Once it was made known that Apple was the owner of the mysterious white building at the Flint Center of Performing Arts, the structure was bombarded by various spectators and remote-controlled drones vying for a chance to see what was hidden beyond the rigid structure. Inside, along with Apple’s familiar crew of corporate presenters, a handful of updated and brand new devices, some of which had only been imagined by the public but never seen, were waiting for the big reveal. Without further ado, let’s dive into the goods! Here’s what Apple was hiding in the box for their 2014 keynote event!
Possibly one of Apple’s most renown devices to date, the iPhone was expected to encounter its 9th consecutive update since 2007. With the rumor mill churning out whispers of larger displays and NFC chips, Cupertino’s next generation of smartphones were beginning to sound like more than just an incremental upgrade over the 5S, and Apple’s keynote presentation certainly delivered on that ideal. For those of you intent on reading and deciphering the meaning of each number and measurement, Apple has provided a full list of tech specs here. For the less-than-interested, the iPhone 6 and 6+, in a nutshell, will be faster, slimmer, better on battery efficiency, and they will provide an overall better viewing experience with the help of a 720p or 1080p display, depending on your model choice. Thanks to a glass front that is slightly curved around the edges to adhere more firmly to the aluminum chassis, the in-hand feel of the devices will be more aesthetically pleasing, despite having a larger frame. As for color options, users should expect Apple’s trademark Silver, Gold, and Space Gray; pair these with a family of silicon or leather covers, shaded similarly to those offered at the 5S launch for some extra visual flare. As for interesting facts, the 6 and 6+ are the first iPhones without some component of glass attached to the back housing since the 3GS, yielding to what we believe is a stronger, more seamless visual presentation that is slightly reminiscent of the HTC One M7/M8 while still representing classic Apple styling. Consumers can preorder both iPhones starting on September 12th (Friday); the 6 will open at 16gb for $199 while the 6+ will cost $299 for a 16gb model. If you prefer more storage, the 32gb variant has been ditched for the 64gb at $299/$399, respectively. And then for those who need to fit all 1.3 million applications from the AppStore onto their devices, a 128gb model is available for $399/$499. Shipments will make their way to the United States around September 19th (also a Friday). Apple hopes that the first strain of 68 million units, nearly double of the quantity produced for previous iPhone releases, will better meet global demands.
Of course, the iPhone in all of its glory would be nothing without the operating system to run beside it. Not much was mentioned about iOS 8, “the most advanced operating system” that was unveiled at WWDC 2014 back in Spring. Then again, nothing has really changed since Spring, either. After succumbing to an annual string of beta testing, iOS 8 is finally poised to conquer all consumer devices ranging from the iPhone 4S, iPad 2, and up. The developer community was awarded the Gold Master, or a finalized beta of iOS 8, after the keynote presentation. Users should expect the official public release to roll out to devices on September 17th (Wednesday) and to be preinstalled on all new iPhone 6 models. Some of the headlining features of iOS 8 include the Health app, Continuity, Handoff, Extensions, Apple Pay (specific to iPhone 6/6+), and third party keyboards.
I watched, as you watched, as we all watched for an iWatch. As it turns out, Apple’s rumored wearable did in fact exist, even if it would eventually be known by a different name. Again, we won’t discuss every single spec the Apple Watch has to offer – that information can be found here. What we will say is this: the Apple Watch has been in development since 2012, and the product revealed during Tuesday’s keynote certainly pays respect to the length of time it took to craft such a piece. For starters, the sapphire watch display comes in two different sizes along with six different types of metal casings. There are too many different interchangeable wristbands to count, ranging from silicon, metal, leather, each with their own color options. Compressed within the body of the watch is Apple’s very first S1 chip, a water-resistant housing designed to hold all components required for powering a modern electronic. The software is a completely retooled variant of iOS that was designed specifically to provide the best experience for the smallest of Apple’s displays. Even though a large spot of keynote time was given up to demo the Apple Watch, our speakers promised that the device could do so much more than the 45 minutes of material they covered. With the vaguest of release dates scheduled for “early 2015,” we expect the unknowns of the Apple Watch (battery life, other capabilities, more price points beyond the starting $349, availability) to be made known in an event held sometime after the winter holidays.
