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.