Let's start out with some basic facts that have to be established before we dive too deeply into what is happening with Apple right now. First of all, the iPad announcement last Thursday was extremely boring. Throughout the entire event, there were three interesting points - the cool laser cutting the pencil intro for the iPad Air 2, Stephen Colbert's bit, and the iMac Retina. That's it. The overall tone was more light-hearted and fun; but overall, it felt like there wasn't a huge reason for Apple to have the event. Even worse, all of those "high points" have serious caveats attached to them. Stephen Colbert's bit was funny, but didn't really add anything to Apple's overall message or product announcements. And, while the iMac Retina's display and price tag are phenomenal, the market for $2500 desktops is getting smaller by the day, as users opt for laptops and mobile devices instead of desktops.
For the record, I have been counting the days until this stupid iPhone 6 Plus #bendgate nonsense would end ever since the first time I saw the video that kicked it all off from Unbox Therapy. When I saw the knuckles of Lewis Hilsenteger go white in his attempt to bend the iPhone 6 Plus, I was convinced that this was all going to be blown way out of proportion, and any chance to highlight a real problem with the iPhone 6 Plus would likely be lost. I'm sad to say that I may have already been proven right.
The collective scream from Android fans around the world when Apple Pay was announced was pretty easy to hear. "Google Wallet has done that for over three years!" they shouted to no one in particular. And, they were right... to an extent. Here's the biggest problem with that argument: it ignores the history of Google Wallet, and the current situation, which is that very few people actually use Google Wallet, and Apple Pay could very well ignite the NFC payment ecosystem in a way Google hasn't been able to.
One of the biggest reasons for Android's success is in the hardware variety. There is an Android smartphone that fits everyone's preferences, size needs, and budget. The basic aim of the platform is to be incredibly adaptable and malleable, so why do people continue to try defining Android's success through the lens of what Apple has done with iOS? The comparison makes little sense when looking at market share, and even less sense when looking at how the platforms are built and how that affects the resulting hardware.
There are quite a lot of opinions and rumors going around concerning the Apple iWatch. Some think the device will be announced next month, others say it won't be released until early next year, and at least one person out there thinks that Apple should wait another year before releasing its first product into the wearable space. We can't really say what Apple will choose to do, but we can certainly examine the various possibilities, and the potential consequences of each path.
For all intents and purposes, Tim Cook has been in charge of Apple since January 2011, although he didn't officially take over as CEO until August of 2011. In March of 2012, Cook put his brand on Apple by changing the iconic logo to the one seen above that both separated the company from the Steve Jobs era, while still paying homage to its roots. Later in 2012, Cook stepped away from Jobs' comments that "7-Inch tablets are dead on arrival" by releasing the iPad mini. 2013 brought a completely new UI with iOS 7, and a range of colors for both the iPhone 5c and 5s. At WWDC this year, Cook announced iOS 8, which is going to open up the platform far more than anything we've seen before. And, Tim Cook's Apple has been far more likely to settle lawsuits than to file them (aside from the Samsung debacle, and even that seems to be coming to an end. Word has it that Apple was even the one to instigate the settlement talks with Samsung.)
Here's the flat out truth: iOS 8 is a huge update that brings long-awaited features to iPhone and iPad users and make the Apple faithful very happy. It is also going to fuel plenty of Android faithful who see this as nothing more than Apple rehashing features that have been available on Google's platform for a long time. The trouble is that both sides are exactly right, but I'm starting to wonder if Apple isn't actually trolling its haters a bit.
Earlier today, the deal that we all knew was coming finally got announced as Apple announced it had agreed to purchase Beats for $3 billion. Tim Cook praised the subscription service, but he also talked to The Financial Times and cleared up a bit of info that had a number of people curious: whether or not Apple would continue to support the Android and Windows Phone apps for Beats Music. The surprise of the day was that Tim Cook confirmed that Apple would continue to support the apps for other mobile platforms.
Now, it's time to move on to the main event, because 2014 is expected to be all about new Apple hardware. We'll start off broadly, because there is a lingering question regarding just how much new hardware we see. It is almost a certainty that we will see at least two new iPhones in 2014 (including the iPhone 6 and a maybe a plastic iPhone 5s to fill the mid-range) and the iWatch; but, after that, things get a bit hazy. You would normally assume that there would be a new iPad and iPad mini, and the rumors have also been talking quite a bit about a potential 12.9-inch iPad, which the media has taken to calling the iPad Pro.
