Apple's iPad Event

Yesterday, Apple accidentally leaked the specs and design for their two new iPads, the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Mini 3, before today's event.

After what seemed like another 3000 amazing dad jokes from Craig Federighi, including one totally adorably phone call with the one and only Stephen Colbert, Apple made it's first announcement. OS X 10.10 Yosemite would be available for download today, and that it would be free. Yosemite was first unveiled back in June's WWDC 2014 event, and it not only served as a total visual refresh of OS X to complement the more recent iOS visual overhaul, it brought forward a bunch of new things, most notably, continuity.

The second announcement was that iOS 8.1 would be available for download this coming Monday, and after the absolute nightmare that was iOS 8.0.1 that bricked any iPhone 6/6+ user that was unfortunate enough to have downloaded it, 8.1 looks to bring a whole slew of improvements to the operating system.

Also rolling out on Monday is the first stage in Apple Pay, Apple's NFC based payment system. The company has partnered with 500+ banks since it's initial announcement last month.

The biggest news of the event, however, wasn't a recap of the software we saw last month at the #AppleLive event, but rather it was the announcement of the new iPad Air 2, and the iPad Mini 3. Both devices have the Touch ID sensor that was first seen last year in the iPhone 5S, and now come in the champagne gold colour as well. The major difference now is that the two no longer stand equal. With last year's model, you could buy either the Air or the Mini, and not feel like you were settling for something lesser than what the other offered. It didn't matter what screen size you bought - you were getting the latest and greatest from Apple. Now, the Air outstrips the Mini in every conceivable way, from the inclusion of the A8 processor to a thinner design. The Mini, however, remains the exact same, without even getting a spec bump to last year's A7 chip, and has the same thickness. It's essentially a non-upgrade, and more expensive than it's near identical twin, the iPad Mini 2.

And this is where the first of Apple's many problems comes from - a total lack of focus. The designs of the iPhones and iPads are completely different, and from a company that prides itself on it's uniformity and continuity of design, that's simply unnacceptable. The new iPhones have tapered glass that goes edge to edge and rounded sides, but the iPads still have the chamfered edges seen back on the iPhone 5 over two years ago.

And the worst part about all of this is that there are now FIVE iPads to choose from. Five. That's a play straight from the book of Samsung, with tablets from every generation and size imaginable creating a nightmarish situation when it comes to choice. And these iPads, with the exception of the Air 2, are all basically the same 'S' updates of one another. Sure, they're better, faster, and thinner, but they're all still largely the same as before. 

In a move unlike Apple, and more Samsung-esque in Nature, (which is weird given Samsung's recent efforts to make people buy their latest phones and not the $0 on contract Galaxy S3 from two years ago), Apple is still selling their older models. If there's one thing they should borrow from Google it's that once they move onto the newest hardware, from the Nexus 4 to the Nexus 5 to the Nexus 6, they should stop selling the previous generation, instead focusing on bringing people up to the newest hardware that the company is offering.

The problem's Apple is trying to solve in this refresh is a problem that no one has, that their iPads and iPhones are too thick. With the iPhone 6 and 6+, they reduced the footprint of the phone, but left an unsightly camera bulge which is atypical of Apple, and sacrificed the structural integrity of the device overall. Sure, the original iPad is thicker than two iPad Air 2s stacked one on top of another, but that doesn't matter to most users. Users want a device that will lost long, and that requires a larger batter. Most users would be more than happy with a slightly thicker device if it meant that it could do more for longer periods of time. Thinness does not necessarily mean innovation.

"Sure, they're better, faster, and thinner, but they're all still largely the same as before."

On top of all the iPad mania, Apple also announced a 27" 5K Retina iMac. It has a a 5120x2880 display, which contains 67% more pixels than a regular 4K display.

B0Fn2nGIQAEpOdh.jpg

Personally, I find this hilarious, especially since Apple has yet to optimize their Mac Pro to work properly with 4K displays, let alone dual screen setups. Even then, when it does barely work, everything is absolutely tiny in 4K, and even tinier in 5K, as seen in this image tweeted by The Verge's Nilay Patel.

