Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Grab Bag From Today’s Event

This is going to be a sort of haphazard roundup of other things that happened today.

As noted in the press releases for both the iPhone 5S and 5C, Apple is making the iWork, iMovie, and iPhoto apps free downloads for new iPhones and iPads. This is a very clever move; Microsoft also provides Office for free on its Surface RT, but not on the Surface Pro. And nobody else has anything like iMovie or iPhoto.

The event today felt a bit weird, for two reasons:

  1. It was very, very fast. The whole thing was over in just an hour, and it felt a bit rushed. Tim Cook didn’t run down as many numbers as he usually does, and the “public” (non-developer) announcement of iOS 7 was crammed into less than ten minutes of stage time. I suppose this is a counter to the glut of most other tech press conferences, but it was almost too fast and too lean.
  2. This is the first non-music event that I can remember which was closed with a musical performance, this time by Elvis Costello. This is usually reserved for events where iPods are refreshed or iTunes is updated; the closest they came to that was a short demo of iTunes Radio.

There’s a ton of product information in the video, though, and I recommend it if you’ve got an hour to spare.

Speaking of iPods, Apple rolled out the “space grey” finish from the iPhone 5S to the Touch, Nano, and Shuffle. The lack of even a cursory mention during the keynote and the subtlety with which these models were released demonstrates how insignificant the iPod now is to “the iPod company”.

Apple also modified their AppleCare+ terms today:

… the price for each accidental-damage iPhone repair has increased from $49 per incident to $79. (You’re allowed two such repairs over the two-year life of the plan.) The price of iPad accidental-damage repairs appears to be unchanged at $49 per incident.

Assuming you used both available repairs, the total cost of $197 (including the $99 plan) always seemed a bit too cheap to me, as you’re effectively getting two new iPhones.

AppleCare+ is now available for two iPod models, too:

The iPod touch is a natural candidate for AppleCare+ coverage, thanks to its just-as-easy-to-crack-as-an-iPhone’s screen and nearly identical form factor. And the iPod classic, as the one mechanical hard drive-based iPod left, is a natural fit—it’s only a drop away from total failure.

And I thought the Classic was dead.

Dan Frommer is concerned about supply:

“We sold every iPhone we could make” is only a “good problem to have” to a certain point, and then it suggests that you should probably do a better job at making more iPhones. (Then again, Tim Cook is supposed to be the best in the world at this, so maybe the real limitation is reality. Still.)

I do wonder how this will play out. Consider the amount of SKUs:

  • 45 for the iPhone 5S (5 models, 3 colours, and 3 capacities);
  • 50 for the iPhone 5C (5 models, 5 colours, and 2 capacities).

Including the remarkably-alive iPhone 4S, that’s a total of 97 SKUs. This time last year, Apple had to contend with just 22 (18 for the iPhone 5, and 2 for each the iPhone 4 and 4S). That’s a lot of different individual product configurations, which is a supply chain nightmare. But, as Frommer mentioned, Cook is the best at this stuff, so hopefully this gets sorted out in time for the mad holiday rush.

Finally, there are a few enhancements to iOS 7 which were not present in the betas. It will be released on September 18, when I’ll post my full review.