Yawn: Apple Launches New iPhones & Other Stuff
The remarkable thing about Apple’s WWDC event today was how unremarkable it was. And defensive. There were no product category killers like a new smartwatch or a classic Steve Jobs “one more thing” surprise. Instead, Apple showed itself to be more evolutionary than revolutionary, continuing investor concerns that have resulted in a 30% drop in stock value in the past year. Revealingly, at least two Apple executives were on the defensive: CEO Tim Cook claiming “we’ve got lots of innovation left” (while showing the above cumulative sales chart instead of growth) and Marketing SVP Phil Schiller’s aggressive boast “can’t innovate no more, my ass!” Meanwhile competitors like Samsung and Google are setting the pace in innovation, offering bigger screens, more hardware features and Android, a market-dominating mobile operating system that iOS seems a few steps behind.
As expected, the Cupertino company launched two new iPhones, including a higher-end model that replaces a passcode with a fingerprint scanner. The new iPhone 5S picks up from where its predecessor left off — same form factor but with a few improvements.
The other is the long-awaited low-cost plastic model, iPhone 5C. Packing familiar features as the iPhone 4S, the 5C is clearly targeting international markets and younger consumers with an attractive price point matched by attractive colors — from $99, for a 16GB version, and $199 for a 32GB version (with contracts that is). Also targeting kids are the new, radiant cases that Apple is now selling. Whether the new cheap phone will cannibalize sales of higher-end models remains to be seen.