Apple’s highly anticipated media event came and went yesterday in Cupertino, Calif., and the dust is still settling from what CEO Tim Cook called “the next chapter in Apple’s history.” But depending on who you talked to after the event, it might not be a chapter worth reading.
As many expected, two of yesterday’s three main takeaways were new devices: two iPhones and the long-awaited iWa – ahem – Apple Watch. Cook also introduced a new mobile payments system that TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino said straight up “owned” the intermediate payments industry, called Apple Pay.
In the immediate aftermath, the consensus appeared to be that Apple had a good day at the Flint Center. Media outlets drooled and ogled at the sleeker, slimmer, faster, longer-lasting iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, while others speculated about the impact of Apple Pay on contemporary payment processing systems. And then of course there is the matter of the Apple Watch, which will either change how we think about smartwatches or just increase the size of an already growing pile.
Like all honeymoon periods, however, this one had to end eventually. And it certainly did this time around, with assessments ranging from “meh” to snarky sarcasm as reviewers started to take a closer look at what was really going on. For instance, Ars Technica’s Ron Amadeo couldn’t help but notice the similarities between the iPhone 6’s “new” specs and those of the Nexus 4, a device released way back in 2012.
There are also, of course, jokes about how Apple showed up late to the [unfortunately labeled] phablet party. Business Insider, for one, pointed out that while the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus are the company’s largest phones to date, they are the same size as HTC and Samsung’s own flagship products.
Apple Watch wasn’t spared from the pundits either, with Motherboard quipping that the new wearable represented “the biggest upgrade to telling time of all time.” Engadget’s Joseph Volpe even seemed a little bitter, declaring that the much-hyped device was “much ado about nothing” and opining about how the world needs a smartwatch that will “completely replace our need for a cellphone:”
Otherwise, it’s just one more thing to remember to charge throughout our busy days. To date, there’s nothing any of these thinly veiled, proof-of-concept, wrist-worn devices can do that the smartphone already in your hand can’t.
Another well-publicized weakness of the Apple Watch is its disappointing battery life. Perhaps many were hoping that in this area Apple would succeed where others have failed, but according to BGR and Re/Code, Apple Watch wearers will have to recharge their devices every night.
Of course, the event wasn’t a total bust. Venture Beat is already calling the high-powered iPhone 6 “good for games” and Gizmodo gushing over the improvements to its LTE modem, screen resolution, camera and overall design appeal.
The big winner here, though, may just be the rollout of Apple Pay. As Cook pointed out during the demo, Apple is going straight for the wallet’s jugular with this one by reducing the payments process to little more than a quick tap at the register. You’ll also have an easier time making payments when you shop online. As Fast Company points out, this focus on improving the user experience is really what sets Apple Pay apart from other payment systems out there and what could be a real game-changer in the industry.
The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are expected to hit stores Sept. 19 starting at $199 for the 4.7-inch model or $299 for 5.5-inch. Apple Watch enthusiasts will have to wait until early 2015, perhaps to give the company more time to improve on its design.
Photo Credit: John Mitchell via Flickr