The single most boring Apple event in history just happened

Apple announces smaller versions of their gadgets.

Apple has a long history of making a big splash with their events, including the “just one more thing” presentation technique made popular by the late Steve Jobs.

At an event today in Cupertino, Apple went dull and duller by announcing the smaller iPhone SE with a 4-inch screen and the same specs as the iPhone 6S (same A9 processor, same 12-megapixel camera), then dropped the news on the iPad Pro 9.7-inch tablet, which is also nothing but a smaller version of the iPad Pro 12.9-inch model.

For enterprise users, both of these announcements are completely underwhelming. They might make you want to buy a Samsung Galaxy S7 or maybe a Surface Pro tablet, knowing that Apple is sticking to size tweaks.

My questions is, why are they making such short strides?

First, you wonder if the encryption debate is consuming all of their energy as a company. It will be a massive fight with the U.S. Government that will likely end up in the Supreme Court. Apple didn’t announce anything related to security and encryption. They started with a shallow thud by covering some environmental and health news, and never built any momentum from there.

Amazingly, there has never been an event in my 15-year history covering Apple that made me think the company has lost some of their magic. It’s never a good sign when the innovations they mentioned are related to ambient sensors and auto screen adjustments. Or when you start out talking about going green.

Meanwhile, Samsung released a phone that you can hold underwater and it will still work. It lasts longer than the iPhone 6S, has a much clearer and brighter screen, and charges on a wireless pad on your desk or in your car.

Samsung seems to know their user base, especially considering a new survey shows that most people want a longer lasting phone.

Cases and colors? New bands for the Apple Watch? A few minor tweaks to iOS? Honestly, if I wasn’t a journalist and invested in tech companies, I’d be a little worried. What’s going on anyway? Has the legacy of Steve Jobs left us with dot releases and smaller versions of existing products? Was the Apple Watch fiasco (bad interface, few innovations) just a sign of things to come? Has an Apple event essentially become a preview of the minor product strategies you could find out on your own by visiting an Apple store and talking to a clerk?

It’s disappointing on a few levels. I’m a fan of these devices -- they just work. Yet, when Apple fails to deliver something truly innovative, it means we don’t get as much work done and have to deal with cumbersome technology or rely on lesser products.

The “wow” factor is gone, which means we are not getting inspired to “think differently” and dream bigger. For now, that might not happen until next year.


Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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