Strange Trends Unfolding
While we have obviously already mentioned the Apple Watch, there was also another feature shown during Tuesday’s keynote that we have only thus far listed. Stored within the iPhone 6 and 6+ is an NFC chip, the same type of near field communicator that Android handsets have been using for years. The main draw of this chip is that it will allow users to bump their phones against valid NFC terminals in retail stores around the globe, enabling a customer to pay for merchandise through their new iPhone with a feature Cupertino has aptly called Apple Pay. While Apple Pay is a wonderful feature that sounds similar to Google Wallet, and while this feature, combined with TouchID, seems more secure than Google’s alternative, the issue we wanted to address is actually Apple’s naming scheme for this service. What do we mean? Well, for an extremely long time, Apple has often knighted their most beloved products with the “i” moniker. For instance, we have the iPod, iPhone, iPad, iMac, iCloud, and so on. Granted, there are a select number of devices that never received this nameplate – take the Apple TV, for example. Nonetheless, we find it rather intriguing that Apple would take it upon themselves to name a brand new service and product, one of which was already destined by the patent gods to share the “i” symbol of approval, only to procure “Apple” as an introduction to their names. Granted, “Apple” isn’t a horrible word to place in front of a product; after all, “Apple” is synonymous with precision, quality, and positive experiences, generally speaking. But we do wonder if the absence of “i” from these two new resources may symbolize a turn in Apple’s naming ideology. Is Cupertino considering vacating the “i” for all products going forward? We somewhat doubt it, but it’s still a fun idea to consider. Time shall tell, indeed (Apple Watch pun intended).
The Things Left Unsaid
Sometimes the things not mentioned at an Apple event are just as important as the initiatives covered during an Apple event, especially considering we know that at least one of the following exists. For instance, the developer community and a select group of public testers are currently helping Apple stretch the digital legs of the latest Mac software, OS X Yosemite. Knowing that Tuesday’s keynote would most likely be an iOS event, we didn’t really expect to hear much about Macintosh, and we most definitely did not. Also absent from conversation, any and all new iMac and/or Macbook updates that could be due sometime this year, as well as the next generation of iPads. While our feelings were somewhat hurt that the rest of Apple’s lineup didn’t receive any affection during the keynote, we’re sure this trend will be remedied soon as the above list seems to fit nicely with Apple’s next press event, rumored for this October. Another topic that was cleverly skirted amongst the hustle of new devices was the alleged iCloud celebrity breach; we partially expected CEO Tim Cook to make some sort of short speech to quell the concerned, but the issue was avoided for reasons unknown. However, Apple is still expected to step up security over the coming months.
Homage to Jobs
The moments shared by Tim Cook and company on Tuesday afternoon were symbolic of several different occasions, all of which pertained to Apple’s history as an organization. First and foremost, Tim Cook made it known to all viewers watching the event that the exact stage he was standing on was the same location shared by a younger Steve Jobs when Apple unveiled the Macintosh thirty years prior. Halfway through the event, Cook also took it upon himself to revive a piece of Jobs by quoting his famous line before showing off something that was truly incredible, “one more thing.” This line, of course, yielded a wild round of applause from the audience before Cook unveiled the vastly anticipated Apple Watch. In a later interview with ABC News, Cook reminisced about Jobs, stating, “I think about Steve a lot. I love Steve dearly…His DNA will always be the foundation of Apple…He would be incredibly proud to see the company that he left us.” Certainly, there is no exact way to know how the great Steve Jobs would react to the advancements of today, but surely he would be just as thrilled as his counterparts to dive into the terrific journey that lies ahead of the Cupertino giant and their new family of 2014 products.
Looking back a the mass amount of fascination Apple crammed into a two-hour keynote, it’s no wonder our heads are still spinning to process the magnificent features and products that are briskly gunning for our wallets. iOS 8 is the first release on the list, and since it’s free, it is absolutely a must for users to snag as soon as possible. But what about the rest? This is for you, readers. Are you a current iPhone user? Maybe you come from the realm of Android or Windows? Regardless, you read this article, so you must be interested to some extent. Do you find yourself gravitating towards a new iPhone 6? If so, would you prefer the 4.7“ or the 5.5” display? Then there’s the Apple Watch? Do you foresee yourself lusting for such a device, or is it just a gimmick that isn’t worth your hard-earned cash? What excited you most about Apple’s 2014 keynote, and why? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!