Apple Announces iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iWatch, iOS8, and Apple Pay

Apple announced a stunning array of upgraded and new products yesterday.

iPhone-6-iwatch

Apple announced a stunning array of upgraded and new products yesterday, beginning with their annual attempt to render their current phones obsolete:

Apple® today announced iPhone® 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the biggest advancements in iPhone history, featuring two new models with stunning 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch Retina HD displays, and packed with innovative technologies in an all-new dramatically thin and seamless design. The new iPhones feature a precision unibody enclosure of anodized aluminum that conforms seamlessly with the shaped glass of the display, resulting in a completely smooth and continuous surface. iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are engineered to be the thinnest ever, delivering a bigger display in a design that is still comfortable to hold and easy to use.

Packed with innovative new technologies, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus include: the Apple-designed A8 chip with second generation 64-bit desktop-class architecture for blazing fast performance and power efficiency; advanced iSight® and FaceTime® HD cameras; ultrafast wireless technologies; and Apple Pay™, an easier way to simply and securely make payments with just the touch of a finger.¹ Both models include iOS 8, the latest version of the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, featuring a simpler, faster and more intuitive user experience with new Messages and Photos features, QuickType™ keyboard, a new Health app, Family Sharing and iCloud Drive℠.

“iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are the biggest advancements in iPhone history,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The iPhone is the most loved smartphone in the world with the highest customer satisfaction in the industry and we are making it much better in every way. Only Apple can combine the best hardware, software and services at this unprecedented level and we think customers are going to love it.”

For the first time iPhone is available in two new sizes: iPhone 6 features a stunning 4.7-inch Retina® HD display with 1334 x 750 resolution, providing 38 percent more viewing area than iPhone 5s, while iPhone 6 Plus features an even bigger 5.5-inch Retina HD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, providing 88 percent more viewing area and nearly three times the pixels than iPhone 5s. The Retina HD displays offer advanced technologies including higher contrast for deeper blacks and dual-domain pixels for more accurate colors at wider viewing angles.

With second generation 64-bit desktop-class architecture, the all-new A8 chip offers faster performance and is more energy efficient, delivering higher sustained performance with great battery life. With Metal™, a new graphics technology in iOS 8, developers can take performance of the A8 chip even further to bring console-class 3D games to iPhone. The A8 chip also includes a new, powerful Apple-designed image signal processor that enables advanced camera and video features.

Both models include the M8 motion coprocessor that gathers motion data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, compass and the new barometer, which senses air pressure to provide relative elevation. The M8 motion coprocessor can continuously measure your motion data, even when the device is asleep, saving battery life for fitness apps that use the sensors all day. With iOS 8, motion data from M8 appears in the Health app so you can see how many flights of stairs you’ve climbed, or how far you’ve walked or run. Developers can use CoreMotion APIs that take advantage of M8 and HealthKit to create apps that help you take better care of your health and fitness.

They’re hyping these as “The Biggest Advancements in iPhone History,” which seems plainly silly. Still, these appear to be substantial upgrades. Moreover, by offering both a slightly-larger-than- current-generation iPhone 6 in addition to the iPhone 6 Plus “phablet” they’ve allayed the fear that I’ve had during the pre-announcement hype phase that I’d be forced to chose between a too-big-for-my-pocket phone and switching to a new ecosystem entirely a year from now when I replace my current iPhone 5s.

I’d be interested in reader thoughts on these new phone sizes. While there are obvious advantages to larger screens from a usability standpoint, I’d presume it comes at the cost of portability. When I’m in a suit or sportcoat, I’ve got a large inside pocket in which to carry my phone; even the iPhone 6 Plus would fit fine. But I tend to carry my phone in my front pocket if I’m in casual clothes and it’s too hot to wear a jacket.

Amusingly, simultaneous to joining the large screen bandwagon, Apple is going all Dick Tracey with a wearable device.

Apple® today unveiled Apple Watch™—its most personal device ever—featuring revolutionary new technologies and a pioneering user interface with a beautiful design that honors the rich tradition of precision watchmaking. Apple Watch introduces a specially designed and engineered Digital Crown that provides an innovative way to scroll, zoom and navigate. The Digital Crown is Apple’s most revolutionary navigation tool since the iPod® Click Wheel and iPhone® Multi-Touch™. Apple Watch will enable you to communicate in new ways right from your wrist by sending and receiving messages, answering calls to your iPhone, and with Digital Touch, sending something as personal as your own heartbeat. Apple Watch also introduces comprehensive health and fitness apps that can help people lead healthier lives. Apple Watch is available in three distinct collections—Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition.

“Apple introduced the world to several category-defining products, the Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “And once again Apple is poised to captivate the world with a revolutionary product that can enrich people’s lives. It’s the most personal product we’ve ever made.”

“With Apple Watch, we’ve developed multiple technologies and an entirely new user interface specifically for a device that’s designed to be worn. It blurs the boundary between physical object and user interface,” said Jony Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of Design. “We’ve created an entire range of products that enable unparalleled personalization.”

Apple Watch introduces a revolutionary design and iOS-based user interface created specifically for a smaller device. Apple Watch features the Digital Crown, an innovative way to scroll, zoom and navigate fluidly, without obstructing the display. The Digital Crown also serves as the Home button and a convenient way to access Siri®. The Retina® display on Apple Watch features Force Touch, a technology that senses the difference between a tap and a press, providing a new way to quickly and easily access controls within apps. Apple Watch introduces the Taptic Engine and a built-in speaker that together discreetly enable an entirely new vocabulary of alerts and notifications you can both hear and feel. Apple custom-designed its own S1 SiP (System in Package) to miniaturize an entire computer architecture onto a single chip. Apple Watch also features Wi-Fi 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 4.0 to pair seamlessly with your iPhone.

