Much of today's Apple keynote was expected; a new iPad Air, updated Mac Mini, new iMac and the releases of Yosemite and iOS 8.1.
I was talking to Neil over iMessage while it was transmitting and the words "All a bit predictable today" were typed. This is indeed a true assessment of what occurred, but I don't mind that if the problems with iCloud etc are fixed, but I am not optimistic if I am honest.
Anyway, let's look at the new stuff-
iMac with Retina 5K display
The catchily named iMac with Retina 5K display is a stunning achievement. 14.7 million pixels will no doubt look amazing, but £1,999 is a big premium over the... Hold on, actually it isn't. The 27" 3.4GHz iMac is £1,599 and has a standard hard drive whereas the Retina has a Fusion drive. The later is also better specced with a 3.5GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5 and AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics.
Despite my reservations that the Retina screen will only offer a definite advantage to those who need such accuracy, it is sensibly priced.
Neil, however, made a very good point about the potential market- "I could really only see it being useful for professional video / photo editing and I would have thought most of those would be using a Mac Pro." That is true, but maybe they will buy the new iMac just for the screen which is arguably still competitive with other displays of this size.
iPad Air 2
Touch ID was absolutely needed and the 6.1mm depth is insane, but I can't quite work out why so much effort has gone into the camera, and why so much keynote time was dedicated to that feature. We have all seen people using their iPads to take photos, those crazy people, and it seems that Apple is seeing a market there. The iPad 2 Air is an obvious upgrade, as is the iPad mini 3 which was almost breezed over during the keynote.
The realisation that Apple is now selling the iPad mini 3, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 2, iPad Air and iPad mini was a bit of a shocker. I get the logic of selling a tablet (original iPad mini) for only £199, but mine is very slow these days and does not provide a positive experience- why would Apple want to do that? Also, selling 5 different models speaks of trying to cover all price points and it feels more than a little Samsung to me. It's confusing at best and the fact that all of these models still start with a measly 16GB is disappointing.
Tom Reestman on Twitter summed it up nicely- "If the iPhone 6+ wasn’t already going to cannibalise iPad mini sales, Apple gave no reason for it not to today."
The new Mac minis were also almost glossed over during the keynote, but the £399 price point for the entry model is tempting. Problem is that it is not really designed for those who will sit in front of a screen and feels more like a server type device to me. As you creep up to the 2.8GHz Mac mini which retails for £799, the iMac suddenly feels more sensible. It was nice to see the Mac mini updated, but it would have been good to see much more.
And there we have it. I found the entire keynote to be somewhat predictable and there was not a lot here to get the media or general public too excited. These things, however, should be transitional and I am perfectly happy with a slower pace if improvements in the software appear at the same time.
To be fair to Apple, this event was not hyped and any disappointment is likely the fault of those who feel that way rather than because Apple did not innovate. That 5K display is an incredible leap forward, as is the iMac sat behind it, and the iPad Air 2 will likely feel amazing in the hand. It was a good keynote without sensational new products, and that is probably a good thing.