Likes and Dislikes from Apple’s iPhone 6s, Apple TV, and iPad Pro Event

Overall

Today was a JAM-PACKED event that contained much more content than I had expected.  Coming into it, I expected new iPhones (standard) and the much-rumored revamped Apple TV.  I believed that the iPad Pro would be unveiled at its own event, as the iPad Air 2 had been announced the same way.  I have divided my analysis into 4 parts, in the order they were introduced: The Apple Watch, iPad Pro, Apple TV, and the iPhones.

Apple Watch

Things I liked:

  • More Colors! Apple has appropriately said that the Watch is the most personal device Apple has ever made, and they have supported this notion with a myriad of ways to mix and match the fashionable aspect of the Watches from the bands all the way to the metal the watches are made of. Specifically:
    • More colors for the Apple Watch Sport, namely yellow and rose gold anodized options.
    • More colors for the Sport bands, and a new partnership with Hermes to sell high end leather bands
  • Watch OS2, being released on September 16th will begin unshackling the Watch from the iPhone, allowing more of the computing that’s taking place to take place on the actual Watch itself. This should bring more stability and speed, alongside making the Watch a more compelling product.
    • Third party complications, specifically, will be the software addition I will be most looking forward to.

Things I didn’t like:

  • The continued emphasis on the apps that the Watch can run.  I understand that apps are important, but in my opinion it is not the main selling point as they are on the iPhone, iPad etc. As an Apple Watch owner, I envision using Complications and notifications more than using actual apps especially as the Watch seems to be designed to be used for 10 seconds or less at a time.
    • For example, as a part of the event today, Apple brought up Airstrip, a medical app made for doctors.  In this app, they showed that doctors can check on their patients schedules and get a lot of data right from the wrist.  Cool, right? The problem to me is: why wouldn’t they prefer to do that on an iPad or iPhone? The case hasn’t been made, and I’d argue that even if the app worked perfectly it could not be as comfortable as using it on a phone or tablet.

iPad Pro

Things I liked:

  • That screen!
  • Speaker improvements
  • Great demos
    • Microsoft showed the benefits of a screen this large and the multi-tasking introduced by Apple with iOS 9 with having two Office documents open side by side.
      • Side-note: isn’t Microsoft trying to sell Surfaces? [More on the Surface later]
    • There was a demo for 3D4Medical, a human anatomy app that showed how a screen this large can be used for medical purposes. More fantastic applications for the health industry are surely to follow
    • Adobe ruined what was another great demo with a weirdly toned presentation. This is a “like” for me because the presentation itself showed the power of this machine.
  • The homage to the Surface (stylus and keyboard)
    • I’m a believer in the concept of the Surface, and I think Apple’s accessory announcement has proven that the concept itself is sound.
    • The Apple Pencil looks fantastic, I can’t wait to see what artists will do with this new tool.
    • The Smart Keyboard folds really nicely, it remains to be seen how comfortable it is typing with.  This is also the weakest point of the Surface’s keyboard.

Things I didn’t like:

  • I get that this iPad isn’t for me, I’m not a content creator in any way, I use my iPad as a secondary reading device and a way to stream Netflix and other video at night. I also get this is targeted to a higher end clientele.  But the cost of a base iPad Pro ($799), a Smart Keyboard ($169), and an Apple Pencil ($99) makes this a non-starter for me.  I would rather put in a little bit more and get a MacBook.  Again, I understand this isn’t for me,  I just wish it was a little bit closer to an “impulse purchase” level, and maybe a few years down the road it will be.

Apple TV

Things I liked:

  • New interface
    • One word: clean
    • I don’t know yet whether I’ll like the white background on my TV rather than the black, but reaction seems to be positive.
  • Siri Integration
    • “Siri, show me something that will make me look cool”
  • App Store!
    • I’m particularly excited about this.  The potential for gaming (both single player and multiplayer) alone will make this a huge hit.  The MLB At Bat demo looked astounding, and as an NBA fan I hope they take a lot of lessons from this.  The new Netflix app looks great, and in general all of these companies will be given the freedom to design the apps as they implement their own vision as to how their product should look on a television.
  • New Remote
    • It’s Bluetooth (so we won’t have to point at the Apple TV in one perfect angle) and it also functions as a game controller. There’s really not much more to say then this: the last one sucked and this one doesn’t suck.
  • Universal Search
    • No more searching to see if Bad Boys II is on Netflix or Hulu on some shady websites.  This will get more and more useful as more apps are allowed to integrate into the search.

