Thoughts on the Apple iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch

Thoughts on the Apple iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch

Yesterday was Apple announcement day with the company announcing its 2014 iPhones and as expect its first watch. By now you have probably read the live blogs, tweets and seen the video so I will just add my initial thoughts here.

The first part of the keynote was dedicated to the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The iPhone 6 has a 4.7 inch screen and is just 6.9mm thick which is a very thin phone with a resolution 1334 x 750 powered by an A8 chip. The iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5 inch display running at 1920 x 1080 and is 7.1mm thick. As ever Apple produce fantastic hardware and the new iPhone looks very sleek and the curves remind me of the original iPhone. One of the reasons I switched away from the iPhone a few years ago was I was fed up with the small screen size, Android and Windows Phone have moved ahead with large devices and Apple have addressed that with the 5.5 inch iPhone Plus. Apple seem to have come up with a way of bring the top of the screen down so you can use it single handed, it will be interesting to see how well that works as I have been using large phones for a while so I don’t really see single handed use as a big issue. Apple made a point showing off how well the phone works in landscape mode with apps like Mail and Calendar are now designed for landscape mode. Again other operating system have had this for some time but I will reserve judgement until I have seen the phones in person, if I was to get an iPhone it would be the 6 Plus that I would go for.

The camera has been improved again but Apple didn’t go for the high mega pixel count of many Android and Windows Phones, the rear camera is 8MP and seems a long way behind my 20MP Lumia 1520. Having said that the iPhone camera takes good shots and I am sure the iPhone 6 will be an improvement over the iPhone 5S but it doesn’t have the crown for the best smartphone camera. Also added to the new iPhones is NFC used for mobile payments which Apple call Apple Pay, what is going to be interesting to see is how this is implemented and if NFC payments are iOS only.

So my initial thoughts on the new iPhones are a nice incremental improvement and the larger screens sizes will be welcomed by many. My wife is an iPhone 5 owner and is due to change hers soon and she was interested in the larger iPhone 6 Plus and I think this is what Apple are aiming for, keeping the loyal users from switching to the larger and feature rich Android devices (and to a lesser extent Windows Phones). The UK price for the 16GB iPhone 6 Plus is £619 which seems a lot of money compared to other phones of that size and 16GB without support microSD card is pretty skinny. Neither phone makes we want to switch from my Lumia 1520 running Windows Phone.

The other big announcement yesterday was the Apple Watch which is not called the iWatch (I wonder if the “i” prefix is on the way out). Apple’s entry in the wearable market again looks impressive hardware. As well as the touch screen there is a dial on the side which Apple call a Digital Crown which can be used for navigation, scrolling and zooming. There are custom straps which seems like a lucrative market and I can imagine plenty of them on show in an Apple Store. The watch faces look very nice but some areas of the UI (like the home screen) seem a little cluttered. There is always listening Siri voice control which should help with the UI and I really like the idea of notification arriving with “a gentle tap” as Apple put it so you can get discrete notification without interrupting your flow. There are also fitness sensors, you can even share your heart rate with a 3rd party which could be useful or just creepy!

As you would expect you need to pair it with an iPhone so that kind of rules it out for me but it does look very attractive. Priced around £216 it is a premium product and more than many of the Android Wearables on the market and in a very un-Apple like move it will not be available until early 2015. Its early days in the wearables market and Apple don’t have the market to themselves, it is going to appeal to the iPhone user crowd but I am not sure it is going to sway and Android or Windows Phone users.

I think there is an opportunity for someone like Microsoft has to bring a smart watch to market with cross platform support so you don’t have to pick a platform and then pick your watch. What do you think of the Apple Watch?

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