The Apple Event Shook Things Up

Apple’s event on Monday no doubt shook things up across several landscapes. There are some who think ResearchKit could be the biggest impact on society, but that will take time and it’s surely not as fun to talk about. The other things are though.

HBO Now

The rumors were true and HBO can now be had (with an Apple TV) for just $15/month without any sort of cable/satellite subscription. This is the dagger equivalent to what iTunes did to the music industry as we knew it. When this exclusive deal with Apple ends, and the floodgates open, things are going to get crazy. It will be very interesting to see Comcast/DirecTV subscriber numbers a year from now. The longterm impact of this really should be the end of subscription TV in it’s current form. It will also likely mean that a lot of channels will go away. There are too many niche channels that won’t be able to survive on their own. It will be interesting to see if this forces cable companies to produce a more a la carte model as a response. That might hold off their demise for a while. Apple also dropped the Apple TV to jut $69. They are going to sell a lot of those this quarter.

Apple Watch

It seems weird that watches are (potentially) about to make a huge comeback. As a 31-year-old I know very few people who wear a watch. They have definitely become much more of a fashion statement than a utility. In fact I literally know someone who wore a non-functioning watch for years because it looked good even though it served no purpose as a time keeping device. The argument for the uselessness of the Apple Watch seems to be something along these lines: “I take my phone out of my pocket to check text messages or other stuff so often, and then I get distracted by my phone. If I could see what the message/notification is without taking it out of my pocket this wouldn’t happen as much.” I guess that makes sense.

I like the concept in general but just don’t find wearing things on my wrist very comfortable. I purposely go with fitness trackers that don’t have to be worn on the wrist for this exact reason. But something that has many functions at least makes more sense. And there are circumstances where it seems like it would be super useful. Perhaps in the future it will make a lot more sense, but in the meantime I am just not interested.

MacBook

The new MacBooks have caused a stir amongst the nerds of the world because it has just one port on it, a USB-C port. This port is used for charging as well as (with a separately purchased adapter) peripherals. There are many people who think that no laptop can thrive with just one port, but this is not meant as a replacement for the MacBook Pro, but instead seems to be the mythical “iPad Pro” people have anticipated coming at some point. It is super thin, and having only one port makes that easier. And the truth is that the average person probably doesn’t plug anything but power into their laptop mot of the time. Those that use a mouse probably use Bluetooth. Most people are moving toward backing up or storing things in the cloud rather than on USB powered external hard drives. Except for people using their Mac for work, people are not plugging them in to external displays.

The argument for why this “won’t work” is the same thing as the physical keyboard/replaceable battery argument that said the iPhone would fail. But at the end of the day this computer is going to appeal greatly to a large audience, and it’s just the vocal heavy/professional users who won’t be able to make it work. So many “regular” people are moving towards just using iPhones/iPads as 99% of their computing. This new MacBook is much closer to that, and can be that bridge for people who want to be closer to an iPad-only world but can’t commit all the way.

Summary

The Apple TV is going to sell a lot in the next 6 months. HBO Now is going to be a huge success and change subscription TV in a big way. The Apple Watch will be successful and could change the product category the way that the iPhone and iPad did even though they weren’t first. The new MacBook will take time to catch on but will end up being the new normal. And all of this means Apple is going to make a ton more money.