Amid the rumours and speculation, Apple finally lifted the lid on the gadgets that it hopes will regain vital market share from Android and Windows Mobile.
As usual, we had the glitz and slickness that we have come to expect from Apple, but how impressed were we?
iPhone 6 underwhelms
The first unveiling was of the iPhone 6, Apple’s latest iteration of the iPhone. However, this time, it will be accompanied by the iPhone 6 Plus “phablet”, which will pack a 5.5in screen rather than the 4.7 that will ship with the standard iPhone 6 – putting it in direct competition with handsets like the Samsung Galaxy Note.
Bigger, thinner and faster are words that are a given in any Apple product launch – and the iPhone 6 tickets all of those boxes, but the comparisons have already been made to Android rivals like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8, with the iPhone not really trumping either when it comes to technical features.
Apple has also joined other manufacturers in adding NFC to the iPhone, which brings us onto the other big talking point – payments.
Apple makes another attempt to corner the payments market
Mobile payments have failed to take off with consumers, but Apple believes that it can lead the way. However, there are lots of questions that Apple really didn’t address.
Apple coined the technology as revolutionary, more secure and effective than using a credit card, but they’ve arguably created a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.
Credit and debit cards are low cost, easy to replace and nowadays are pretty secure, particularly in parts of the world where chip & pin is the dominant form of authentication. It’s hard to see why anyone would substitute that for payment via NFC on their phone and with a third party that’s not one of the big transaction handlers handling the payment.
The timing of the announcement couldn’t have been worse for Apple, with the recent iCloud hack scandal. If the public perceive that iCloud can’t safely secure some simple photographs, who in their right mind would trust them with their credit card number?
It’s about time
We were also introduced to Apple’s first foray into wearable tech, and the company’s first truly new innovation under the stewardship of Tim Cook, with the Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch looks to have some very impressive features, although criticism has started to surface about the usability of the ‘digital crown’. Fitness apps, predictably, made their way into the device but there is a catch – you will need the iPhone for any of the features to be useable.
Of course, the argument will continue to rage over the appeal of wearable tech in the consumer market. Will users want to replace what is traditionally a piece of jewellery with yet another gadget – one that relies on a gadget they already carry with them? And at $349, the Apple Watch is $100 more than the Moto 360 and $150 more than the Samsung Gear.
Wall Street wasn’t impressed
If the fans were feeling a little underwhelmed by Apple’s announcement, Wall Street definitely was, as shares fell 0.37% by the closing bell to $97.99.
There was a peak as Apple discussed payments, but this peak soon fell away before the close.
That won’t set panic bells ringing at Apple HQ, as previous announcements have corresponded with a drop, only for them to increase as the devices hit the shelves.
And then U2 turned up
When you think of innovation, dynamic technology, fresh thinking and brand new solutions, you think of…. errr…. U2.
U2 closed the keynote in California, announcing their brand new LP. The album will be sent live to all iTunes users – whether you like it or not.
Of course, it’s not U2’s first involvement with Apple – they previously performed on an ad for iTunes.
Not for the first time, Apple’s live stream of the event failed to deliver.
Tim Cook’s words were virtually inaudible, thanks to a Chinese translation overlaid over the audio – and that was on the few occasions that one could actually find a stable stream.
And really Apple, would it kill you to let Windows users join the party?