In addition to launching the new iPad Air and iPad Mini with retina display a few weeks back, Apple also launched their latest desktop operating system – OS X Mavericks. What was interesting to note is the fact that Apple is distributing the software for free to all the users who have compatible hardware and required pre-requisite software (you can even update from Snow Leopard).
Furthermore, Apple announced that all of its apps will be free to download from the App Stores on any new devices purchased. This includes latest versions of all their iLife and iWork apps on the Mac App Store and the iOS App Store. They also seem to be giving away full version of any app for which you might have a trial version or a pirated version!
This move by Apple is surprising to a certain extent given that their apps have been on the top of the leaderboards across all the App Stores. Giving up a steady and predictable source of income is never easy and must have took a good amount of time to convince the board of directors to approve the same.
However, the move is not totally unfathomable, given that all the tech companies around the world are beginning to understand that consumers generally aren’t ready to pay for software as much as they are ready to pay for hardware. Even people who buy the latest & highest capacity iPhones, iPads & Mac without a blink act thrifty when buying Apps from the App Stores. And there is nothing wrong in that. When you buy hardware, you buy something physical which you can hold and admire. You can’t do that with Software. Apple’s hardware is uniquely of superb quality. They pay a lot of attention to detail and spend a lot of time researching the best possible way of making anything. The result is that every time they exceed their customers’ expectation.
Software from Apple follows the same design philosophy and is usually minimalistic. It just works and hides any unnecessary controls or interface from the user unless absolutely required. When the iOS was first revealed in 2007, the utter simplicity & intuitiveness of the operating system awed everyone and it sold like anything. 6 years down the line, both simplicity and intuitiveness are now ubiquitous in whatever Apple does.
Until a few years back, the norm was that you buy hardware and add software to it to be able to do stuff. That scene is changing. With tablets and smartphone which are pre loaded with powerful operating systems, people expect their devices to be able to do certain things out of the box when they buy them. And the list of those things keeps growing.
While others fail to understand this, Apple is probably betting on the fact that bundling free apps with their hardware is going to attract more customers. And they are not wrong. Whenever I recommend a mac to anyone looking to buy a new laptop, the first question they ask is “Will it open my office documents?”. Well, with a free copy of Pages, Numbers & Keynote, you bet it will!
So any loss of revenue due to giving away these apps for free will be easily compensated by increased sales of their hardware. Its simple math! Its a new era of free software and it does look good for anyone sitting in front of a Mac, iPhone or an iPad.
Microsoft’s Xbox One team has done an amazing job with this launch ad that we feel you should definitely see. It portrays the purpose of the device in the most awesome way in our opinion:
Apple launched 2 new iPads at their event on 22nd October 2013. An obvious question that popped in everyone’s mind after the event was why are they still selling the iPad 2 even when its 3 generation behind the current one. Why have they discontinued the (relatively) newer generation models of the iPad and still keeping one that is more than 2 years old? What is more surprising is the fact that it is being sold at the same price as the new iPad mini with the retina display ($399). Considering the much faster specs of the iPad mini and retina display, it is difficult to fathom why anyone would like to buy the iPad 2 at the same price.
The answer is simple: Education & Corporate customers. iPad 2 was a huge success owing to the great response received by the iPad. So much so that many educational, healthcare and corporate institutions jumped up to deploy iPads in their ecosystem. Many government institution also sanctioned iPads in government schools and offices.
Now these bulk orders, especially the ones coming from government organization have a lengthy process before the procurement can be done. Typically, tenders are invited from vendors and then after many approvals, procurement is done. Any change in the product needs to go through the same process again.
This is probably why Apple is keeping the iPad 2 running. There are probably many educational, government and corporate orders running which need iPad 2 to be procured in bulk. Until these contracts are renewed for a newer version of the iPad, Apple will most likely continue selling the iPad 2.
Another set of customers this might cater to is the customers on a tight budget who prefer big screen over any other spec in the device. These customer will most likely prefer to buy the iPad 2 over iPad mini just because of its larger screen because they don’t care about how fast the device runs. They just need the tablet with the largest screen.
Apple launched the iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina display at their press event on October 22, 2013. The iPad Air is the new flagship model in the iPad line which boasts some very impressive specs:
What is impressive is that Apple has managed to juice up the power, reduce the size & weight and still maintain a 10 hours battery life. The new iPad follows the form factor of the iPad Mini with thinner bezel on the sides. The name air comes from the incredible light weight of the device. The iPad Air is priced at the same price points as the previous generation iPad.