Given my relatively large fingers and aging eyes, I can’t fathom why I’d be interested in this product. The $345 price tag isn’t horrendous but I pretty much always have my iPhone with me. Why would I want an additional device with a tiny screen and user interface?

One of the new services, which will only be available on new devices, is intriguing:

Apple Pay™, a new category of service that will transform mobile payments with an easy, secure and private way to pay. Apple Pay works with iPhone® 6 and iPhone 6 Plus through a groundbreaking NFC antenna design, a dedicated chip called the Secure Element, and the security and convenience of Touch ID™. Apple Pay is easy to set up, so hundreds of millions of users can simply add their credit or debit card on file from their iTunes Store® account. Apple Pay will also work with the newly announced Apple Watch™, extending Apple Pay to over 200 million owners of iPhone 5, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s worldwide.

Apple Pay supports credit and debit cards from the three major payment networks, American Express, MasterCard and Visa, issued by the most popular banks including Bank of America, Capital One Bank, Chase, Citi and Wells Fargo, representing 83 percent of credit card purchase volume in the US.* In addition to the 258 Apple retail stores in the US, some of the nation’s leading retailers that will support Apple Pay include Bloomingdale’s, Disney Store and Walt Disney World Resort, Duane Reade, Macy’s, McDonald’s, Sephora, Staples, Subway, Walgreens and Whole Foods Market. Apple Watch will also work at the over 220,000 merchant locations across the US that have contactless payment enabled. Apple Pay is also able to make purchases through apps in the App Store℠.

“Security and privacy is at the core of Apple Pay. When you’re using Apple Pay in a store, restaurant or other merchant, cashiers will no longer see your name, credit card number or security code, helping to reduce the potential for fraud,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “Apple doesn’t collect your purchase history, so we don’t know what you bought, where you bought it or how much you paid for it. And if your iPhone is lost or stolen, you can use Find My iPhone to quickly suspend payments from that device.”

Apple Pay will change the way you pay. When you add a credit or debit card with Apple Pay, the actual card numbers are not stored on the device nor on Apple servers. Instead, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored in the Secure Element on your iPhone or Apple Watch. Each transaction is authorized with a one-time unique number using your Device Account Number and instead of using the security code from the back of your card, Apple Pay creates a dynamic security code to securely validate each transaction.

Presuming this catches on and proves secure over the next year, this is the feature that would most push me to upgrade at the expiration of my current contract. The improved screen resolution and camera are nice-to-have but not game changers. Presumably, this will push competitors in a similar direction and move us even closer to a cashless society.

Finally, a pretty substantial upgrade to the operating system will be available for free next week even to those of us not immediately upgrading our devices:

iOS 8, the biggest release since the launch of the App Store℠, will be available starting Wednesday, September 17 to iPhone®, iPad® and iPod touch® users as a free software update. iOS 8 delivers a simpler, faster and more intuitive user experience with new Messages and Photos features, predictive typing for Apple’s QuickType™ keyboard and Family Sharing. iOS 8 also includes the new Health app, giving you a clear overview of your health and fitness data and iCloud Drive℠, so you can store files and access them from anywhere. With more than 4,000 new APIs, iOS 8 allows developers to further customize the user experience with major extensibility features and robust frameworks such as HealthKit and HomeKit.

“We’re excited for hundreds of millions of users to begin experiencing iOS 8, with incredible features that offer new ways to use your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “iOS 8 also creates an extraordinary environment for developers, providing them the ability to create amazing new apps like never before.”

Messages in iOS 8 makes conversations more immersive. Simply Tap to Talk to share your voice. The same gesture also works for sharing photos and videos. Users can now share several photos and videos at once and easily browse through all of them within a conversation from one place. Group messaging gives you the ability to add and remove contacts, and the option not to be disturbed or to leave a conversation entirely. You can also choose to share your current location from within Messages for an hour, a day or longer.

In iOS 8, the Photos app brings powerful editing to your fingertips. Photos automatically straightens horizons, and with smart editing tools you can quickly adjust light and color with a swipe. For deeper fine-tuning, you can access individual tools to adjust exposure, brightness, contrast, highlights, shadows and more. Developers can tap into the same robust framework as the built-in Photos app using PhotoKit, and with extensibility APIs, can make their own filters and editing tools available to users within the Photos app.

New predictive typing for Apple’s QuickType keyboard is smarter, more personalized and intelligently takes context into account, such as who the recipient is and in which app you’re typing. QuickType understands the way you communicate, suggesting favorite phrases, so you can write entire sentences with just a few taps. What the QuickType keyboard learns is kept private, encrypted on your device and never sent to the cloud. Third-party keyboards are also available, so developers can offer additional layouts and input methods system-wide, providing users more choice.

The new Health app gathers the information you choose from your various health apps and fitness devices, and provides you with a clear and current overview in one place. HealthKit APIs offer developers the ability for health and fitness apps to communicate with each other. With your permission, each app can use specific information from other apps to provide a more comprehensive way to manage your health and fitness. Users will be able to gather and monitor their own fitness metrics using apps such as MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper and Strava. Healthcare providers can now monitor the data their patients choose to share through apps such as Mayo Clinic or Epic’s MyChart app that will be used by Duke Medicine and Stanford Children’s Health/Stanford Medicine, among others.

HomeKit connects your home devices safely and seamlessly so you can better manage accessories like lights, thermostats, door locks and garage doors. By delivering a common protocol, HomeKit securely pairs and allows easy control over individual or groups of devices throughout the house. With Siri® integration you can say, “Good morning,” and have the lights turn on in specific rooms, the thermostat adjust the temperature and the garage door open.

