by Todd Spear
Published on 9 September 2014
Apple has rolled out its newest iPhone lineup and its long-awaited, much rumored Watch (which does not, thankfully, bear the now tired "i" prefix as had been suspected), alongside the intriguing Apple Pay mobile payment technology. As media pundits and Apple fanatics alike are taking to the Web to extoll or lament the features of Apple's new products and services, we here at GetApp are seeing the writing on the wall: Apple, today, gave the future of apps an upgrade, plain and simple.
At Apple's special event earlier today, which occurred in the company's hometown of Cupertino, CA and was streamed online, Tim Cook, for the first time since succeeding the late, great Steve Jobs as Apple's CEO, channeled his predecessor in presenting to the news, right down to appropriating Jobs' signature "…one more thing" as he prepared to introduce the Apple Watch to the world, late in the presentation. Though that moment was long overdue and befitting the occasion, it was Apple Pay that truly stole the show.
Let's briefly look at the Apple goodies unveiled today.
Image courtesy of Apple.com.
Cook pulled no punches in declaring that Apple Pay, the company's new payment processing platform, is designed to "kill the wallet."
Noting the $12 billion in credit and debit transactions processed in the U.S. along each day, Cook introduced Eddy Cue who came on stage to discuss how Apple Pay works. Essentially, Apple Pay lets users store their credit and debit cards in an encrypted, secure format (we hope its more secure than iCloud!).
Harnessing the power of the new iPhone's internal Near Field Communications chip (NFC), which the iPhone finally gets at last, along with Touch ID technology, Apple Pay trims down the bulky, multistage process of pulling out paper or plastic to pay for items and services by interacting with nearby networking at points of sale. This, it appears, is poised to become the mobile payment solution we've been promised. By simply pressing the iPhone against a sensor at the point of sale, a beep confirms your payment and you are free to jet off to your next stop.
Cook assured the viewing audience that Apple does not engage in the sharing of payment data, instead Apple Pay processes payments (via a virtual wallet of sorts, dubbed Passbook) discreetly between Apple and your banking institution, never passing your card numbers or other sensitive consumer data to merchants.
Merchants already on-board with the Apple Pay platform include Macy's, McDonald's, Staples, and Subway, among others. On the banking side of things, Cook said that Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Bank of America, and Chase are all ready to work with Apple Pay.
Of course, the new iPhones were the real eye candy of the event. As had been widely speculated, Apple announced two new iPhone models at the event.
The iPhone 6 has a 4.7″-inch display, a svelte 6.9-mm profile, and a stellar new Retina HD display (still made from Gorilla Glass, rather than the ultra-tough Sapphire, as had been widely rumored), and a screen resolution of 1334 x 750. The iPhone 6 Plus is, as many people expected, a "phablet" that sports a 5.5-inch Retina HD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080.
Both new iPhones feature Apple's new 64-bit, A8 mobile processor (which is reportedly up to eight times faster than the A7) and Apple's M8 motion processor, which offers gyrometer, speedometer, and new barometer functions, according to Apple.
The iPhone camera gets a major update, too. The new iSight camera boasts 8-megapixel quality, improved autofocus, and HD-capable video. The Facetime camera gets iSight's Exposure Control feature in both iPhone 6 models.
The new iPhones go on sale September 19. (iOS 8 will be available to older iPhone models September 17).
Pricing for iPhone 6 starts at $199 for the 16 GB model, $299 for the 64 GB model and $399 for the top-end 128 GB model. The iPhone 6 Plus will range from $299 to $499.Image courtesy of Apple.com
The big product revelation at today's event, of course, was the Apple Watch, marking the company's first foray into a wearable marketplace that has struggled to gain traction in competing models from Nike, Sony, Samsung and others. The wrist-worn device works in conjunction with your iPhone, as an extension. The Apple Watch has, according to Cook, a "mile long" list of features, but one of the most notable is the "digital crown."
Mimicking the small, grooved dials that have for decades (centuries?) adorned watch casings from Casios to Rolexes alike, Apple Watch includes a small knob on its side that supplants features (like scrolling and zooming) lost to the lack of screen real estate present in the devices 42mm footprint (er, maybe that should be "wrist print").
The Apple Watch has a wealth of features designed with health in mind. It functions as a pedometer but also has altitude-sensing capabilities that will allow fitness apps to, for the first time, factor calories burned while scaling steps or hills.
The Apple Watch works with third-party apps, including Twitter, which will allow you to compose tweets of up to the full breadth of 140 characters, right from the convenience of you wrist! Nike, Facebook, and BMW are all said to soon offer Apple Watch-optimized apps. Apple Watch will also support Apple Pay for payments on-the-go.
Cook said the Apple Watch will ship in early 2015 and its pricing will start at $349. A variety of bracelets will also be offered.
Events like today's big Apple reveal always get us thinking around GetApp. While we're not experts on the fashion statement of the Apple Watch (like many around the Web already airing displeasure with the cosmetics of the device), we are frankly psyched for the prospects for apps going forward.
In light of the increased processing power offered by Apple's A8 processor, the brilliant new displays on iPhone 6, and the implications for Handoff with regard to Apple Watch and its ability to pass tasks to the iPhone, it's easy to foresee app makers with tight iOS integration quickly ramping up the features of their respective apps to fully exploit everything these new devices can do.
The Apple Pay platform is poised to revolutionize not only how big retailers tender payments, but also how businesses of all sizes handle payments in their locations and in field service dispatch settings. In the latter scenario, it's also easy to see Apple Watch, with its detailed geo-location and movement tracking ability, could be leveraged for time-tracking applications as well.
The possibilities are endless. If Apple has aptly addressed the security aspect of Apple Pay, customer data will become safer than ever, the technology eliminates the need for localized payment card information storage, potentially preventing breaches like those that have affected retailers including eBay, Target, and more recently, Home Depot.
At this point, we could speculate endlessly on what the future really holds for Apple's new devices, but whatever happens, it's sure to shake up the world of business apps, and we're looking forward to keeping you up-to-date on the evolution of the app, right here at GetApp.Main image courtesy of Jordan Golson at www.macrumors.com