Apple’s second keynote of the year is quickly coming upon us, and they have made the unusual step of pre-announcing well ahead of time that it will be live streamed, but what should we expect to see?
There has been enough leaks that we already have a good idea about what the next iPhone will be like. The iPhone 6 will come in 2 sizes, 4.7 and 5.5 inch screens. The specs seem to indicate that RAM will remain at a rather slender 1GB, but the maximum storage capacity will be upped to 128GB. It will be interesting to see if Apple will take this oppurtunity to intergrate Beats into there product line up, e.g. by ditching the Earpods for some Beats branding headphones.
The rumours seem to indicate that the 4.7 inch iPhone 6 will be available on the 19th of September with the 5.5 iPhone (iPhone 6 Air?) being made available around 1 month after that.
I don’t think Apple will miss the extra PR and Marketing Buzz of updating the iPads separately to the iPhone, so I expect the iPad lineup to get updated with the usual speed bumps and Touch ID next month, in time for the holidays.
Although I would love to see a significant update to the MacBook Air, I suspect that there will be no Mac Hardware announcements at this Keynote.
So it looks like the iWatch was the new product category that Tim Cook has been alluding to for all of this time, and not a TV.
The introduction of HealthKit in iOS 8 and the M7 Motion Coprocessor in the iPhone 5s have clearly been leading up to this. The iWatch will have a huge focus on Health, tracking your steps, monitoring your movements and integrating with other third party fitness apps.
In addition to the health focus, the iWatch will obviously display the time and show a variety of notifications, but the biggest talking point will be the battery life, or the lack there of. I wouldn’t expect it to last more than a day, so I am hoping that it features inductive charging like the Palm Pre’s Touchstone.
The SDK should get announced (e.g. iOS 8.1) and I am expecting iWatch apps to be extensions that are installed from the iPhone that is paired with it.
Unlike the iPhone, the iWatch won’t be available for the holiday and with an expected release date early in the new year … knowing Apple this probably means March 31st 2015, with an expected starting price in the $300-$400 range.
Mobile Payments (NFC)
Mobile Payments is the feature, NFC is the enabler. Here in the UK we already pay for our travel (in London at least) using an Oyster Card and then there is also Visa PayWave (generally referred to as Contactless Payment) that allows you to pay for small purchases by simply touching your card on the card reader.
Apple is planning to take this one step further by allowing you to ditch the card altogether and pay with your iPhone 6 or iWatch, using the added security of Touch ID to authorise payments.
The iOS 8 Beta has felt strange (dare I say underwhelming?) compared to previous betas, the out of box experience feels almost identical to iOS 7. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but a completely different feeling compared to last year’s major visual overhaul.
On the flip side, from a developer’s perspective this has been a huge release and wrapping your head around all the new APIs (and new language) has been quite overwhelming at times. Extensions, Handoff, HealthKit, HomeKit, iCloudKit and Touch ID will allow developers to create apps and experiences that were not previously possible, so I’m excited to see what is released on launch day and in the months to come.
The only changes I would expect to see in the GM version of iOS 8, will be to support any new hardware features that are announced during the Keynote. One of these features will be clearing up the useful of iOS Size Classes, with the introduction of larger screen iPhones, the lines between an iPhone and iPhone UI will become blurred (e.g. iPad UI when using the 5.5 inch iPhone in Landscape). The GM of iOS 8 should be available to Developers on Tuesday, with a public release on Wednesday the 17th of September.
OS X Yosemite
When OS X Yosemite was unveiled at WWDC the changes were not as drastic as first feared and the overall aesthetics (besides the toolbar buttons!!!) have grown on me over the course of the beta.
I wouldn’t expect to see any major changes to Yosemite now, but there is a slight chance that it along with Handoff (like iCloud Keychain in iOS 7) could get pushed back until the iPad Keynote, albeit slightly unlikely because of iCloud Drive been incompatible with Mavericks.
In short, I have a feeling this one is going to big…