Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Apple unveils the iPhone 6, Apple Watch and Apple Pay

Apple has finally unveiled their much awaited iPhone 6 and mysterious Apple Watch, alongside a new Apple Pay service that will try (once again) to make digital wallets truly useful. There's a lot to talk about, so... just let's dive in.

The new iPhones 6 are bigger and faster than ever. The iPhone and iPhone 6 Plus are exactly as we expected them to be based on the leaks that have been surfacing for a while. They have a rounder design (similar to the iPod Touch), and will surely feel "amazing" in your hand, but they'll also be criticized by all those that remember all the "talk" Apple did about the "perfect size" in the past years.

While I hoped Apple would take this chance to fix their unorthodox screen resolutions, they kind of did it. The iPhone 6 Plus does use a Full HD screen (at last); but the iPhone 6 uses a ridiculous 1334x750 resolution, the bare minimum to keep the ppi density of the previous models. It was barely acceptable then, it's even more so now.

They also get improved cameras (though still 8MP, which is a good thing, I think) but only the 6 Plus gets optical stabilization.

There are lot's of new things, like a new A8 CPU and M8 co-processor that can identify walking/cycling and even climbing stairs; better battery life (particularly the 6 Plus), and there's even a "reachability" that brings the screen down when you double tap (not click) the home button. The 6 Plus also acts as a mini-mini-iPad, with enhanced double pane interfaces in landscape mode.

As far as new iPhones go, the 6 Plus is actually the only "new iPhone". The 6 is just a slight refresh of the 5S. (Considering the iPad mini was a complete iPad Air in a smaller form format, I really hoped the iPhone 6 had similar characteristics to the larger iPhone. Sadly it ain't so.)

Apple also showed their Apple Pay payment service. Using NFC, you can simply touch your iPhone ou a payment terminal to pay- and that's it. It also allows for "one click" online shopping. After years of different companies trying to make digital wallets a reality, we'll have to wait and see if this is actually it.

If it is, I'm sure Google Wallet and other identical services will also gain traction, which is good for everyone.

Then came the Apple Watch, a device Apple has great expectations for, to the point of reviving the "one more thing..." that hadn't been used since Steve Job's death. The Apple Watch is a high end, high quality smartwatch, and Apple did a nice job of creating a completely new interface. The build quality (and saphire glass) will make it feel a luxury watch, and unlike it's competitors, Apple didn't forget a wearable is about fashion as well: you get two different sizes, three different collections, and six different styles for wristbands that you can easily swap (no need to go into a specialized store to do it, as some other brands recommend, not forgetting those you can't even change).

The bad part is that Apple didn't even mention battery life, meaning that the Apple Watch will be as "bad" as any other smartwatch on the market today.

There are some nice touches tough... as the ability to doodle messages to friends (or even send them you heartbeats, that they will actually feel via vibrations), or the curious crown rotary button you can use to scroll or zoom without touching the screen (which can also detect different pressure levels).

The Apple Watch is still a "prototype" (guests couldn't even handle them freely), and will only be available in early 2015 (which proves our "no-leak" theory that the device was still being kept under wraps at Apple and not sent to the factories overseas).

Now the ball is back on Google's side, which will certainly have a nice time presenting their new and "beautiful" Android L (one may even consider it to be more "Apple-like" than iOS8 itself) and new Nexus 5, that shouldn't have a hard time beating the new iPhone 6's while costing half their price.

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