AMITIAE - Wednesday 10 September 2014
Cassandra: Apple Event - As it Happened (regular updates)
By Graham K. Rogers
I am able to follow the announcements, but this is nothing like attending an event where there can be hands-on sessions with the new products.The last time I went to one was the WWDC in 2009 at the Moscone center and I have not been back since. Although Apple's event is scheduled for 10 am Tuesday, with the way the sun moves round the Earth, the program starts around midnight here: I am already on Wednesday.
With the amount of speculation that has been put out in the last few weeks, expectations are high for this event with suggestions of
All of these are speculation, although Apple does not send out invitations to the press for nothing, nor build a massive structure (at the Flint Center, where the presentations are to be) for nothing. Anticipation is high.
There are a number of live sources available. I will be using the Apple TV one unless something goes wrong. That will avoid comments and opinions; but that's just me.
Live sources for the Event:
Mossberg added the point that Apple had banks and credit card companies on board and that there was also a link to certain major store chains: critical to have the places that people shop as a link in the chain. He commented that, although Google, for example had tried mobile payments, the picture was not as good as people had hoped.
When asked about security (Apple had been criticised for this in the last couple of weeks and responded with changes in authorisation - I now get emails when I log in), they had not been bad on security and better than most (he said). He added that we should also remember that Apple did not collect user data for advertising purposes and had a good record on this.
The CNBC's own commentators made the error of treating the rumours about phones, number, iWatch, release dates, as fact. And it is these people that investors rely on for good advice.
OpeningThat theatre is quite big, but the stage is smaller than the one at the Moscone Center.
OK, we are off. . . .
As with recent presentations, the event begins with a video: The ones who follow a vision. I guess this is about focus (while others are distracted): keeping one's eye on where the puck will be.
I had an error report about a minute before the event started so switched from Apple TV to the web feed. Restarting the TV feed got me something, but that "focus" video was no longer available and the feed went wrong again. The web feed is also failing. OK, the video came back on the web for a moment, but this is not going well.
I finally got a feed a few minutes in as Cook announced the phones (with a Chinese voice over Cook) and introduced Phil Schiller. The the feed went off again. There are two sizes as per rumours
Much thinner: 6.9mm and 7.1mm thick (or thin). Higher contrast. Landscape: new way to display certain apps in this mode. More keys with landscape; plus horizontal home screen view. Easier to use one-handed.
Continued problems with the feeds lost me a lot of the details (what a waste of time) and I had to restart the Apple TV finally returning to the information with a game demo. With both Apple TV and the web feed there was the annoying overlay of the Chinese voice all of the time.
Battery life: 80 hours max for the iPhone 6+.
As well as the A8 there is the M8 motion processor. Barometer: a new sensor. Useful with the health apps. Voice over LTE. Faster wifi. At last 802.11ac. With Volte can make calls over wifi. Hope the wifi is better than the Apple TV link.
Camera: sensor has been tweaked, using phase detection autofocus. Faster focus. Sensor has better tone mapping and noise reduction. Up to 43 MP panoramas. 5-elelement lens, processor software (part of A8 chip). Image stabilization. Works well in low-light scenarios which need longer exposure.
Put images of digital cameras and video-cam on screen claiming that the iPhone is replacing these devices. Video at 30 fps or 60 fps.
The feed is so bad. I give up. It keeps cutting, then going back. I have just watched Schiller walk on stage for the 3rd time.
Video intro. So fast. Showed the video twice. Eddy Cue comes on to explain this. Built into every iPhone 6 and 6+. Uses NFC plus Touch ID. Secure element in the chip. Use the card data from the iTunes store and Passbook. Pay with AppleID.
Security does not add the credit card and stores the data in the secure element. Find my iPhone will suspend payments if the phone is lost, but this does not need the card to be cancelled.
Privacy: Apple does not collect the data - what you bought, where or how much. Cashier does not see the card data like now. Starting in the USA for now. Can be used in 220,000 merchants. Bloomindales and Macy's, Nike, Subway, MacDonalds, Whole Foods, Apple Stores, Disney and others were mentioned. Online purchasing including Target, Groupon, Uber, Panera, MLB, Apple Store, OpenTable: all will use Apple Pay one-touch payment. Will be available as an update to iOS 8 later.
This video feed is slightly better but still jumps back from time to time.
Ah, it is a watch. Cook says he is excited and proud. Drat: feed jumps back again.
Video intro: view of the World from space, moves over to a watch. Nice metal strap. Clean black face. Alternative straps (6). Sweat and chemical resistant. Different finishes to watch: steel, gold.
Apple Watch: accurate to within plus or minus 50 milliseconds. Ways to connect and communicate. Works with iPhone. Health and fitness device. New interface. Did not take the iPhone interface and slap it on the watch.
Home screen accessed using digital crown. "Taptic" engine. Watch uses S1 chip: new development.
Video: Jony Ive. Condenses the basics into a brief presentation. Well, they look nice, but would I (or other consumers) want a wrist watch? Lots of nice tricks with the apps and interface. A range of watch faces.
Information coming in, will give the user a nudge with the "Taptic" engine (should that not be Haptic?). Examples given were invitations and messages. Use dictation to reply to messages as well as short pre-selected phrases and icons (these can be adjusted by the user).
Siri works on the Apple Watch. Ask but apparently no Siri voice in reply: just data displayed.
Photos can be viewed small or larger. All photos on Mac or iPhone will be on the Watch (presumably via iCloud and Photos).
Maps has a number of useful functions, including search functions. I bet this only works in the USA. Maps here still has serious errors in terms of information.
Friends list: enables easier communication with those we know. User can use the interface to draw as a form of messaging. Also reads the heartbeat of the user.
Third party apps will be available: Facebook. WatchKit helps developers create apps. Examples here are Twitter, with some useful features; American Airlines (including checkin); Starwood Hotels, also allows entering the room; Pinterest; BMW links to the car (if you have one), including directions back to the car; Lutron, Nike.
Uses inductive charging: charger links to the back. Available early next year. Apple Pay works with Apple Watch.
One "other" thing. Apple's love for music: iTunes, iTunes Festival (running now). Ah: U2 as was rumoured. Performing at the Event. Interesting how Apple is always able to persuade world-class performers to appear at their events: I saw Randy Newman and Tony Bennet (this year at the iTunes Festival) live at the Moscone Center.
Press and guests were invited to the hands-on experience (the white constructions?) and that was it. . . .
Note that iOS 8 is to be released on 17 September. Can we presume that OS X 10.10, Yosemite, will also be released then?
Time for bed.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.
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