Better iPhone 6 and disappointing Apple Watch
The intro movie seemed very promising, showing elegant details and obviously very carefully crafted Apple Watch. That's it, Apple got it, that was our first thought. But when the presenter came to the stage and the presentation went on, we were becoming cooler and cooler. But let's say a few words about characteristics of the Apple Watch first.
The Apple Watch comes in two sizes and three collections. The Apple Watch features a polished stainless steel case, the Apple Watch Sport has an aluminum chassis, and the Apple Watch Edition is the high-end device that comes in hardened gold. All three editions are offered in two sizes, male and female versions, and have different bands types: elastomer sport band, leather loop with embedded magnets, leather band, classic leather buckle type, stainless steel, and stainless steel mesh with magnetic closure.
As it was expected, the watch is full of sensors. Maybe the most visible is the sensor that turns on the display when a user raises their wrist, but there are other sensors underneath the watch that gather data like heart rate. The watch features inductive charging, IR and photo sensors, gyroscope, accelerometer, GPS, and Wi-Fi.
One of the most unique aspects Apple is proud of the most is the "digital crown," a physical dial on the right side of the device. Using it, users interacts with the device and scroll up and down the various lists, zoom in and zoom out, and it also serves as the home button. A button below the crown is used for a quick access to contacts.
The face of the watch has a "tap" and "force press" gestures, and there is also a Taptick feedback, essentially a motor that alerts the user when a message arrives, if an event is about to start, or at some similar situation. There is also Watch Kit, a set of tools that allows developers to create notifications.
That all sounds good but from the user's point of view there are several issues that started to cool down our excitement. First, the presenter was holding the Apple Watch in his hand instead of using the one he had on his wrist, manipulating the crown and the screen with his index finger as it was a mobile phone, completely unnatural to anyone that has a classic wrist watch. That shows that maybe that magic dial is not so magic in everyday use.
One thing that comes to mind is left-handed people who won't be able to use the watch without acrobatic moves. Then, it should be seen live but it seems that people with bigger fingers will have trouble trying to scroll the button so close to the wrist.
Then, there was no mention about battery life. We are assuming that Apple counts on its new way of charging but with all those sensors we can easily anticipate apps that will demand the watch to be on the wrist the whole day and night. In that case the battery should last several days but we don't think that's the case, otherwise that would be the first thing for Apple to proudly say.
The next question is very simple: Who needs an Apple Watch if they have an iPhone in the pocket? Because, the Apple Watch is almost like an iPhone, just in a smaller package. Admittedly, techno fans will like to play with the device but Apple is talking about the timepiece and we see no reason to have two essentially same devices, one in the pocket and another on the wrist.
Send a flower. Send a fish. Send any sketch with your finger. Those are examples of communications for which Apple hopes it will entertain the owners of the watch and we again have a simple question: Who are owners? Teenagers are accustomed to use their phones and they almost don't know what the wrist watch is, and from an adult it is hard to expect touching and scrolling all day long. The first group is using phones to see what time is it, and the second is not accustomed to play with the watch. So, the target group is... who?
One function that could be very interesting is Apple Pay and we see it as one of the rare useful functions of the Apple Watch. When all is said and done, the starting price of $349 is definitively too much.
And one more thing. You can talk to it. Who needs another talk-to-the-wrist device? We are afraid that Apple made a mix of new technologies and a classic watch and stayed in the middle: It is not a Star Trek device; it is not a watch either. The Apple Watch still has a long way to go before it enters the market and it is expected to go on sale next year.
Apple also introduced announced long anticipated iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. They feature the Apple-designed A8 chip with second generation 64-bit desktop architecture, advanced iSight and FaceTime HD cameras, fast wireless technologies, and Apple Pay. Both models include iOS 8 with new Messages and Photos features, QuickType keyboard, a new Health app, Family Sharing and iCloud Drive.
iPhone 6 features a 4.7-inch Retina HD display with 1334 x 750 resolution, while iPhone 6 Plus features an even bigger 5.5-inch Retina HD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution. The A8 chip also includes a new Apple-designed image signal processor that enables advanced camera and video features. Both models include the M8 motion coprocessor that gathers motion data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, compass and the new barometer, which senses air pressure to provide relative elevation.
iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus introduce Apple Pay, an easy way to pay in stores or apps with just the touch of a finger. Users can pay in stores by simply holding the phone near the contactless reader while keeping a finger on Touch ID; there is no need to unlock your iPhone or launch an app. With Apple Pay, you can also make one-touch purchases within apps, without having to enter credit card or shipping information.
All payment information is kept private, encrypted and stored in the Secure Element, a chip inside the new iPhones. Mobile payment is not new and it will be interesting to see how widely Apple Pay will be used, especially when we still don't know how secure the Secure Element is. That is to be tested in the wild before final conclusions. ■