Apple today confirmed most of the speculation leading up to the event when it unveiled its iPhone 14 range (with only Pro models equipped with a new A16 chip), a range of three Apple Watch models, and the new AirPods Pro. wonder: This was primarily a consumer-focused event with business considerations few and far between.
But here are some ideas I picked up.
Satellite connectivity for iPhone
Are there any business consequences of Apple’s decision to enable satellite connectivity for the iPhone? There could be.
One part of the equation here is that Apple is essentially saying that it doesn’t believe connectivity is truly universal, and it means that the company (or its partners) may consider offering connectivity to users in remote areas with opportunities at sea and connectivity is possible. even in harsh environments. For commercial users in the maritime, emergency recovery or exploration sector, it means that iPhones can be considered essential emergency equipment.
Reading between the lines, two years from now there may be more meaning to the deal. That’s because Apple says it will offer Emergency SOS via satellite as a free feature for the next two years. What happens after that? And how far could the feature be extended? It seems that this feature is powered by GlobalStar. (Call me old-fashioned, but the revelation that Apple will pay 95% of GlobalStar’s approved capital expenditures related to the service also piqued my interest.)
aim high aim low
One Business-101 lesson from the event could be what Apple has done with the Apple Watch, where it has simultaneously lowered the cost of entry with a new, lower-cost Apple Watch SE, while raising the aspiration point with the Apple Watch. Ultra. The new SE absolutely satisfies the needs answered by most of Apple’s previous portable devices. And while improving the standard model with features (like new temperature sensors) that inherently appeal to 50% of humanity, the company also introduced a new aspirational device; In a classic twist on marketing savvy, the $799 Apple Watch Ultra gives users a glimpse of something they didn’t know they wanted in the first place.
Apple said it worked for years to create it, a lesson that should be in any product- or service-oriented business management manual. You must not only improve the best, but you must consider where something even better makes a difference. Because if you do it right, all of your existing customers will want one anyway. I hope that happens with Apple Watch Ultra. I already know of at least one person who used their credit card to get one of these things, even though they don’t climb mountains very often. (Editor’s note: I feel seen.)
Apple has replaced the notch on Pro model phones with something it’s calling Dynamic Island. This is a clever use of space that was possibly simply wasted before, and the company also told us that third-party developers can create apps to exploit the new space. (He briefly showed a third-party delivery app making use of this.)
I wonder if some commercial application developers could find some way to exploit Dynamic Island in their applications to establish a connection with end users. I can easily imagine delivery services using the space to mark delivery times, retailers to post deals, or hotels and visitor attractions using it to mark proximity and local information. I can certainly imagine, or at least hope, that public transportation providers will take advantage of the feature to show when the next bus or train arrives at a location.
The reason I think this is worth exploring is that these kinds of foundational micro-experiences may well be the kind of nuggets of information that users will enjoy in the future when using mixed reality devices. They are low-impact, information-rich, as well as being relevant and ephemeral. The API is certainly worth exploring.
AR was everywhere
That of putting things in sight? Every time an Apple exec stepped up to a virtual slide, he showed how AR and VR can augment the existing conversation. All of this exposure means that by the time they deliver the device, everyone is expecting them to introduce it, which it will do will seem inevitable. And those tiny trackpads on the AirPods Pro are sure to matter as Apple continues to develop a more portable user interface.
Combine this with Apple’s continuing advances in terms of AI, CMOS, imaging, and machine learning on imaging and perhaps you can discern the continuing evolution of the kind of intelligence you’ll need to make smart machines. Like the cars.
Love and fitness through the walls.
Apple will make its Fitness+ service available to all iPhone users in 21 countries, even if they don’t have an Apple Watch. That’s fine, but the company’s move to expand the scope of its services doesn’t end there. One of the benefits of Fitness+ is that you can watch your workout video on your Apple TV while wearing the data collected by Apple Watch.
In the future, if you don’t have Apple TV, you’ll be able to stream workouts to third-party devices, and if you also have an Apple Watch, you’ll get the on-screen metrics it provides. This small improvement is significant, as it implies the extent to which Apple intends to make its services platform independent, albeit with a bit of Apple at its core.
Apple is spreading beyond its so-called walled garden.
the green slide
I will make this simple. Throughout California there is an excessive heat warning. In Pakistan, vast swaths of the nation are drowning. It’s raining in the UK and there are hose bans, after months of no rain. All over Europe, fields and forests are burning. It may be too late to act, but any rational person should demand more of the kind of corporate honesty that Apple promises every time it shows a slide detailing the environmental consequences of every product it makes. Even so, it still seems to have some way to go.
the direction of travel
Another little feature that can say a lot is Apple’s extension of UWB into the realm of AirPods. With Precision Finding, users with a U1-enabled iPhone can locate their charging case with guided instructions. That’s not new in terms of what Apple’s Find My system (which powers this feature) promises to do, but it does suggest the extent to which the company navigates all the terrifying surveillance abuses and stalkers of such technology.
eSIM for USA (for now)
The move to eSIM, which is US-only at the moment, will make it much easier for business users to roll out company lines between employees. And as eSIM becomes more widely adopted, as is often the case once Apple makes such a move, it will become a bit more challenging to create and exploit fake IDs for nefarious purposes.
One more thing to remember: If you choose to provision eSIM lines among your staff, you may need to double check the process required to move that number from one iPhone to another device, particularly on another platform. Given the importance of constant provision of numbers for business users, this move is something business buyers need to think about. For casual travelers, it may be difficult to avoid inflated carrier prices simply by popping in an extra SIM card.
Customize where you can
I know I’m stretching it, but I was impressed that Apple managed to introduce a small new tweak to AirPods Pro that could be used as an idea for consumer-focused businesses. If you’ve used an Apple product, you’ve probably come across Memoji, which lets you create a little avatar of yourself. This has always been a good thing when using FaceTime, but Apple now seems to be bringing that little digital delight into the real world, as you can now have that custom icon of yourself etched into the case of a new set of AirPods Pro.
This may seem relatively minor to many people, but to me it’s a good articulation of the power of building personalized customer relationships. It’s a little touch, but good.
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