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Is the latest ‘one more thing’ enough to sustain Apple growth?

By Tim Fuell - September 11, 2014

As Apple ‘launches’ go, it was one of the busiest in terms of new lines and options:

This opening video, presenting Apple’s core values certainly got the fans buzzing at the opening of the keynote address:

Then came the unveiling: A new smartphone with two sizes of screen and each with three size options of internal memory and three metallic tones to choose from then there’s the Apple Watch – the “one more thing” from the Apple Keynote address this week. Not an iWatch but an Apple Watch (in two metallic forms) and an Apple Watch Sport (Also in two colours) and Apple Watch edition (the plush 18-carat rose or yellow gold version and a multitude of interchangeable strap choices for each model. That’s choice, but all kept inside iconic Apple branding and design…. That’s clever.

iSales dwindling

Apple will begin the iPhone despatch later this month but the Apple Watch won’t hit the streets until early 2015 – how early is yet to be seen, the design was revealed but many of the precise details about the write appendage were a little sketchy or at least are still to be confirmed. Apple will want that to be quick though and start. Apple sold a mere 13.3 million iPads in the June quarter this year. That was lower than Wall Street’s 14 million expectation. and having sold 14.6 million iPads in the June quarter of last year that means unit sales declined by about 9%. Add to the that the fall off of iPhone sales as potential purchasers hold off for the new releases and the Apple sales curve is noticeably on the downturn. So the multi-option, but design classic look – none of the bright colours and plasticky cases seen with the iPhone 5C – is as much a battle to regain some sales growth as it is to establish a new classic Apple product. Will it succeed? Only time will tell but certainly whilst there have been many critics about the functionality of the iPhone 6 – see Chris Voss’ Facebook post below – the majority of Apple fans certainly seem super keen to get their hands on the new kit.

Brand loyalty

Apple consistently comes up as one of the globes strongest brands and the latest unveils will surely only continue that. The Apple Watch was this year’s “one more thing” and for many the big thing. It will be Apple’s first venture into wearables and seemingly a move back towards the simple, classy, clean design lines that helped Apple become the iconic cool brand it has become. Cleverly even if you do spend the mooted US$300+ dollars the Apple Watch will likely retail for, you will still need a US$500+ iPhone to make it work. That’s brand protection and brand building and you know and Apple in particular know that few will be put off by that necessity. Apple is a lifestyle not just a practical decision. That sales have dropped with people waiting for the new product suggests that there are many itching to get their hands on a new piece of kit too. Even those not quite out of their current mobile provider contract are looking at SIM free options or penalty clause payoffs to be part of the first to have the new iPhone 6 and it’s  big brother iPhone 6+. From the TV ad style video below you can sense why too:

Backwards compatibility

It seems Apple have learnt much though from previous announcements. As part of iPhone 6 comes iOS 8.0 and this time despite the many refinements and built in tools, the backwards compatibility with iPhones and iPods has been thought about, given a pretty deep support for the many Apple legacy products that Apple fans will have at home. Giving that same Apple experience across all devices has been important in the growth of Apple over Windows and Android where the multi-platform credibility still hasn’t quite been established.

That “One More Thing”

The Apple Watch reveal was slick and impressive:

What the Apple Watch brings back to Apple brand that perhaps it had begin to lose was that sense of future and sense of brand leading. In reality the technology is probably available elsewhere. Certainly smart watches are fairly long in the tooth compared to other wearables we will expect to see in the next few years, but the Apple Watch seems to bring it alive with its own special magic that Apple does so well. The stumbling block may potentially be the additional price, but more likely the final release date. It’s a big carrot to dangle without a confirmed release and technology customers aren’t known for their patience. If supply can’t meet demand and thus global roll-out is slow it may be that the heralded “one more thing” may become just “one more thing” and find itself on the shelf and out-dated and unwanted by the time it finally hits the streets.

The Apple Business

Apple are possibly the most cash rich company in the world, so perhaps they don’t need new sales – but their shareholders will insist on it, so it is interesting to look at the more strategic approach about this launch. Not one phone but two. Not a multitude of options but enough and also with classic design options to potentially also appeal to the collectors market. There’s the new iOS 8 that let’s your old Apple do some of what the new phone can, but not all, dangling a carrot over those not fully convinced of a full upgrade just yet. Then there’s that ‘one more thing’. An announcement anticipated perhaps longer than any other, but that actually still didn’t reveal all and still isn’t known when it will come. What it looks like is that Apple want to snowball that excitement and maximise potential sales. Of course, few could justify nearly US$1k investment in new Apple technology in one hit. So Apple will let them buy the big bit, the iPhone. Let customers get used to the capability and still stir up the excitement on the watch. Then a few months in, customers pockets replenished a little more post iPhone investment and post Christmas probably too and buying an Apple Watch probably won’t seem so much and by then you will be bored of the new iPhone features but super excited about the potential of the enhancements the Apple Watch can offer to the iPhone….. They didn’t become as successful as they have at Apple by chance.

What are your thoughts? Is it just over-hyped? Is technology that important to our lives? Will you be upgrading to a new iPhone 6? Is there really a call for the 6 plus? Will the Apple Watch tempt you too? We’d love to know