A fun exercise in speculation: Would I buy Apple’s rumored products?

9 Comments

The weeks leading up to an Apple event are always fun. You’ve got the rumor sites going bananas. You’ve got analysts living up to the first four letters of their jobs. Finally, you’ve got people like me wondering how much all of this is going to cost?

Apple is holding a media event September 9th, so I’m going to engage in a full little hypothetical question: Based on current rumors for Apple products (an iWatch, a 12.9″ screen iPad, and a larger iPhone), how likely am I to buy these devices? For the sake of discussion, I’ll pretend they would all come out this year, even though it’s more likely they’d come out over the next calendar year.

Rumor #1: The iWatch

John Paczkowski at Re/code believes Apple will announce an iPhone at the September event. John’s sources are usually good, but the lack of manufacturing leaks make me curious when Apple would release it. Usually, when it announces something well in advance of a ship date there is a FCC filing that would spoil the surprise. That’s why Apple announced the iPhone in 2007 so early. Apple could also announce a wearable device well in advance to limit the manufacturing leaks. However, with Apple creating a 3-story space combined with a 2,000-seat venue for the September 9th, event, I’m very curious if the iWatch will be announced.

Which makes predicting an iWatch both fun and frustrating. There’s absolutely nothing really work with. When the rumors of the iPad being “a large iPhone” started circulating, you had me at hello. Rumors of an “iPhone-type device on a watch” don’t really interest me.

There are a few personal issues I have with wearable devices. The most important is that I’m not a fan of items around my wrist. I don’t wear a watch, rubber bands, or any of those type of adornments. That said, I have been interested in a Fitbit (see disclosure). I need to lose weight, and I thought of getting one to track my sleep habits and steps at work. So, while I don’t like wrist items, the possibility of an Apple wearable device has kept me from getting a Fitbit.

So, what would it take for me to get an iWatch?

If Apple releases something with a curved screen and a display, I probably won’t get one. Some of this is such a device is outside of my budget. I could probably afford $99 for an Apple version of a Fitbit, but not much more than that. I also don’t really want a device that lights up when I’m working with a notification. I generally keep my iPhone on the table when I’m in a meeting or I have my iPad out for taking notes, so I don’t need to worry too much about notifications.

A larger iPad

Bloomberg is reporting that Apple could release a 12.9-inch iPad next year. I’m not sold as much on a 12.9-inch iPad as I am an Apple wearable. It’s very likely the 12.9” screen is for a touch screen MacBook. For the sake of fun, though, let’s pretend a 12.9-inch iPad really is a product Apple would release.

iPad sales have been consistently down for a few quarters. My feeling is this is because upgrade cycles for iPads are longer than the iPhone. I have an iPad, 3rd generation, and it is unlikely I will get this year’s crop of iPads. Even though I do a lot of music work on my iPad, I don’t feel the 32-bit processor in my iPad is gasping for air (no pun intended). Most likely, I will upgrade my iPad when a version of iOS is not supported on my iPad.

For most of my iPad use, the 9-inch display is perfect. I read, take notes, and can work on my writing. However, when I read sheet music on my iPad – especially in an iBook – I would love to have a larger screen.

I’ve waxed poetic about how this year is going to be The Year of the iPad for me, but going to a 12.9-inch tablet would come at the expense of replacing my 2011 MacBook Pro. If I got a 12-inch iPad, it would likely be when my MacBook finally dies, and I’m not ready to go all-in on an iPad yet. With iOS 8, a lot of my frustrations are going away, but until I am able to upload images to a web site (like the Gigaom instance of WordPress) I won’t be able to use my iPad for everything. Also, I play video games that are not available on the iPad.

A larger iPhone

Given the amount of production leaks, if Apple doesn’t release at least a 4.7-inch iPhone in September, someone has been having a lot of fun with us. I’ve never really been happy with the screen on my iPhone 5. I think Apple made a serious misstep when they didn’t expand the screen horizontally as well. Frankly, if Apple didn’t release a 4.7-inch or larger phone this year, I would probably switch to an Android phone.

But I believe Apple will release a 4.7-inch iPhone this year, although I’m less certain about a 5.5-inch phone. If Apple announces both in September, the 5.5-inch version becomes very tempting. I can see an iPad mini in my life, but not enough to justify the purchase. While a 5.5” screen is much smaller than the mini’s screen, I think for reading and texting it will be fine. I have very good close vision, so I can read on a smaller screen fine. Obviously, sheet music would be almost impossible, but I wouldn’t do those tasks on a mini, much less an iPhone.

How I will spend my money

I’ve already set aside some money for a new iPhone. My upgrade cycle is a new iPhone every two years. If Apple announces a 5.5-inch screen, I could probably stretch that cycle another year or two.

An iWatch is a distant second. There’s an old joke that I didn’t know I needed something until Steve Jobs showed me it during a keynote. So, for me to get an iWatch, it would have to do something I haven’t accounted for in my guessing and still be inexpensive. Inexpensive is not a word often used in the same sentence as Apple.

