Apple's Triple Play: What You Need to Know
On September 9, 2014, Apple unveiled three new products: the iPhone 6, the long-awaited Apple Watch, and Apple Pay, the company’s foray into electronic payment systems. Let’s see how much they matter…
iPhone 6, Apple Watch and Apple Pay
The iPhone 6 comes in two models, both of which are thinner than ever and have an aluminum back. The base model, simply dubbed “iPhone 6,” has a 4.7-inch display, and the supersized "iPhone 6 Plus" has a 5.5-inch display. You shouldn’t have any trouble reading either screen.
Oh, and they're available in gold. If that's what you were waiting for, you can skip the rest of this article and get in line NOW at your nearest Apple Store. The new phones will be available September 19; pre-orders will be taken starting the 12th. The base iPhone 6 costs $199 with 16 GB; $299 with 64GB; and $399 for 128 GB. The iPhone 6 Plus is $100 more at each storage capacity tier.
The oleophobic (oil and smudge resistant) glass curves around the sides of both models, and is billed as shatterproof and water-resistant. We won't know for sure about that until someone drops theirs on the edge of the tub and retrieves it after a tumble into the bubbles.
The new camera features image stabilization technology for sharper selfies and nausea-free videos, 1080p video resolution at 60 frames per second, and 240 fps slow-motion mode. These are professional-grade capabilities that will enable some pretty sophisticated movie productions. Unfortunately, the iPhone 6, like all cameras, still allows videos that should be framed in landscape mode to be framed vertically. We may need legislation and harsh penalties (or at least public shaming) to fix that problem.
CNET has done a quick comparison of iPhone 6 with the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8, two of the top-selling iPhone competitors. My summary: Both of the Android-based rivals have bigger screens, higher pixel density, better camera and video specs, the ability to add extra storage, and removable batteries. But neither bears the Apple logo, which is all most consumers care about.
The iPhone 6 Plus, with its 5.5-inch screen, is larger than the 5.1-inch Samsung Galaxy S5, but seems more comparable to the Galaxy Note 4, Samsung's 5.7-inch phablet. Some pundits are already worried that the Plus will erode sales of the iPad Mini. If I were Apple, I'd be more concerned about sub-$100 Android tablets.
Just Don't Call it iWatch...
The Apple Watch is a startling departure from Apple’s naming scheme, and their usual lack of variety. It comes in three “collections,” 2 sizes, and with 6 different straps, for a total of 34 styles, including solid 18 kt gold or rose gold at the high end.
The Apple Watch is a health and fitness monitor as well as a fashion statement. It is loaded with infrared LED sensors that monitor your pulse, skin temperature, and other vital signs. These measurements are fed to apps for various physical exercise activities: bicycling, running, etc. Oh, and it tells Internet-synchronized time with an accuracy of plus or minus 50 milliseconds.
An iPhone 5 or later model is required to use the Apple Watch. The watch uses the phone’s WiFi and GPS functions to work its wonders. A crown wheel on the watch’s side displays the home screen when it’s depressed. It can also zoom the display when turned. Siri acts as a user interface to the Apple Watch’s more complex functions.
Your friends are on your wrist with the Apple Watch. Just tap one of their profile pictures and start drawing a message. I did a double take on that one; handwriting email on a 38 or 42 mm watch face doesn’t seem likely.
You'll have time to save up for that rose gold Apple Watch. It will not be available until "early 2015." It will start at $349, plus an iPhone if you don’t have one already.
Your Wallet is Obsolete
Apple Pay was also introduced at the big launch. It’s a tap-and-pay wallet replacement that uses NFC (Near Field Communications) technology, which 90% of retailers have refused to implement so far. In fact, Best Buy tried NFC terminals but disabled them in 2011 because they were too expensive to maintain.
Apple Pay will be accepted by 220,000 merchants at launch; by comparison, over 9 million retailers accept Visa and Mastercard via traditional swipe terminals. Walmart, McDonald’s, Macy’s, Subway Sandwiches, Walgreens, and Whole Foods are some of the merchants who will be trying out Apple Pay. I say any competition for PayPal is a good thing.
Your thoughts on these topics are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 11 Sep 2014
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