Beyond the iPhone: 5 Top Apple Announcements

October 4, 2011

6:39 pm

“We have passed the quarter of a billion sales mark” for iOS devices. That’s 250 million iPhones, iPods, iPads, etc.” – Tim Cook

Impressive. But lest you think today’s event on Apple’s Cupertino campus was completely focused on the iPhone 4S, there were some other updates covered in the session during which Tim and his executive team spent a significant amount of time talking through the other elements of Apple’s portfolio. Here are the top 5 mentions we found most interesting:

1. Music & Gaming Devices – To see just how popular the iPod still is, execs shared that 45 million iPods were sold just between July 2010 to June 2011 – that’s 78% of the market.

The Nano has a bunch of updates, from interface changes to specific workout features, given it’s small form-factor. The “improved fitness experience” allows users to go on a walk or run using the device right out of the box, with no extra sensors required. There are also watch accessories – the device offers 16 clock faces.

The iPod Touch (which will now be available in white) is popular as a gaming device and will run iOS5, including iMessage and iCloud, giving you access to all your music, books, etc. It will be available on October 12th. New pricing for iPod Touch:

  • 8GB  – $199
  • 32GB – $299
  • 64GB – $399

2. Platforms –  Six million copies of OS X Lion have been downloaded, which is 80% more than Snow Leopard.

On the mobile front, iOS is now the number one mobile operating system. They claim 43% as compared to Android’s 33% (based on July ComScore numbers). They shared Walt Mossberg’s quote, saying that Lion is the “best operating system out there.” Obviously iOS5 received the lion’s share (ahem) of the attention today with Siri, the voice control feature, stealing the show.  

iMessage will also be a big deal, as it may steal some thunder from the carriers.  It’s the iOS-to-iOS replacement for standard SMS text messaging that will allow users to message from their iPhones or other Mac devices. Social media fans will also love the tighter Twitter integration that was announced, which will keep you signed in and allow easier photo sharing.

3. iCloud – Since it was announced, there’s been a lot of interest in iCloud, and it will be especially nice paired up with iOS5. Their vision is that you’ll be able to download and re-download your music or media anytime, using any device. Likewise, you may snap a photo with your iPhone and send it to the cloud, where it will be accessible to your Touch, iPad, laptop, etc. Documents, Calendars and Contacts will all be accessible across devices too – iCloud does daily backups.

A new feature announced was Find My Friends, which allows you to see locations of those who’ve opted to share their location info with you. It allows for temporary sharing, in case you are all on a short trip together (but want to hide afterwards), and it also offers parental controls. iCloud is free for iOS 5 and Lion users, offering 5GB of online data free and more for purchase.

And not to ignore iTunes, for $24.99 per year, iTunes Match will apply the same benefits of iTunes purchased music to the rest of your non-iTunes purchased library.  Basically, it scans your entire iTunes library, re-creating your music library in the cloud. You’ll then be able to access your music collection anywhere as long as you have a connection (you have to be able to reach the cloud, after all).   iCloud will be available on October 12th, but iTunes Match will roll out at the end of the month.

4. Mac Laptops –   Overall, the Mac platform has grown by 23% since last year vs 4% for the PC. Apple talked about the new Macbook Air that all “our competitors have been trying to copy,” and how the MacBook Pro and iMac are the number one best selling notebook and desktop in the United States. Apple is now approaching 60 million Mac users worldwide and 23% market share as of August.

5. Cards –What, no iCards? No, because these are real cards that go through snail mail. Odd, yes, but we think they’ll be a hit. Around October 12, users will be able to create cards using their own photos and Apple’s toolset, from whichever iOS they are using.  Then Apple will print the cards on nice paper stock (100% cotton) and mail it with the proper Apple-designed postage. Unlike mailing it yourself, you’ll receive a push notification from the USPS when the item has been delivered. Price is $2.99 for cards shipped in the US, and $4.99 for international users. Just in time for the holidays.

Other honorary mentions…

iPad – According to Cook,  iPad is the “undisputed” #1 tablet in the world.  “Everybody and their brother” is trying to compete. But Apple has a significant lead as three quarters of all the tablets sold are iPads. But we know that already.

Apps –  There are currently more than 500,000 apps in the App Store, and around 140,000 are designed for the iPad. Over 18 billion apps (more than a billion per month!) have been downloaded, and the developers in aggregate have earned around $3 billion from Apple. Color us impressed.

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Jen Consalvo is the Cofounder and COO of Tech.Co. She previously worked in product development for almost 13 years at AOL for audiences of millions. Follow her on Twitter at: @noreaster.

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