Apple announced yesterday three new devices: Iphone 6, Iphone 6 Plus, and Apple Watch.
The new phones offer thinner bodies, bigger screens (4.7″ and 5.5″), and snappier (though only dual core) 64 bit processors, but other than that they don’t offer anything new. They include the standard myriad of sensors, and come in 3 different RAM flavours: 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB.
The new-ish comer to the party is the Apple Watch, which is Apple’s new offering to the busy smart watch market.
It offers several colors and a good new form of control via the knob/dial on the side of the watch which allows different actions according to the running app (map zoom-in and out in the map app, and so on).
The watch makes use of a specialized operating system created for it specifically (still unknown if it’s a variation of iOS or an altogether new OS), and include sensors that monitor the user’s health parameters such as Heart rate, caloric expenditure and so on.
It will sport a sapphire display , which is expected to make it quite resistant to cracks and scratches, and a large selection of straps as well as a selection of faces to choose from.
The watch offers a form of wireless charging, but there is still no word as yet as to its battery capacity.
These are nice bells and whistles, but they come at a steep price of 350$, and only towards the beginning of 2015.
Does the apple logo justify this price tag? Will this pretty gadget offer enough of an attraction for people to shell out that much cash for a smart watch in an already crowded market where most of its competitors offer the same or more for a lower price tag? (and still don’t really fly off the shelf..)
The big issue with smart watches, or as the manufacturers like to call them “wearable tech” is it’s battery life, and price point.
They come as an appendage to the always there smartphone and unlike their good old predecessors, the (not-so-smart) regular watches, they requires recharging almost at the same rate as smartphones.
To top that big issue, they carry hefty price tags, and people who got used to simply using their smartphones to tell time think twice and more before buying any kind of watch – let alone an expensive and cumbersome so-called smart watch.
This issue pertains both to the new Apple watch and to the slew of android based smart watches from the likes of LG, Samsung and Motorola. The concept of “standby” doesn’t work that well when it comes to a watch.
We make do with charging our smartphones almost nightly because we actually use them all the time, but a watch is just an accessory – no matter how much they try to upsell it – and one that we’re used to carry without the need to charge or replace the battery more than once every 1-3 years.
The android based watches got the big android developers community behind them, and that gives them some edge over the talented developers at Apple, but it doesn’t change the inherent issues that come with today’s smart watches.
Apple also introduced Apple Pay, a system for using the phone to make credit card payments at retail stores. It’s an elegant method of making use of NFC technology with the fingerprint scanner built into iphone (from iphone 5 and up) to make secure credit/debit card payments on the go.
It shows that Apple is eyeing the potentially gigantic market of electronic payments, using ever present smartphones. So far, many have tried to get consumers to use their phones for this purpose – Visa did a valiant effort with its “Paywave” initiative – but consumers don’t trust their little electronic helpers to keep their credit card information, for fear it will get lost somewhere on its way to the cloud.
Apple tries to calm those fears but insisting the information will not be kept on the phone, and furthermore – even on the cloud servers it will be kept anonymously so even if stolen cannot be used. Not very re-assuring I’d say.
What does it remind us? oh yes… Bitcoin! the digital currency/wallet that allows us to transfer funds within minutes to any point on the globe with little or no fees at all! But that won’t do for a conglomerate such as Apple, or Visa, or Mastercard – since they cannot cut their fat fees from those transactions. By the way, it’s only recently that apple allowed a bitcoin wallet to be entered into its app store, after the bigheads over there finally understood that the Bitcoin revolution is advancing with, or without them.
So, what do you think? want to buy what Apple’s selling these days?