No Macbooks, no Apple TV, no iPads: Apple conspicuously left out a large section of its product line-up — much of which is in dire need of a refresh — to the dismay of tech geeks, whose expectations soared as rumour mills churned out a slew of “leaks”.
As expected, the Cupertino-headquartered tech giant focused largely on its best-seller: the iPhone — CEO Tim Cook says it has sold over a billion of them. But here too some rumours proved wrong. In all, the event was notable for what it didn’t announce.
Prior to the Wednesday event at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, rumours were flying thick and fast about what Apple might come up with. There was rampant speculation that in addition to the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch, the iPad, Macbook and Mac line-up could get an upgrade.
We’ve compiled here a list of things that were expected but never materialised:
■ New Apple Watch, but no LTE
The operating system, watchOS, was updated to allow app developers to make standalone apps for the Apple Watch instead of using the device solely as a conduit. The next logical step would have been to include a SIM card slot for direct internet access, but it was not to be. The “Series 2” watches were improved internally to boost performance, but the features list remained largely unchanged.
■ Wait for wireless charging continues
Apple stuck with the Retina Display and Lightning cable for the iPhone 7, proving speculation about introduction of wireless charging and high-contrast AMOLED screens wrong. These two features are perhaps at the core of why users of Samsung’s flagship S-series phones steer clear of Apple products — besides, of course, the closed iOS environment.
■ Still no Mac Pro, Macbook Pro
Three years on and fans of the once-revolutionary Mac Pro and Macbook Pro still await a refresh. The entire computing line-up, besides the ultra-slim Macbook, is getting a little long in the teeth, but Apple is exceedingly cautious about releasing a half-baked product. Rumours, however, point to a revamped design for the powerful notebook, with TouchID and Apple Pencil integration and a customizable OLED touch bar to replace the function keys.
■ Apple TV back to being a “hobby”?
Steve Jobs once said the Apple TV was “just a hobby” because there was “no viable market” for such a product. But all that changed last year, when a faster, sleeker and voice-activated version was launched with its own, refined operating system — tvOS. Ahead of the Wednesday event, tech blogs speculated that a minor update could be expected, but even that didn’t happen. It remains unclear if a second event will be held for Macbooks and the Apple TV.
■ iPad Air may be gone for good
The featherweight iPad Air might be done away with and replaced by the iPad Pro. Besides minor improvements in performance, few changes were expected on this front. But Apple appears to have decided to leave the tablets alone for the time being. In fact, updates for the system appear to have dried up, giving the impression that the company might be focused elsewhere — maybe the Macbook Pro.
■ Where’s the next big thing?
If you’re a hardcore Apple fan, you probably remember the days when Steve Jobs walked onto the stage and blew the audience away with a “game-changer” or “world-altering product” year after year. Those days appear to be long gone now — the tech giant has been sluggish in bringing out new, exciting gadgets. The completely wireless earbuds announced on Wednesday aren’t new either — many companies have tried, and failed, with the concept.
Apple is rumoured to have interest in other industries, including electric cars, healthcare and virtual reality, but it hasn’t confirmed that’s the case.
Nonetheless, as always, Apple did what it does best — leave us wanting more.
Which products were you most excited about, but that didn’t make an appearance at Apple’s event?