As one of the world’s most recognised and highly regarded technology manufacturers, Apple is always going to be in the limelight. With Microsoft seen as the rugged, yet slightly behind the times, uncle-like figure, Apple is the youthful firebrand, in step with modern trends, styles and attitudes, the standard around which creatives the world over gather. As such, Apple has quite the reputation to uphold, and 2014- fraught with continued iterations of devices and levelling sales- has been quite the gauntlet for the Silicon Valley giant.
There have been a fair few releases from the company this year, though critics have been more divided than usual with regards to Apple’s offerings to consumers. In March the iPhone 5c was released; despite being a fair iteration, critics were quick to note the lack of differences between the 5c and the 5, sans the polycarbonate (instead of aluminium) coating and black glass screen. The phone didn’t even host the 5S’ 64 bit A7 chip, touch ID- we could go on!
The release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus was more of a ground shaking event; smartphone fans clamouring for the larger, faster devices were greeted by retina displays, huge storage and memory, new features and an excellent processor to boot. Industry figures were also celebrating; websites and businesses heavily dependent upon apps for their revenue were happy with the increased features on the popular smartphone. The massive boost in processing power has already helped many sites that rely upon up-to-the-minute updates of information. Take bettingsports, a site that regularly posts a mix of fixtures, events and odds. Recently the need for fast hardware was plainly seen as it reported on a variety of time-sensitive professional winning picks; without these, fans would surely have been left in the dark.
With new updates for the MacBook Air, iMac, MacBook Pro and Mac Mini, Apple has certainly used this year as an excuse to update its existing product lines. The issue is, however, has the company been getting sloppy, releasing piecemeal, ineffectual products merely for the sake of an update? The3rd Gen MacBook Pro was a meaningful release; Core i7 processors, Retina displays and all manner of new ports; and was as such well received by consumers and critics alike. Same goes for the Mac Mini, MacBook Air and iMac, with all of these receiving similar improvements.
The issue, however, has been noted in Autumn’s iPad Mini 3. With the new iPhone 6 Plus nipping at the heels of the small tablet range, the Mini has been left- perhaps purposefully- in the hinterland between small and large tablets. Increasingly irrelevant, this ‘tweener’ product will be an interesting one to watch in the future, perhaps ready for the cull.
With Apple shares falling currently, thanks to fears that Apple is losing out on the innovation front, the rest of the year looks set to be a turbulent one for the designer-cum-manufacturer.