Fresh from Apple Live we look at what we learnt from the tech giant
Apple is back
You might ask, did they ever go away? Sure they have posted record profits over the last few years, launched an entry level iPhone (sort of) and a smaller iPad but the lack of a new product and the genuine absence of any real surprises at recent launches had me feeling that the magic was gone. But yesterday was Apple of old. Most people knew that two phones were coming this time and had a sense that a new product was imminent but the depth of Apple Pay and the release of U2’s album for free through iTunes were genuine surprises I for one didn’t seem coming. It was old school Apple awesomeness.
Apple just owned the smart watch category
They weren’t the first, they rarely are. But what Apple do is they bring a product to market when they and the market are ready. There are some good smart watches out there (Pebble and Galaxy Gear), good fit bands (Nike, Sony and FitBit) but none that do it all. With all the launch partners onboard from the get go (BTW Nike must have seen this coming a long way off) Apple have a product that ticks all the boxes. Yes it’s still a second screen and I can’t imagine how hard it would be to send a message on it but it is very elegant and to 99% of watch owners (myself included) a watch is a fashion accessory. Battery life was a glaring omission from yesterday’s event though, movement based maybe?
Apple is back at the top of the smartphone market
Never has one inch made so much of a difference. Samsung, HTC and Sony have been lauding their larger screen size over Apple for a number of years now and rightly so. To a lot of people bigger is always better. Apple has laid that to waste with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, those who left Apple for Andorids with bigger screen will come back and those who don’t want a phablet (man I hate that name *shudder*) can still have a phone sized phone. The new A8 chip and M8 motion coprocessor will be in and around the top of the tables. The new iSight camera looks like a beauty; the only downside is the optical image stabiliser is in the 6 Plus only. Add to all that Apple Pay (more about that in a moment) and you have the best smartphone in the world. Your move Samsung.
Apple Pay will keep on paying
This is the big one in my opinion. NFC has been flirting with the subconscious for some time now but has never really threatened to break into the mainstream. Sometimes it just needs Apple to throw their hat into the ring to get a new industry up and running. While the technology in Apple Pay is surely very impressive it is the way that Apple has launched it that really impresses me. Recently Apple has launched products that were not ready for the market (Maps, Siri etc.) going against the grain of what Apple stand for. Apple Pay is launching with the biggest credit and debit card providers on board (Visa, Mastercard and Amex), some of the largest retailers (McDonalds, Macy’s and Staples) and more the 220,000 contactless payment points in the US alone. That is how you do a roll-out.
Apple may well be changing the music industry again
We all know that iTunes and the iPod changed the music industry forever and they may just be doing it again. The launch of U2’s new album via iTunes for free to over 700 million people in one go was the type of stunt that Apple were famous for. But was it more than a stunt? Is it a signal of what Apple intends to do with Beats brand? It’s hard to know, Apple and U2 co-promoted an album and iPod back in 2008 so it could just be a way of selling more tickets for an upcoming U2 world tour. Or it could be a whole new music business model where Apple becomes the distributor and rakes in income though device sales. Only time will tell.
So we have some new products, new features and maybe even a new business model. The old Apple is back!