There were many things that grabbed the attention of tech critics and Apple customers at Tuesday's product event, but three things in particular hinge on competition from Google and Microsoft.
Once again, I watched the live CNET video blog on Apple's big media event, which not-so-coincidentally was on the same day that Microsoft launched its new tablet, Surface.
Here were a few highlights of today's presentation by Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and Marketing Chief Phil Schiller:
• 5 million iPhone 5s sold in the opening weekend making it the fastest-selling phone in history
• 3 million new iPod Touches sold
• New 13" MacBook Pro is lighter, thinner, faster and has Retina Display for $1,699
• iBooks now integrated with iCloud
• New iMac Desktop is 80% thinner, replaces optical drive with hard drive and comes in 21.5" and 27" sizes for $1,299 and $1,799
• 100 million iPads sold
• More iPads sold in June than every other competitors' entire PC lines (not combined)
• 2,500 U.S. schools using iBooks textbooks
• 94% of Fortune 500 testing or deploying iPad usage
• New fourth-generation iPad’s chip is two times faster for same price as last iPad — $499
• New iPad Mini has 7.9 inch screen, 16GB memory, and offers LTE cellular capability, starting at $329 (with numerous configuration options, upgrades, and price points)
Three battles Apple could lose, starting today
There were many things that grabbed the attention of tech critics and Apple customers today, but I want to highlight three that hinge on competition from Google and Microsoft.
1. The new fourth-generation iPad comes only six months after the previous model
Many customers on the blogs seem annoyed. While a natural consumer reaction, is this justified? Should the company hold back on innovation so people don't have that unique sense of buyer's remorse that comes from disruptive technologies? Or, are most people getting used to it by now?
2. Cook made a point of noting the compatibility of Apple Desktop OS and Mobile OS
The tech geeks on CNET (actually a great group to listen to for these events) saw this as a direct shot addressing the competition, namely Microsoft and its new Surface tablet. By the end of the event, all of them felt that Apple offered few compelling reasons for consumers to ignore the Surface, given the comparable pricing.
3. The new iPad Mini is about $80 more than the comparable Google Nexus
Is that a good price point? Will it create Apple product cannibalization nestled between glorified iPods (the Touch) and the fourth-generation iPad? Or, will it simply get ignored and fail to meet always-lofty expectations?
What did investors think?
In the hour or so before the start of the event, AAPL shares rallied hard from the lows at $622 up above $630, even taking a few stabs at yesterday's close ($634) without success.
But when the slide of pricing schemes for the iPad Mini were shown, the stock dropped hard and fast, trading from above $629 down to $622 in only three minutes on over 800,000 shares. Then it fell to $616 a few minutes later on over 1 million shares.
Clearly, investors didn't like the iPad Mini pricing either.
What do you think about the three "battles" highlighted above? And is there anything else that stands out to you about Apple's continued product innovation?
Kevin Cook is a Senior Stock Strategist for Zacks.com.
The information supplied above by Zacks Investment Research Inc. contains opinions based on factual research which may or may not be accurate. Neither Zacks or Intellisphere will assume any liability for losses from investment decisions based on this information.