Family Sharing with iOS 8 makes it easier than ever to communicate and share purchases. It automatically keeps everyone connected by creating a shared family photo stream and calendar, and provides an option to locate family members and their devices. Family members can also now browse and download each other’s eligible iTunes®, iBooks® or App Store purchases. Up to six family members can participate, each with their own Apple ID. Parents can create Apple IDs for children and, with Ask to Buy, require online parental permission for Family Sharing purchases.

iCloud Drive allows you to safely store, access and edit documents of any type. Make edits on one device and the most up-to-date version of your documents will be available across all devices, whether an iOS device, Mac®, Windows PC or on www.icloud.com. iCloud Drive brings new collaboration between apps, providing seamless access and the ability to work on the same file across multiple apps.

I’m a bit skeptical of the HomeKit concept. If it’s anything like Siri, it’ll be more frustrating than it’s worth for a generation or two. Still, I like the idea.

The HealthKit app is intriguing although I’m not sure it would replace my Fitbit. While I carry my phone pretty much wherever I go, I frequently leave it for hours in my house, whether for recharging purposes or simply to disconnect. So, relying on the phone to track activity (which became possible, if less robustly, with iPhone 5s) means that I literally have to carry the phone constantly or accept an incomplete tracking.

I’m not sure I’d want to share a photo stream with family members but otherwise like the Family Sharing concept. As my girls get older and get their own devices, I’d prefer to segregate their apps. Indeed, most of the apps on my iPhone and iPad are theirs.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    All I want is a watch that tells the time, a phone that makes phone calls, and a camera that takes pictures.

  2. Neil Hudelson says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    It would be even more convenient if they could combine all three into one device.

  3. Tony W says:

    I am not nearly cool enough to wear that watch. Maybe they could hand ’em out on a Virgin America flight?

  4. MarkedMan says:

    FWIW. In the 80’s, University of Illinois built a whole building to house a Cray Supercomputer, and attracted faculty and researchers from around the world (who, by the way, built the worlds first web browser, among other things). Years later Seymor Cray remarked that the personal computer he had on his desk had more memory, storage and processing power than that supercomputer. The personal computer was an IBM PC with a 386SX processor (bonus points to anyone who can tell us what the “SX” meant.) The processor in the new Apple watch, let alone the phones, is so much more powerful than that PC that it is almost impossible to compare.

  5. Matt says:

    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/09/10/article-2749597-213D3C8F00000578-940_634x432.jpg

    nuff said

    It’s good that they are stealing from the jail breakers too now.

  6. Moosebreath says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    “All I want is a watch that tells the time, a phone that makes phone calls, and a camera that takes pictures.”

    This. I must be a fogey, but I fail to see the obsession with having immediate entertainment at your fingertips at all times. To the contrary, I find that I am more relaxed and able to think better if I am disconnected from the net, and that most others are, as well.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Yeah that way when it breaks or gets lost, you lose all 3! Pure genius!

  8. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Matt:

    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/09/10/article-2749597-213D3C8F00000578-940_634x432.jpg

    nuff said

    It’s good that they are stealing from the jail breakers too now.

    Yep.

    Those of us with Android phones are always amused when Apple users gush about old technology.

    Apple’s tech development must be: “What’s Samsung doing? Do that.”

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Moosebreath: The thing that gets me is the obsession with being in constant touch with the world. These days when my phone rings, I am as likely to scream at it, “LEAVE ME THE F’ ALONE!!!!” as I am to answer it. And yes, I am an old fogey.

    @Neil Hudelson: On the more serious side Neil, the desire to have a single device that does it all has one very serious drawback: When it crashes, gets stolen, forgotten, lost, whatever, the user is well and truly screwed. At one point in time I could remember a hundred phone #s, now I can’t even remember my own home number. I forgot my cell once and needed to call my wife. I was going to borrow a phone from someone but then I realized I had no idea what her # was.

  10. Trumwill says:

    But I tend to carry my phone in my front pocket if I’m in casual clothes and it’s too hot to wear a jacket.

    This is why they invented phone holsters! I never have to worry about such things (and since I am already married, I don’t have to worry about the social repercussions of wearing a phone holster).

  11. Trumwill says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: Everybody knows that Samsung just rips off of Apple. You just watch, I bet that the next thing you know, Samsung will release a phone with a screen bigger than four inches and then another one that’s in between five and six inches! Stupid copycats!

    While I’m in Petty Partisan mode, the resolution on these things is kind of disappointing. For the longest time, iPhones were behind WinMo phones in terms of resolution. It didn’t matter, I was told, because who cares? Then the iPhone came out with the high resolution Retina displays, and then resolution was all that mattered. Which is great, because resolution matters to me a great deal! And sure enough, everybody else caught up. But now that they’re falling behind again, I guess that it won’t be a priority for anyone else.

    (As much as I rib on Apple and Applytes, what they do is actually deemed as “important” – often to the detriment of the industry – but the effect is there all the same.)

  12. Trumwill says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: That’s what the cloud is for. With Android phones, if you use them right, they’re stored on Google’s servers. The same can actually be true of the photos you take, which are stored on Google+ (or you can use Dropbox). So if you lose your phone or get another one, it auto-populates. I suspect (though don’t know) the same is true with Apple.

    (Obviously, as we have recently learned, there are security concerns with these sorts of backups. So turn off the auto-backup of the nude pictures you’re taking of yourself.)

  13. James Pearce says:

    I’d be forced to chose between a too-big-for-my-pocket phone and switching to a new ecosystem entirely a year from now when I replace my current iPhone 5s.

    Apple has been on a roll lately, but its competitors have responded. Committing to the Apple ecosystem is almost a bet that their devices will continue to dazzle. It’s possible….but in the long run, unlikely.

    I couldn’t wait to drop my Blackberry, an eco-system that was barely functioning anymore, for my Galaxy S5. Haven’t used my iPod since.