A fully specced 27" 5k Retina iMac also comes with a pair of binoculars. *Squint squint.*

A fully specced 27" 5k Retina iMac also comes with a pair of binoculars. *Squint squint.*

The 5K Retina iMac will start at $2,499, and will be a great buy for anyone with that kind of dispoable cash, but for the time being I'd reccommend you wait unless you you can no longer see individual pixels and can no longer tell screen from reality. The weirdest part about this particular refresh is that the iMac cinema display with Thunderbolt, first released three years ago in 2011, didn't see an update. Even if you wanted to use that with Apple's newer hardware, you won't be able to as it has Thunderbolt 1, and doesn't support Thunderbolt 2 which is needed for 4K.

I'm not entirely sure what the event tagline, "It's been way too long," means either., other than possibly, "It's been way too long since we last made you spend a boatload of money on a product we may or may not completely refresh 11 months from now." And once again, there was no mention of either an Apple TV (although the refresh Mac Mini could be Apple's solution for that for the time being) or a Retina MacBook Air.

All in all, you could call this Apple's laziest hardware refresh event in a long time, and you wouldn't be wrong. All of their products seem incredibly disjointed, and despite having massive Steve Jobs quotes outside the event venue, the company seems to lack his laser like focus. Apple lacks the brand consistency that it used to have right across the board. It's slowly unifying the software design experience across OS X and iOS, but the hardware remains as different as ever. From a company that used to be as tight as Apple, that's a little worrying.

Why #Bendgate is Important

Two days ago, YouTube user Unbox Therapy posted a video demonstrating how under the pressure exerted from just his hands, he was able to bend and seriously damage the week old iPhone 6 Plus.

Before Lew, the man behind Unbox Therapy, could even offer a follow-up video in which he tried to bend a few other phones - including the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Moto X (2014), Nokia Lumia 1020, HTC One (M8) and the 4.7" iPhone 6 - #bendgate took the news world by storm. Twitter users were reporting seeing large and local media outlets reporting on how the iPhone 6 Plus had issues with bending. 

#Bendgate
  1. Designed to withstand the most demanding environments. Like your pockets. #HTCOneM8
  2. Oh fuck! It is now live on CNN and that guy was trying to bend it live on tv. Try bending a spoon instead!! #BendGate http://t.co/9jfhsklM7g
    Oh fuck! It is now live on CNN and that guy was trying to bend it live on tv. Try bending a spoon instead!! #BendGate pic.twitter.com/9jfhsklM7g
  3. To make matters worse/to get everyone to stop talking about #Bendgate, Apple released iOS update 8.0.1 that kills users cell service. Nice.
  4. BREAKING: Apple announces Searching… its new low-cost carrier available worldwide for free.

Now, while I don't necessarily agree that #bendgate - or #bendghazi, as some are calling it - should be getting so much attention as it has over the last two days, it's safe to say that if Apple had gone with a slightly thicker design, they would've been able to avoid this situation entirely. Going from 7.6mm in the iPhone 5S (8.97mm in the iPhone 5C) to 7.1mm for the 6 Plus and 6.9mm for the iPhone 6 resulted in the:

  1. The ability to have the camera remain flush with the rest of the device, leaving an ugly, protruding bulge (something Apple is aware of and is actively hiding in their promotional pictures of their two new devices)
  2. The removal of what most phones have - a magnesium chases, which makes up the inside of these other phones, even the ones that only have a metal band around the edges to ones entirely made of plastic. 

Due to the fact that Apple decided to go with a large, flat sheet of aluminum - a soft metal - the structural integrity of the device isn't going to be as sound as other devices made from a similar process, like the HTC One (M8). With a soft metal like aluminum, the weakest point is often going to be near the centre of the device. In the case of the 6 Plus, it gave into far more bending and resulted in far more damage because when compared to the 4.7" iPhone 6, the aluminum unibody build has nearly an extra inch of real estate. It doesn't help either that in Lew's video, he's placing the iPhone 6 Plus under far more stress than the phones are designed to undergo based on what an average person's usage of the device. Not everyone is going to be twisting and bending the phone to the extreme, but that being said, the phone still shouldn't be so structurally unsound as to bend and break when inside someone's jeans - which is what sparked this whole controversy in the first place. Case in point is Seattle developer, Kav Latiolais, who's brand new iPhone 6 bent after a spending the night charging.

