Mon, Sep 08, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Apple’s mystery unveiling poses interesting questions

APPLE ENIGMA:There is much speculation about what products Apple is planning on unveiling at tomorrow’s event and what the implications might be


Apple’s mystery unveiling tomorrow is expected to be a watershed moment for the company — and the entire tech industry. Here are key things to watch for:

Can Tim Cook step up?

Chief executive officer Tim Cook is seeking to vanquish the notion that Apple lost its magic when cofounder Steve Jobs died. Cook could help Apple establish its dominance in a new category with the launch of an “iWatch” at the event set in the very location where Jobs introduced the Macintosh computer 30 years ago.

Since Jobs died in late 2011, pressure has been on his successor Cook to show the world that Apple can shine just as brightly without the iconic pitchman known for perfection in design and mastery in marketing.

Apple lovers have been eager for the company to seize a new gadget category the way it dominated smartphones, tablets, and MP3 players with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod respectively.

“I don’t believe this project is a knee-jerk reaction to other smartwatches,” Creative Strategies president Tim Bajarin said. “While the roots go back to Steve Jobs, this product is Tim Cook and Jony Ive.”

The genesis of what is being referred to in the media as the iWatch stemmed from Jobs and his frustration with healthcare matters while battling the illness that took his life, according to the analyst. Bajarin spoke of sources telling him that an Apple wearable computer has been in the works for seven years.

Cook would fittingly be putting his stamp on the first “next big thing” launched by Apple without Jobs.

While an iWatch would wirelessly tap into the capabilities of iPhones or iPads, managing health is expected to be a strong theme. Bolstering that likelihood is Cook’s reputation as a fitness fanatic who was among the early users of Nike’s Fuel activity tracking wristband.

How big are the new iPhones?

While the unveiling of new-generation iPhones with larger screens is considered a sure bet, people are watching to see how big Apple goes and when models make it to market.

Apple has remained consistently tight-lipped, but analysts are expecting the iPhone screen to be boosted to at least 4.7 inches, and a 5.5-inch screen is also likely, allowing Apple to compete in the new “phablet” segment.

A payments company?

Watch also to see how aggressively Apple moves into mobile money with near-field-communication chips built into iPhone 6 models letting them be used as Internet-age wallets.

There are reported to be 800 million accounts at Apple’s online iTunes shop, and user’s credit-card data could easily be synched to mobile wallets.

With this, Apple could jump-start the effort to use mobile devices for payments.

What else is coming?

Some reports speculate that Apple might also unveil an upgrade to the iPad Air, which would be a departure from its tradition of a separate announcement for tablets.

The new mobile platform iOS 8 is set to have capabilities that go beyond health and payments, say some analysts. This could involve smart-home technology or other systems that put Apple at the center of the ecosystem.

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