Things I didn’t like

  • Pissing Match with Amazon
    • I don’t know who is to blame here, but as Amazon’s Prime offering increases including stellar shows like “Transparent”, their absence is extremely loud.
  • No 4K support
    • Now that the iPhone can take 4K video, Apple sells 5K iMacs, it’s odd that the new Apple TV doesn’t support 4K.
  • Storage Tiers
    • This, weirdly enough, is the angriest I was during the event.  The new Apple TV will sell for $149 (32GB version) and $199 (64GB version).  I consider myself a super-nerd, and I have NO idea why I would need a 64GB version.  It’s not even about the price, considering how much I use my current (now-ancient) Apple TV, I’d gladly pay the $199.  But why do two versions of this exist?  Why make a set-top box complicated?  Stuff like this plays into the “Apple overcharges for everything” stereotype because to me it is absolutely unnecessary for them to create a tier for a box that should be fully standardized.

iPhones 6s/6s Plus

Things I liked:

  • Rose Gold color (more colors, more glory)
  • Touch ID improvements
    • I find Touch ID to be great 90% of the time, but those 10% can be infuriating.  The slight bit of sweat, the angle being just off, can register your fingerprint as wrong and I hope this will improve it.
  • 3D touch
    • Unlike the force touch on the Mac, I can easily see how well this will integrate with my day-to-day experience using my phone.  Simple shortcuts, “peeking” into emails, quick actions, etc will all be a part of my standard usage.  I think they nailed it, I just hope it’s not too hard to use.
  • Camera
    • Improvements to an already great camera are always great, and it’s one of the primary focuses Apple has consistently shown since the first iPhone year over year.
    • 4K video is great
    • 12MP camera with a 5MP front facing camera with the clever “Retina flash” (where the screen itself functions as flash) is a solid upgrade
    • Live Photos
      • I LOVE this feature, and I’m sure people with kids will especially love this.  The iPhone will automatically record the few seconds before and after taking the actual photo, which will essentially create a “live photo”. In your gallery, it will look like the normal pictures we are used to, but when it is “3D touched” it will show the animation in full.  In addition, you will be able to set this as a wallpaper which can be animated by pressing at any time.  I can’t wait to use this.

Things I didn’t like:

  • Storage [sound familiar?] nickel and dime-ing
    • I’m really happy that the iPhone camera keeps improving.  4K video, 12MP camera, 5MP front facing camera, it’s all fantastic.  In addition to better image quality, this makes all the files larger.  Yet, the iPhone is being sold in these configurations: 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB.  Even the Apple TV is being sold with 32GB as an entry level option! C’mon, Apple, this is just stupid now.  I don’t know whether to call it cheap, arrogant, or disingenuous to keep doing this.  I bought my dad the 16GB 6 Plus, he has little to no apps, only takes a few pictures, and even then his phone fills up regularly.  Is continually deleting apps and pictures from your phone a part of the iPhone experience then? I acknowledge that Apple has taken steps such as reducing the size of the operating system on the phone, but it is still extremely punitive to the customers Apple claims to care about.  I simply believe there is no defense for this, and I hope that this is the last time we will deal with this.
    • Secondly, how about some common sense with the iCloud free tier as well?  I’m happy that Apple made iCloud storage more affordable, but there is still room for improvement.  How about something simple like, if I buy a 64GB iPhone that’s how much I get free? Or something comparable? The nickel and diming at this level just seems below a company of Apple’s stature.

3 thoughts on “Likes and Dislikes from Apple’s iPhone 6s, Apple TV, and iPad Pro Event

  1. Great point about the watch not being about apps. Completely agree. If you’re using it for just a few seconds at a time, apps aren’t the main thing.

    My favorite line from this post was: ” I use my iPad as a secondary reading device and a way to stream Netflix and other video at night…”

    – Can you unpack this “other video at night” you speak of a bit more?

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