By designing both a thinner and lighter phone, they were trying to solve a problem that no one ever really had with their iPhones, and in turned, created a whole new PR monster for themselves. Half the reason why this is blowing up so much is because when compared to "terribly cheap plastic" devices like the Moto X and Note 3, the iPhone 6+ took far more damage than you'd think a supposedly high end device, like the iPhone, normally should. The other half is that the iPhone is historically an incredibly expensive device. With people willing to drop hundreds to thousands of dollars year after year to secure a sense of material happiness, it's understandable why they'd be so upset when their week-old device starts to bend and break after normal usage.

This isn't the first time a phone OEM has had users report seriously damaged devices from simple bending. In 2012, an XDA user reported his HTC One X bent in half after sitting on a wall, and only a few months ago did an Android Central forums user reported that his HTC One (M7) was bent we as well, and two days ago, YouTube user, Adam Mckeithan, posted a video of him performing a bend test on his Galaxy S4. And while these users who report such severe damage to their devices may not be indicative of the entire user base, it's important to know that it is still happening. Even if it is only 1%, as Apple is reporting the bendgate numbers to be, out of 10 million devices sold as of two days ago, that's still close to 100,000 users reporting this issue. And that 1% talking about it was enough for Apple's stock to drop 3 points since yesterday, resulting in an $18 billion dollar loss from their $600 billion market cap. That's not a small amount, and isn't something to be brushed aside just because not everyone is reporting having the same issue.

And the thing is that there's nothing wrong with having a slightly thicker phone than everyone else, or keeping the same thickness as the device before it had. Over the last few years, there has been a race to ship the device with the highest resolution display. The leaps and bounds in this sort of technology also helped shape the phablet landscape we have today, and helped OEMs to develop thinner and sturdier phones than years previous. Apple largely stayed out of that because they recognized that past a certain point, the eye can no longer distinguish individual pixels. So while the iPhone's Retina display was sub 720p, it didn't matter to them or their users. By adding more and more pixels to a larger display, the users weren't getting anything extra, other than higher battery drainage. That's something that Sony acknowledged when they announced that they would be skipping over the newest fad, 2K displays. So for Apple to develop a thinner phone other than for the sake of saying that the new iPhone is 1mm thinner than last years model is frankly surprising. They sacrificed the clean, utilitarian look for something that looks more like a prototype than a finished product, especially when the new thinness does nothing for the overall user experience. It's okay to be thicker than everyone else, so long as it improves upon an already great user experience.

If it was any other company, Microsoft or HTC or hell, even Samsung, it wouldn't have mattered as much. Remember when Samsung's S3 and S4 devices had issues with overheating and exploding batteries? Even something far more serious like exploding batteries in more than one device didn't get nearly enough attention as "antennagate," an issue Apple faced back in 2010 with the iPhone 4. And that's because Samsung, HTC, Microsoft, etc., aren't a luxury brand like Apple has become. When you have people clamouring over a new phone every year, waiting in line for a hours, sometimes days on end, you leave the average consumer market and enter the luxury brand tier, being paired with other high end luxury items such as Louis Vuitton purses and Gucci glasses. It's as much a statement about your brand allegiance as it is a declaration of your apparent wealth.

At the end of the day, #bendgate is important for one reason and one reason only - it's this kind of nitpicking from users and reviewers that allows for the next generation of products to be better. From the iPhone 4 to 4S, Apple was able to make adjustments and resolve the entire antennagate problem. Companies aren't infalliable. They will make mistakes, and are often too close to their own products to see them. I'd rather have a few days of people going bonkers and having a little bit of fun at the expense of one company (and how their newest phone is bending unexpectedly) and have that lead to better products than not at all.

