I mostly agree with Jiggity’s piece that was floating around a few days ago:
If you felt uneasy through Apple’s keynote yesterday, you’re not alone. Something felt off. It wasn’t the features or hardware but the messaging.
It’s not about the people who presented, it’s about the insecurities that are being shown throughout the keynote. They repeatedly enforced the idea that not being the first is fine. We all know that Apple’s never been the first in doing something. Apple was late to the tablet market, Apple was late to the smartphone market, and now Apple is late in the smartwatch market. That’s fine. They never had mentioned this fact repeatedly in the other Apple events.
What Apple needs to stop doing is to stop trying to convince the public that being the first does not matter. They need to start convincing the public again that they make the best product.
When the Apple Watch video was first shown, you can see how excited Tim Cook was. He folded his shirt sleeves and showed his hands to the audience. I really like how excited he was back in the stage. He really was the best person to do this. Not Phil Schiller, not Jony Ive, but him.
Oh, and that skit with U2 in the end was really weird and embarassing.
It’s not a secret that Apple makes loads of money from the iPhone. They don’t even need to have a significant portion of market share to be this profitable, and every other product that Apple has launched since the iPhone has not come even close to iPhone’s sales figures. Therefore, of course it’s in their interest to make sure that it keeps making money.
The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are clearly a nod to the big Android phones. Once again, I think that’s fine. It’s not the first time Apple copies Android hardware or software features1, and it won’t be the last. One other thing that they copied is moving the sleep/wake button to the side. I personally like my sleep/wake button on the top, but with the bigger phone this probably makes more sense2.
My problem with this year’s line up of iPhone is that the lineup is very unfocused. The original iPhone came in just one model and two storage options, and the subsequent iPhones also came with only one model and different storage options except last year’s iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. With the case of last year’s iPhone 5c, I think that was a reasonable lineup, because it replaces the iPhone 5 which is supposed to be sold as the lower tier model that year. This year, we have two new phones with different screen sizes.
I don’t disagree with screen size differentiation. I like the iPad Mini and the regular iPad3. I like the 15” MacBook Pro and the 13” MacBook Pro. I like how we have different sizes of iMacs too. However, I just don’t think that a 5.5” iPhone 6 Plus feels right in most people’s hand. If they want to launch two different sizes anyway, I would have thought that they would keep the 4” iPhone 5s screen which is loved by lots of people including yours truly. A few people have tried putting 5.5” papercut of the iPhone 6 Plus, and hardly anyone I know would get the iPhone 6 Plus. It doesn’t fit in anyone’s jeans pocket and you can’t use it with one hand. Some people can’t even reach the home button when holding the phone with one hand.
What Apple have been showing every year is how the new iPhone’s features will make your life better. This year I think they failed on delivering that. They didn’t show why having a 5.5” will make your life better. I don’t know whether Apple is trying to make every single person switch from big Android phones to the iPhone, or they truly think that this size makes a great product. I suspect it’s the first, not the latter.
We’ll see how the market reacts with this. I may be proven wrong. There may be lots of people who likes the 5.5” screen, and I just haven’t seen them around at all. If only there’s a way to fit a 5.5” screen in everyone’s pocket and in everyone’s hands. My prediction is that the iPhone 6 Plus will not sell as well as iPhone 6, but we’ll never know this for sure because they wouldn’t break the two sales figures up.
I like the demo, I think it’s good. It’s a natural continuation of Touch ID. Sadly it’s only available on the US, and it will probably take a while for it to come to Australia and other parts of the world.
I think that PayPal, banks, and the other payment companies need to really deliver an alternative solution to this if they want to stay in the game. I really like this quote from Tim Cook and it very concisely describes how I feel about other companies who tried to change the way payments work:
"Most people who’ve worked on this have started by creating a business model that’s centered around their interests instead of focusing on user experience."
If they don’t stop doing that, they’re going to be screwed.
By the way Apple, if you’re reading this I would love for you to add Bitcoin payments to Apple Pay sometime in the future. It has much lower cut than any other credit card companies you work with.
The night before the keynote start, I tweeted this:
If the Apple watch is a glorified Pebble, I’m going to eat my hat.
Now, have we just got a glorified Pebble? Maybe. When I tweeted that, what I meant was that the Pebble is a notification sink that will just show you whatever is happening in your phone. But I think the Apple Watch is a lot more than that.
Just looking at the videos of the Apple Watch made me want to wear one. I don’t even care if it does nothing other than show me the time. It looks really good. I immidiately fell in love with the watch face that shows the earth and the other planets4.
I think many people, including myself, expected Apple to come up with something really revolutionary. Something that’s completely different to today’s fitness arm bands and Android smart watches. This also happened with the iPad. The first generation iPad was underwhelming for lots of people when it was introduced four years ago. They expected the iPad to be able to run OS X, Photoshop, and Xcode. What they get instead is a tablet that’s pretty good at web browsing, watching movies, and checking emails. Today, we realised that those are the things we like doing on a tablet. We realised that tablets are just so much better at web browsing and watching movies. We realised that we don’t need desktop apps in our tablets. Apple made a table that are good at doing certain things, and it does not do everything that the Microsoft tablets have been doing since 2001.
This also happened with the iPhone when it was first introduced eight years ago. It can’t run apps, it doesn’t have copy and paste, and it only runs one app at a time. It only does certain things pretty well, but it doesn’t do a lot.
This week when they unveiled the Apple Watch, it really is the same story. They didn’t have that much to show. It can’t do a lot of stuff yet. But it just looks really gorgeous and it does what you expect pretty well. They have thought of the user experience much more than the other companies. That’s what Apple do best. There’s nothing wrong with just doing what others are doing, but much better.
Remember Notification Center? ↩
My colleague thought that Apple will release the iPhone with Beats earphones. It didn’t happen, as I thought. I think Beats will remain a separate brand for some time. ↩
Of course the regular iPad’s screen size is still the best, in my opinion. ↩
I think that is called the Astronomy watch face. ↩