Mobile Fix: Thinking about Apple

Mobile Fix: Thinking about Apple

As Apple launches its much-anticipated iPhone 6 model today, Simon Andrews, founder of Addictive!, looks at what else has been going on for the tech giant over the last week.

The ramifications of the Apple launch last week continue. Pre sales of the new phones have gone very well – too well perhaps; as the wait time on Apple is weeks. Some of the operators were quick to offer the iPhones too and have done really well.

iOS8 is available and that has kept people thinking about Apple – once they could actually get it downloaded. It looks beautiful and the elegance of much of the interaction whets the appetite for the iPhone 6 too.

We are also starting to get an understanding of just how much better the new devices are – and the camera in particular is getting a lot of praise. As we talked about last week, the Ice Bucket Challenge has taught millions of people that making and sharing video isn’t that hard. Add a great camera to that new expertise and we can expect some great content.

For a long time we have argued that video is going to be democratised just like music was with the launch of technologies like the Roland 808 – that enabled talented people to make music in their bedroom and bypass the traditional stranglehold of the record companies.

As the explosive growth of YouTube has shown, the talent is there and even with a webcam they are making content people want to see. Better cameras will accelerate this. SXSW showed a film shot entirely in an iPhone 5 and the guy behind that is very bullish.

It’s the Apple watch that is driving most of the commentary though. Last week the feeling of the launch was a little vague and that was a bad thing. This week the feeling seems to be that the vagueness was actually pretty smart, as it allows Apple to set the agenda over the coming months as they drip feed feature and functionality news.

Talking in a US TV interview, Tim Cook talks about their desire for developers to come on board before the device launches. Just like no one expected Uber, Moves or Flappy Bird when the iPhone launched, great watch apps could make the device a must have.

One of the best Apple commentator blogs is DaringFireball and he makes some good points over pricing – suggesting the gold watch could cost as much as $10,000. He also gets into some of the possible functionality, which, along with some of Tim Cook’s comments, make the Watch sound like less of a peripheral.

It will clearly have many ways to enhance the iPhone in your pocket or bag but will be able to do a lot on its own. He also thinks that the S1 computer on a chip that powers the watch could be replaceable, meaning the Watch is truly comparable with luxury watches where people expect them to last a lifetime.

Ben Evans’ thoughts on the Watch are worth reading – particularly his point that the delight of glancing at your wrist to see that Leeds have scored or that your flight is being called could be just as addictive as the smartphone. People check their phones dozens of times a day – can a watch replace much of that?

The chatter around Pay is more muted – largely because there is still a lack of real insight into how the service will roll out. Sure, we know the key points, but as Apple needs all the various partners on board, it’s not easy to see where they could end up in a couple of years.

Right now the US is poised to move to chip and pin or chip and signature, so retailers will have to upgrade their terminals. And just like in Europe most will include NFC technology. So Apple have been smart and adopted a less optimal technology largely because someone else is paying for the hardware roll out. And partnerships with Visa, Mastercard, Amex, etc make perfect sense.

But one of the smartest investors, Chamath Palihapitiya, thinks Apple has pulled off a masterstroke. He believes Apple is poised to disrupt the global banking infrastructure in the next decade or so and earn trillions of dollars. He likens the deals with the credit card firms to the way they got the record labels to support itunes. And he thinks that – eventually – an iPhone will act as a POS terminal so you then don’t actually need the credit card. Very interesting.

It is worth watching the Tim Cook TV interview for a good take on where Apple is and some hints on what’s next. Asked about TV, he says it’s still stuck in the 70s and then politely declines to talk about their plans for the space. And he also talks about the move into enterprise and the IBM partnership. (This long Bloomberg interview covers a lot of these issues too.)

Another piece of the jigsaw is the Apple announcement on privacy, making the point that advertising is a small part of their business and hence they can be very focused on privacy. It also makes the point that Apple doesn’t cooperate with the NSA – which begs the question who else can say that?

This is an edited and abridged version of Mobile Fix – click here to read the full article on Addictive!’s website

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