This is true for their other big product unveiling, the iPhone 6. What is most notable is it's size, another example of following Samsung's lead. Why is this remarkable? Well, now that Apple has reached the top of the market they are behaving cautiously rather than taking significant risks. Many scholars of business and markets argue that this is a predictable behavior. Apple is now entering their phase of market dominance and maintenance. It might have been Ed Bott who suggested a few months back that he expected Apple to begin entering the stage of conservative market maintenance rather than high risk innovation, because Apple has no incentive to take high risks. This is a significant change of plan for Apple.
Prior to this Apple was a company that successfully led consumers and the market in new directions. How many people were aware of how empty their tablet-less existence was prior to 2007? These are two different approaches to filling patron needs:
1. Build/sell/deliver what patrons want
2. Anticipate what patrons need in abstract terms and lead them
This is Henry Ford's observation, "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have asked for a better horse." Apple had a history of developing brand new products that met patron's known and unknown needs.
Libraries are at a point in their evolution where they need to acting more like the earlier iteration of Apple. Don't build a better book, build a better information ecosystem. Find unmet needs, unexplored information formats, and occupy that space before anyone else does. One of the most frustrating experiences I had when I began writing about ebooks and tech was that my colleagues were focused on very different ideas than I was. The implied assumption from colleagues was that we simply fit them into our existing system and services rather than evolve and adapt. The focus on the book format rather than seeing this as an opportunity to take a step back and realize that we are really information brokers and that format is irrelevant is the real lesson of digitization. I will be writing more about this over the next year as my library explores this in very real terms.
Update: As if on cue, Samsung has a cheeky, "I told you so" ad for their latest phablet: