On the same stage where Steve Jobs launched the Macintosh computer in 1984 and the iMac in 1999, Apple executives announced two new iPhone 6’s and a brand new mobile payments system dubbed ‘Apple Pay.’
As expected, Apple also had “one more thing…”
CEO Tim Cook took the stage one last time to announce the Apple Watch, confirming almost two years worth of rumors about a mysterious wearable Apple device.
The Apple Watch is the first completely new product launched by Apple since the iPad was announced in January 2010. As such, its release will be seen by many as vindication for CEO Tim Cook who has faced mounting pressure to release new products. That is, of course, if it is successful.
Let’s take a closer look at the products and services Apple announced yesterday.
The long awaited “iWatch” is here and it is officially named the Apple Watch.
Coming in three different styles, the Apple Watch is a wearable device that pairs with a user’s iPhone. It is only compatible with iPhone 5 or newer.
Similar to other wearables on the market, the Apple Watch syncs with fitness and life-tracking apps. It also has a cool looking user-interface that displays some of the iPhone’s content on the watch itself.
Its sleek Jony Ive design is certainly a major selling point. And at a starting price of $349, it is an expensive toy but is fairly cheap for a high-end watch.
A mobile payments system from Apple was also widely rumored leading up to yesterday’s announcement. And yesterday was not Apple’s day to disappoint.
The company announced Apple Pay, a mobile payments solution where users confirm payment with a fingerprint using their iPhone. The process is handled securely with Near Field Communication (NFC) between the user’s iPhone to the terminal at the point of sale.
Apple Pay has been set up with 220,000 merchant locations, six banks and has participation from American Express (NYSE: AXP), MasterCard (NYSE: MA) and Visa (NYSE:V).
Apple Pay could be tremendously lucrative for Apple.
$12 billion is spent each day in the U.S. during 200 million credit & debit card transactions. If Apple is able to get even a slice of the $40 billion in annual profit the payment processing companies enjoy, it could certainly move the needle.
But Apple Pay is only available in the U.S. and only on the new iPhone 6’s. It could be a while before enough consumers have an Apple Pay device in their hands for it to become mainstream.
iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 Plus
As was widely predicted, Apple released two iPhones during yesterday’s event.
Dubbed iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, both have larger screens than the existing iPhone 5.
The iPhone 6 boasts a 4.7-inch screen while the iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5-inch screen. These screens are considerably larger than the 4-inch screen we’ve seen on the iPhone 5, 5c and 5s.
In addition to the larger screens the new iPhones are packed full of features.
For starters, the iPhone 6 is going to be offered in 16GB, 64GB and 128GB storage options. The phones also have upgraded cameras, considerably nicer screens, thinner bodies and more powerful chips.
These new iPhones come at a time when a record number of Americans are off-contract or nearing the end of contracts. That means that Apple could capture a huge wave of upgrades and new smartphone sales with its new phones, just in time for holiday shopping.
As the market digests the new Apple information and we learn more details about it in the coming days we will continue to cover the historic release of Apple products.
At first glance the Apple Watch seems like it still needs some refining before going mainstream. Maybe I’m just not entirely clear on what it is useful for. The new iPhones look beautiful and are incredibly powerful. But I think the gem of this trio is Apple Pay, giving Apple the potential to disrupt yet another industry.
Time will tell.
DISCLOSURE: Jay Taylor personally owns shares of Apple.
How the iPhone 6 unveiling impacts mobile
Tim Cook wrote, “iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus — which are the biggest advancements in iPhone history…” after unveiling the most technologically advanced phone on the planet with cautious estimates have them selling 200 million of them. While we love Apple, we’re recommending a much less known company today…a company no one is talking about. A company that provides the technology, without which, smartphones couldn’t exist.