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Wednesday
Sep042013

The Apple Beat: Stage is set for next evolutionary phase for iPhone and iOS

By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla

Any Apple launch event easily obscures the majority of technology launch events happening at the same time. Events focused on a new iPhone are easily the most anticipated and widely covered.

How crazy does it get? While watching the local news on CP24 this morning, the hosts were discussing the invitations sent by Apple to select media for the upcoming September 10 launch to be held in Cupertino. Most smartphone launch events will never gain mention in a morning news show, but an Apple invitation to an upcoming event is big enough news.

It is a big enough deal that some websites focus on parsing the hidden meanings and symbology of these invitations. Sifting through each element, colour, word and number as if it is a cryptic and cleverly disguised message that will somehow reveal what is to be expected.

Some companies have also decided to host launch events for products on September 9 and 10 and I really feel sorry for them, because their chances of getting any big coverage on those days are pretty slim. Even mainstream media will focus on Apple before, during and even days after a huge product announcement.

So, for September 10th, we will most certainly have updates on iOS 7. The biggest and most feature-packed version of the operating system that runs hundreds of millions of iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches (and AppleTVs, to a certain extent). iOS 7 is a huge departure from previous versions.

Lots of new and exciting features are expected, but also lots of change from what everyone is used to. There will be some pain transitioning from older iOS versions to iOS 7 and the better features are hardware dependent, but Apple seems prepared to walk everyone through this migration. Again, here's where physical Apple Retail Stores are critical in bridging new technology to users.

There will most definitely be new devices. The event is being held in Town Hall at Cupertino, where the iPod was unveiled in 2001 and where various landmark devices have also been shown to the public. The venue is small, intimate and I believe it seats around 150-180 people, so invitations to the event are prized as is first access to the devices.

An iPhone update is inevitable. Various models and possibly more colourful lower-priced iPhones are expected making it the first time Apple launches multiple model iPhones in one year. Apple has always continued selling the previous generations of the devices as the lower-cost options.

The need to capture emerging markets, as well as to unify the iOS experience for 4-inch displays as well as pushing the new Lightning port technology might be some of the reasons that Apple will debut various new iPhone options. Making products with various colour versions is nothing new to Apple who employed the strategy with the original iMac, the iPod mini, iPod nano and even the Smart Covers of the iPad.

Most of the new iPhone's biggest competitors have revealed their flagship products for the year, many of these like the Samsung Galaxy S 4, the HTC One and the Lumia 1020 are already shipping in certain markets. Their features are already well known. So, all eyes will be on the latest, greatest version or versions of the iPhone.

iPods are no longer the big seller for Apple. The product that helped propel Apple to the juggernaut it is, has taken a bit of a reduced role specially the iPod Classic. iPods have also been refreshed at the same time as iPhones and iOS, so it is likely we will see something new in the media player front. 

Wearable computing, Apple TV, iTunes Radio, new iPads are all products that many are expecting to hear about but no one really knows if these will be on the docket on September 10. iPads usually merit their own events. Remember that Apple CEO Tim Cook promised not just new products this Fall but hinted at new product categories, so we may see some surprises yet.

I will be covering the event live for Canadian Reviewer and will start reports on Twitter at @Creviewer early on Septemeber 10th, so stay tuned as we discover just what it is that Apple has planned to brighten everyone's day.

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