LONDON - The Apple keynote was a mixture of the free and the very expensive, and that wasn't lost on the UK fan base who were looking closely at the goings on in California. I watched the event with the London Mac User Group at their increasingly famous (in these parts) keynote party. Big screen projectors, knowledgeable Mac enthusiasts and a private bar for beer, perfect! Of all the products Apple announced, it was the iPads that generated the most excitement.
The general consensus was that high end, personal Mac users were turned off the idea of buying the new Mac Pro as soon as the price was announced. However, those not spending their own money and wanting to buy them for a company were more keen, as predicted by TMO senior editor John Martellaro. This was particularly true in the creative arts and university sectors, with some IT professionals saying they would start ordering and rolling out the new devices from tomorrow.
London Mac User Group watch the Apple keynote.
Ultimately, though, people were there for the iPads. After about half an hour through the keynote the iPads became noticeable by their absence, and there was certainly relief in the group I was in when they were finally announced nearly an hour into the keynote!
While there was disappointment with the lack of TouchID, the Retina display and new chips were well received. There was confusion, though, at the status of the iPad2. Why go back to two when you're at five? Some people I spoke to suggested that it will be an education version, with Apple trying to get into the education market in the UK in the same way they are in the US.
London Mac User Group members discuss the announcements from California
Personally, I am amazed that Apple did not make more of the fact that they released an 128GB model of the mini, which in my opinion gives them a massive advantage over the competition. There is now no need to compromise on screen or memory size. You can have exactly the iPad you want and I think this will be very attractive to consumers.
There was quite an intense debate on this side of the pond over the mini and full size iPad, with British Tech Network's Ewen Ranking declaring the full fat version "a dying form factor".
The iPad full size is a dying form factor. Too unnecessarily big— Ewen Rankin (@EwenRankin) October 22, 2013
I disagree with Rankin, but he was hardly alone in his opinion. Many in the discussion said they preferred a mini, and this makes it even more important that Apple have gone to 128GB on it. For me the mini is just too small for writing or watching movies, although having one would make it a whole lot easier to fit things in my handbag!
Overall the UK audience seemed pleased with what we saw over in the States. While we may have been taken aback by some of UK hardware pricing, the free OS, new iPads, and quick shipping deadlines left most feeling broadly happy. Santa will be delivering a lot of iPad Airs and iPad minis this Christmas, if the London Mac User Group is anything to go by!
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