I’m in San Francisco, and there is less than 24 hours before Apple put on what could be one of their largest “Events” ever. So, what is the last minute word on the street and on the web, what can we expect?
This venue hasn’t been used before by Apple, but its big – it could easily fit the biggest audience Apple have ever had at an event, so that either means they want a big crowd, they’ve got big things to announce, or – of course – they couldn’t book one of the smaller venues (There’s a HUGE Salesforce conference about to start in town)
iPhone 6s and 6s Plus
I’d be almost inclined to put my house on this evening being the reveal for the new iPhones which will be called the 6s and 6s Plus.
Ever since the third iPhone grabbed the “S” moniker for its enhanced speed over the 3G iPhone the pattern has been as predictable as night following day, 2015 will be no different.
Innovation in design let alone features is one heck of a challenge. We’ve got thin phones with designs that are so similar they struggle to be unique yet we expect huge leaps each year. This year will see a phone that looks remarkably like the iPhone 6. There will be some slight distinguishing feature like a moved antenna grid or polished metal edge – but at a distance they will look very much the same.
Some of that is confirmed by the leaks last month from Melbourne’s Sonny Dickson which showed a similar look, however there does seem to be a slight size differential to increase the metal thickness to put more distance between “Bend-gate” and the next iPhone. This will be problematic for case manufacturers who may need to adjust things slightly, meaning a separate case range for a phone only incrementally different.
While the Samsung Galaxy S6 and LG G4 have some mighty impressive cameras on board, night equal or better than iPhone in many respects, I still believe the iPhone camera is the best. Just.
I say that weighing up picture quality, ease of use, speed to launch and shutter speed. Many other apps on a range of phones have emulated the iPhone interface which is a genuine nod to the UX&d (User experience and design) teams in Cupertino.
The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus will come with improved sensor and lens technology.
Better lenses mean higher quality, in the same way a DSLR camera offers lens choice but offer a default better picture experience, the iPhone will take a leap forward in its in-built lens to enhance the images.
The sensor on the other hand allows Apple to get better overall performance. Not megapixels or anything like that, expect to see more demonstrations of high quality colour reproduction and exceptional improvement in low light performance.
Faster and Lighter
I’m pretty sure Apple product teams are not allowed to bring a product to market unless it is “faster and lighter”
A new processor to speed things up is a given, and at the same time more leaps in graphic performance demonstrated by advanced gaming.
How the hell they can make them lighter I don’t know, but they’ll sure as hell try.
Ok this is the big deal.
I genuinely felt that Force Touch on the new MacBook was magical. It tricked my mind, made me think my fingers were able to click deeper and harder into the touch trackpad. Nope, it’s all smoke and mirrors.
Combining a vibrating haptic engine with new sensors created a whole new range of gestures.
The same technology came to the Apple Watch, allowing a new way to interact with an app by pushing and holding the screen.
This is at its brilliant best on the watch when you want to clear all notifications. Push and hold to get the option to clear all. Likewise in messages, push and hold to see the prompt for Compose Message.
It’s not as “magical” on the watch because the vibration doesn’t make me think I’ve pushed in on the screen, but as a gesture it is excellent.
On the iPhone it would open a new set of ideas for developers in games, utilities and for Apple in many default applications.
I can see the clear notifications being a big hit on the iPhone, as simple as that sounds.
But let me give you another great example. Swipe up from the iPhone screen to see the Control Centre where you turn on and off WiFi, Bluetooth and other common settings.
Imagine you could push and hold the WiFi button to go into the WiFi settings. Rather than opening Settings and choosing WiFi, you’ve saved a bunch of swipes and clicks.
Simple yet effective. Though I do hope Apple have an awesome implementation of Force Touch by default so we can really bring it to life.
Apple Watch 2.0?
No, there won’t be a new Apple Watch.
This was the event that 12 months ago saw the return of the “one more thing”, words Steve Jobs was famous for, yet not until the watch had Tim Cook uttered those words at an event.
The watch isn’t a year old in retail, and a new version of software is coming for the watch in the next month.
Expect demos of that new version to feature.
Also, expect new accessories to be announced, more stylish bands and such to keep the custom look and feel of the Apple Watch ahead of the more generic smartwatch competitors.
Contrary to the feelings earlier in the month, it now seems likely we will see the iPad’s big brother revealed here in San Francisco.
This long-rumoured 12 inch iPad may just be aimed at the creative and corporate markets and there’s even talk of a stylus. That’s big given Apple always talked about the finger being all we needed for input on these devices.
If Force Touch is incorporated also, it could mean a very interesting approach to the stylus for designers – we shall wait and see.
Poor little Apple TV, the cheap black box that sits alongside your TV and brings it to life.
Rumours are we’ll see an all new upgraded Apple TV. Feels logical to me, a slightly larger, more powerful box, with some built in storage and an advanced remote control.
The storage is there because we expect a whole new operating system, based on iOS 9, and allowing developers to build apps, and in particular games for the Apple TV.
Combine that with the remote control including an sensors like your iPhone and a touchpad and you’ve got the big screen Crossy Road experience right out of the box. This is a huge new market for people wanting simple entry level gaming, without having to get an Xbox or Playstation.
The rest of the features, for Australia anyway, will stay mostly the same.
Also at this event we can expect announcements for the release date for iOS 9, OSX El Capitan and Watch OS 2.0.
It will be interesting to see if Tim Cook reads out any Apple Watch sales data, but I think it unlikely.
All that’s a big fat stab in the dark, let’s see how close we get.