Apple also announced the iPad Mini with retina display at the event. According to Tim Cook, retina display was the most demanded feature in the iPad Mini from their customers. The new iPad Mini packs exactly the same features as the iPad Air and differs just in size and weight. The iPad Mini weighs at an impressive 0.73 pounds making it extremely light. It is kept at a starting price of $399 for the 16GB WiFi only model.
What was surprising was the fact that the mini is now as powerful as the air. In other words, the iPad Mini upgrade has skipped a generation. It was previously powered by the A5 processor and has now jumped to A7, skilling the A6 family. It also boasts of all the features of iPad Air. So it is basically just about your personal preference now. I personally prefer the iPad Mini just because of it small, yet extremely appropriate size. With the same battery life and the amazing retina display, it will be very difficult to choose one out of the two for many people.
Apple is also continuing the iPad Mini without the retina display at a starting price of $299. Apparently, iPad 2 also lives on with a starting price of $399.
No word yet on India launch and prices. We will keep you posted. Stay tuned.
Apple has announced November 1st 2013 as the launch date for its latest iPhone 5c and 5s in India. It is no coincidence that the dates fall in the Diwali week, a time when Indians spend money to buy new stuff every year. They have also announced the official prices for the phones:
We did expect a steep pricing of the iPhones this time given the falling rupee, however, what we do not understand is the huge difference of price with the memory bump. For all the previous iPhones, the difference between the price of 16GB and 32GB was not as much as it is this time. And with the reducing cost of memory chips, it is still unclear why Apple has increased the price difference.
Another thing to note is that the unlocked iPhone 5s is available at the same price as the iPhone 5 in the US. So it is not clear why there is such a huge difference in the price of the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s in India, even after considering the import duties. Even if we convert the price of iPhone 5s 16GB ($649) to Indian Rupees, it comes out to be INR 40,000 approx. In our opinion, the taxes and other duties cannot be that much that the price has to be set at INR 53,500.
Something to feel good about is the fact that the iPhone 5c 16GB is being sold at a lower price than the iPhone 5. Given that it is technically better than the iPhone 5, it clearly shows that making plastic shells for iPhones is a lot cheaper for Apple.
Apple will also continue selling the iPhone 4S 8GB in India at a revised price of INR 31,500. Cases for the iPhone 5S will be available for INR 3,200 and those for the iPhone 5C will be available for INR 2,300.
RCom and Airtel have announced that they will be carrying the new iPhones in India at launch. Airtel has even started pre booking of the phone (in store only).
Government has launched smart electricity meters in Delhi which will enable the consumers to monitor electricity usage in real time for different devices and save on their energy bills. The meters, in addition to being super accurate in reporting electricity usage, will be capable of informing consumers about electricity rates at different times of the day. Government is preparing to launch peak and non peak tariffs which will help consumers in lowering their electricity bills and help the power companies in distributing the power generation efficiently throughout the day.
Smart meters which are popular in developed countries can enable consumers to remotely monitor the current usage at their homes. They also enable the power companies to switch off selective appliances during emergency hours. Additionally, the power companies will be able to get a much more accurate understanding of consumers’ usage patterns and manage their generation accordingly so as to minimize the wastage of energy.
Apple is running a USB power adapter replacement program globally where you can take a 3rd party USB power adapter to your nearest apple reseller and they will replace it with a new apple USB power adapter at a special price.
The program aims at replacing unsafe or counterfeit usb power adapters which might be potentially unsafe for the users of apple devices. Since it is not easy to test the safety of an adapter, apple is just replacing them with their own adapters at a reduced price. Normally, apple adapters are priced much higher than this special price.
The program is currently running in India and apple is replacing 3rd party USB adapters with apple ones for a special price of INR 839. Note that this replacement program is meant for apple device owners and you have to carry your iPhone, iPod or iPad along with the 3rd party adapter to get a replacement at the special price. Only one adapter will be replaced per device. They will validate your device’s serial number and provide a replacement. You also have to give them your 3rd party adapter for disposal.
The program will be running through October 18, 2013 in India. You can find more details here.
It looks like TataSky is gearing up to launch live mobile TV streaming through it mobile app in India. Dish TV has already entered into this arena a few days back, however, users have to subscribe to a separate streaming pack in order to watch live TV on their mobile phones.