#AppleLive

#AppleLive
  1. Don't forget, Apple's v live event is happening today at 10am PDT/1pm EST!  http://apple.com/live 
  2. In other non-Apple related news, today is the 15 year anniversary of the Sega Dreamcast.  http://theverge.com/e/5890194 
  3. I'm hoping that Apple doesn't release the iWatch for another year, but announces the iTV instead, just to troll everyone and see them squirm
  4. And that Craig Federighi makes more super cool dad jokes. "The time has come for us to watch TV. See what I did there? Time, watch, haha!"
  5. OS X/iOS/Safari users can watch Apple's live stream here:  http://apple.com/live  Non-Apple users can watch it here:  http://ustream.tv/ltktv 
  6. I hope the entire audience just laughs at Apple if they release a rectangular watch
  7. It's interesting Apple is doing a liveblog but the fact that they are implementing social media with it is a major departure for them.
  8. I wonder if Apple will finally bring the iPhone naming scheme in line with the rest of their products - Pro, Air, & Mini. #ApplAppleLive
  9. I mean, they can't very well use numbers anymore, since they fucked up with the 5C. Think about it: 6/6C 6S/6C...S? #AppleLive
  10. Looks like the leaks were right about there being two new iPhones - the 6 & 6+. #AppleLive http://t.co/IBT4wbB12J
    Looks like the leaks were right about there being two new iPhones - the 6 & 6+. #ApplAppleLiveppic.twitter.com/IBT4wbB12J
  11. iPhone 6: 4.7"/1334 x 750/6.8mm iPhone 6+: 5.5"/1920 x 1080/7.1mm #AppleLive
  12. The new iPhones have some seriously impressive battery life specs. #AppleLive http://t.co/2WmjENHTUY
    The new iPhones have some seriously impressive battery life specs. #AppleLive pic.twitter.com/2WmjENHTUY
  13. The 6 has DIS, & the 6+ has OIS. The cameras on these new devices alone are enough for me to want to buy them. #ApplAppleLive
  14. The 6 on a 2 year contract is $199/32GB, $299/64GB, $399/128GB The 6+ on a 2 year contract is $299/16GB, $399/64GB, $499/128GB. #AppleLive
  15. Official off-contract pricings for the iPhone 6/6+: 6: $749/16GB, $859/64GB, $969/128GB 6+: $859/16GB, $969/64GB, $1,079/128GB
  16. You can pre-order the 6 & 6+ Sept. 12th (this Friday) and they start shipping out Sept. 19th. iOS 8 is out Sept. 17th. #ApplAppleLive
  17. You can get a Nexus 5 or two Moto Gs, a Chromecast and a large deluxe pizza for the cost of a 128GB iPhone 6 on a two year contract ($399).
  18. And for an extra $20, you could buy stock 13" MacBook Air ($1,099) for the price of a 128GB no-contract iPhone 6+ ($1,079).
  19. People are happy with iPhone thickness, disappointed with battery. So they made it thinner and kept the battery. Apple logic.
  20. I'm still waiting for a 128GB Android phone, preferably a Nexus. #AppleLive
  21. Tim Cook is trying to make it seem like taking my credit/debit card out, and handing it to someone to pay is difficult. #AppleLive
  22. Despite not having Google Wallet in Canada, we already have tap-to-pay, and none of these payment issues. #AppleLive
  23. This is basically Apple saying, "Look! We're the first to use NFC in 2014!" #AppleLive
  24. AND Apple Pay only works on the 6/6+ (U.S. only at launch as well); the only iPhones with NFC. #AppleLive http://t.co/ZBKJWo1279
    AND Apple Pay only works on the 6/6+ (U.S. only at launch as well); the only iPhones with NFC. #AppleLive pic.twitter.com/ZBKJWo1279
  25. Tim Cook with the legendary, "One more thing..." He looks so pleased with himself too! (Photo via @verge) #AppleLive http://t.co/zHCM8tmxmc
    Tim Cook with the legendary, "One more thing..." He looks so pleased with himself too! (Photo via @verge) #AppleLive pic.twitter.com/zHCM8tmxmc
  26. Standing ovation for Tim Cook. This is the day where he finally stepped out of Jobs' shadow, and into his own legacy. #AppleLive
  27. Looks like the master, Apple, is finally taking design cues from the student, Samsung. #AppleLive http://t.co/c43FUdXa2w
    Looks like the master, Apple, is finally taking design cues from the student, Samsung. #AppleLive pic.twitter.com/c43FUdXa2w
  28. So, the digital crown on the #AppleWatch is basically the side scroll-wheel that BlackBerry used to use. #AppleLive http://t.co/n6K7r6RJ2g
    So, the digital crown on the #AppleWatch is basically the side scroll-wheel that BlackBerry used to use. #AppleLive pic.twitter.com/n6K7r6RJ2g
  29. .@omnilogist There are so many issues with microSD cards - something both Apple & Google have acknowleged for years: http http://androidcentral.com/why-nexus-devices-have-no-sd-card 
  30. The #AppleWatch looks super clunky in terms of both hardware & software. It's nowhere near as slick/minimal as Android Wear. #ApplAppleLive
  31. Despite having 2 sizes, 3 case materials, 6 band types, the #AppleWatch is still a first-gen device. Wait for the second-gen. #AppleLive
  32. Apple needs to demonstrate one-handed real-world-style use on the #AppleWatch, not two. (Photo via @verge) #AppleLive http://t.co/tkQQryai1g
    Apple needs to demonstrate one-handed real-world-style use on the #AppleWatch, not two. (Photo via @verge) #AppleLive pic.twitter.com/tkQQryai1g
  33. Motorola should feel proud with the #Moto360. They absolutely DESTROYED Jony Ive's #AppleWatch design. #AppleLive http://t.co/FP8wMT1y8p
    Motorola should feel proud with the #Moto360. They absolutely DESTROYED Jony Ive's #AppleWatch design. #AppleLive pic.twitter.com/FP8wMT1y8p
  34. If you want to be an early adopter of the #AppleWatch, you're going to have to wait until early 2015...and spend $349. #AppleLive
  35. Especially considering that it’s tied to an iPhone, I think they should have gone cheaper on the Watch.
  36. Still no word on connectivity, water resistance, or battery life for the #AppleWatch yet. #AppleLive
  37. Tim Cook mentioned that its easy to charge the #AppleWatch at night, implying EVERY night you'd have to charge the thing. #AppleLive
  38. I was hoping that Cook & Bono would burn down iTunes together and announce a less bloated version of that monster. #ApplAppleLive
  39. This is kind of the opposite of burning down iTunes and starting over