Unless a 12.9-inch iPad also runs OS X apps, I doubt I would get one. There are still too many tasks I do that require OS X. That said, I could see a point where I get a Mac mini if it’s ever upgraded and use a 12.9” iPad as my main mobile computer.

Finally, what do I expect from Apple on September 9? I expect WWDC 2014 will simply have set the stage for Apple’s fall announcements.

Featured photo credit Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

Disclosure: Fitbit is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of Gigaom.

9 Comments

eideard

People who need nothing more than an Emerson VCR or Casio watch really shouldn’t be taking up space over here.

I’ll be buying my wife a newer iPhone [T-mobile flavor our best local access] – but, I’m served well enough by my iPad Air and current iMac. Another year or more before I trade in the latter.

That process alone speaks volumes about the Apple ecosystem. Trade-ins have been part of Apple life for years – because of demand for all the reasons trolls can’t comprehand.

Economics, market, still rules.

If a newer, hotter AppleTV becomes available, I have a standing order with my Apple vendor. And kinfolk waiting to inherit the old one.

dricht1

I like to keep an open mind, but honestly Apple would need to show off some really incredible stuff that the rumor mill hasn’t even hinted at to get me to buy into their ecosystem at this stage.

Assuming it works as advertised, they look to have done an excellent job with ‘continuity’, but they’ve fallen behind in so many other areas that I can’t justify overspending just for that. I rarely need to make a call while working on my computer, and when I do my cell phone is generally in my pocket (and of course there’s Skype, which Microsoft would do well to put more effort into). And built-in cloud services on my Windows devices already handle just about everything else; there’s even some sort of beta feature for turning on a phone’s mobile hotspot via Bluetooth.

When it comes to form factor, Apple made itself a hard sell with its insistence on small phone screens, and backtracking on their claims of ‘optimal size and form factor’ doesn’t exactly make them more appealing now. My current phone has a 5-inch screen and that is just about the limit for me for a phone. Anything larger would be a tablet (not a bad thing necessarily), anything much smaller is too small to be truly useful for anything but calls.

I already have a Surface Pro 3, which has entirely replaced my laptop and 10-inch tablet. I have literally no complaints, and eagerly await the next iteration. If Apple can do better they may yet win me over, but they’ve put so much effort into dismissing the notion of hybrid devices that I can’t help but doubt they’ll deliver.

For all the hype, the wearable sits firmly at the bottom of my list for ‘important announcements’. It’s going to be an expensive fitness band that displays notifications and (one would hope) can interact with home automation systems and other peripherals. Google makes something similar for Android, and supposedly Microsoft is working on one too, so the smartwatch decision really just comes down to what ecosystem you already subscribe to. One of these devices will certainly go on my ‘might be nice to have’ list, but I don’t see any of them becoming a need.

To be perfectly honest I’m much, much more interested in what we might see at the end of the month with the rumored Threshold announcement. Hopefully Apple’s ‘me-too’ patent doesn’t mess up the Cortana integration…

John Patrick

The bigger question is: Do I want to join an ecosystem I don’t currently belong to to buy an Apple product? Um, no.

John Patrick

Remove that barrier, let a device like an iPad or iPhone work freely with Windows and Linux as well as Mac and I might.

D. Thomas

“John Paczkowski at Re/code believes Apple will announce an *iPhone* at the September event. John’s sources are usually good…”

I sure hope so!

jjj

The question is why would anyone sane buy any Apple product when it’s a huge ripoff.
That being said ,there is no reason for a boring watch to cost more than 99$. It can easily cost that if it doesn’t have too many sensors even at Apple margins. 99$ for a Fitbit like device is far too much. Something like that that has a 10$ BOM would retail bellow 50$. Watches don’t have to cost a lot just because some of the exiting ones do , the BOM for those is not high,the margins are.
You also seem to only consider notifications and fitness. How about RC/home automation. Maybe you don’t have connected lightbulbs but you wouldn’t mind unlocking your car with a watch or opening the garage door or changing the TV channel ,or w/e. And payments is also an obvious function that should be one of the core features for any watch.
For ipad, how about 4k screen on the Air? And a 12.9 inch would cost some 750$ so factor that in.
As for iphone, 4.7 inch is over 35% more screen area so a substantial upgrade even if you managed to convince yourself that 4 inch was good. Sure 5.5 is almost twice the screen so it’s an even bigger step but with Apple’s ridiculously huge upper and lower bezels the device will end up being rather bulky compared to other 5.5 inch phones. That phone is rumored to be 158 x 78mm vs LG G3 at 146.3 x 74.6.

Actually , how can you say that all you can afford is a 99$ band when you waste money on an iphone and ipad and then more and more on the ecosystem. Not only you are buying a lesser product but you are also paying a hell of a lot more than you should.You don’t get to claim you can’t afford something when you overpay 500$ on on iphone and ipad. Oh and then the Mac,because paying 2-3 times less for the Windows equivalent doesn’t work for you. There is that saying that Apple is for fools and snobs…..

midorosan

There is also a saying that idiots like you need to get a life and park your seething envy somewhere where it doesn’t corrode what you laughingly call a brain

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