On Tuesday, Apple hosted its annual late summer media event at The Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino. This is where Steve Jobs introduced the original Macintosh in 1984 as well as the first iMac in 1998.
Rumors were flying for the past weeks about what was next to come from Apple. Many websites purported to show various components of the next iPhone. Meanwhile, among “iWatch” rumors, people really didn’t have a clue what to expect.
If you have any curiosity about Apple’s new products or about what makes Apple and its fans tick, I recommend watching the full keynote. It was a well-appreciated two-hour affair.
Bigger Apple Screen — for your pocket!
With great fanfare, Apple introduced iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, a new pair of iPhones with thinner bodies, larger screens, and more skills than any previous iPhone.
As with prior generations of iPhone, Apple continues to increase processing and graphics capabilities by leaps and bounds. Enhanced by new features in iOS 8, the new devices sport a barometer to sense changes in elevation and an NFC chip for Pay, Apple’s new secure digital payment product.
iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are available for preorder today and will arrive in stores and at doorsteps starting next Friday.
Smaller Apple Screen — for your wrist!
Then, in a whirl of excitement, Apple took the wraps off Watch, its first foray into the modern world of wearables. Notice how Apple is shifting its naming scheme from the “i” prefix to “,” which better represents the company’s brand.
Watch requires an iPhone to operate, provides a wide range of features including tracking health, easing communication, and supporting Pay, and introduces a new user interface.
Like the crown of an analog watch (the dial people have been turning for centuries), the digital crown of Watch serves as a combination scroll-wheel, zoom function, and home button.
Also, Watch’s display has haptic sensors. That means it can sense pressure and differentiate between light taps and hard presses, gestures that trigger different actions.
For a thorough review of Watch from a watch expert, this is a great read, including many colorful photos. Apple plans to release Watch early next year.
There was nary a mention of the Mac during the entire keynote, including Yosemite, the next version of OS X due out this fall. Even iOS 8 got little more talk than its release date: next Wednesday, September 17.
However, much to everyone’s thrill, there was “one more thing….” (Steve Jobs popularly used this line during many keynotes through the 2000s and the phrase seemed lost until now.)
Apple invited U2 to the stage to perform one of its new songs. Then, in a well-rehearsed skit, Bono and Tim Cook proceeded to gift the band’s new album to all 500 million Apple iTunes customers in “the largest album release ever!”
So, you might notice that U2’s album, Songs of Innocence is now in your iTunes library, perhaps unbeknownst to you. I’ve heard it might not have gotten the best reviews, but I’m enjoying it. Maybe you will too.