iWatch Analysis by a Watch Expert

Hodinkee.com has a detailed look at what the iWatch means for the Swiss watch industry and for watch nerds in general:

In years to come, it could pose a larger threat to higher end brands, too. The reason? Apple got more details right on their watch than the vast majority of Swiss and Asian brands do with similarly priced watches, and those details add up to a really impressive piece of design. It offers so much more functionality than other digitals it’s almost embarrassing.

Danish iPhone 6 Prices Announced

iPhone 6 prices in Denmark have been made available by Apple. Curiously the 32 GB is missing from the lineup, while the 64 GB is actually cheaper than last year.
iPhone 6

  • 16 GB: 5.199 kroner
  • 64 GB: 5.999 kroner
  • 128 GB: 6.799 kroner

iPhone 6 Plus

  • 16 GB: 5.999 kroner
  • 64 GB: 6.799 kroner
  • 128 GB: 7.599 kroner


Wearables, Payments, Chickens and Eggs

Ben Thompson:

Contrary to the expectations of some Apple bulls, I don’t think Apple has any interest in getting into financial services. I suspect they will be quite happy to sit on top of traditional credit cards, just as the iPhone sits on top of traditional carriers. In fact, when it comes to making money Apple’s strategy is remarkably straightforward: they sell devices for a profit; their services and infrastructure serve primarily to differentiate said devices.

Apple’s Foray Into Mobile Payments Is About Selling Hardware

Jean-Louis Gassée (emphasis mine):

Apple doesn’t want to displace the key players — the banks and credit card companies — any more now than they did a decade ago. Credit card companies, for example, play a hard-to-replace role in policing transactions. It’s not always pretty or convenient when one has to call a US number from Europe because the system “tripped” over an unusual transaction, but it works.

One can’t imagine Apple even thinking of storing and lending money, of trying to “capture a fraction of the flow”. If the company does introduce a near field payment system, it won’t be as an attempt to make money in itself, it will simply be another extension of the Apple ecosystem, another way to make iDevices more attractive.

I think Gassée is right. Apple’s foray into mobile payments is about strengthening the eco system; not about displacing banks or credit card companies. Apple wants to be a platform and to enable consumers to do amazing things with their devices. And ultimately, they want to sell more of these high profit devices as a result.

My iPhone 6 Predictions

We’re a few days away from this year’s Fall Apple event, and it looks like it’s going to be a big one.

Here is a brief overview of my predictions for the iPhone 6 based on rumors and what seams plausible.

iPhone 6
We are going to see two new iPhones from Apple like we did last year. Yes, many people forget that Apple actually launched two different models last year with the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c. So it’s not completely new territory. And I believe this year’s two models will have some similarities as well.

Lineup and prices
The 4.7 inch model will be the “default” model that takes the price point previously held by the 5s. The iPhone 5s is pushed down to take the place of the 5c, and the 5c is pushed down to take the place of the 4s. This means a complete Lightning-lineup in most countries (India might be an exception with the iPhone 4s still being sold as an even cheaper unsubsidized option).

The 5.5 inch model will be positioned above the current price of the “default” 4.7 inch iPhone at about $100 more. The price difference will be justified by specs, but the primary reason will be to raise the ASP (average selling price) of iPhones, since the BOM (bill of materials) won’t be much higher than that of the “default” 4.7 inch iPhone. Customers have proven time and time again that price is of little concern to the vast majority of iPhone owners. In other words, Apple is serving a segment that is willing to pay even more. And so they will.

The two iPhone 6 models will be very similar with a few important differences.
I think they will share these specs:

  • 8 megapixel camera with a larger than 1.5 micron per pixel sensor (perhaps 1.7µ or even 2.0µ resulting in sharp images and very good low light performance)
  • F2.0 aperture; a modest but important upgrade from the iPhone 5s resulting in better bokeh and better low light performance)
  • 4K video recording (I personally think huge 4k video files is a waste of space and the small sensor don’t offer much improvement over 1080p anyway. 4K is mostly a marketing thing)
  • 240fps ultra slow motion video at 720p
  • A8 SoC; 25% faster than last year’s A7 but with 25% less power consumption
  • NFC chip for mobile payments and pairing with the iWatch (and a future Apple TV box)
  • Gorilla Glass 3 for better durability
  • All aluminum chassis with clever shock absorption built into the chassis for better durability
  • Dust and splash proof
  • 50% faster Touch ID sensor that is even more accurate and will support mobile payments
  • More powerful TrueTone flash with longer reach
  • LTE advanced for 150 mbps theoretical speed
  • 802.11n networking capabilities with MIMO for up to 300 mbps
  • Stereo speakers with much better and louder audio
  • An embedded Apple logo made out of Liquid Metal for scratch resistance
  • Up to 128 GB of storage
And here are my predictions for how the two models will be different:
  • 4.7-inch display: 1334 × 750, 326 PPI @2x
    • 1 GB RAM to keep cost down
    • An improved Digital IS
    • 25% longer battery life
  • 5.5-inch display: 2208 × 1242, 461 PPI @3x
    • 2 GB RAM like the new iPads
    • An improved Digital IS
    • OIS; Optical Image Stabilization for even sharper photos
    • 100% longer “two day battery life”

Apple Said to Launch Mobile Payments Platform

Reliable sources such as Re/code and Bloomberg are reporting that Apple is getting ready to launch a mobile payments platform at its September 9 event.