My Thoughts on Apple's WWDC14 Keynote Presenation

-Tim Cook just burned Microsoft using a goddamn pie chart.

-OS X 420 is amazing, but my vote still goes to OS X Oxnard.
-That dark mode for OS X Yosemite is just gorgeous. Looks like they took some design cues from +elementary OS.

-Craig Federighi's entire presentation is like the world's longest dad joke, and I love it. 
-I'm liking OS X 10.10 way more than I thought I would. It puts Windows 8.1 to shame. They even did the universal search better!
-Holy fuck. The mirroring of SMS & Phone calls across Macs, iPads, and iPhones, is just bonkers. Wait, no, the SMS/Phone mirroring is basically just what MightyText/DeskSMS already do on Android but...native. It's essentially Bluetooth.
-iOS 8's Spotlight & Quicktype features. Totally revolutionary when they were introduced years ago...on Android.
-iMessage is going after Snapchat, WhatsApp, Line, Kik, Viber, etc, with new voice, video, and picture messages (but no stickers).
-iOS8's new iCloud/Photo editing suite is basically Google's Auto Awesome/Android's basic gallery editor that's been around forever. 
-Cool. Third party keyboards and notification shade widgets in iOS 8. More stuff from Android circa 2010. Yawn.
-iOS 8 is wholly uninteresting to me without an API for Siri, & a homescreen refresh, as seen in this concept image.

ios8_912_1.jpg

-The only thing about the iPhone that I'm remotely jealous of is that fingerprint scanner, but then again, I don't need it.
-For someone like me, a live demo of someone coding is similar to a magician on stage casting spells.

DSC_1552.jpg


-No, "Oh, and one more thing," moment this year. Looks like there's no iWatch, new iPhone, or MacBook Air with Retina Display this year. Apple's still playing catchup it seems. 

Source: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+TapasEaswar/p...