iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Watch, and Apple's Big Event Review
Apple Day 2014
A couple of weeks ago when Apple sent out invites for their inaugural iPhone event they hinted towards big things. Little did they know that going into the event that the stock would be struggling for the first time in months, the iCloud was hacked and revealed a number of high profile celebrity nude photos, and the normal fever pitch for an Apple event was less of a 10, and more like a 7.5.
But it's Apple Day! There are still lines of people waiting to see the device (the lines are shorter). There were still liveblogs covering every single moment of the event (though fewer) and we knew from leaked images from Europe and China what was on the docket.
It was a thoroughly expected and measured unveiling. A year ago, Apple was given flack for not having a large screen cell phone or phablet like their main competitors. Now they have two. Two months ago, Apple was railed for not joining the smartwatch party, and today the Apple Watch was unveiled. So why does this all feel so lukewarm? Why does it feel like it's not the life changing event it usually is? Well, lots of reasons really!
The New iPhones 6 and 6 Plus
What Was Unveiled
In short, Apple unveiled 3 big hardware products as well as a couple major software moves. In short:
- iPhone 6. 4.7" screen just like the Amazon Fire phone. Retina screen with improved resolution. Thinner than competitor phones.
- iPhone 6 Plus. 5.5" screen like the LG Optimus G Pro phone or Galaxy Note phones. 1080p screen like last year's top tier phones.
- Apple Watch. App functionality on your wrist with typical premium Apple design.
- IOS 8. Next week will welcome the newest version of Apple's mobile operating system for iPhones and iPads. Mostly fixes to messaging and notifications.
- Apple Pay. Paying for items with your phone and including your credit card info securely on your phone.
Looking at these individually you have to say, "What's the big deal?" You've got a couple smartphones that are catching up to HTC, Samsung, and LG phones. Yes, it will be thinner and feel more premium than plastic competitors, but Apple is now playing catch-up rather than leading the way. Maybe you really like the idea of Apple Watch and are willing to pay $349 for apps on your wrist. 95% of people however will not. Incremental changes to IOS. And then the idea of paying for items with your cell phone when we have enough issues with retail store hacking, cloud storage security and other issues is worrying.
Apple iPhone Reveal
What Changed in Phones?
The biggest issue by far is that Apple came into this event expecting rave reviews for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. But it's as if they haven't seen what the other guys have been doing. Let's examine:
Competitor A: 4.7" high resolution screen. Fast processor, good camera, cloud storage for photos, premium feel, and great brand. Answer: Amazon Fire Phone. And it's $199 cheaper than the iPhone 6.
Competitor B: 4.7" 1080p screen. Fast processor, good camera, premium feel, aluminum casing for durability. Answer: HTC One M7. And it's also at least $150 cheaper than the iPhone 6.
Competitor C: 5.5" inch high resolution screen. Fast processor, lasers to help with camera shots, metallic back, replaceable battery. Answer: LG G3. And you get a 4k screen, plus a free second battery and dock if you buy in the next couple of weeks. Oh, and $100 cheaper than iPhone 6 Plus.
Competitor D: 5.7" inch high resolution screen. Top notch processor, best in class battery life, stylus functionality. Answer: Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Most likely will be cheaper than iPhone 6 Plus.
Apple's late to the party and unless you've been using Apple phones up until this point, they're not doing anything to entice you to give them a try.
What are you most excited about from today's event?
What are you most excited about from today's event?
What About Smartwatches?
The Apple Watch is undoubtedly the biggest and most exciting announcement from the Apple iPhone event. It's a beautiful piece of gadgetry and if people can walk around with ridiculous-looking Google Glasses on, then you can definitely see early adopters signing up for the 18 karat gold version of the Apple Watch. But for all the excitement of Tim Cook, he didn't answer these questions:
- No smartwatch on the market is selling well at all. Why are people going to buy the Apple Watch? You can now get a Moto, an LG, a Sony, the Pebble, and 3 Samsungs all with app stores and good looks, but no one's buying them.
- What kind of battery life will the Apple Watch have? The most important question with wearable tech is battery life. The last thing I want is something else I need to charge every day. Especially when...
- Why can't the Apple Watch do more? Did Apple just enter the luxury watch market against Omega and Movado? Sorry, that doesn't apply because you don't have to charge those guys.
Maybe I'm wrong and the Apple Watch will sweep the nation. But growing up with gadgets, I don't see it. It's not a revolutionary item that solves problems we currently have with our phones or with being constantly connected.
The New Apple Watch
The New iDevices
Every year with the iPhone event, they end up lowering the price of existing devices and this year was no different. Let's examine the 2 big changes:
- iPhone 5C for free. I've never liked this plastic candy-coated iPhone but it brings some value to the free category. I would even go as far as saying that if my phone spontaneous disappears overnight (please don't happen) then I would be have the 5C on my short list of free or close to free options with the Amazon Fire Phone and the LG G2.
- iPhone 5S for $99. Unless you can talk your cell phone carrier into bringing this down at least another $50, then don't waste your time. It's a really good phone, but you sacrifice little going from this phone at $99 to a free iPhone 5C. And if you're going to pay good money for a phone to be stuck with for 2 years, go with one of the top tier guys at $200.
The Newly Free iPhone 5C
The Law of Improving Cell Phones
It's not all Apple's fault that people are less excited for the new iPhones this time around. Let's face it, as soon as phones like the G2 and the iPhone 5C become free with your wireless contract, 85% of users are going to be perfectly happy. It's just like how you can get 1080 TVs for cheap, so why are stores beating us over the head with 4K and 3D screens?
For any company to get consumers to open their wallets to the tune of $200 or $300, you need to really hit a home run and set yourself apart from the competition. But the cold hard truth is that all these phones are good now, and the best deal is to pick your favorite free phone and use that cash for something you'll really enjoy. Like brownies.
I believe that being frugal and making smart money choices is like any other exercise. As we continue to practice good habits in saving money where possible, finding deals for what we want, and having a good time at it, then we become better at dealing for a living.
I'm committed to sharing my experiences with getting the most out of using credit cards, saving and spending tips, and I might even add a slice of perspective without trying to be a psychoanalyst like some other personal finance folks out there.
Please let me know what you think and if you'd like to hear my take on a specific topic.
PS. I've also started writing on my own site: dealforaliving.com.