WWDC14: Why No New Hardware Was Announced

There was plenty of expectation that Apple would inject some hardware excitement into the WWDC keynote, but it didn't happen. Apple has introduced hardware in the past at this event, but in this year's event, Apple had bigger fish to fry.

Tim Cook at WWDC keynote. Credit: Apple

First, when we look at Apple's traditional line of products, the dates of the last updates are as follows, from oldest to newest.

  • Mac mini - October 2012
  • Apple TV - March 2013
  • iMac - September 2013
  • MacBook Pro - October 2013
  • iPad Air - October 2013
  • iPad Mini/Retina - October 2013
  • Mac Pro - December 2013
  • MacBook Air - April 2014

Apple doesn't update the Mac mini on a frequent basis, and even if they did, it wouldn't be an exciting offering for this event.

The MacBook Air was just updated, and the price was reduced. This was a smart move because, while the MBA is an entry level product, it exudes quality as a notebook computer and competes effectively against a hybrid tablet like the Microsoft Surface Pro 3. A retina display would have increased the price and undermined that strategy.

The Apple TV has gone for 15 months without a refresh, and that would be the best candidate for a refresh. However, WWDC, being a developer's conference, probably isn't the place for an incremental upgrade to a still very popular and capable product. Plus, Apple's interest in TV is a whole other story for another time.

Personally, I thought that it was time for Apple to introduce the fabled iWatch to developers with perhaps shipments announced for later in the fall. My colleague Bryan Chaffin called this right with his suggestion that there would be a separate event in the fall.

Clearly, with HomeKit being an iOS integration effort, there's no new hardware in the offing right now.

There were stunning new capabilities introduced for developers in both OS X "Yosemite" and iOS 8 that will bring great delight to Apple's customers. The TMO home page has all these stories. Apple has once again shown that it is brimming with confidence and isn't being influenced by outsiders when it comes to when and how it will introduce new hardware, especially at a developer's conference.

And yet. One more thing... is always welcome.