Additional words by Andy Walker
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We kind of like Apple, Andy and I, and after last night’s launch, we were filled with opinions. Is the Apple Watch worth buying, and has the iPhone finally gone and copied Android outright? We puzzle over some of life’s toughest questions.
Is it justified to have a bigger iPhone?
Steven: I say yes. The 5.5″ iPhone 6 Plus fills the gap between smartphone and tablet, and is Apple’s first “phablet” (I truly loathe that word). Phablets are trendy, and sell well — combine this with the selling power of the iPhone brand and Apple has a licence to print money. But is it necessary? If you want a Full HD screen, then yes, the iPhone 6 Plus is a must-have.
Andy: If bigger doesn’t actually mean “I’m sporting better hardware internally” it’s just a pointless dimension game Apple’s playing with its rivals, and the public. One-handed mode is brilliant and will change the bedtime-smartphone ritual, but I don’t think it’s possible to hold a 5.5″ phone comfortably while typing with one hand. But it’s bigger, so it’s obviously better.
Will the iWatch change the smartwatch game?
S: Yes. Before the Apple Watch, no smartwatch was appealing. At all. While Samsung tried its best to make smartwatches interesting and desirable, it ultimately failed. It’s all down to usability, and the Apple Watch’s UI is dreamy, yet accessible. The incredibly slick design rounds-off a compelling package. One sore point: the Watch is way too expensive at $350 but hey, it’s Apple. Another sore point: lifting your hand to your face to speak, isn’t that redundant, and tiring?
A: A firm, undecided answer of “maybe”. It will become the benchmark of aesthetics, usability and price, but it’s not that killer smartwatch we’ve been waiting for. Non-iOS compatibility is arrogant, but perhaps this is where Microsoft will be rubbing its hands together in delight.
Has Apple copied Android again?
S: Almost blatantly. Wide and thin are what Android Phablets are all about. Plus there’s now NFC Payments and a very Samsung-like Screen. One of the key considerations for Android buyers is screen size, and this is the reason for many jumping the good ship Apple. Now that there’s an Android-style width, Apple may be able to reel in its lost children.
A: Of course it has. Apple is about as inventive as Buzzfeed when it comes to creating its own content, and iOS borrows from a barrage of Android L features. Not counting the battery UI feature, we now have third party keyboards and NFC support which were supported by Android ages ago.
Is the iPad officially dead, will the iPhone 6 Plus replace it?
S: Not a chance. The iPad is still making money for Apple, despite sinking sales. Even though Apple didn’t announce any new tablets this launch, the iPhone 6 Plus will be a decent-enough replacement for those not interested in a dedicated tablet. Think of it as an iPad Mini-Mini.
A: The Mini definitely is. Last night we were promised a newly updated iPad Air 2, which didn’t come either. I don’t see the range’s sales recovering either, even after a relaunch.
Will you buy an 18-karat gold Apple watch?
S: Hell yes. Even if it costs over US$349, it’s the Apple Watch to own.
A: Are you kidding? Of course I would. Anything Dr. Dre would wear I’d totally don too.
Can the Watch beat Android Wear?
S: After I’ve tested both Watches, then I’ll come to a decision. Both watch OS’ essentially do the same thing, in that voice commands and swipes replace text entry. With Apple Watch, there’s no option for typing at all and it’s either dictation, voice commands, automated text responses or Emojis. Where it differs though is with Apple Pay: you’ll be able to use it instead of swiping a credit card. Space-age, man.
A: It’s definitely a Tizen beater. As for an Android Wear? I’m not so sure. It’s difficult to imagine a more complete experience than Google Now clasping onto a wrist. Although its UI is more fetching, but the idea of drawing smileys on the Apple Watch somehow goes against its suavity.
What killer feature (iPhone 6) do you like the most?
S: In this order: Apple Pay, wider screens, 64-bit CPU and full HD screens.
A: The inclusion of the 1080p screen on the iPhone 6 Plus, for one. Alongside the OIS and 8MP camera (which snaps brilliant photographs, mind) would be a reason to get the Plus. But of course, if you just wanted a “camera phone” you could just get the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom (coughs Samsung from the back of the room).
Is Apple running out of ideas?
S: No, the cryogenic head of Steve Jobs will keep Tim Cook filled with ideas for centuries to come.
A: Other than the much lauded one-handed mode, there wasn’t any cutting edge technology on display last night, was there? It seems Apple has been all about plugging gaps created by Android’s impact rather than revolutionising the way we “telephone.” Apple Pay and WiFi calling demands the infrastructure, which some countries just don’t have, yet.
Has the launch lived up to the Hype?
S: Nothing, short of a nuclear explosion filled with a billion gyrating Miley Cyrus’ could have lived up to the hype that the internet created. What I am glad for is the fact that no-one had any inkling of what the Watch would look like. Clearly, Apple leaks its own gizmos on purpose. In two years, there was not a single leak of the Watch, but trillions of the iPhone 6. So what gives? In my opinion, Apple clearly “leaks” these images to drum up publicity, but for the Watch, it played its cards close to its chest.
A: Not at all. Perhaps it was due to countless issues at the venue and the stream, or maybe it was the endless list of leaks that I carefully curated for the past five months, but it just didn’t fizzle and pop like I thought it would. The Watch was above and beyond what I expected, but we could’ve done with less of Tim Cook’s terrible sense of humour, Bono’s vapid facial expression and more iPhone 6 surprises.