Today, Apple made significant announcements at the historic Flint Center in Cupertino, where exactly 30 years ago, the brand new Apple McIntosh was introduced by Steve Jobs. It is worthwhile to see the entire event (almost 1.5 hours, culminated by the band U2 playing on stage and releasing a new album on iTune for free download).
Three key announcements were made: the new iPhone6 and iPhone6Plus, Apple Pay, and Apple Watch.
The new iPhone6 and 6Plus offer bigger screen sizes, as expected, with a new chip plus new iOS8 software. Screen size went from 4 inch (iPhone5) to 4.7″ and 5.5″. Displays are sharper and the camera is much more powerful. Enhanced video, longer battery life, and many additional features make this quite a move forward. The processor is almost 50x faster than the original iPhone, whereas the graphics performance is 84x faster. Clearly the computer game business will be attractive for the iPhone6Plus. The phones are thinner and better rounded. Being the largest revenue product, Apple clearly has worked hard at these improvements.
Apple enters the digital payment market for the first time using its new product Apple Pay. A special secure chip is introduced here along with NFC (Near Field Communication), only in iPhone6 and 6Plus. Credit cards will be stored securely, and future purchases can be done by just bringing the iPhone close to a payment device – incredibly easier than sliding the plastic today (a technology that is five decades old and prone to theft and fraud). Many stores have signed up already – McDonalds, Panera Bread, Whole foods, Starwood Hotels (even room doors can be unlocked by iPhone), Target, Disney, etc. The much discussed concept of a digital wallet seems viable now using Apple Pay.
The Apple Watch is an incredible product that brings a lot of new innovations. Given the small real estate of this watch, Apple has introduced a circular side button for easy movement of contents. This will provide many many functions, from messaging, to calendar alerts, email, twitter feeds, Facebook friends, maps, Siri, and more. The most attractive feature will be health-related – steps taken, calories burnt, miles walked, heart rate, etc. Health and fitness wearables such as Fitbit and Nike band, have been far more limited compared to what Apple has packed into the Watch. This will set the bar for others to imitate, much like what the iPhone did initially.
Today’s event certainly proved the incredible innovation power of Apple!