When you take on the task of looking ahead at what's to come with Apple, you're dedicating yourself to wading through a lot of crap. The rumor mill is always active in the mobile ecosystem, but the Apple rumor mill is a never-ending flood of hopes, dreams, misinformation, and more than anything else: analysts that want to keep getting those checks. Because of all that, we can't go through every rumor that exists, and we have to try to focus in on the most plausible rumors based on some basic rational thinking.
Last time, we took a long trip in order to cover the major changes we saw over the past year in Android, and what to expect in 2014 for Google's system. Surprisingly, the look into Apple has taken an even longer journey (both in how long it took to write and in overall length of the piece), because while we skimmed over Android hardware for the most part, it is impossible to do the same with Apple. This means there s a bit more to cover in terms of where Apple's platform has come from in 2013, and what to expect from iOS in 2014.
There is a new report from from Taiwan’s Economic Daily News, there is almost certainly another handheld device coming from Apple this year to go along with the new 4.7-inch iPhone 6. That much isn't really news at this point. The interesting thing is that the Economic Daily News claims that the 5.6-inch device will not carry the iPhone branding. Frankly, we're not sure what to make of this rumor.
Ever since Steve Jobs passed away, it has become a fairly common occurrence for Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak to be quoted in the press about how much he likes Android. He has said plenty of times how much he enjoys the Android platform and various Android devices, and he has been publicly critical about the devices and software coming from Apple. The most recent story even had Woz going so far as to say that Appleshould make Android devices, which is a bold statement given the company's history; but, why is it surprising coming from Woz?
The rumors about a potential 12.9-inch iPad Pro being in the works for Apple, and those rumors have stirred up quite a bit of speculation about the future of the Mac line, including some speculation here about whether or not an iPad Pro could eventually replace the MacBook Air. Unfortunately, most of the speculation (ours included) was based on a mobile-centric view, and forgot to include MacOS.
There has been a lot of talk over the past few months about the move to 64-bit processors mobile processors. Obviously, the talk began with Apple's surprise announcement that the A7 system-on-a-chip (SoC) that would be found in the iPhone 5s was a 64-bit processor, making it the first 64-bit processor in a smartphone. But, as always happens when Apple does something like this, there is a debate about who was really "first"; so, I wanted to take a look at the entire ecosystem and talk about how much credit Apple really deserves in the coming mobile 64-bit evolution.
A trusted friend of mine recently sent me an article to read from Wired, which was titled "4 Reasons Why Apple’s iBeacon Is About to Disrupt Interaction Design". It's not the sexiest title, certainly nothing as eye-catching and intriguing as "Imagining the social/location revolution coming to brick-and-mortar shopping", but we all have our own ways to convey information, I guess.
There have been fairly consistent rumors that Apple has been working on a larger version of its signature iPad tablet, and those rumors simply won't go away. The general rumors have put the larger version of the iPad in the 12-inch range, and earlier this month we heard that Foxconn is already working on a 12.9-inch iPad, which a new report seems to confirm.
Given all of the leaks that we've seen, there really weren't any surprises in today's Apple announcement. We knew that the new iPad and iPad mini would have the same basic innards as the iPhone 5s. We knew what they would look like. There was a bit of ambiguity when it came to whether or not the new tablets would have the Touch ID fingerprint scanner, but it's not the biggest surprise that the premium feature is only available on the flagship iPhone.
There has been a lot of talk about the iPad mini 2 and the fact that all signs are now pointing to the second generation mini iOS tablet having a so-called "Retina" display. When we first started hearing rumors about the iPad mini 2, the consensus was that the device would not have a Retina display, and the newer rumors are making it look like the tablet should not have one. So, we wanted to take a look at what it will mean for the iPad mini 2 to have a Retina display.
For months and months now, we've been hearing about the supposed "cheap" iPhone that was on the way. At first, the thinking was that Apple could potentially release an iPhone that would hit the $200 off-contract mark (although that was really just wishful thinking by Apple fanalyst Gene Munster.) Eventually, we came to understand that the iPhone 5C would simply be a modification to the iPhone 5, and it would take over the mid-range spot in Apple's lineup between the iPhone 4S and 5S.