Two new iPads! Better MacBook Pros! The finishing touches on the cylindrical Mac Pro. OS X Mavericks for free. iLife. iWork. Apple announced heaps of stuff during its iPad event — stuff that will dent your wallet. Stuff that will make your life better. Stuff that will keep you happy. But what about all the stuff Apple didn’t announce? There’s still a bunch of, well, stuff.
Look. Apple was never going to unveil anything completely unexpected at this event. An actual Apple HDTV or iWatch or iCupertino would be deserving of its own dance at the ball. Those fabled products have become more expected un-announcements for iPhone and iPad events than unexpected announcements. This list focuses more on what could have been announced. Or maybe what should have been?
Updated Apple TV
Though we’re on the third generation of the Apple TV (released in early 2012), the black puck Apple TV has actually existed since September 2010. And the only difference between the second generation Apple TV and the third generation was that the third added support for 1080p support (and took away jailbreaking)! Cool (and not cool). So it’s been three years of effectively the same thing, plus or minus a software update (which to be truthful, is where the real features — like HBO Go and WatchESPN — are added).
And we totally understood that we were never getting an Apple HDTV today and we totally can see how releasing a SDK to allow apps for Apple TV would make more sense at WWDC, but something was supposed to happen with the Apple TV. Reports from reputable sources were saying a new Apple TV was coming out at this iPad event. It didn’t. Rokus are look more and more fantastic with each quiet non-update of the Apple TV.
Before the event, word had passed through the Apple rumour mill that Apple had been testing some giant 13-inch iPads. There was also mention of Apple creating a hybrid keyboard case a la Microsoft Surface. Both of those devices seem pretty Pro-ish. Both probably had no shot of moving beyond Jony Ive’s desk. But with Apple shifting the flagship iPad into the iPad Air name, it makes you wonder what’s to come.
A Cheap(-er) iPad
You want to see something ridiculous? Go to the Apple refurbished store and buy an iPad 4 (that would be the same iPad that was very best, most powerful iPad until today). And then go to the Apple Store and buy an iPad 2. Compare receipts. The March 2011 released iPad 2 will cost the same $449 as the refurbished iPad 4 that was the king of tablets yesterday. No one in their right mind should buy an iPad 2 right now.
You want to see something funny? Check out the price of last year’s iPad mini. It’s on sale for $349 — a mere 20 bucks cheaper than it was a year ago. Then go look at the price of a 2013 Nexus 7 ($299).
Apple released many things at many different price points today. Hell, it even gave us free software! But it did not release a cheap iPad. The ‘cheap’ big iPad is a joke, and the ‘cheap’ price for the original iPad mini isn’t anything close to cheap.
The invitation was so colourful… the iPhone 5c comes in colours now… the iPhone 5s has goldpagne… but nope. No colours. If you want some pizazz in your tablet-using life, you gotta spring for an $89 smart case to cover the front and back of your iPad.
TouchID for iPads
The iPhone 5s promised a passcode-less secure future for all Apple devices only to have the iPad Air and iPad mini ruin those dreams by not having the Touch ID fingerprint scanner built in. What’s up with the hold out? Are there not enough parts in the supply chain to make Touch ID sensors for the iPhone 5s and the iPad Air and iPad Mini? Does Touch ID have to improve because of all the odd angles and gymnastics your thumb and fingers twist into to unlock a tablet? Is it a conspiracy to hold out on features to make you buy next year’s model?
Touch ID was a minor yet monumental feature in the 5s: in one swooping change of the home button it made everything better. The iPhone was more secure, unlocking a phone was faster and the quality of the home button even improved. To not include it in the iPad Air and iPad mini is a little bit mysterious.
Haswell Mac Mini
Maybe one day the Mac Mini will get shown some spotlight love in a keynote, but the little runt of the Mac family didn’t get any shine today. There haven’t been any solid rumours about the oft-forgotten Mac but it’s natural to assume a Haswell Mac Mini to give it more punch will be coming. Better integrated graphics, 802.11ac to zip up the wee fees could also be reasonably expected.
4K Thunderbolt Display
If you have a beast of a machine that supports 4K displays (that would be the new Mac Pro) it would be nice if you could actually hook it up to a, I don’t know, Apple Thunderbolt 4K display. But you can’t, because it was never announced. The 4K may be too niche or too professional or too expensive for today’s iPhone-and-iPad-for-everybody Apple but Wired does a good job explaining the oddness of leaving the Thunderbolt display untouched.