It’s that time of the year where Apple self-proclaims themselves the ushers of the next big thing. This year’s two big reveals at Apple’s September 2014 Special Event were the latest iteration of the game changing smartphone, the iPhone 6, and the much speculated about, Apple Watch or as the rumors called it, the iWatch. The iPhone comes out every year with some speed and power improvements and a barely distinguishable, at least to me, design case. Regardless of with Jony Ive says and no matter how nice they are to look at, they all still basically look the same. So all the adjective-filled talk about the new a design does little for me, it’s always about what’s under the hood. As expected, iPhone 6 brings more power, speed, better camera and screen, and increased battery life. Par for the course. However, the M8 chip was impressive.
"The new sensor should be able to know whether you’re running, riding your bike, or walking, and it’ll be able to estimate distance as well as how far you’ve gone. It’ll even be able to track elevation for the climbing-inclined thanks to its very own barometer, which will pick our your relative elevation by measuring air pressure. " - gizmodo.com The iPhone 6’s New M8 Chip Makes It a Truly Badass Fitness Tracker
To me that is pretty amazing. I don’t think these sensors get the awe they deserve because, as Apple always puts it, “they just work”. This M8 chip will be very useful for developers in creating new apps or adding features to current ones, especially in the fitness tracking realm. Apple has made it no secret that they are going after that market as well. Good on them, we could all use a but more exercise these days.
Let me say, I’m an Apple fan, not fanboy as there are definitely some sour tasting apples in the Cupertino grove. See what I did there? I am stocked with Apple products. I am typing this on a Macbook, I own two Mac desktops, an eMac, a Powerbook Titanium, and an iPhone 4. This past year I lost my 80 gigabyte 3rd generation original iPod on a train. I miss you. My family members are all also willing prisoners of the Apple ecosystem. Let me put it this way, my uncle still has a working Apple 2 and my grandmother has a better iPhone than I do. So yea, we like the products.
Instead of colors this time the latest iPhone comes in sizes. Presumably the rainbow of colors idea which followed the iMacs aren’t going any further than the iPhone 5c. This time we get the iPhone 6 at 5.44 inches long and 2.64 inches wide and the iPhone 6 Plus at 6.22 inches long and 3.06 wide. Plus meaning huge. This is where I’m at an impasse with Apple and the iPhone. This larger size phone aka phablet popularized by the Samsung Galaxy and HTC lines, is entirely too large! Especially the 6 Plus at 6 plus inches. I don’t want something this large in my pants (had to do it; giggity). It’s not convenient. You need a purse or a backpack to carry this thing around. Or I’d have to dig out that old fanny pack for it. You know you had one too; don’t judge me. iOS 8’s Reachability “feature” that allows you to reach something at the top of the screen with one hand by pulling it down to where your hands are, to me, is proof that the device is too big. Look at that retina display of densely packed pixel eye candy goodness displaying a blank top half of the screen. Gorgeous.
I wasn’t a fan of the increased size of the iPhone 5 but it wasn’t a pocket buster at 4.87 inches long and 2.31 inches wide. It’s one of the reasons I held on to my Steve Jobs approved size, 4.54 inch long and 2.31 inch wide, one-hand useable, iPhone 4. Jobs famously said of the crop of larger phones that were being rolled out against the smaller dominate iPhone that, “You can’t get your hand around it,” followed by, “No one’s going to buy that.” He was wrong about people not buying the larger phones but absolutely correct about the inconvenience of not being able to get your hand around it. This leaves me stuck as to where to go after I buy the newly reduced iPhone 5s because I definitely will not buy an ogre sized phone. At least give us a pocket sized version if you are going to do different sizes now. The iPhone Mini could be the original size. If I can’t work it with one hand or fit it comfortably in my pocket it’s useless to me. At that size, the technology gets in the way. Co-founder of both Twitter and mobile payments company Square said it well, “The best technologies, they disappear, they fade into the background and they’re relevant when you want to use them, and they get out of the way when you don’t.” Steve Jobs would probably agree. Isn’t Apple’s “just works” philosophy saying basically the same thing?
The Apple Watch. Honestly from the first rumors, I thought the idea of Apple coming out with a watch was ridiculous and unnecessary. Admittedly, I’m not a fan of watches. I don’t wear one, they annoy me; and not just watches either, jewelry, or basically anything hanging off of me. Plus, I’ve got my phone that has the time on it. Where’s the need? What’s the point? But, these last few weeks I’ve been coming around to the idea that such a device could be useful for fitness tracking and health monitoring. The sharing of that tracked information is still a privacy concern but I can see where it could be useful to some. The closer it got to the announcement the more I thought that if Apple were to announce such a device that they would be able to pull it off. After the announcement and seeing the designs, I am sure they can pull it off. The main thing that would decide whether an Apple Watch would be a success aside from the electronics is the style. If those watches stuck out like a sore thumb, à la Google Glass, the wearable would fall flat.
In true Apple fashion though, in my opinion, they hit the ball out of the park with style. Even I might find a reason to wear it; especially the Apple Watch Edition. What can I say, “gorgeous” is one of the things that Apple does best and those watches look elegant, refined, and fashion forward. In stark contrast to the behemoth that is the iPhone 6, the Apple Watch isn’t a gaudy stand out piece of tech but visually appears to fit into a wide range of lifestyles. While iPhone 6 and Apple Watch get the major fanfare, Apple Pay should get more than a hat tip.
"Apple Pay is Apple’s mobile payment solution. It uses Apple’s Passbook app, NFC (in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus), a special authentication chip and Touch ID, the built-in fingerprint reader found in the iPhone 5S and now iPhone 6 and 6 Plus." mashable.com 5 Reasons Why Apple Pay Is the Sleeper Hit of the Apple Event
While payment partners are obviously limited in its introduction, the possibilities are incredible. I’ve seen this type of payment system work on a large-scale. Japan has had this sort of mobile payment type system for years. People routinely pay for things like train and subway tickets with a swipe of their phone at the turnstile. Imagine if Apple could get a partnership going with New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) for subway fare payment’s. American innovation is late to the party on this one but it can still be a major move forward.
I think Apple has several winners on their hands here. The new sensors and capabilities of the technology inside the iPhone 6 are noteworthy; the size is more cringe worthy. I can easily see the iWatch being the must have gadget next year and becoming a game changer. Apple Pay is sure to pick up steam. There should be no question about that eventuality especially after seeing a few major retailers allowing bitcoin payments. Until next year. That’s about right.