Apple have gained a considerable reputation for their launch events. Others try but no-one can quite match the hype and interest built up around an Apple ’Special Event’.
Last night’s event was no different and was perhaps one of the most eagerly awaited in recent years. It had been four and a half years since the launch of the iPad and tension had been building for the next ‘big’ release. Would there be an ‘iWatch’? What would the iPhone 6 deliver?
At Brightec HQ we ordered in the pizza, cracked open the fizzy pop and sat down ready to watch the live stream. Here are our thoughts:
On the iPhone 6
What did the new iPhone 6 have in store? We ran through some of the iPhone 6 rumours, which would be true?
Bigger, thinner, faster
As anticipated the new iPhone came in two sizes - a 4.7" screen and an even larger phablet size device - the iPhone 6 Plus with a whopping 5.5" screen.
The new iPhones are 6.9mm and 7.1mm (for the plus) thin while offering greater battery life, especially the iPhone 6 Plus. Also, both new phones have a new "Retina HD" screen which offers many more pixels and greater area for apps to utilise.
As expected the iPhone 6 uses a new 64bit A8 chip which is 25 per cent faster, 50 per cent more efficient and 13 per cent smaller than its A7 predecessor.
A better camera
Whilst the camera has the same amount of mega pixels, don't be deceived. This is a markedly better camera and the Plus model has optical image stabilisation. The iPhone 6 camera also has 'phase detection auto focus', which is generally only seen in SLR cameras. Apple say the iPhone 6 can focus on subjects twice as fast as the iPhone 5S.
Apple finally added NFC (Near Field Communication, think Oyster Card) to the iPhone but Apple have also worked with some of the largest banks and retailers in America to allow for iPhone 6 users to pay securely for products and services using the iPhone and finger print.
Apple say this is highly secure and no card details or personally identifiable details are transmitted to the merchant.
This makes ApplePay a more secure way of purchasing than using a debit or credit-card (which can be easily cloned).
On the Apple Watch
Apple uncharacteristically flew through the iPhone presentation in breakneck speed - they had "one last thing" to revel. There would have been an air of suspense in the Brightec office but, well, everyone already knew right?
The Watch comes in three editions; Watch, Watch Sport and the premium 17 karat gold Watch Edition.
At first glance Watch looks amazing. Apple have obviously really thought about how people interact with small devices.
The Digital Crown
Apple have invented the ‘Digital Crown’. The digital crown looks like the crown that your granddad's watch has to wind the timepiece. Apple's incarnation cleverly allows you to zoom in and out fluidly with incredible responsiveness.
What can it do?
I'm sure we'll learn its full capabilities over time but initially we can see the Watch will recieve notifications, track fitness, tell the time, run 3rd party apps and even make phone calls. You can even do a Joe 90 and talk to your arm (we can't tell you how long we've been waiting to do that).
Implications for developers
As well as loving a good gadget, we actually have to develop them too. So what were the main implications for developers?
For developers it's a big change as the new iPhones have new resolutions; 1334x750 and 1920x1080 respectively. That means we’ll have to supply 3 different sizes of artwork. A tad frustrating maybe but we’re excited about the possibilities offered by the larger screens.
iOS8 on the iPhone 6
Apple showed off iOS8 running on the iPhone 6 and how landscape mode now uses an iPad style split view to show side-by-side content. For example, Mail app viewed in landscape on iPhone 6 would show the list of messages in a column on the left and the message content on the right.
This means that when we develop new iPhone apps we will now have to support multiple different form factors. It seems Android style fragmentation has arrived.
Don’t panic though, we've been using the iOS8 betas for a few months now, so we've got a fairly good idea on how to support all these new form factors and Apple have devised quite an elegant way to manage this in Xcode 6.
It can be daunting when Apple make big changes but we can’t wait to get our hands on the new gear and start developing.
This article was originally written for Brightec by Cameron Cooke