Apple launched their new range of product. If you got lost in the clutter of announcements, Kyle Durham breaks down what it all means in plain simple language:
The dust has settled on the 9th September Apple media event that was hosted in the Flint Center and for the tech history buffs around this was the same location where Steve Jobs launched the Mac computer 30 years ago but are these new releases as historical as this famed launch in 1984?
Apple started the event with the launch of the new iPhone (or should I say iPhones) and we were out of the blocks. Next up, Apple Pay the much demanded NFC (Near-field communication) payment system that Apple has promised will remove Credit Cards from our wallets. Tim Cook then delivered the knockout blow of the event by announcing Apple’s first truly new product since the launch of the iPad in 2010 by announcing the Apple Watch.
iPhone or iPhones (iPhone 6 and 6 Plus)
Apple has lifted the lid on its new iPhones and they have a few major changes from the iPhone 5s that was launched a year ago and they are as follows:
The screen size has increased from 4” to 4.7” for the iPhone 6 and 5.5” for the iPhone 6 Plus.
- Improved battery life over the iPhone 5s with the iPhone 6 Plus offering talk time of 24 hours and 14 hours on the iPhone 6 compared with 10 hours on the iPhone 5s.
- Improved camera functionality and capabilities with optical image stabilization on the iPhone 6 Plus. The camera also features improved focusing ability as well as improved slo-mo recording capability of 240fps.
- Reduced thickness with the iPhone 6 being 6.9mm and the iPhone 6 Plus being 7.1mm.
- The new processor named the A8 is 25% faster than the iPhone 5s and is 50% more power efficient.
- NFC Chip for the Apple Pay system.
These changes bring the iPhone in line with the bigger screened competitors from Nokia, Samsung, LG and Sony and it is refreshing to see Apple listen to its customers who have been asking for the same quality that the iPhone is known to deliver in a bigger screened device whilst improving on the features that iPhones are appreciated for.
The official launch date is the 19th of September but this is unlikely to include South Africa. Apple has however promised to launch the device in 115 countries by the end of the year and this release timeline should include us here on the southern tip of Africa.
The mobile payment realm has needed a boost and many people feel that by Apple entering the fray this will be the boost mobile payments need to become widely adopted as the new standard in payments. Simply put this service that Apple will offer allows a person using an iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to walk up to an equipped paystation and simply touch the sensor and the rest of the transaction is handled.
As Apple has recently been the victim of the iCloud hack scandal, security of this system was the major talking point and Apple has offered the following security insights:
- The Touch ID sensor is used to authenticate the person paying and therefore the days of lost or stolen pin numbers are said to be gone.
- Apple uses a unique code to transfer the data to the payment provider and therefore your credit card details are never shared.
- Your name, address or any other personal details are never shared with the teller.
- Apple doesn’t receive any information regarding the transaction as it is between you, the merchant and your bank
- The credit card information is kept on a separate “secure-element” chip and therefore Apple says you will not have to cancel your credit cards if your phone is stolen.
It appears Apple has partnered with various companies including Visa and Mastercard but there has been no word on the roll-out of Apple Pay to countries outside the USA.
The rumor mill has been churning for almost 2 years on the launch of the so-called iWatch and now we have some insights into what Apple is bringing to the fray in the smartwatch battle. Firstly, Apple has moved away from the prefix “i” and has gone for the name Apple Watch. Secondly, Apple has gone for something resembling the normal timepieces we see around today and have not tried to reinvent the wheel.
Apple went to painstaking lengths to emphasize the fact that the user interfaces we have become accustomed to in our smartphones are not viable to control a Smartwatch due to the reduced screen size on these devices. They have introduced the “Digital Crown” allowing one to control the functionality of the device by manipulating this part of the watch. It remains to be seen if this is a viable way to interact with a device of this kind.
There are 3 distinct versions of the Apple Watch with various types of straps and materials used. The 1st being the Apple Watch that has a polished case with a stainless steel alloy. The 2nd being the Apple Watch sport that features an aluminium case that allows it to be stronger and more durable. The 3rd version is called the Apple Watch Edition and this is made out of 18k Gold and this should scare some watchmakers in a land-locked European country.
In terms of functionality it offers the following:
- The watch offers interchangeable straps allowing for user customization.
- Various sensors allowing for heart-rate monitoring, activity monitoring as well as wrist movement detection to turn the screen on and off.
- Customizable watch faces.
- Separate applications can be installed.
- Integrates with iPhone by offering Siri, Messaging, and Dictation as well as providing notifications from the device.
The Apple watch is scheduled to launch in early 2015 but there has been no mention of the release timeline for South Africa so we will have to be patient and wait our turn.
In conclusion, the event did not deliver any true surprises as many of the leaks before the event proved to be spot on. I however believe that Apple has delivered by moving the iPhone in line with the competition and still offering a quality, user-focused approach that many customers expect and demand. Apple has entered new markets with Apple Pay and Apple Watch and it is very early in the lifecycle of these markets to really grasp the size of them. So the final question that is on everyone’s minds, are these announcements as historical as that of the Mac in 1984? Only time will tell.
This Guest Post was written by Kyle Durham who is a trainee Chartered Accountant that lives and breathes the tech industry and all the chaos that surrounds it. He loves photography, music, travel, and pets and occasionally tries his hand at playing online games.