  14. stonetools says:

    I’d be interested in reader thoughts on these new phone sizes. While there are obvious advantages to larger screens from usability standpoint, I’d presume it comes at the cost of portability. When I’m in a suit or sportcoat, I’ve got a large inside pocket in which to carry my phone; even the iPhone 6 Plus would fit fine. But I tend to carry my phone in my front pocket if I’m in casual clothes and it’s too hot to wear a jacket.

    This would be a major problem if smartphones were the province of male geeks as it used to be . But times have moved on. There are these people called females who carry their phones in these things called handbags, and thus “the phone must fit in my pantspocket” crowd has lost influence on the size of phones.
    Phablets seem big in Asia and that’s the biggest market for smartphones in the future ( Maybe Asian men carry phones in er, handbags, rather than pants pockets).
    I think next year I might go with the Plus model. I’m pretty sure I’ve bought my last iPad.
    The Apple Watch? I don’t need it, but I could see others wanting it. Hey, there are people who spend $4,500 for a Rolex that doesn’t do 10 per cent of what an Apple Watch does.I don’t understand those guys, but they buy stuff.
    Apple Pay will eventually be huge, but it wont be for a while, since people will need to buy a phone with theNFC chip. It will take a few years.

  15. Kari Q says:

    @stonetools:

    There are these people called females who carry their phones in these things called handbags, and thus “the phone must fit in my pantspocket” crowd has lost influence on the size of phones.

    Well, this female wants a phone that will fit in her pants pocket. I want to take it with me when I go for a walk, but who wants to carry a handbag to the park?

  16. beth says:

    @Kari Q: I purchased a pair of men’s cargo workout shorts exactly for that purpose. Women’s activewear doesn’t allow for running with the dog carrying a phone, poop bags and a set of keys. Don’t get me started on the purses that have teeny little phone pockets that haven’t actually fit a cell phone since 1989.

  17. Ron Beasley says:

    So much for innovation. Here is a comparison between IPhone 6 and 6 plus and other phones. The Samsung S5 beats the Iphone 6 in all categories and the 6 plus in all but screen size and it’s not much smaller. The Android OS has proved to be reliable while the Apple OS is usually released with bugs.
    The IWatch is stupid and meant for the Apple Geeks and cultists..

  18. Ron Beasley says:
  19. Tillman says:

    Amusingly, simultaneous to joining the large screen bandwagon, Apple is going all Dick Tracey with a wearable device.

    Which is their biggest pitfall. As Jonas Venture, Jr. so eloquently put it, “What kind of an idiot would strap his only means of emergency communication to his wrist? They always tie you up.” I swear, they only invent crap that would be appealing to them.

    Also reading that press release brought Silicon Valley flashbacks, so I might watch that again. “Apple Pay will change the way you pay.” Oh man that sentence was like a third an episode right there.

  20. stonetools says:

    @Kari Q:

    Well, this female wants a phone that will fit in her pants pocket. I want to take it with me when I go for a walk, but who wants to carry a handbag to the park?

    Not all females…
    I think most women( and an increasing number of men ) now carry bagsin their daily workday. The true geek now needs a bag to carry his headphones, charging cord, spare battery (or juice pack) and other geegaws.

    I think that there will still be a significant market for smaller phones, though. More size choices is a good thing. I expect that Apple will keep an iPhone 5 sized phone around for a while.Maybe they’ll call it the iPhone Mini….

  21. Apple® today unveiled Apple Watch™—its most personal device ever—featuring revolutionary new technologies and a pioneering user interface with a beautiful design that honors the rich tradition of precision watchmaking.

    Once again Apple copies tech the other companies have been doing for two years and everyone acts like this is some revolutionary new concept.

  22. @MarkedMan:

    The personal computer was an IBM PC with a 386SX processor (bonus points to anyone who can tell us what the “SX” meant.)

    IIRC, it means it lacked the floating point coprocessor that was in the DX version of the chip.

  23. stonetools says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Of course, Apple fanboys would say is that what’s revolutionary is implementation- but all objective people knows Apple goes over the top in its marketing. Apple does tend to implement well though-and the market does tend to follow its implementation. What did smartphones look like before the iPhone? What did tablets look like before the iPad? What did all in ones look like before the iMac?

    @Ron Beasley:

    The IWatch is stupid and meant for the Apple Geeks and cultists..

    Says every Apple hater before every Apple new product launch. Ocassionally they’re right (Ping anyone?) But Apple has hit a lot of long home runs.
    Will the Apple Watch catch on? Tme will tell- but I can see a place for a little gadget that you can just glance down at that can notify you of the time, incoming messages, an office location you’re going to, your heart rate, the latest baseball score, a storm warning, an election result, etc, etc, without you having to pull your big phone out of a pocket or a handbag. As I pointed out above, people are apparently willing to pay a hell of a lot more for much less functionality.

  24. Andre Kenji says:

    My Mom has a Sony Xperia C, that´s large as the new Iphone, and she is completely happy with it.

  25. @stonetools:

    Of course, Apple fanboys would say is that what’s revolutionary is implementation- but all objective people knows Apple goes over the top in its marketing.

    As I’ve said several times with regards to Apple/Steve Jobs, being your industry’s Bill Boeing is enough of an acheivment; you don’t have to go around trying to pretend you’re the Wright Brothers.

  26. Ben Wolf says:

    Dr. Joyner,

    Regarding the portability of the 5.5″ iPhone 6, I had the very same concerns about fitting in pockets when considering the Galaxy Note 3, which has a 5.7″ display. It fit in the front pockets of my slacks just fine and will also fit the front pockets of relaxed-fit jeans, so you should have no problem with the iPhone. I also find the larger display indispensible as an e-reader and don’t use my Nexus 10 at all now.

  27. Trumwill says:

    @stonetools:

    What did smartphones look like before the iPhone?

