I watched the live stream product announcements yesterday from Apple and will give you a quick recap of what I gleaned. First off, Apple live stream requires that you use the Safari browser, so that meant that I couldn’t use Google Chrome, so much for adopting web standards.
Apple Products Talked about
iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
This was the biggest and fastest product launch in the history of Apple, which is quite the feat. We’ve been blogging that the A8 SoC used in these products is manufactured byTSMC, using some 2 billion transistors at the 20nm node. The 5.5″ display iPhone 6 Plus now sells about 24% of total iPhone sales, the 4.7″ display iPhone 6 at 62%, and remaining iPhones at 11% (Source: Consumer Intelligence Research Partners). The iPhone 6 starts selling in China today, which is expected to be another growing and emerging market for Apple.
The ApplePay allows for easier purchasing by using the NFC (Near Field Communication) feature in iPhones, and will start in retail stores on Monday. I use NFC and Google Wallet on my Galaxy Note 2, but find that most stores aren’t setup yet for NFC support, so I expect this will be a gradual ramp for ApplyPay as well. Oddly enough my local Best Buy store has NFC-ready checkout, but their software isn’t installed yet so cannot be used. ApplePay will start appearing on web sites as well, competing with the likes of PayPal and Google Pay.
It’s coming, but you have to wait until early 2015 to buy one. Independent software developers will get an Apple Watch SDK in November, so that will start the race to build new apps that are watch centric.
iOS8, OS X Yosemite
Apple has two operating systems – one for touch devices called iOS8 and the other for mouse-based devices called OS X Yosemite. The latest release of iOS8.1 fixes bugs, adds new features like ApplePay support and is ready on Monday. OS X Yosemite is mostly a cosmetic facelift along with hundreds of incremental improvements, is free, and the 5.1 GB downloads started yesterday. I’ve started using OS X Yosemite on my MacBook Pro and was surprised that during the upgrade the default was set to turn on file encryption, aka FileVault, although I kept it turned off. Mac Mail now also has an annoying bug in it where the From field will occasionally show up with the wrong name in it.
Customer adoption of iOS8 quickly reached 48% of the installed base on iPad and iPhone devices, way ahead of what Android users experience. My iPad 3 and iPad Air are upgraded and working well with iOS8, so far so good.
iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3
It’s a thinner iPad, slimmed down to just 6.1mm, the world’s thinnest. The display is less reflective, which is a step in the right direction for users that don’t want to look at themselves all day. To me the big news was that this device uses an A8X chip, reported to have 3 billion transistors. We could assume that the manufacturing is TSMC again, because they fabricated the A8 chip, too bad for Samsung this round.
The smaller screen product iPad Mini 3 has the touch ID feature, comes in three colors and is priced from $399 to $599. The Apple marketing folks continue the tradition of offering previous generation iPads at reduced prices, giving consumers multiple price points to choose from.
iMac Retina 5K
Bigger is better when it comes to desktop computing, and the new iMac has a 27″ display with 5K, which is 5,120 x 2,880 pixels. Priced lower than a 4K TV set, this iMac starts at $2,499 and uses the 3.5 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 chip. We’re still waiting for the day that Apple uses the A-series chips for all of the devices, breaking ties with Intel completely.
This diminutive Mac Mini box finally got updated with latest Intel processor, faster Thunderbolt 2 ports (20 Gbps speeds) – enabling video streaming to one 4K monitor or dual QHD displays.
As you can imagine Apple wants you to own all of their devices, however with two different operating systems how do you share files or apps? They talked a lot about continuity in the latest iOS8 and Mac OS X Yosemite, that now allow you to work between devices on the same app like Keynote. In the demo they started a Keynote presentation on an iPad, then moved over to iMac to continue editing right where they left off, and finally controlled the presentation using Apple Watch and streaming to Apple TV.
Full Disclosure – I own AAPL stock, have Apple products, and use the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.