The rumors indicate that Apple has partnered with VISA, MasterCard and American Express, and that the new iPhone(s), also said to be announced at the event, will have NFC capabilities.

These are really exciting rumors. Mobile payments have been a hot topic for a few years, and while several companies have tried, we have yet to see broad adoption of mobile payments. Apple is a company that can make it happen. They sell enough devices for everyone to care, and they have the eco system to support it with hundreds of millions of credit cards already linked to iTunes accounts.

I imagine that we’ll be able to pay by either physically touching the iPhone to a payment terminal or by having a push notification sent from the merchant via iCloud. To me, the latter is where it really gets interesting. It eliminates the queue in front of the credit card terminal at the bar. The bartender will just need your phone number and a payment request will be sent. And when you’re at the restaurant with a couple of friends, the waiter will just split the bill and send a payment request to everyone. I think that’s where we’re heading.

EasyPay mobile payments concept by Ricardo Del Toro

Sapphire’s Durability Put to the Test Head-to-Head Against Gorilla Glass

Via Macrumors.

uBreakiFix have put a sapphire smartphone screen to the test against a Gorilla Glass screen like the one found in iPhone 5s. The sapphire screen doesn’t hold up as well as you might think. It turns out that the stiffness of sapphire makes it more prone to crack on impact than regular glass. So that’s bad news, if you want sapphire in your smartphone: It won’t make it any tougher against drops.

So what does Apple need all that sapphire for? My theory: The iWatch.

Think about it. A watch is very unlikely to be dropped, but very likely to be scratched. Sapphire is extremely scratch resistant but not very impact resistant. In other words, it is the perfect fit for an iWatch. You won’t ever drop your watch, but you’ll bump into things all the time. The iWatch will stand the test of time like no other product before it, because Apple will have cleverly covered it in sapphire (think iPhone 4 glass sandwich but better).

The iWatch will have an unprecedented finish for a consumer grade product. At least that’s what I’m hoping for… and it would make sense.

And I think they’ll actually call it iWatch for the same reason they called it iPhone. It helps everyone understand what it actually is and makes the technology more accessible.

Apple, You Need to Get Rid of the Chin and Forehead

Take a good look at what Sharp just announced. A new smartphone with an insanely cool edge-to-edge display like nothing you’ve ever seen before.

Then take a look at the leaked images of the iPhone 6. Something’s not right. The iPhone should’ve had the cool new display, not the weird new Sharp phone. Does this mean we’ll get edge-to-edge from Apple next year? Probably not. Apple’s tick-tock product cycle unfortunately dictates no redesign until 2016.

I’ve dreamed of a display like this for the iPhone 6 for a couple of years. It now looks like Apple isn’t quite there yet, but the technology is.
To think we have to wait another two years for the iPhone 7 to get this tech, makes me wonder whether Apples tick-tock product cycle is such a good idea after all. Sharp has long been a loyal Apple supplier, and if they have the screens ready for mainstream for the iPhone 6s in 2015, why wait till 2016? The tick-tock cycle should not become such an obsession for Apple that they can’t make exceptions. And I hope they will, because the huge bezels on the purported iPhone 6 design (especially the so-called “chin” and “forehead”, where respectively the home button and ear speaker reside) is going to look very outdated very soon. If Sharp can do this, I’m sure it won’t take Samsung long.

It’s plausible that Apple launches the 5.5 inch iPhone as an edge-to-edge device next year and calls it something like the iPhone Air, while slightly updating but not redesigning the iPhone 6 into the iPhone 6s. The line-up would then consist of the 4.7 inch iPhone 6s and the 5.5 iPhone Air with a higher price tag, edge-to-edge display and perhaps sapphire, now that we’re going extra premium anyway. There have been whispers of Apple using the iPhone Air moniker, so it makes sense.

This would be kind of like when the iPad mini was introduced along with the, in comparison, hopelessly outdated and not redesigned iPad 4 with updated internals and a lightning port.

This theory also kind of explains why we haven’t seen any part leaks for the 5.5 inch iPhone: It’s not at all ready yet. It’s such a radical departure from the current iPhone design that a new name is warranted. An edge-to-edge display means no home button or some other way to integrate it like on the sides or into the screen. It also has consequences for the ambient light sensor, front camera and ear speaker. So it’s going to take some engineering wizardry just like the iPad Air did.

Apple, you need to get rid of the chin and forehead. And please don’t wait two years because of silly tick-tock principles.

Here’s hoping for a 5.5 inch edge-to-edge iPhone Air in 2015.

Business Insider: It’s Pretty Clear That Apple Is Winning The War With Samsung

Business Insider finally admits that Apple’s strategy has been right from the start. There is no point in chasing market share if it means fighting over tiny profits.

So, what’s eating Samsung? It’s fighting, and losing, two battles.

At the high end it’s competing with Apple. Apple isn’t going anywhere. It remains strong thanks to a sterling brand, high-quality phones, and iOS, the best mobile operating system in the world.

At the low-end of the market it’s competing with upstarts like Chinese phone maker Xiaomi and an army of Android phone makers that use Android. There’s little reason for a consumer to pay a premium for Samsung phones instead of a Samsung clone.

Not long ago, in November 2013, Business Insider posted an article with this headline: Come On, Apple Fans, It’s Time To Admit That The Company Is Blowing It. It looks like Apple hasn’t exactly blown anything. And people are starting to realize it.

Later this year (every rumor points to an announcement on September 9) Apple will release an iPhone with a bigger screen. One of the main incentives to buy an Android device, namely screen size, will be history.