    They didn’t look as nice, that’s for sure. But they were configurable. And you could get them with physical keyboards. Virtually all of them came with removable batteries and SD slots.

    Definitely some good with the bad, though. The app store system remains Jobs’s chief innovation and unlike a lot of the improvements that have come since I think credit for that relies almost entirely with Apple, for which it should be celebrated.

  28. @Trumwill:

    Virtually all of them came with removable batteries and SD slots.

    Most of them still do.

    The app store system remains Jobs’s chief innovation and unlike a lot of the improvements that have come since I think credit for that relies almost entirely with Apple, for which it should be celebrated.

    Except Jobs hated the idea of apps and fought their inclusion tooth an nail, eventually only conceding after months of badgering by Apple board member Art Levison.

    And while the app store model is certainly convenient, it remains to be seen if its a good idea on balance as in many ways it represents a return to pre-80s style closed computing.

  29. MarkedMan says:

    @Stormy Dragon: ding ding ding. The extra points go to Stormy Dragon”

  30. @MarkedMan:

    Actually, I looked it up and I was wrong. The floating point unit was the distinction between SX and DX for the 486, but the 386 never offered an integrated floating point unit.

    The 386SX was for low cost mother boards with a 16-bit data bus (the chip still used the full 32 bit data bus internally).

  31. MarkedMan says:

    Arguing who is more innovative is fine over a couple of beers but I buy my devices based on how useful they are, not on how ‘innovative’ their inventors are. But I put together a team to build apps and we chose Apple. Here’s why:
    – That closed ecosystem is a real benefit for Developers. There are a very limited number of iPhones and you can safely develop to only the latest version of the OS. There are thousands of different configurations of the Android and almost as many versions of the OS. And virtually no one upgrades an Android phone to a newer version.
    – One small but significant example of why that matters: there are two main types of volume control: general and app specific. iOS has standard calls for both. In the Android ecosystem only the first is standard. Manufacturers have dozens of different variants of the second. And the same is true whether we are talking about audio alerts, screen messages or a couple dozen other things.

  32. MarkedMan says:

    @Stormy Dragon: double extra points! I remembered it wrong.

  33. anjin-san says:

    I’m always astonished at how much attention these rollouts get. My three year old MacBook Pros & my iPhone 4s are so powerful that I don’t see any pressing need to upgrade them, and I tend to burn a lot of resources when I am working. The larger screen on the 6 is appealing both from a user & development standpoint.

    I will probably get a new phone for the large screen & so that I am not pulling out an outdated phone in business settings, but at this point it’s like having a Porsche with 15 more horsepower than the old one. I just can’t get very excited about it. The breakthrough took place a long time ago.

    Smart watches? I have plenty of devices already, thanks.

  34. MarkedMan says:

    . Another interesting thing from the Medical Device developer POV: I’ve cautioned people for years that Smartphone apps can’t be used for class 2 & 3 devices. Dozens of reasons why but here are two big ones: the operating system must have been developed within a quality system as defined by the FDA. This is an arduous and highly traceable process. It is conceivable that Apple could do this but Android cannot – by design. Another big reason: most graphical data is mandated by law to be shown at a specific physical size. For example, a heartbeat is displayed at so many mVolts per mm. How many different size android screen sizes are there? How many Apple? And if I query the Apple as to which it will answer correctly.

    I always threw in the caveat that Apple could make the iPhone compliant but that it wouldn’t make commercial sense. But, FWIW, I know they have been in significant talks with the FDA for a long time. I think they are seriously considering their options.

  35. Matt says:

    @stonetools: Basically the same as what the imac looked like when it was released. The only real difference was the old 8086s lacked colors and were not as round.

    Well the dynabook from 1968 looked about the same as an ipad it just had a mechanical keyboard in the bottom section.

    The GRiDPad was a 1988’s version of the ipad complete with a stylus for the touchscreen. Technology limitations at the time meant it lacked a color screen. Basically a precursor to the palm pilot

    There was the AT&T EO which had an impressive lists of capabilities for 1993. Cell phone modem fax microphone calendar database and word processor programs all came with the stock unit.

    Ever seen the Microsoft Tablet PC? Came out in 2002 with a look very similar to what Apple would eventualy use with the Ipad 8 years later. Color touchscreen a full version of windows XP including the ability to run the full library of software available for XP. 128 MB of ram and 10 GB of hard drive space with USB ports. This tablet was quite capable for it’s era.

    Basically my point is you seem to unfamiliar with the advancement of computer/tablet technology.

    Some of these products were lightyears ahead of other products available for the era. The problem was the makers lacked APple’s amazing marketing department. What also helped Apple greatly was the huge advances made in low cost low power usage processors in the 2000s via ARM technology and the development of lithium ion technology.

    Apple is about 50/50 when it comes to flops/home runs. People just don’t remember the myriad of flops.

  36. @MarkedMan:

    I agree open computing comes with its own headaches, but on the other hand, I’m somewhat disheartened by the way we seem to be retreating from the potential open computing led to in the 80s and 90s.

    Look at the distinction between system built in the 80s/early 90s like e-mail (anyone with an e-mail account can send e-mail to any other e-mail account regradless of who is providing the account, anyone can make a third party client to handle the client side of the interface, etc.) and something built in the late 90s/2000s like IM or social networking (each provider uses a completely different, usually proprietary protocol which can only talk to other people on the same provider).

    It’s not an improvement in my book.

  37. MarkedMan says:

    @Stormy Dragon: No debate from me here. Even within my company we use a variety of open source tools and systems. Notably, they come from commercial companies that are guaranteeing support and traceability – for a price. We are happy to pay. But it is great that for something like a database, someone else can essentially download the same product for free and enjoy tons of peer help, also for free. If you are starting a small company and are offering a game, educational program or office productivity app, or any other non-regulated product then you can have essentially the same resources at your disposal as companies the size of mine. It’s a win-win for everyone.

