AT&T still behind on offering either to their customers?

    9. Joe S says:

      I need to rejoin the ranks of the employed. I do not have an active laptop and the 13 inch MBP is exactly what I want. I have too much invested in FW to move over to USB.

    10. robinson says:

      I’m a Mac devotee, but there was a sleight of hand in claiming a tripling of the installed Max OS X base

      “In any case, Apple boasted that the Mac user base has grown from 25 million in 2007 to some 75 million this year.”

      That’s only because they included all the iPhone/iPod Touch sales!

      Should we call that a mis-representation, a lie, a deceit? In any event, it’s important that bloggers, journalists, and others not fall for it!

    11. Karl says:

      @ robinson…
      Interesting point, but would say it’s more marketing spin more than anything.

      If Apple did say that its “MAC” user base has tripled then I believe they made a mistake or are trying to mis-represent.

      But if they said the “MAC OS X” user base has tripled, then including the sales of the iPhone/Touch is fine since Apple uses Mac OS X for the iPhone as well as the Mac and is essentially true.

    12. Billy Offspring says:

      mea culpa, I was the big mouth that thought it was impossible to for Apple to release Snow Leopard for anything less than the full (usual) retail price. I was happily wrong. I am also happy to see the video of the SL announcement and see the tweaks to Expose’ and other very useful Finder enhancements. SL looks to be a departure with the past as far as the underpinning code is concern. I think we can look forward to an embarrassment of riches coming from the technologies being put in place by SL come September. Any guess on the date? I say the 18th or 19th.

    13. David says:

      Dropping the iPhone 3G from $199 to $99 will only spark sales amongst those who can’t do math. The total cost of owning an iPhone is the purchase price plus the cost of voice and data service so while the price is half of what it used to be, in reality the cost only dropped a few percentage points.

      I must say I’m shocked that Apple went with a $29 upgrade, but it should accelerate adoption of the new OS. I’m really looking forward to Snow Leopard even though I have a house full of PowerPC based Macs that can’t run it. It’s possible I’m looking forward to new computers as much as I am the new OS 😉

      The new MacBook Pro lineup is nice even though the Canadian price drops were just $100 and restricted to the high end. I predicted a 13″ pro and new batteries across the lineup, but honestly thought there would be a 13″ model with discrete graphics capabilities and also thought the 9600 graphics would be replaced with something better. I incorrectly predicted a consumer priced 15″ MacBook, but Apple did move in that direction with their new entry level 15″ MBP that uses cheaper 3MB cache processors (as opposed to 6MB cache in other models) and lacks the discrete graphics chip.

      I’m a desktop buyer, however, and there’s nothing appealing in the current lineup so my move to Snow Leopard will be delayed until Apple fixes the uneven brightness problem in the 24″ iMac and hopefully finds a way to offer quad core processors. The next desktop revision should come in September/October so I might not have that long to wait.

    14. Daniel Decker says:

      @Karl Apple has never claimed iPhone OS to be built on Mac OS X. It is built on OS X, Mac being conspicuously and correctly absent from the language. And “OS X” is the language they used both in the slide that showed the increase in user base and in the words spoken by Phil Shiller on stage.

      So that there is no further confusion:
      Since the introduction of the original iPhone Apple has drawn a distinction between “Mac OS X” and “OS X”; these terms are no longer freely interchangeable, technically speaking. In casual Mac Guy conversation, we all know what “OS X” means, but this is a developers conf., so we are definitely technically speaking 😉
      “OS X” is the foundation of Core OS technologies for 3 distinct products; “Mac OS X/Server”, “iPhone OS X/iPhone OS 2.0-3.0” and “Darwin”.

      @Robinson there was no sleight of hand. See above in this post and my previous post where I already noted basically the same thing you did.

      Apple was VERY careful with the language they used when they showed the “OS X” user base growth chart. Go watch the keynote again, and pay close attention. As well as the fact that Phil EXPLICITLY stated that they were including iPhone OS devices in the growth numbers. Again, not trying to deceive anyone, you just have to pay attention to what is being said and shown on the screen.

    15. Richard says:

      Daniel,

      Come on, Apple was trying to deceive the types who only read the headline rather than the whole thing, including the fine print. Did they “lie”? No, but it is further proof of the old saying that “there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

      Still, growth is good.

    16. Daniel Decker says:

      @Richard Indeed!

      But *we* all know what was meant 😉

    17. Karl says:

      @ Daniel
      I didn’t watch the keynote and really didn’t know at what context Apple was referring to when the said the “tripled their market share.” Thanks for the clarification.

    18. Joe S says:

      OS X has a very wide range of application. BDS runs on many architectures, including some not built for 20 years. This has allowed Apple to unify a lot of their testing and development. This is what a technology company, not a marketing company, can do.

    19. Great announcements at the keynote!

    20. Daniel says:

      @Karl Hope I was not to abrasive. I can get a little laser focused on details, but I spent all day over at Paul Thrrott’s “blog” trying to explain the same points, and I may have been a touch frustrated.

      @Joe Well said!

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