苹果最新产品发布会令人深感遗憾。以前的发布会，苹果公司精心挑选的书呆子和果粉们总是会不时发出赞美或惊叹的声音，如今这样的日子已经一去不复返。最新发布的iPhone 5C用塑料制成，而不是金属，而且还提供了各种艳俗的颜色——毫无新意。iPhone 5C也没有让分析师感到兴奋。分析师们一直期待苹果推出“廉价版”iPhone，来吸引新兴市场更多的消费者加入苹果的生态系统。可结果呢，看看无补贴无合约款iPhone 5C在美国的价格，32G（这是如今活跃用户的最低要求）的售价竟然高达649美元。这样的价格就算对于美国消费者来说也太过昂贵，所以，就别指望这款手机能吸引新兴市场和国际市场的消费者了。因为，除了无补贴价格之外，其他地区的消费者还要支付溢价。
Apple's latest product launch party was a real dud, but it could have been a lot worse if it had launched a line of so-called smartwatches. Apple enthusiasts had expected the company to counter recent smartwatch offerings from the likes of Samsung and Nissan by unveiling its own electronic wrist device at Apple's "Special Event" in Silicon Valley Tuesday, but the so-called iWatch, as the tech media has named the mythical device, was a no-show.
Investors and Apple consumers should see this as a good thing. Apple has no business delving into the crowded and low-margin cellular accessories business, especially for a device as ridiculous as a smartwatch. The company and its shareholders would be better served if it spent its time and money developing new markets for its current products and working on the next "big" thing that will actually move the needle for the company in terms of revenue and profit.
Apple's latest product launch party was pretty sad. Gone were the days when Apple was able to extract legitimate "oohs and aahs" from its hand-picked audience of nerds and Apple fanboys. The newly unveiled iPhone 5C is made from plastic instead of metal and is available in a bunch of loud colors -- snore. Analysts aren't excited with the 5C, either. It was hoped this "cheaper" iPhone would help bring in new customers into its ecosystem from the emerging markets, but it is hard to see how that can happen given that the 5C's unsubsidized contract-free price in the U.S. with 32G of onboard storage (a minimum for today's active user) will cost a shocking $649. That's expensive for the U.S. market, so you can forget about this phone appealing to those in the emerging and international markets where consumers pay a premium on top of the unsubsidized price.
Beyond the iPhone 5C there wasn't much else announced that we didn't already know. So it is pretty safe to say that innovation at Apple is dead, or, at the very least, hibernating. That's sad, but all is not lost. Apple is still a cash-generating machine with a beloved product line. The company has the luxury to coast a bit and regroup before it comes back around and hits the market with another game-changing product.
The absolute worst thing Apple could do now would be to set off on a path of cash destruction and brand dilution by launching a bunch of terrible products that would tarnish its image. Enter the "iWatch"-- the Apple smartwatch that the company has supposedly been working on for over a year or so, that is, of course, if you believe the tech press. Apple (AAPL) has never said anything about launching such a device nor has it leaked any information out to the public.
So what exactly is a smartwatch? Well, there are many interpretations, but generally it can be defined as an electronic device you wear on your wrist that connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth to deliver notifications and such without having to look at your phone. The watch can alert you if you have an incoming call, display text messages, and could possibly control some apps and the phone's music player, as well. It can probably tell you the time, too.
To be sure, the smartwatch concept is not new and while it has had limited success in the athletic market, it has failed consistently to emerge as a viable product offering for the mass market. Why? That's easy -- it's absurd. The amount of information that one can get from a watch screen that is one to two square inches is pretty limited. Talking into a watch, a la Dick Tracy, is just weird, and typing into one is a near impossibility. Meanwhile, speech-to-text software is still rough, so having the watch deliver a text message can be super-frustrating.
Nonetheless, rumors have floated around for over a year that Apple was developing a smartwatch to pair with its next generation iPhone. There was talk that the company had over 100 engineers working on such a device and that it had hired away developers who have worked on other smartwatches, such as those for Nike (NKE).