If you are reading this, welcome back to another month-starter piece on Autocratech. I use this piece to reflect on the month gone by and the one coming up. First, let me touch upon September. The month was eventful as it saw some launches and kept me busy on a personal level as well. Birthdays happened (not mine though), some much-awaited products came to the market. Outside of the personal stuff, I would consider September a slow month.
First, there was the arrival of Honda’s New Activa 125. Equipped with some new feature and BS6-compliant, it was eagerly awaited by many. Since I don’t have a motorised form of transportation yet, I was awaiting its arrival too. I went to see it in the flesh with my mother and that’s when it struck me – even Honda is less interested in selling this vehicle to males.
For some reason, scooters and male customers are still seen as oil and water. Moreover, it seems Activa has lost any semblance of inclusivity on the product development stage. Petite frame, chrome stuff, ill-fitting styling elements are some reasons why male audiences may not prefer it over the funkier-looking Grazia or TVS NTorq 125 or Aprilia SR125. Also, no connected features or even a fully-digital instrument cluster. Missed opportunity indeed, Honda.
Next up was Apple with its iPhone 11 range. Made up of three devices again, it’s made up of iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Call them the 2019 versions of the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max, respectively. They are the textbook definition of iterative upgrades that are meant to offer value to people than outright killer features. Now, while there is little reason to go for iPhone 11 unless you value two cameras and a slightly lower starting price than Phone XR had upon launch, I can still make a a case for the costlier phones.
The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max get three rear cameras, a frosty back panel finish, and a fast charger in the box. No longer do you have to make do with a 5W charger that Apple throws in the box for iPhone 11. New colours ensure the 2019 iPhones look unique and different from their 2018 counterparts. Moreover, with their price points unchanged, the value proposition made by the newer devices is better than the old ones. 3D Touch is gone from iPhones, making way for Haptic Touch that came with iPhone XR.
This brings me to iPhone XR, which is still on sale and now at a lower price point. It has better colour options on offer. It offers the best battery life that one can get from an iPhone still. Its form factor is still the same as compared to the iPhone 11. More importantly, that single camera on the back isn’t as big an eyesore as the dual camera unit may seem to many. The value proposition of iPhone XR is better than even the iPhone 11. Another missed opportunity here.
By now, you may be thinking that missed opportunity was the theme of September. That’s not entirely accurate. Audi scored big with RS7 Sportback. a sporty wagon based on the A7 wagon. I think it is a killer product from a German brand that wants to break its complacency. After all, Audi was also among the victims of the VW Dieselgate scandal and it wants to reform its image as quickly as it can. A car like the RS7 Sportback is the perfect way to do that.
Speaking of reformation, Porsche’s brand image also took a hit from Dieselgate. After all, it is a part of VW AG, so it became guilty as well, simply by association. However, it went about its image reformation quite differently by launching an EV called Taycan. Porsche wanted to tell the world that it was looking at a cleaner, sportier future. As far as initial impressions go, Taycan has hit the sweet spot for now. The wait now is to see whether it will pull the potential Tesla Model S and Model X customers away.
Like I said earlier, September wasn’t all about missed opportunities. It was also about redefinition and the cases I have presented here are the best examples for that. Let’s see what October brings to the table. Right now, I am working on a reborn off-roading legend, after which I tackle another electric vehicle, followed by a Caddy, and lastly, a Bimmer. You may think that I have been covering automotive world a lot recently and that’s true. Gadget makers aren’t as keen on developing and maintaining a site that media pros can use with ease. Missed opportunities and all that stuff.
Anyway, that’s been it. Thank you for sticking around till now. Talk to you in the next piece next week!