What?? The much hyped and awaited Apple event is over already? Yeah unfortunately it is, but we might not have to wait for long for another Apple event as one for October is already rumored. Anyway this post is about what Apple announced today in Cupertino in front of more than two thousand people.
Apple announced a new set of iPhones today and called them the iPhone 6 (normal?) and the iPhone 6 Plus (Big and Tall?). From the protruding camera enclosure to the thickness (or the thinness) of the new iPhones were leaked prior to the event and Apple seems to have accepted its fate in this situation, as Phil Schiller even joked about it during the keynote, saying "If you dint know it already, the new iPhones will come in two sizes...". Anyway here are some of my observations and thoughts on this new iPhone lineup.
- The iPhone 6 Plus is definitely the MacBook Pro 15" equivalent or the more powerful one, be it is terms of better battery life or camera features like better optical image stabilization (v/s the digital image stabilization in iPhone 6) or the more "productive" iOS interface. In fact the iPhone 6 Plus's iOS interface resembles the current iPad's interface more than the iPhone's, making it more an iPad Mini Minus than an iPhone 6 Plus! So that answers the question before launch, on the dilemma of the most powerful iPhone v/s the tablet iPhone or in other words, there is not much of a choice for anyone looking to buy a compact iPhone 6, if you want the most powerful iPhone, then you will have to start wearing cargo pants for the rest of your life...
- Apple did not do what everyone expected in terms of the memory tiers for the iPhone 6. The iPhone 6 still comes with 16GB for the entry level model for $199 and then the for $100 and $200 more you get twice the memory as before or 64GB and 128GB. The iPhone 6 Plus is overall $100 more expensive than the iPhone 6 and this way Apple has addressed (to a certain level) the growing requirements of a more engaged smartphone user and maintaining its profit margins (mainly on the higher memory tier models).
- For the first time you can choose from four different iPhone models from Apple itself (older iPhone models have always existed outside of Apple for sale before), the iPhone 5C (free on contract), the iPhone 5S (from $99 on contract), the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. The iPhone lineup is looking more like the iPod and the MacBook lineup now.
- Next, this is probably the first Apple event that the iPhone was part of, that the iPhone got the least attention towards. The iPhone 6 was announced and done with, within the first thirty minutes of the event! Also similar to WWDC a few months back this even was action packed and went about at a blistering pace.
- Am I upgrading to one of the new iPhone 6s? Yes. Which one? Not sure, will need to use both of them before deciding. I want the super specs on the iPhone 6 Plus but would like to wear my jeans still, so we'll see.
- Yeah and just because Samsung came up with "similar huge phablets" much before Apple, Apple has started copying Samsung now and it doesn't matter that Samsung had a 100+ page pdf on how to copy the original iPhone and was punished with almost a billion dollars as a fine for this fraud!
Yup... you are reading it right, Apple announced a wearable thingy and called it the Apple Watch, not the Apple iWatch (thank god, the word processors will not be going crazy with another Apple product name, trying to capitalize the first letter of the word). Similar to the iPhone announcement in 2007, that Apple did six months or so prior to the actual release date, the Apple Watch was pre-announced today and will be available in early 2015 (so technically "analysts" can still bash Tim Cook saying Apple did not introduce "new" product categories in 2014). This can be due to a multitude of reasons, like getting third party App developers some headroom (yeah the Apple Watch can run third party Apps) or to avoid product leaks via FCC documentation or just because Apple can afford to pre-announce six months before, only a new product as, if Apple did the same with the iPhone, no one will buy any iPhones for six months! Anyway let me jump into my thoughts on the iWatch... err... the Apple Watch.
- The Apple Watch is exactly what a watch is supposed to be in terms of dimensions, not too big, not too small (though it is available in two sizes, presumably to cater to different gender needs). It looks exquisite and resembles a piece of jewelry. I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but if you think the Apple Watch is ugly, you are either blind or arrogant or from planet KPH203-a. Dimensionally the Apple Watch looks similar but more beautify than the Pebble Steel. From what I could say from the keynote, it is rectangular and has a sapphire screen with rounded corners. It is waterproof (but to what depth?).
- Many Apple pundits were quipping on what the Apple Watch would look like in terms of its user interface and almost predictably and Apple like, the Watch has an unique UI, that has rounded App icons that shrink and grow as you scroll in and out of the UI.
- The key element of this UI is its unique navigation feature. Just like an iPhone or an iPad, there is home button on this Watch but it is embedded on the crown (the twisting wheel on the side) of the watch that Apple calls, "the Digital Crown". I think this was singlehandedly the biggest new innovation on the Apple Watch. Instead of pinching on the screen to zoom in or out, the crown is used for both zooming in or out and to scroll, depending on the context. This way the tiny screen of the Watch does not get covered by your finger tips while trying to navigate it. The crown is press-able and this button acts as the home button.
- Another mystery that existed before today was on how Apple would cater to a market of watch buyers who are more choice conscious than any others out there. Watches are signs of personality and emote individuality, so how can Apple enable different tastes of its Watch customers? In another first for Apple, Apple announced that the Apple Watch would be available in a variety of bezels (including a gold one) and a variety of watch straps (ranging from plastic to leather to metal) to customize from. This is probably the most "choicy" Apple product ever.
- Well what about the actual features of this Apple Watch? It does all the usual Smart-watch stuff, like showing the time (albeit with a cool raise your wrist to wake up the screen feature), measuring your heart rate with a multitude of sensors on the back of the Watch (I still want the Watch to track my pull ups or my reps and weights on the bench, wishful thinking?) and showing notifications. You can accept and take phone calls (there is a speaker on the Watch) and look at incoming messages and reply to them by either using Siri or using some custom text replies (there is no keyboard on the Watch, thankfully).
- It starts at $349 and might and will cost more depending on the type of the Watch (and specs?). As usual it is a little more expensive than what currently exist in the smart-watch market, but again it is a little more stylish and a little less stupid as well.
- Am I excited about the Apple Watch as I was about the original iPhone? No. Will I buy one? Yes, maybe because this does what my FitBit does, a lot better. Will this sell like the iPhone? Definitely not, but will still sell enough to make a positive dent in Apple.
- And lastly the biggest concern for many out there is the battery life on this gizmo, after all who needs another cord tangling around the house. But unfortunately Apple has not yet released any notes on battery life on the Apple Watch, as the product is not yet available for prime time and battery life might depend a lot on Software-Hardware cross-play.
- And Yeah just because Samsung started copying from Apple's product leaks this time around instead of waiting for Apple to release a product for it to copy, Samsung invented the smart-watch and Apple has started copying Samsung. And the Apple Watch looks and works exactly like the dumb...err... sorry smart Android (and Tizen?? come one make up your mind Samsung) watches out there.