Apple's Big Announcements: Analysis by Vikram Chandra

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Apple's Big Announcements: Analysis by Vikram Chandra
With great expectations comes the possibility of great disappointment. That's what I had tweeted shortly before the Apple mega event - which was also one of the most hyped in recent years. And, as if on cue, a day after the announcements, the gadget world has lined up along ideological grounds. Apple fanboys are in ecstasy, Apple bashers are saying "what's the big deal?"

Let's face it - thanks to the leaks over the past few weeks there were no real surprises at the event. Most of the features of the iPhone 6, the Watch and even the Apple Pay system had been widely reported and debated. Apple needs to figure out where the leaks are coming from and plug them, so that it can retain the Big Bang feel of these events! Unless, of course, you believe the conspiracy theory that the leaks are all part of a grand Cupertino design to drum up internet chatter.

And yet, I don't think we should underestimate the magnitude of what 9.9.2014 could mean for our tech future.

This has little to do with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Both are very nice, no doubt, but let's face it - on the cell phone front Apple is playing catch-up. Feature for feature, there are other excellent options out there - and some new Android devices are priced at what would once be considered ridiculous levels. The iPhone 6 is a nice upgrade but it doesn't set the world on fire.

(Also see: Apple Launches iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus)

Of course, Apple could be said to have been playing the game of catch-up since the iPhone 4S, however, it's hard to argue with the fact the company's smartphones are some of the best designed in the market - making them bestsellers in their category despite all that.

The Watch, on the other hand, is being unfairly panned by some critics. It still has the potential to change the world (or at least our wrists) forever. Not because of what it has to offer in this, its first, iteration. Apple has never got it completely right the first time around (remember the lack of a cut and paste option on early iPhone devices?), and this device has plenty of flaws and missed opportunities. But Apple Watches will still fly off the shelf. A category that was becoming a bit of a laughing stock after many failed launches could now become the coolest one around. And it is fairly safe to predict that in a few years we may well look at our wrists and wonder how we ever managed with a dumb dial there.

(Also see: Apple Watch Unveiled as 'Comprehensive Health and Fitness Companion')

Apple has that ability - to take a category and redefine it. To make it cool and acceptable. A large number of teenagers don't even use a watch and I can't see too many corporate types ditching their Omegas for a Fitbit. But both could eventually converge on an Apple Watch.

That ability to make a new category mainstream leads me to what may eventually be remembered as the highlight of this Apple Event - something that has paradoxically been talked about the least. That's Apple Pay.

(Also see: Apple Unveils 'Apple Pay' Mobile Wallet and Payment System)

NFC has been around for years, and many have tried to launch digital wallets. But now that Apple has got into the act - you can see huge changes in this field. A couple of years from now, waving your phone or your watch at a sensor in a store will be as common as swiping a card. Perhaps more so. The only concern, of course, is how long this will take to come to India! Notably, the Apple Pay system may not require the new two-factor authentication prescribed by RBI, as it remains a physical transaction.

So, two new categories have come to life. I suspect even some of Apple's competitors will be secretly quite pleased about that. After all, tablets across the board only began to sell after the iPad launched.

What Apple's competitors should be worried about is the gradual extension of the Apple ecosystem. I have maintained for a long time that the ecosystem is far more important than any feature set. If you have an iPad and an Apple Watch, and if all your music is on iTunes and your credit cards on Apple Pay, then you are hooked. And you are likely to keep buying Apple even if another device maker offers you more features at a lower price point.

That's probably Tim Cook's eventual goal, and it is a good one. The only gaping hole in the Apple portfolio right now is in the living room, and I wouldn't be surprised if Apple designers aren't beavering away on music players and TV sets. Unless, of course, Cook plans an acquisition - something like Sonos would be a great buy.

But that's a story for another day.


iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Watch Launch
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery Life
  • Camera
  • Value for Money
  • Good
  • Fantastic performance
  • Very good battery life
  • Excellent camera
  • Bad
  • Large and awkward to use
  • Lacks software optimisations
Display5.50-inch
ProcessorApple A8
Front Camera1.2-megapixel
Rear Camera8-megapixel
RAM1GB
Storage16GB
Battery Capacity2915mAh
OSiOS 8.0
Resolution1080x1920 pixels
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery Life
  • Camera
  • Value for Money
  • Good
  • Thin, light, easy to handle
  • Excellent camera
  • Superb performance
  • Reasonably good battery life
  • Bad
  • Limited storage
Display4.70-inch
ProcessorApple A8
Front Camera1.2-megapixel
Rear Camera8-megapixel
RAM1GB
Storage16GB
Battery Capacity1810mAh
OSiOS 8.0
Resolution750x1334 pixels
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