TataSky is running an advertisement on their home channel (channel number 100 on TataSky) which shows that the streaming service is coming soon on TataSky mobile. The TataSky mobile app for iOS is due for an update anyways as it is not working well with the latest iOS 7. TataSky might be planning to launch the streaming service with the next update. It is not clear whether subscribers will have to pay a separate fee than their current subscription or if the streaming plan will be part of their package.
Mobile streaming has not been much successful in India owing to poor data transfer speed from the mobile carriers. Even after the migration to 3G services, the speed and coverage is spotty and not suitable for data hungry apps. With mobile networks planning to move to next generate LTE based services, quality of such services will improve and users will be able to enjoy seamlessly.
Star India is launching a new channel called Star World Premiere in HD for the tech savvy generation in India which will air popular TV shows from USA at the same time they are aired there. This is a first of a kind initiative taken in India and will let users watch the latest shows at the same time with the rest of the world.
The channel will air 26 of America’s most popular TV shows in their current season.
Star World Premiere HD has confirmed in a tweet that the channel will be available on TataSky HD platform from 24th September 2013 onwards:
24th September onwards, Star World Premiere will be available on Tata Sky HD.
— Star World Premiere (@SWPremiere) September 20, 2013
This is a really good news for TataSky HD subscribers. Given the platform’s shortcomings in technical capability to beam a decent amount of HD channels in the extremely competitive HD DTH arena, this move is going to pacify a lot of frustrated subscribers.
TataSky is also making an investment of about INR 900 crores in order to replace all the old MPEG-2 set top boxes with MPEG-4 set top boxes free of cost for the customers. The move which will be completed by mid 2014 will enable TataSky to beam more than 300 channels up the current 230.
Apple launched the iPhone 5C and 5S at the relatively small press event on Tuesday 10th September 2013. Here is all you need to know about the new iPhones:
For the first time ever, Apple launched two new iPhones. The iPhone 5C (where the ‘C’ stands for color, and not ‘cheap’ that everyone was expecting) is a minor upgrade from the iPhone 5. Its specs are mostly similar with the iPhone 5 except for the following few things:
The iPhone 5C is, apparently, not the iPhone everyone was expecting. I am not sure why people expect things from Apple, given their insistence on secrecy. There were speculations that the iPhone 5C will be a cheap iPhone. And to a certain extent, they are true. If you look at the specs, you will find out that its actually better than the iPhone 5 in almost every regard (except that its a little heavy & a little bigger). And Apple is asking $99 for the 16GB model (with contract). Which is $100 cheaper than the current price of the iPhone 5. Unfortunately, its not as cheap as everyone was expecting it to be. But the other way to look at it is that its an upgrade of iPhone 5 at half the price. And with the various color choices available, it will surely be enticing for a lot of people.
The price for the unlocked 16GB model is $549 plus taxes.
The second phone (and the next flagship device) from Apple is the iPhone 5S. Continuing the tradition, iPhone 5S has upped its predecessor’s specs by leap folds. iPhone 5S is the first ever smartphone to have a 64 bit processor (A7) and operating system. This boosts up the performance of the phone to a whole new level. The phone also sports a new M7 processor which will be dedicated only for monitoring and processing the motion related data for the phone.
The big new feature in the 5S is the fingerprint sensor integrated in the home button. Touch ID, as Apple is calling it, will let you unlock your phone, buy stuff from the App Store & iTunes Store just by placing your finger on the home button. Not sure whether the support will be extended to third party apps to authenticate the user given the security concern, but Apple will need a way to figure out how to do it. And I believe that a team in Cupertino is trying to figure that out as you are reading this.
The phone also has an improved camera system with an innovative flash that has two LEDs. The camera is capable of creating a flash tone depending on the lighting condition of the scene you are capturing resulting in better quality pics with close to reality skin tones.
The iPhone 5S is priced starting at $199 for 16GB. $649 for the unlocked 16GB model.
There is no word yet on the India launch dates for these two models. However, judging by the aggressive marketing and promotion campaign Apple ran in India, we can safely assume that Apple has a very serious strategy for India. The pricing, however, is going to be a big challenge for them given the current downfall of the rupee against the dollar. It is reported that Apple is taking a hit on their margins by not increasing price of the iPhone 5 & 4S in India. I think it is critical for them to price the new iPhones in a range which is close to the current pricing of iPhone 5 & 4S. We will keep an eye on the India launch. Stay tuned for more info.