Apple's big event has just concluded, which means that the commentaries overpraising its new products and grousing about ungranted wishes are on their way to your computer and smartphone pixels already. (My LA Times colleagues are on the case here.
Other than that, was there anything in the 90-minute presentation that stood out? The company rolled out appreciable improvements in several products, notably the MacBook Pro, which will be (of course) faster and thinner. The full-sized iPad is rechristened the iPad Air to exploit the great reputation of the MacBook Air (my own traveling laptop) and signify its pretty remarkable weight reduction to 1 pound. The Kubrick-esque Mac Pro looks like the way to go if your work or your vanity requires a hypercharged $3,000 computer.
The most important advance may prove to be the new pricing model for OSX Mavericks, the upgrade to the Mac operating system. It's free. That's a laudable recognition on Apple's part that the operating system should be treated as a utility of the computer. Why should computer users have to pay to keep their machines serviceable? (Are you listening, Microsoft?)
Expect a new round of muttering that Apple has lost the innovative mojo it had under Steve Jobs. As we've mentioned before, much of the comparison shopping between Jobs and his successor, Tim Cook, is based on forgetfulness, or sheer ignorance -- that is to say, overassessment -- of how Apple operated under the sainted Steve.
Major innovations, such as the iPod, iPad, and iPhone, are much rarer than people think. In between these big steps in consumer electronics, a good company will do what it can to keep its existing products in the lead in technology, style, and human engineering. Apple is as good as any company in doing so.
The letdown that typically sweeps through the Apple-following media after almost every Apple event is partly the company's fault. It builds up the drama through secrecy and strategic leaks, and happily rides the wave of expectation. But gripes about what fanboys wanted and didn't get remind me of what physicist I.I. Rabi told the committee investigating J. Robert Oppenheimer for alleged disloyalty in 1954, after he had supervised the development of the A-bomb, which after all had helped to win World War II.
"This is just a tremendous achievement," Rabi said. "What more do you want, mermaids?"