Innovation, not to mention the most powerful ecosystem this side of Windows, is the lifeblood that keeps Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) products flying off the shelves and its stock price soaring.
Earlier this week, the investing world's collective eyes turned to Apple once more for the second major presentation touting its upcoming Apple Watch.
Under no uncertain terms, Apple investors hoped to be wowed by Apple's only new product lineup due in the foreseeable future. And although it remains to be see if Apple Watch can sell en masse, Apple undoubtedly proved it's still as innovative as ever with its Monday keynote, albeit in a chiefly unexpected way.
Apple's next great innovation
Apple announced a number of new product initiatives during its event including Apple Watch and Apple TV, but it was the new MacBook that truly stole the show.
Although rumors had surfaced Apple might have a MacBook refresh up its sleeve during the event, few expect as dramatic an overhaul or as an impressive a set of hardware innovations as part of the update. In order to do so, Apple actually added a third tier of notebook with the simply dubbed "MacBook." And as alluded to earlier, achieving this feat required some genuinely impressive engineering on Apple's part.
Among its many technological achievements with the new MacBook, Apple introduced entirely an entirely new keyboard design using a newly invented "butterfly" key joint mechanism that enables significant size reduction of the entire keyboard body in the new MacBook. In addition, Apple also introduced the same Force Touch sensitivity feature that will debut in the Apple Watch into the new MacBook's trackpad. Apple was also able to shrink the logic board in the new MacBook by 67% and entirely eliminate the fan in the new laptop as well. Additionally, Apple utilized a new terraced battery structure that enables the MacBook's batteries to fit within the curved aluminum frame, helping
maximize battery placement in as small space as possible. I've watched a lot of Apple product launches in my day, and the myriad of hardware advancements Apple unveiled with its new MacBook sits right up there with the most impressive of Apple's many clever device improvements. And now, on to the main event ...
Apple Watch underwhelms
Obviously, I'm not the only one thinking this. I'd been cautiously optimistic that Apple would provide enough detail on features and, especially, software that I'd have an "aha" moment for the Apple Watch.
That moment never materialized.
Rather, Apple ran through many of the same original use cases it touted when it originally unveiled the Apple Watch last September: fitness tracking, notifications, etc. However, this lack of new features falls well short of further proving out its value proposition as many of us had hoped. The presentation lacked that so-called "killer app" that changes the Apple Watch from a "might want" to a "gotta have" type device. To be fair, Tim Cook and the rest of the Apple PR blitz has stuck to the refrain that consumers will need to actually get their hands on an Apple Watch to truly appreciate just how great it is. That could be true. It could just as easily be hyperbole.
More growth ahead for Apple
Because of either their greatness, in the case of the new MacBooks, or their newness, thanks to Apple's legions of die hard fans, each of these new products will certainly prove growth drivers for Apple in the year ahead. However, to what degree remains unclear.
I've voiced concerns about what happens to Apple stock after its current iPhone 6 and 6 Plus super cycle potentially subsides later in the year. Many have looked to new products like those mentioned above to be the antidote for potential ailing growth, and that could be the case. To be clear, Apple has plenty of near-term growth drivers like its current and soon-to-be-updated capital return policy, a dividend increase, and these new products to buoy its stock price. However, if your Apple investing thesis rests largely on the success of the first generation of Apple Watch, you might want to think twice after what we saw from Apple this week.