  38. wr says:

    @stonetools: ” ( Maybe Asian men carry phones in er, handbags, rather than pants pockets).”

    From what I’m seeing in Beijing, Asian men never bother putting their phones away — they simply text while they walk. Much better than ever noticing where you’re going or who’s in your way!

  39. Grewgills says:

    I’d be interested in reader thoughts on these new phone sizes.

    My current phone is about the size of the smaller of those and it comfortably goes in the front pocket of cargo shorts with a slim rubber case around it. My brother has the S4, which is about as big as the larger of the two and carries it around in his front pocket with no problem. If you are wearing comfortable slacks or golf shorts you should be fine carrying either in your front pocket. Just make sure you put your keys and change in the other pocket.

  40. MarkedMan says:

    @wr: I was at a wedding outside of Shanghai this weekend and saw a first: a guy with a gigantic Android phone in a bulky leather case actually holding it up to his head to make a call. It looked really funny. But reminded me how many people almost never use their phone for voice. And when they do it is with a microphone equipped set of earbuds.

    Heck, I’m to the point where I’m annoyed when someone calls me without texting first. And here in China there is no such thing as voicemail on a mobile phone. You have a mobile phone, you are trying to leave a message, why wouldn’t you just text? When I first arrived here I spent several days trying to set up voicemail on my company iPhone. My colleagues couldn’t help because they literally had no idea what I was talking about.

  41. Trumwill says:

    @Stormy Dragon: You’re right about the SD cards, but I’m not sure about the removable batteries. I’ve had to scratch phones off HTC, Sony, and Motorola phones from consideration because of the non-removable battery. Leaving Samsung and LG.

    Now that you mention it, I did read something about Jobs opposing the app store. So the one big thing I give him credit for… Anyway, I intensely dislike the closed aspect of it. However, as an Android user, I don’t have that. I do have Google Play and Amazon Appstore, and I suspect that if Apple hadn’t lead, they wouldn’t exist or wouldn’t be nearly so robust.

    @Grewgills: I think you mean the smaller of the two. The S-series is comparable to the smaller, the Note comparable to the larger.

    Anyway, my S5 fits in my pocket, though not comfortably. I keep the thing in a pretty thick case, though. Without the case, it’s not so bad. I still prefer a holster.

  42. MarkedMan says:

    What’s the advantage of removable batteries? You have to carry the extra battery right? And you should carry it in a case so a metal pen or something doesn’t short the contacts. So how is that different from a compact external battery used to recharge phones? I’ve got one built into a case but normally just carry it separately. I’ve seen others in all shapes and sizes, ranging from slip-into-a-coin-pocket to the size of a paperback.

    I’ve got an extra battery for my camera, but that’s only because my Sony doesn’t charge from the cable. You have to take the batter out and put it in a wall charger. What a pain….

  43. Trumwill says:

    @MarkedMan: With a spare battery, you’re at 100% instantly. On a long day, you can have several of them and at no point worry about running out of juice. This is, to be fair, less an issue than it used to be, as battery life has improved. As a matter of routine, though, I no longer have to have my phone on a charger during the day, ever. Until I have a battery that can reliably survive a full day of intensive use, that’s a godsend. Once battery management reaches that peak, it’ll matter a lot less to me.

    I tried the charger-in-a-case, but I don’t like the cases as much as the cases that are just cases.

  44. MarkedMan says:

    @Trumwill: Gotta agree with you about the charger in the case. I only have it because they handed it out to us at work. It’s come in handy a couple of times, but I would rather have a smaller external battery that took up less room. I suppose I should de-cheapify and invest in it myself.

  45. Grewgills says:

    @stonetools:

    Says every Apple hater before every Apple new product launch. Ocassionally they’re right (Ping anyone?) But Apple has hit a lot of long home runs.
    Will the Apple Watch catch on?

    Samsung beat them to that too, not that I think either are a great idea as things stand now. Of course, time will tell.

  46. Grewgills says:

    @MarkedMan:

    It is conceivable that Apple could do this but Android cannot

    Samsung or HTC or some other manufacturer that uses the Android platform could. That is the more reasonable comparison. Is there any real reason that Samsung or HTC couldn’t go to the FDA as well and offer similar manufacturer specific apps?

  47. Grewgills says:

    @MarkedMan:
    Phone batteries age and the charge lasts less and less time. It’s nice to be able to hop on Amazon or eBay and buy a new battery and replace it yourself for $20 or less. Apple doesn’t make it so easy.

  48. MarkedMan says:

    @Grewgills: Very true about replacing iPhone batteries. This conversation just prompted me to hop on Amazon and get a couple of external batteries for my wife and I. I’ll pick them up the next time I’m in the US. (How’s that for irony – I live in China but rely on Amazon and trips to the US to stock up on most of the non-food items I buy. Cheaper and better quality despite most of the things being made in China to begin with…)

  49. MarkedMan says:

    @Grewgills: Samsung might be able to pull it off, but there are large, large parts of the Android OS that were developed “outside the sandbox”. I have seen some medical products offered in Asia that did use a smartphone, usually just for connectivity. But the system manufacturers also supplied the phone. Whatever it was when they started development, it ended up as a low featured, low powered obsolete device by the time it hit market. In the non-medcial space, Cisco spent many millions going down this path with tablets. They took a version of Android, made it their own, and tried to sell it as a device to support Webex and their other conferencing tools. We were in discussions with them at the time and I got to know a great deal about it. They eventually gave up partly because of those same reasons – sophisticated buyers wouldn’t buy a tablet with an old version of the operating system. And Cisco’s buyers tend to be sophisticated.

