Apple held a special event on September 9, 2015 to announce to the world a lot of their cool new technology. We thought, what better to do than share our drastically different points of view on the main talking points from the event? So here we go.
Apple Watch & watchOS 2
Scott: I’m still not personally sold on smartwatches. I have yet to try one, and have no intention of trying one in the foreseeable future. That being said, I think smartwatches definitely have their place in the industry. I think the new apps like Facebook Messenger, iTranslate, GoPro, and AirStrip are nice new additions that will help mature the Watch as a platform. The AirStrip functionality looks pretty cool, but unfortunately depends on medical professionals around the world adopting it. I think we all know how fast IT departments move in the healthcare industry. I don’t see any of these updates making much of a splash in the smartwatch industry, but it is a nice iteration nonetheless.
Joe: I’ve always believed that the Apple Watch was never fully ready as a product and that the potential lies on the horizon. With that being said, I see the development towards that vision going well. I’d feel a lot better if I started seeing a lot more things involving the smart home, but I can understand why they’re going the route of interesting use cases. I truly believe that the watch will become the way that we interact with the world.
Scott: Apple took some time to announce their iPad Surface RT… er, I mean iPad Pro at the event. As you can imagine, this left quite the bitter taste in my mouth. It really is nothing more than a bigger iPad, which I personally don’t see as being useful to anybody. Apple was thankfully smart enough to take the excellent multitasking from Windows 8 to make use of the extra-large display. On the extreme downside, it runs iOS. This means that any applications will have to be specifically made and tailored for the platform. I don’t envision many companies jumping off the Windows bandwagon, which is still going strong, to make their enterprise-grade app for the few companies that invest in the Pro. The keyboard “cover” looks too small to have a comfortable keyboard and doesn’t even sit flush with the device when closed. The stylus is nothing new at all, but they had to come up with the meaningless “Apple Pencil” name for it anyways. Overall I am wholeheartedly disappointed and don’t see any reason for consumers to move away from the Surface right now.
Joe: I’ve never been interested in owning an iPad, but I‘ve always been amazed by the way that the engineers have made a powerful device that is as light as it is. I think a problem with iOS is the ecosystem of non-consumer apps. There’s not much reason to replace a computer with an iPad yet. The new form factor, including the Pencil, adds a wide breadth of use cases for people looking for a more advanced iPad. This still doesn’t solve the problem of the software, but that’s something that can be fixed. Even though products like the Surface exist, I’m sure people will still prefer the iPad Pro for the simplicity of iOS and the lighter form factor.
Apple TV & tvOS
Scott: Bringing Siri and voice assistants in general to the TV space is a great idea. Being able to simply tell your TV to do things instead of digging around for your remote is always a plus in my books. On the flip side, trying to bring gaming to a device that is specifically made for streaming video and TV is not a good idea. There are already gaming devices that do a much better job of gaming in the living room, and one of them happens to also have TV functionality built in. Apps like the MLB one shown off at the event are a nice addition to the ecosystem, but I think the success of the tvOS app store will depend on whether or not developers latch on to yet another separate OS. The updates certainly don’t leave me wanting to buy an Apple TV, but I think the big updates have the potential to get a lot more people interested in buying an Apple TV.
Joe: Though I don’t see anything explicitly new coming from Apple regarding the TV set–top box experience, you can certainly count on the user experience being as great as it is on the iPhone. I do think the seamless experience of using the software with hardware it was designed for is a great thing, but is often overlooked. It was a surprise to see Siri being as effective as Google Now when it came to searching for movies and TV shows. It’s definitely not going to replace anybody‘s Xbox for gaming, but I think it is the best set–top box you can buy; even more so if you’re an avid user of Apple products.
iPhone 6S & 6S Plus
Scott: “3D” Touch looks like a great new way to interact with touch-based devices. Having it be used as the mobile equivalent to a right-click is great for productivity. The only problem I have seen so far with this is the “peek” action. In the mail app for example you hold down on the display to show a preview of the email, meaning your finger is covering half the email. Hey Siri is a nice catch up to OK Google and Hey Cortana, Live Photos are a nice catch up to HTC’s Zoe and Nokia’s Living Images, and 4K video is a nice catch up to Android phones circa 2013. The worst part about both devices is that they start at 16 GB capacities, with anything more being a significant price jump. 16 GB is nowhere near enough to hold 4K video recordings, Live Images, the OS, apps, music, and various other files. This makes the lowest tier option unsuitable for anybody that intends to actually use their phone, and makes the price points that much more ridiculous. I was going to consider an iPhone for my smartphone upgrade this year, but I really can’t justify it with such a high price tag for such a little, non-expandable capacity.
Joe: WOW! Do I love the iPhone! I know I’m a bit of a fanboy when it comes to Apple, but it’s just incredible. Even just the processor improvements, 70% CPU gains from what was basically the best SoC on the market, are amazing. But those are just generational gains of performance which no one really cares about. I’m not sure how people are planning to test the 7000 series aluminum and front cover glass, but I think we can take them on their word for it. It’s the things like 3D Touch that make the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus really compelling. Now I haven’t tried it yet, but if this lives up to the demos it’ll add a new way of interacting with our phones that’s actually way cooler than a long press, or an extra button. The right–click of mobile has just been invented! Okay, maybe not, but it looks promising.