If there’s one word that could best be used to describe today’s iPhone announcement, it’s “unsurprising.” New iPhones are coming in 10 days, iOS is coming out in a little over a week, and the only thing that engaged observers couldn’t see coming was iWork going free.
While Apple hasn’t done anything hugely unexpected, what can we pull out of today’s announcement?
First and foremost, I seriously doubt Apple will be able to keep any hardware built in China under wraps from here on out. The leak pipeline leading out of the company’s Chinese hardware suppliers would seem to be wide open. If Apple wants to keep a piece of hardware secret, like a potential iWatch, that will need to stay out of the manufacturing pipeline until after the announcement.
That said, there were still plenty of revelations in today’s presentation, mostly tied to how Apple’s new hardware integrates with software.
Second, Apple isn’t going to sit idly by while Microsoft flounders. While Microsoft wants to try and drive adoption of the Surface by restricting Office on tablets to their own slate, Apple’s move to make iWork free is a shot across Microsoft’s bow. While it isn’t the industry standard, Apple has solid products in Pages, Keynote, and Numbers. I’ve been using iWork instead of Office for the past 5 years, and I feel like I really haven’t been missing anything.
There are still a lot of key questions that remain: is the iPhone 5C the low-cost iPhone everyone is looking for? Is the 5S enough of an update to drive sales of new phones? Will Android continue to pull market share away from Apple? We won’t know those answers today, tomorrow, or next week. But over time, they’ll play a big part in determining Apple’s fate.
Previously on GeekWire:
- Apple to offer its mobile productivity suite for free — how will Microsoft respond?
- Photos: Here’s what the new iPhones look like
- Apple confirms iPhone 5C and 5S, says iWork apps will be free on iOS devices
Blair Hanley Frank is a technology journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has also worked for Macworld, PCWorld and TechHive. He can be found on Twitter @belril.