    If anyone could do it, it might be Samsung. But I don’t know. You have to be able to guarantee security and privacy. Android phones can install any app from anyone, and the security on Android is weak. Getting past HIPAA requirements would be tough. To be honest, Windows phones would have a much better chance and in their most recent incarnation they are pretty darn decent with some cool innovations. No market share to speak of yet, though. but Microsoft is the kind of company that would be willing to fund such an effort.

  50. @MarkedMan:

    What’s the advantage of removable batteries?

    Batteries have a limited lifespan, much shorter than the lifespan of the phone. Without the ability to replace it, you’re basically forcing yourself to buy a new phone every 18 months – 2 years whether you actually need a new one or not.

  51. Trumwill says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I was under the impression that if you were willing to get screw sets out and void the warranty, you could actually replace an iPhone battery. Is that not the case?

  52. Grewgills says:

    @Trumwill:
    My stepfather did that, but I don’t see why Apple isn’t willing to make that easier or to allow microSD cards or some sort of memory card to upgrade the device memory. None of my applephile friends or even apple employee friends have been able to give me a good reason for this.

  53. MarkedMan says:

    @Grewgills: I think I understand their reasons. Any time you introduce a removable component to an electronic device you:
    – introduce another point of user failure, i.e. it will accidentally be misused in such a way as to cause a physical or compatibility failure
    – decrease the overall physical reliability of the device. Replaceable parts have a tendency to move and bang around and cause all sorts of problems. The connectors and cables are points of failure and the more they are handled the more likely they will fail.
    – Take up space, not only for the component itself but for the necessary means to access it. For instance, there are no screws on the iPhone case. Adding space for them would be non trivial
    – Significantly impact design since everything else would need to support the ability to remove and replace the components
    – Throw all your efforts to tightly control tolerances and build quality to the winds. Because people will buy the cheapest crp battery or memory card and then blame you when their are problems.

    On the other hand, there are real advantages to replaceable components. Fortunately there are many devices on the market that have them.

  54. Trumwill says:

    @Grewgills: @MarkedMan: My understanding is that it’s mostly the space issue. Which makes sense, if we consider how eagle-eyed Apple is (and others have become) on making the device as thin as humanly possibly.

    The non-OEM batteries are cheap, but that’s pretty readily identifiable. Even the ones painted up to look like OEM use cheap paint. So if someone goes and buys a replacement battery, and that’s immediately a lot weaker, and the paint is coming off of it, I don’t think Samsung gets much of the blame. If I were more ambitious, I’d put them side-by-side so you could see what I’m talking about. But I have no trouble whatsoever telling a genuine battery from a fake one.

  55. stonetools says:

    Heh, I wondered why I got my two down votes for my mildly pro-Apple post. I read on down the thread and realised that the oldest theological debate on the Internet-open vs closed systems – is still blazing away and that in pointing out Apple successes I was taking a position in The Great Debate…
    Regardless of how the Apple Watch turns out, I do think wearable technolgy will be huge. In 20 years time, kids will be looking at our smartphones the way we look at those honking great cell phones from the 80s.
    “Grandpa, did you really have to take your phone out of your pocket to do an Internet search? Why didn’t you double blink or tap the SmartBadge on your chest?”
    Meanwhile , curmudgeons will be grumbling that this technology is not needed.I expect that techies will also still be kvetching about walled gardens vs open source…

  56. Trumwill says:

    @stonetools: I actually think you could be right. At least, I think a lot of people are being too dismissive of the idea. Then again, I am an avid watch-wearer and look forward to having a smartwatch of sorts. This announcement reminded me to revisit my previous interest in a Pebble watch.

  57. wr says:

    @MarkedMan: Who needs voicemail when you’ve got Wechat?

  58. Anonne says:

    @MarkedMan:
    Please stop jocking Tim Cook.

    I am not an Apple hater, but I don’t buy the juice about Android being horribly unsafe. It isn’t. People can choose to accept apps from sources from outside Google Play, but that is off by default and most people don’t do that anyway. Only maybe twice have I ever turned that on, and only for a brief window of time, to get the app from Southwest Airlines so that I could watch tv on a flight, and one other time that I can’t remember but it would be something that I needed. If people choose to walk around with an unlocked phone, that is their fault. That does not make Android inherently unsafe.

    As for the phone size: I have a 1st gen Moto X, which is the same screen size as the iPhone 6. However, the X will be smaller than the 6 because Motorola did a fantastic job with the bezels, very thin bezels that don’t waste any space. I love my X, got it in May. It has a lot of useful features (NFC, Touchless control, Moto Assist which senses when I’m driving and automatically reads incoming texts to me, active notifications that let me see limited info on my screen without having to unlock the phone, trusted Bluetooth – which is being incorporated into Android L – that allows the phone to stay unlocked when connected to a specific Bluetooth device like a headset). And I got all that for less than half the price of the iphone 6 when it was on sale. A 32gb Moto X now will be closer to $400 but that is still vastly cheaper than an iPhone.

    That is the thing with the iProducts… I don’t see the value for the cost differential. This is not to say that they are not nice machines, because they are… just highly overpriced.

  59. Anonne says:

    Re: replaceable batteries.

    By the time you really do need to replace the battery, it is probably time to replace the phone itself. Yes, some people will not feel like some of the alternatives are sufficient and would prefer to carry a whole extra battery rather than some other kind of charging device. But when you consider the options for third party batteries… eh, well, I will put up with non-swappable battery. I get good battery life out of my phone unless I’m on the road with the gps and the screen on for Waze or Google Maps, and if I’m doing that, it’s plugged in. No phone will stand 2-5 hours of gps and make it all day.

  60. stonetools says:

    @Anonne:

    That is the thing with the iProducts… I don’t see the value for the cost differential. This is not to say that they are not nice machines, because they are… just highly overpriced.

