After a few weeks of hard speculation, the Apple Device event is finally happening.
The focus for most viewers is the coming of the new iPhone — an expected outcome given the the flagship product remains the business’s cash engine, representing both about 66 percent of its revenue and the natural entry point to the Apple ecosystem.
Apple released three phones, as expected, which watchers had been anticipating. There was the expected release of the two next generation X phones, iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max, both of which leverage OLED capacity. And, in the interest of “bringing [its] technology to as many people as possible,” Apple also unveiled the iPhone XR, which uses an LCD screen instead of an OLED. Apple said the XR is designed to offer the iPhone X experience on an LCD device, right down to things like haptic touch and face ID.
Last month, a survey revealed that consumers are excited about the new iPhones, with 48 percent saying they were interested in upgrading.
Smartwatches were also an out of the gate favorite during Monday's presentation, with Apple introducing the world to its fourth generation of the Apple Watch, which is available as either a GPS or 4G version.
Back in Q4 2017, Apple stepped up its strategy in the smartwatch segment by enhancing the features of smartwatches into broad-based functionalities, “including some health and fitness tracking capabilities,” said Counterpoint Research analyst Satyajit Sinha. “Moreover, Apple is catalyzing the trend of ‘smartwatch as a standalone wearable device’ with adoption of cellular connectivity, which is driving the new wave of cellular-connected wearables globally — great news for mobile operators.”
During the presentation, Apple stated that the Apple Watch is not only the most popular smartwatch in the world, but also boasted that it is the most popular watch in the world, period.
While their were various technical upgrades and design enhancements, the big announcement of the day is probably the fact that the Apple Watch is now a wearable EKG machine. That addition will make Apple the first company to offer an EKG product over-the-counter, directly to consumers. The feature can be accessed by opening an app and putting a finger on the digital crown to trigger the EKG.
Will these innovations kick off mass enthusiasm for the Apple line and ecosystem? Apple products are the standard entry point for Apple’s ecosystem of subscriptions and services. Phone sales have been slowing in recent years as big upgrades are slowing down — most reviewers have already noted the iPhone XS has much in common with the iPhone X — and prices are going up. The App store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and a variety of its services have boosted revenue, but those services users tend be driven by device sales.
Apple always comes into device presentations knowing that consumers are expecting great things. It remains to be seen if it lived up to viewers expectations today.