Apple’s Big Reveal

Apple's next-gen phones: the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Apple has unveiled what some are calling its most exciting product line-up since the original iPhone.  While Apple fanatics are going bonkers waiting for their new toys, haters (including Blackberry) are denouncing the product reveal as outdated.  But, as the fan-boys will tell you, with Apple, it’s more about finesse than ground-breaking innovation.

iPhone 6

Apple’s next-generation iPhone bucks the company’s own trend of making things smaller.  The basic iPhone 6 boasts a 4.7-inch screen, adding 0.7 inches onto the iPhone 5’s display, along with a 1334×750 resolution.  The 64-bit A8 chip promises to increase the phone’s processing speed, while the complimentary M8 motion processor adds fitness-tracking capability through the complimentary Health app.  The camera includes a handful of new features, such as faster auto-focusing, that will take your selfie skills to the next level.  Aesthetically, the exterior is more rounded and the body flows more seamlessly into the screen.

Perhaps most exciting is Apple Pay, the company’s new mobile payments system.  It lets users upload their credit card info by simply taking a picture of the physical card.  Apple says the technology is safe because your information is not stored on the cloud, but on the device itself, which is protected by a fingerprint scanner.  The bad news, as Apple explains in a press release, Pay will only be available in the US upon launch.  The news is certainly disappointing for Canadians who have been using superior payment security technology for a while now.

The iPhone 6 is being released September 19th, with pre-orders starting on the 12th.  There will be three choices for the exterior: gold, silver and space gray (basically a shiny black).  And there will be three choice for internal storage: 16GB, 64GB and 128GB.

iPhone 6 Plus

Everything about the iPhone 6 applies to its bigger brother, the Plus.  But this is Apple’s first foray into the so-called ‘phablet’ business (a phablet being a hybrid between a phone and a tablet).  The Plus features a 5.5-inch screen with a 1920×1080 resolution, a size more in line with Samsung’s Galaxy Note.  On top of the bigger screen, Apple is also adding more functionality.  For example, some apps will have special horizontal-modes optimized for the bigger screen.  The keyboard will also give you more to use, including quick-access to auto-finish words (the days of spelling out supercalifragilisticexpialidocious are over!).

The release details for the iPhone 6 Plus are exactly the same as the 6.  Same colours, same memory, same release date.  And while pricing remains a bit of a mystery in Canada beyond rumours, we do know the Plus will cost $100 more than the 6.

Apple's newest fruit: the Apple Watch.

Apple’s newest fruit: the Apple Watch.

Apple Watch

The California-based tech giant finally made the move into the wearables category with the unveiling of the Apple Watch.  Full technical specifications are still being kept secret.  But, overall it features a slightly rectangular touch-screen face accompanied by a button on the side and an adjacent crown dial, reminiscent of traditional watches.  The exterior is similar to that of the iPhone 6’s, with smooth, rounded edged.  The dial acts as a control button, allowing users to zoom in and out.  And wearers will be able to choose from a fairly wide selection of bands to match the rest of your outfit (clearly Apple considered more than just geeks here).

The device essentially seeks to make contemporary fitness trackers obsolete.  It’s packed with a host of sensors, including motion trackers and heartbeat monitors.  The complimentary app appears to perform largely all of the same functions as the FitBit, Nike Fuel Band, and others.  Whether or not other apps can become as useful is a completely different question.  Twitter seems to think its got a chance to thrive on the small screen, but others may have more of a challenge trying to squeeze their functionality into a watch.  Ultimately, many of the known features seem somewhat gimmicky, and not ground-breaking.

Perhaps the biggest problem with the Apple Watch is the need to pair it with an iPhone.  The move is not all that surprising, as the company likes to keep a tight, controlled ecosystem.  But, if you want to rock the watch, you’ll need an iPhone 6 or an iPhone 5 with iOS8 installed.

There’s no word on pricing in Canada, but in the US it will come with a $349 price tag when it launches in early 2015.  The 18K gold edition will likely cost a little more.

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  • I just don’t understand the US only NFC thing. In Canada we are nearly 100% chip and rapidly moving to NFC tap with vendors who have purchases under $100. Groceries, coffee shop, lunch, gas and booze are all already ready to go. America is still predominantly swiping their cards still. So why do Apple and Google only have NFC systems in the states? Canada is the perfect testbed for this stuff as we have a smaller population to weed out any hiccups and slowly build their services. We already spend far more with our cards than our American neighbours as we aren’t nearly as worried about Big Brother.

    The technology is in our pockets already, why can’t we use it!?