    Think that’s more the case with certain Apple products (desktop computers) not phones or mobile devices. With 250M consumers, doesn’t seem Apple is pricing itself out of the market.
    I think one big thing going for Apple (which the DIYers/hackers don’t appreciate) is Apple’s superb customer service.That Apple’s secret weapon in building brand loyalty-and is a big reason why Apple fabns pay the high prices.

  61. Trumwill says:

    @Anonne: You can get a replacement battery straight from Samsung, if you are so inclined. It’s a luxury not to have to replace your phone when the battery dies out. More importantly, even when I replace a phone I like having the old one in good working order in case I misplace the new one.

    If I had a non-swappable, I’d still probably learn how to install a new battery.

  62. Anonne says:

    @stonetools:
    Apple has cachet, and a reputation for ease of use. People pay for that, even though it is not that hard to switch between the two. But make no mistake, they are a bit more expensive than some of the other flagships. The 6+ is starting at $750. That is a full 50% more than the new Moto X (not mine) and about $100 more than a Galaxy S5, LG G3 or HTC One M8 off contract. For what, exactly?

  63. Anonne says:

    @Trumwill:
    That is true, but usually at about the 18 months to 2 year mark I’m ready for a new phone anyway because the tech will have improved enough that my jealousy for speed comes into play.

  64. @Anonne:

    By the time you really do need to replace the battery, it is probably time to replace the phone itself.

    Since I first got a cellphone in early 2000, I’ve had a total of three phones:

    Nokia 5160
    Motorola Razr 3
    Samsung Galaxy S5 (as of two weeks ago)

    In both cases I only switched to a new phone when something happened that forced me to upgrade.

  65. stonetools says:

    Larger iPhone 6 Plus Sells Out, “Record Number” of iPhone Pre-orders

    Demand for the new iPhones is higher than that seen in either of the past two years, AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel told Re/code.

    In particular, Apple and all the major carriers appear to have sold through their preorder allotments of the larger iPhone 6 Plus with all quoting longer ship times for that model.

    A 64 gigabyte iPhone 6 Plus from Verizon, for example, was quoting a mid-October ship date. On AT&T, the same model was listed with a ship time of 35-42 days, also putting it well into October. Apple’s site was quoting ship times of three weeks to four weeks for that model on all carriers.

    Seems lots of people want the bigger iPhones.

    @Anonne:

    Let me re-emphasizet Customer service. Again, if you are a hacker type, that’s unimportant but to the average consumer, that can be a lifesaver. There is also the tight integration between the devices and with the ecosystem.
    Again, if you are hacker type who likes solving technical problems, that’s less important. But if you are the type who likes your computers working like appliances, then you pay for ease of use and convenience.
    As for phone prices, most US consumers buy on contract, renewing when the two years are up. They never see the full price.

  66. Matt says:

    @stonetools: Are you really trying to claim that a phone is a difficult item to use? Really?

    What computers don’t function like appliances?

    Your post reminds me of one of those awful commercials which shows people being ridiculously inept at using a common item.

  67. Anonne says:

    @stonetools:

    I said reputation. I didn’t say that Android was actually harder to use, because it isn’t. But it gives more options for customization. It isn’t mandatory, and in fact other than backgrounds, I don’t bother with a custom launcher. I am happy with the stock launcher in both my Moto X and my Nexus 7. As easy or easier to use as an iPhone… Although they finally entered 2011 and have widgets, that reputation for ease of use might take a hit, lol.

  68. Anonne says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    I noticed that some of the new plans from AT&T and Verizon put people on an 18 month or 1 year upgrade schedule. While I am not inclined to upgrade once a year, 18 months is probably on par for me, and not because I am some hacker, but because I like having more modern phones. I am not alone. I will have to see how I feel a year from now, if my X feels insufficient. It might hedge against obsolescence a little longer.

  69. Anonne says:

    Re: never seeing the full price. The subsidy is nice but I now prefer to buy off contract to stop paying Verizon extra money for the privilege of being locked in for 2 years. There is no transparency there, and I am not changing carriers. AT&T is more transparent with their Next program. There, at least, you can see when the subsidy ends and start paying less.

  70. stonetools says:

    @Anonne:

    The subsidy is nice but I now prefer to buy off contract to stop paying Verizon extra money for the privilege of being locked in for 2 years.

    Good for you. Most Americans don’t do that.

    Not taking a side on this, just noting a fact.

  71. stonetools says:

    @Matt:

    What computers don’t function like appliances?

    The answer: all of them, Katie.
    Ah, the hubris of the young techie.

    Hand your grandmother a smartphone and ask her if it’s as simple and easy to use as a washing machine or a microwave oven.

    @Anonne:

    H’mm.

    Customization.Launcher.Widget. Stock Android.
    You do realise that to the average phone user, you might as well be talking Klingon, right?
    Apple is for folks who don’t know or even want to know what those things are.

  72. Matt says:

    @stonetools: My computers have been far more reliable then my washer dryer fridge etc despite being overclocked and used heavily. I turn them on do whatever and then turn them off. The only reason I buy a new one is because of obsolescence like DDR1 2 3 etc.

    My grandma has no issue using an android smart phone. I have no idea how you would find it complicated to dial with one. Sure she doesn’t do fancy stuff with it but you’re not doing fancy stuff with a basic washing machine either. Now if you’re talking about advanced touch screen based high end washing machines then the phone is actually easier at first. How hard is it to understand press the phone icon to call someone?

    So 35 is a young techie now? Well that makes me feel better and worse because my body is feeling pretty old these days and it’ll only get worse 🙁

  73. Anonne says:

    @stonetools:
    I like to think that people over 10 understand the concept of customization. And as I described, one does not have to use those features to enjoy the platform. I don’t. And as for the contract, I am aware that most people use them, but the upfront cost will be higher on contract with iPhones than with other phones.

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