While such initiatives might amount to big news for most companies, investors were unimpressed. Apple shares barely nosed up immediately after the event and were down 0.7 in after-hours trading. The message: Shareholders want less incremental improvement and more of the groundbreaking innovation that has powered Apple's business to astounding heights in recent years.
Instead of following a strategy that relies on a succession of breakthrough products, Apple is finding new ways to expand the use of its devices into new spheres. And by more tightly integrating its products and services and those of its developer ecosystem, CEO Tim Cook is acting to grow the company's user base and give customers more reason to stay with Apple.Apple's vision is far broader and could include kitchen appliances, entertainment systems and even hot tubs.
The home-automation market has been around for decades. However, only recently has the technology has developed to a point that people other than electronics hobbyists might knit systems together and control them with relative ease. More important, it gives Apple's customer base yet another way to use their iThings. Another example earlier this year was Apple's introduction of a system that allows an iPhone to integrate with a compatible car.
Apple also announced systems to let developers create cloud-based apps, use Apple's fingerprint security system and make software run faster.
The bottom line: Apple continues to show its sophistication in drawing ever more industries into its ecosystem, giving consumers and other technology companies more reasons to keep buying iPhone, iPads and Macs.