09/17/2020

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Everything Apple Announced and Why it Matters



A Hotly Anticipated, Live Streamed Event

After months of excitement from both investors and customers, Apple (AAPL) held its “Hi, Speed” product launch event on Tuesday. In a video recorded at Apple’s Cupertino headquarters and streamed at 4 p.m. PT, Tim Cook and other executives announced a new HomePod Mini, new headphones called AirPods Studio, and the highly anticipated iPhone 12 with 5G connectivity.

Thirty minutes into the live stream, more than 2.5 million people had tuned in to the event on YouTube (GOOGL). More followed along on Apple’s website and on several liveblogs during the event. Prior to the unveiling, Morgan Stanley (MS) analyst Katy Huberty said she expected “this fall’s launch to be the most significant iPhone event in years.”

5G Comes to iPhone

Analysts predicted the new iPhone would be the most important upgrade to Apple’s smartphone series since 2014 when Apple released the supersized iPhone 6 and 6s. The iPhone 12 series, which will be available for pre-order in a few weeks, will all run on 5G networks. Tim Cook and Verizon (VZ) CEO Hans Vestberg said they would partner on what they called a “nationwide” 5G network. While 5G ambitions are certainly exciting, investors know this next-generation cellular push is going to take time. Analysts noted 5G connectivity might not be available in all regions since 5G is still under construction in some parts of the United States.

Apple’s new iPhone 12 comes in multiple colors with flat edges, similar to the iPad Pro. It should be more scratch resistant than past iPhones and will also feature what Apple is calling MagSafe—a magnet to help the phone connect to wireless chargers. In a break from tradition, the new iPhone will not ship with a charger or headphones. For the first time, Apple also announced a smaller iPhone—the iPhone 12 Mini. The 5.4-inch iPhone will have the same features like MagSafe and 5G, but it will be more lightweight.

Why the Apple News Matters

The pandemic and its subsequent economic impact have made it a tough market for new product releases in certain sectors, but Apple has managed to stay on top by creating a different and highly customizable experience for each user. Between software, hardware, and services like Apple TV+, iCloud storage, and Apple Music, Apple has a lot to offer. A newer, faster iPhone gives the tech giant the ability to provide all of that value in one place: right in the palm of the user’s hand. For consumers, this creates a “Halo Effect,” whereby a positive experience with one product leads to brand favoritism and loyalty so the company can sell other products and services. As Daniel Flax put it on Tuesday morning, Apple is pulling a variety of services together for consumers in a “fun, easy, and secure way.” Investors also like this about Apple’s business model, and the iPhone is often-times at the center of this ecosystem.

Additionally, analysts note that Apple has done a nice job offering devices at different price points while still maintaining a great user experience regardless of the amount of money the consumer spends. This strategy helps get consumers in the door in hopes that one day they may opt in to another purchase like the newest iPhone, an Apple Watch, or a fitness subscription. If Apple can continue to delight users with these new products, it may continue to see growth.


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