While I was complimentary of Apple’s new iPad Pro and iPad Mini when they released Monday, I certainly wouldn’t call them Earth-shattering new devices. They weren’t meant to be. They are the middle-tier of the lineup and that’s not something you usually get very excited about. However, if we use the 5th Gen iPad as a guide, sometimes mundane but reasonably priced sells very well with everyday consumers.
The fact is, these devices aren’t made for those of us in the tech community. They are for our parents and neighbors. Our kids and grand kids. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, hardware targeted at that audience doesn’t make for a super exciting reveal. While Apple made a big deal of adding Pencil support to the iPad and how it fits into their education plans last year, that is the only time an iPad other than a Pro has been announced at an event in several years.
Apple has wisely foregone staging events filled with mid-tier products that would draw ho-hums and stuck to just using press releases and putting new hardware directly in their online store for pre-order. We all expected this to happen with some hardware this week, so other than getting them earlier than predicted, new iPads showing up Monday wasn’t a huge surprise. However, Apple’s subtle shift to releasing a product a day is both new and really sneaky smart.
This is a fairly slow week in tech, overall. We’ve had tech anti-trust stories held over from last week, but let’s face it. That isn’t exactly exciting news. It isn’t even interesting news for many readers, even if it is for a writer like myself. There really isn’t that much else going on at the moment. We have Apple’s event coming up next week, but that leaves a void. Apple has filled that void what I now think will be a daily trickle of new products. On Monday we had the new iPads. Today we had refreshed iMacs. There are indications that a refreshed iPod Touch will come tomorrow. Then we still have the expected arrivals of AirPower and the AirPods 2 left to go.
If you go and browse the tech news on Flipboard or Apple News right now, what’s there? Apple. People are covering the iPads and new iMac. They are writing about the other hardware we think is coming. They are writing about the event next week. Good, bad or ugly, it is all about Apple this week and next.
Considering that none of these products is a huge headliner on its own, hats off to Apple for some smart marketing. They’ve managed to own the tech news cycle for what will likely be two entire weeks with their B-team lineup. Like it or not, that is smart marketing.