Quick Thoughts on What Apple Unveiled Today

Today's event was almost exactly two hours long and there was a ton of stuff unveiled. I'll give you a quick recap and some of my thoughts.

What was unveiled:

iPhone 6's

  • iPhone 6 - 4.7" iPhone with 1334 x 750 pixels @ 326ppi
  • iPhone 6 Plus - 5.5" iPhone with 1920 x 1080 pixels @ 401ppi
  • A8 processor - 25% faster CPU, 50% faster GPU, 13% smaller, 50% more energy efficient
  • M8 motion coprocessor - now estimates distance, elevation and distinguishes between activities like running and cycling
  • Improved LTE speeds and VoLTE (voice over LTE)
  • 802.11AC Wi-Fi (up to 3x faster) and Wi-Fi calling
  • Camera - new sensor with phase detection auto-focus (2x faster), 1080p video @ 60 fps, Slow-mo @ 240 fps (super Slo-mo!), cinematic video stabilization, better front facing camera with burst and HDR selfies
  • What's the difference between the two besides the screen?
    • Battery life - Both phones feature improved battery life, but the iPhone 6 Plus has a much bigger battery that will last longer doing most tasks
    • Camera - Specifically, the iPhone 6 Plus has optical image stabilization and the iPhone 6 does not
    • Price - iPhone 6 Plus costs $100 USD more
  • Apple also doubled the storage in the mid and top tier configurations
    • Now 16GB, 64GB and 128GB
  • Pre-order this Friday, September 12th and shipping Friday, September 19th in 9 countries, including the U.S. and Canada

Apple Pay

  • Uses NFC radio, Touch ID and Secure Element chip
  • Integrated into Passbook
  • Credit card numbers are not stored or transmitted, but instead they use dynamic security codes
    • If your phone is stolen, you wouldn't need to cancel your cards
  • U.S. only for now, but over 200,000 physical locations and working on new countries
  • One-touch online checkout

Apple Watch

  • The watch and wearable device for which everyone has been not-so-patiently waiting
  • Beautiful design, with many options
    • 2 sizes, 3 collections, 18 different bands, for over a million different possible configurations
  • Very much focused on being a watch
  • New user interface — not just an iPhone on your wrist
  • Communication, fitness and health tracking (steps, heart rate, calories, etc.), notifications, Siri, third-party apps
  • $349 USD and available in "early 2015"

Music

  • U2 performed on stage at the end of the event
  • Apple and U2 gave away U2's newest album for free to anyone who has an iTunes account (over 500 million users)
    • If you're not already an iTunes user, just set up an account before Oct. 13th and you'll get the album for free (I'm sure Apple is paying!)
    • Looks like an effort to further increase the number of iTunes account holders and credit cards on file for the launch of Apple Pay, which is launching in October

Thoughts:

Presentation

  • Overall, it was one of Apple's smoothest ever product announcements, particularly through the iPhone portion. 
    • I didn't count the live stream, which was absolutely horrific.
  • The cheesy infomercial-style video to depict the current painful process of making purchases using credit cards was a little much for me. They may as well have had Vince up there showing how tough life was before the ShamWow! or the Slap Chop.
  • Tim using "One more thing..." for the first time since Steve Jobs' passing was pretty great. That was a more symbolic final passing of the torch to Tim Cook, and you could tell he was pretty pumped to use the line. 
  • The schtick at the end between Tim Cook and Bono when they gave away U2's new album was a little sloppy, but still charming and fun.
  • Overall, Tim Cook and Apple brought down the house.

Products

  • Both iPhone 6's look amazing and I'm extremely excited. The only thing I don't like about the devices is the protruding camera lens on the back of the phone. I don't think that will be an issue for 90%+ of iPhone owners, because most use a case (I don't). 
    • I'm going to have a hard time deciding which one to get. I was 95% sure I'd end up with the 4.7" variant, but now that I see the better camera and battery life in the 5.5" variant, I'm not so sure. I've got some research to do in the next couple of days before pre-orders go live. I'm thinking of going to the local carrier store and checking out the Android phones that most closely match the dimensions of the iPhone 6's and seeing how the feel in the hand and pocket. If I can live with the enormous size of the iPhone 6 Plus, that's the one I'll get.
  • Apple Pay is intriguing, even if it's not available in Canada yet. I definitely think Apple will gain more traction than anyone else's attempt at mobile wallets before now. It looks very elegant and simple, and although it will take years before it replaces wallets, it will make purchases much more painless while we wait for that.
  • Apple Watch is beautiful. I want one, and bad. I'm not sure that I'm going to love or use every feature the watch offers, but it addresses my two biggest wishes — a good looking watch, and fitness tracker. Without having ever used a smartwatch, I'm still not sold on the whole notifications thing, but I guess I will find out in early 2015 if they can be useful for me. Some of the communications stuff looks a little gimmicky (drawing pictures to other Apple Watch-owning friends, or sending them your heartbeat), but I don't have to use those. I'll be curious to wait and see if they catch on or just get ignored with the next iteration. Really, it's just battery life that's still the big question mark. Apple didn't address it specifically, but it seems that the Apple Watch will only get about a day of battery and need highly charging.

What a huge, exciting event. 

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