I’m going to start by saying today is the first day Apple had me thinking about switching platforms. Will I? Well, let’s talk about what happened on September 9th at their press event, then I’ll let you know …
It started with the introduction of the new iPhone 6’s. Yes … Apple is giving you two versions of the iPhone 6. The smaller of the two has a 4.7 inch screen, Apples A8 64-bit chip with an accompanying M8 motion coprocessor (it’s a separate processor for fitness tracking and can distinguish different types of movement like jogging vs. biking), a new 8-megapixel iSight camera, an improved 1.2-megapixel FaceTime (the one in the front) camera, improved LTE and wireless capability, and NFC. Finally. It comes in different memory configurations (16, 64 and 128 GB) and at different price points ($199, $299 and $399), and in three different colors (silver, gold and space gray).
A 4.7 inch screen not big enough? How about a 5.5 inch screen? The iPhone 6 Plus (?) is bigger, and has some improvements over its smaller brother, like better pixel density (you more than likely won’t notice), some software tricks to help you navigate the larger screen, better battery life (it is a bigger phone, after all, so the battery is a little bigger), and where the smaller iPhone 6 has digital image stabilization, the 6 plus has optical image stabilization. It comes with the same memory allocations and colors, but naturally there’s a price difference ($299, $399 and $499).
Apple also introduced ApplePay. So that NFC chip that’s now in the iPhone 6? You can put your credit card information by either entering it or taking a picture of it, and use ApplePay to pay at stores that support it. What stores? Which cards? Well, they’ve made arrangements with American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and for ATM cards (with a Visa or Mastercard logo) six major banks including Chase and Bank of America. Retailer? Try 22,000 retailers, including Macy’s Bloomingdale’s, Walgreens, Whole Foods, Disney, Staples, and McDonalds.
Because of various leaks, we all suspected that Apple would show off some kind of wearable device. So when Tim Cook pulled out the “One More Thing” line (Steve Jobs would be proud), everyone was on pins and needles to see what Apple had in store to go against Android Wear and whatever it is that Samsung is doing with Tizen. Apple’s entry into the wearable arena is the Apple Watch (I’m glad they didn’t call it the iWatch), and it’s a REALLY nice jump into a new market for them. Naturally, it connects to your iPhone (down to the iPhone 5), and provides notifications from the phone, iMessage, Twitter, Facebook, etc. It uses the watch crown to allow you to zoom into and out of the screen so that you can see what applications (yes, the watch runs apps) you have installed and zooming into a map screen. It has a dedicated communication button so that you can communicate back and forth with other iPhone/Apple Watch users. Naturally, it has all kinds of health and fitness related sensors and applications, and ties directly into the iPhone’s Health application. And you can use ApplePay with it. That was an awesome move. It comes in three styles, two sizes, and more bands and finishes that I can list. It should be available next year.
So … today was a big day for Apple. They now can quiet people who complain that the iPhone is too small. People who think that the default keyboard on iOS is terrible will be able to select keyboards from the App Store (which sounds small but trust me that it’s a big deal). And at some point next year, you’ll be able to get a really nice watch to work with your phone. So am I sold? Am I ready to jump ship?
I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but there wasn’t anything here that I don’t have on Android, and it’s still missing quite a few things that I use and would miss terribly. Apple is doing a really good job at filling their users’ wish lists, but for me, it’s just not enough. The Apple Watch is nice, but I promise you within a year Android Wear will have whatever it is that it’s missing. And I have a sneaking suspicion that the battery life on the thing is going to be atrocious.
But that’s just me. If you’re an iOS user, you should be ecstatic about today’s announcements. Hell, I’m happy for you. Maybe now Apple users can stop talking about how big my phone is …