Apple Showcases Wearables, Service Bundles But Is Silent On iPhone 12
Although no iPhones made a surprise appearance as some had hoped, there was no shortage of new Apple products to gawk over on Tuesday (Sept. 15) as Team Cupertino went live with its annual big fall event to unveil the tech giant’s latest goodies. Two new Apple Watches took center stage, as did the Apple One subscription product and its various pricing tiers. Various iOS systems also got their anticipated updates, while the iPad Air got an expected spruce up.
Surprises were few and fairly small, as Apple watchers had anticipated most what rolled out. But some unexpected products included a new edition of the standard iPad, with a few upgrades designed to capture the exploding tablet market that COVID-19 has created in recent months.
And while there were plenty of things worth digging down into, the lingering question for a lot of Apple watchers seemed to be: “That was great, but when do we get to the 5G iPhone?”
Here’s a rundown of what Apple did announce:
An Apple Watch Upgrade
Apple introduced its new flagship Series 6 Apple Watch, which features a blood-oxygen sensor, a new Apple S6 Silicon chip and about a $400 price tag.
The tech giant also released its attempt at a budget wearable, the roughly $280 Apple Watch SE. Both wearables can work with the newly announced Family Setup, an option designed to make the Apple Watch a usable tool even for kids and older adults who do not own iPhones.
Family Setup allows all family members to sync their data into a single app. It also includes a tracking feature that lets parents make sure their kids have checked into school or sports practice.
Apple also announced the launch of its much-anticipated fitness subscription service for $9.99 a month, or $79.99 a year. Accessible from Apple’s activity app, the new service allows users to access a catalog of workout videos on iPhones, iPads or Apple TV — workouts that can all be synced to an Apple Watch.
New workout videos will be published weekly, according to Apple, and users will be able to see live stats from their Apple Watches on their iPads or iPhones while working out.
The announcement of Apple’s fitness subscription initially causes stock market ripples for connected-fitness firm Peloton, whose share price dropped almost 7 percent on the announcement, according to CNBC. However, Peloton mostly recovered, and CEO John Foley noted that he doesn’t view Apple as a competitor in the space because the tech giant doesn’t make workout equipment.
But Foley did laud Apple’s interest as legitimizing the entire streaming-fitness ecosystem. “The biggest thing I will say is it’s quite a legitimization of fitness content to the extent the biggest company in the word — a $2 trillion company — is coming in and saying fitness content matters,” Foley said at an investor forum.
Two New iPads
The anticipated upgrade to the iPad Air line included five different colors, plus smaller bezels and an edge-to-edge screen that more closely resembles the iPad Pro’s. The device has a $599 price tag and will go on sale next month.
The new Air will also feature what Apple referred to as a “next generation” Touch ID fingerprint sensor inside the tablet’s power button. The device also has an A14 processor that’s reportedly 40 percent faster than its predecessor.
Also getting an upgrade is the standard-edition iPad. The new entry-level iPad, now called the 8th Generation, has a faster A12 Bionic chip and a starting price of $329 ($299 for schools). Experts say the chip boost likely came in response to a big bounce in entry-level iPad sales that Apple has seen recently, particularly among students.
Apple One And Fun With Bundling
After spending the better part of a year beefing up its subscription offerings, Apple is officially making its first step into the world of bundling with its new Apple One products.
The firm is giving customers three Apple One options, allowing them to sign up and pay less for more of Apple services. The lowest-priced tier (called “Individual”) offers Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and iCloud storage for $14.95 a month.
A level up from that is “Family,” which has the same products as the Individual bundle but covers family members for $19.95 a month. There’s also a “Premier” bundle that includes all of the above plus Apple News+ and Apple Fitness+ for $29.95 a month.
Waiting Around For iPhone Updates
One point of note for those starved for iPhone news coming is that Apple did announce operating-system upgrades, including iOS 14 for iPhones. The next iteration will reportedly come with new advanced privacy features, upgraded Maps, a redesigned Siri and a translator app.
But reactions to the event from Apple fans focused on the dearth otherwise of iPhone news. The new Apple Watch and iPad features were well received but lacked the excitement that iPhone unveilings usually bring to the annual event.
Apple’s stock tipped up slightly as the event kicked off, slid slightly as it ended and was mostly flat through the session’s end on Wall Street. DM Martins Research Founder Daniel Martins told TheStreet.com that he mostly attributed the muted response to the lack of a new iPhone on display.
He said Apple investors “were a little bit [disappointed]. Some investors were expecting to hear something about the iPhone, and as soon as [CEO] Tim Cook announced the event was going to be about the iPad and Apple Watch, Apple stock took a dive of about 1 percent.”
So, when will that iPhone 12 get its big chance to say hello to the world?
Well, Apple has offered no official dates yet, but a popular prediction is for mid-October. Whether getting a new iPhone into play will goose investor excitement remains to be seen as the world’s first $2 trillion company gears up for its traditional big quarter, set to kick off in about two weeks.