Yesterday’s Apple presentation left me wishing they would have more secrecy around their iPhones. The whole iPhone 6 and 6 plus part of the presentation was just checking off boxes of features that I had heard of months ahead. I wish I could have been truly excited instead of ambivalent. The updates themselves were much-needed to keep the iPhone competitive with the Android market, though personally I don’t care for big screens.
The Apple Watch was the truly exciting part of the presentation, and I won’t lie, when Tim Cook uttered the infamous “one more thing” line, I got chills. This is a major step for Apple, as it’s their first new product since Steve Jobs’ death. What’s particularly interesting is how it’s called the Apple Watch instead of the rumored iWatch name. It makes sense though, as the “i” stands for “internet,” and the internet is so ubiquitous now that it’s pointless slapping that “i” on every new product. As for the watch itself, I was mostly surprised by how many options it was offered in; three main editions, each with their own color schemes and watch bands. Clearly, Apple is positioning themselves as a serious competitor in not just the smartwatch industry, but also in the general watch industry.
The Apple Watch takes an interesting approach to the smartwatch, as it allows you to do things as opposed to just receiving notifications like with Android Wear. The “digital crown” interface is quite an original take on the smartwatch, and in a way it’s the spiritual successor to the iPod click wheel. The way they completely made a new OS for the watch while still keeping the look and feel of iOS 7 is definitely an accomplishment. They’ve really put thought into making the watch genuinely useful. Contrary to rumors, it was not the iPhone 6 displays that were made with sapphire glass, but the Apple Watch display. It makes sense though, starting small with sapphire glass before moving on to a much bigger display— much like how Apple introduced their Retina Display on the iPhone first before bringing it to the iPad and subsequently the MacBook Pro. The videos and photos of it look nice, but I’m curious to see what people will say once they actually come out early next year. The biggest concern right now is battery life, as it can ruin even the best attempts at a smartwatch (Moto 360). At $350 it’s not unaffordable, especially when you consider how much an iPad or MacBook Pro costs, but it definitely has to prove its merits. Though I might just wait for the next version of the Apple Watch, as first generation Apple products have always proven to be far inferior to their second generation versions.
What’s interesting is that because a 128gb iPhone edition of the iPhone was announced, the iPod Classic has officially been killed. The next generation iPod Touch will most likely be available in 128gb too, as it tends to follow the iPhone pretty closely. It’s the end of an era for Apple, with all of the clickwheel iPods officially dead at this point. I’m wondering if the iPod Nano will be updated, but I’m betting it will be killed off in favor of a cheaper iPod Touch, as having an iPod Nano with a touchscreen but not iOS puts it in a weird place. It also looks rather dated with the glossy icons and iOS 6 visual style still being used on it.
Apple Pay was a long time coming, and if Apple can deliver on their promises of security and ease of use, it could really take off. Google started pushing NFC-based payments with NFC-equipped Android phones, but not every Android phone has NFC, and the system didn’t always work perfectly. With Apple’s push, NFC payments could become a new standard, just like how iTunes revolutionized buying music online.
It’s certainly an exciting time for Apple, but I have one concern, and that’s the amount of products Apple has been making in these past years. They now have four iPhones available (iPhone 5c, 5s, 6, 6+), at least nine editions of the Apple Watch (regular, sport, and “edition,” each in at least three metal colors), and three iPads (iPad, iPad Air, iPad Mini). While it’s nice to see Apple offering options, I get uneasy as I remember the Apple of the 90’s, where they made everything and anything. I certainly hope Apple doesn’t lose its focus now that it doesn’t have Steve Jobs to trim the excess.