iPhone Upgrade Time

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

I had unexpected client meetings in the afternoon on the 9th so I missed the live Apple event. I caught some bits and pieces of what was revealed via social media but sat down the next day to watch the event on my Apple TV.

My son has an iPhone 4 which won’t be able to run iOS 8. My daughter does not have a phone now and wants her own phone. She's in the last year of upper middle school and is starting to be very social. The bill of sale as I expect it will be for our household.

iPhone 5c (8GB blue) for the boy – free with 2 year contact
iPhone 5c (8GB yellow) for the girl – free with 2 year contact
iPhone 5c (8GB white) for my wife – free with 2 year contact
iPhone 6 (64GB silver) for the arrogant bastard – $299

This is roughly what I spent two years ago when I got my iPhone 5 and bumped my wife to an iPhone 4S. Despite adding one more iPhone our total hardware spends remains about the same. Of course with the addition of my daughter's line, we'll have the cost of an extra data plan. We can reduce the sting of some of that cost with the sale of the older phones. At least in the first year.

I like the size of the current iPhone 5 but I can adapt to the large 4.7" display in the iPhone 6. The 5.5" iPhone 6 Plus is too big for my pants and shirt pockets. I can't wait to see what photos look like on the larger screens. A bigger screen also means bigger text and with the new Display Zoom feature, I may not need reading glasses to read on my iPhone.

A bigger screen and faster processor usually mean shorter battery life. However, Apple's new energy efficient A8 chip and newer battery technology will allow me to go a whole day on a single charge.

The new iPhone also has new camera technology. The camera in my iPhone 5 stopped working a few weeks ago so I'm happy to have a new improved camera to play with. Who knows, I may end up using my DSLR less1 often. The iPhone 6 camera has impressive specs for a camera phone. Instead of focusing on raw megapixel, Apple has focused on the quality of those pixels. Considering that most smartphone images are shared via social media or blogs where the image size is at best limited to the largest resolution of the display -- about 2560 x 1440 (or ~ 3.5 megapixels) -- even an 8MP camera offers more resolution than what's viewable. Instagram limits image size to about 612x612 pixels. Facebook tops out at 2048 wide and 2048 high. So why bother fighting over whose camera has more pixels? Focus on quality instead.

Here are the specs for the iSight.

  • Still image: 8MP, ƒ/2.2
  • Video: 1080p HD at 60 fps, 240-fps slo-mo, and time-lapse video

Apple does not list an ISO number for the camera but the online sample images show that it can go down to ISO 40. Apple has also addressed one major complaint I have about the current iPhone camera. Manual control.

“To be clear, iOS 8 will expose just about every manual camera control possible,” the publication writes. “This means that ISO, shutter speed, focus, white balance, and exposure bias can be manually set within a custom camera application. Outside of these manual controls, Apple has also added grey card functionality to bypass the auto white balance mechanism and both EV bracketing and shutter speed/ISO bracketing.”Manual camera controls in iOS 8: Explained

I watched a bit of the video about the new Apple Pay mobile payment system. Seems incredible that soon I'll be able to pay using nothing but my iPhone. Apple has really thought through the security of this. None of my personal information or purchase habits will be shared with Apple2. My credit card information will be protected in an encrypted store in the Passbook app and authenticated using Apple's TouchID fingerprint reader. Apple is using the industry best practice of tokenization. Purchasing with my iPhone may be more secure than with a credit card in my wallet. The iPhone may be adding Near Field Communications (NFC) later than others but I bet it gets used more often and will be more loved by consumers AND retailers. The entire eco-system is backed by the major card brands and many of the large banks.

A comment from a colleague puts the Apple Watch into perspective:

The elephant in the room is the expected longevity of the watch and I'm not talking about battery life here. I would expect Apple to want to come out with yearly new version upgrades. They want to make it better and I applaud them. The problem is can anyone really afford to buy a new watch every year? My newest watch is over ten years old. I also have one that is 30 years old and a pocket watch that is close to 100 years old. Will anyone be using the first gen Apple Watch ten years from now? How long before Apple drops support of it? My guess is it will follow the support/upgrade cycle of the iPad and iPhone. Not the Mac and certainly not a regular watch. Sure I can go out and buy a $50 Timex and have no feelings about replacing it later. I can't do that with a watch that costs $350+. I'm sure the gold edition will be north of $500. That is too much (for me) for a watch that is expected to be replaced in 2-4 years.

I don't know too much about the Apple Watch but from what I read I don't want one. There may be a market for it but for me, it's not a useful device. Perhaps when the Apple Watch version two is released it will add continuous glucose monitoring notification. Then I might get one.

Did you see the demo for Super Evil Megacorp's iOS 8 game, Vain Glory? Incroyable! Games like that are why I need a 64GB device. The quality of the game and the graphics were quite impressive. I can't help but think Apple is now in the handheld game console market. Nintendo and Sony might want to consider how to respond. Handheld console games are ridiculously expensive. Driving to a GameStop to stand in line for a box with a small piece of plastic that cost $40-$50 will seem ludicrous when compared to a $10-$20 instant download.

  1. So now how do I justify buying a Sony α7? 
  2. Phil Schiller kept repeating this. Perhaps to drive home how much Apple cares about privacy compared to Google. 

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