All eyes were on Apple Inc. ( AAPL ) Tuesday, as the company's CEO, Tim Cook, led a conference at the Flint Center in Cupertino, California. AAPL has unveiled a line of new products and digital gadgets that they promise will captivate Apple's fan boys and technology geeks, and the average consumer as well.
Currently, the company is among the world's largest, but it is still on a growth path, thanks to a host of new products and technologies including, the brand new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Pay, and Apple Watch, all of which were released in today's event. Tim Cook rounded up the keynote by having one of the world's most respected bands, U2; perform to the crowd, while Cook ensured half a billion iTunes users that U2's new album will be available to them for free until mid-October.
The folks at AAPL have done it again. It is almost as if Tim Cook has the entire world in his palm, or rather in his brand new iPhone 6 Plus. The marketing team at AAPL has decided to dub the new gadget "Bigger than bigger," almost as if they redefined the concept of the original iPhone, which took the world by surprise back in 2007, almost eight years ago. We do not know if the iPhone 6 and its "Bigger" sibling, iPhone 6 Plus, will be a bestseller for the Cupertino-based firm, however we do know that it is already standing up to the hype, and many users on social media platforms are sharing their mixed views over the new device.
AAPL claims that it is simply the best phone it has ever put together, but is that really true? One question that always rings with many technology gurus and savvy investors is whether the company has lost its most valuable asset. Without question, Steve Jobs was the engine of AAPL, despite the fact that he famously believed that Apple would not do well in the phone market, however, does AAPL still have what it takes to impress consumers without him?
After all that was said today, the new iPhones, ultimately, are arguably just bigger iPhones with bigger screens than their predecessors. It is true, the new iPhones are faster and pretty much better than older versions in almost every way, but when one checks a side by side comparison of the specifications and details of the iPhone 5s, 6 (4.7 inch screen), and 6 Plus (5.5 inch screen), and it appears as though there are very little improvements or additions to the newly showcased iPhones.
Still, Apple is betting on the success of the new iPhones, just as the company did previously on other iPhones. The iPhone has been the engine of Apple, and Apple owes its worldwide success to the device. And while the first iPhone (iPhone 2G) was revolutionary, the fact is, there has not been a revolutionary device since its inception back in 2007, however AAPL seems content with how receptive the public was to all iPhones, and it is capitalizing on that big time.
The danger is that if another company sparks a flare of innovation, AAPL will be in danger, and despite the fact that the company has made a name for itself, many people will remember the downfall of Sony ( SNE ), and Nokia ( NOK ), and how these companies' share of the phone market has been eroded by AAPL and its fierce rival Samsung.
AAPL's main fight is with Samsung, and the bigger iPhones will be put to the test when they face off against Samsung's new S5 smartphone. Samsung is giving AAPL a good run for its money, but AAPL still has a lot of tricks in its bag, including the just released Apple Watch, and Apple Pay.
Arguably the most exciting unveiling of today's keynote is the Apple Watch. This gadget is manufactured, commercialized, and marketed for those who dream all night about AAPL. The new device will allow them to synchronize in an unprecedented way with the rest of their Apple gadgets.
The Apple Watch arguably marks AAPL's first entry point into the fashion world. It is a wearable wrist watch, and in one way or another, AAPL is attempting to revolutionize how we know the time, and guess what? It's through a watch. Ellen DeGeneres jokingly tweeted "So excited for the Apple Watch. For centuries we've checked the time by looking at our phones. Having it on your wrist? Genius".
It is not guaranteed that the Apple Watch will be a success. Conscious consumers are aware that there are already technology-oriented watches out there manufactured and sold by the likes of LG and Motorola. LG's G watch and Motorola's Moto 360 watch are both below the $359 price tag for the Apple Watch, but the buzz for these products has certainly been lacking.
It appears that AAPL really does have the magic to make the consumer swoon and drool over their products. AAPL's watch comes with fitness and workout components to track activity and how energetic a person is throughout the day. Tim Cook stated that the "Apple Watch is the most personal device we have ever created," and it seems like that is how the CEO wants to market it, and there is no problem with that, however in that very same keynote, Tim Cook explicitly said something along the lines of "Macintosh is the best personal computer in the world". Apparently, that claim gets the job done.
Time will tell whether the Apple Watch will be a success, because AAPL may not be able to beat earnings estimates for 2015, if the research and development costs put into this new line of products, does not attract enough wallets for a return on the investment. Speaking of wallets, it seems that AAPL is also intent on replacing how we pay for food, products, services, and basically everything that we, as consumers, need to pay for. Enter Apple Pay.
Tim Cook also unveiled what was a heavily debated technology service that seeks to replace the common man's wallet. Cook unveiled Apple Pay, a mobile payments system, which will also tie itself to the new chronograph, and iPhones. Apple announced that it was teaming up with MasterCard Inc. ( MA ), American Express Co. ( AXP ), Visa Inc.( V ), to facilitate the use of the service, which will debut in the US in October.
AAPL also revealed a litany of companies and brands that are willing to cooperate with them to ensure the success of this new, innovative payments system. These brands and companies include Staples Inc., Whole Foods Market Inc., and many others.
Apple is starting a mobile-transaction service, and is seeking to kill off any competition, mainly coming from PayPal and Square - credit card accepting payment services. Cook has stated, "Our vision is to replace this and we're going to start by focusing on payments," and a picture of a typical wallet was flashed and then brushed off of the screen. The image of a leather billfold wallet with a caption "wallet, your days are numbered," also appeared on the Apple website. Apple Pay will work hand in hand with services including Uber Technologies Inc., OpenTable, and Groupon Inc.
Apple Pay definitely carries the potential to electrify the world, and we will be able to tell if it was just a "nice bonus feature," or if it goes on to be truly useful game changer for the company.
Apple has done its job with another captivating product release, however, what does the future hold for Apple's stock, which crumbled as the keynote came to an end? Apple's new lineup will prove useful to upgrading their overall well-performing stock, however Apple must continue to impress consumers and clients, and the recent breach on its iCloud system is not a good indicator and certainly does not make me feel comfortable if I am going to be getting rid of my wallet and going for an Apple Watch, or an iPhone upgrade, in order to use Apple Pay to scan my credit card and pay for my needs.
Apple needs to recover on the trust front, but the good news is, that it already seems like it is recuperating, and many investors hope that the stock will soar on the day that these products are officially released, and hopefully well-received by consumers.
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