Wednesday, September 10, 2014

First thoughts on Apple Pay and the Apple Watch

Apple Pay:

  • Only works with iPhone 6 and beyond (also with Apple Watch, probably only with iPhone 6 and 6 Plus)
  • It is about time passbook was given expanded use.
  • NFC is important because it is ultra-low power - lower power than Bluetooth.
  • Other non-Apple phones (some Android, and even Windows phone) have had this for a while.
  • So why is it really a big deal?  I think there are three bits:
    • Apple sells enough iPhones to enough folks who are likely to actually use NFC that it becomes more ubiquitous and more vendors/stores and banks will support it.
    • Apple reputedly will secure things more than other NFS solutions, and will thus cause lower fees for credit card use.  This means there is room for Apple to earn a little ($0.15 per $100) while also getting banks/vendors to use NFC more.
    • Apple reputedly will see and keep less data about transactions.  Apple does not want to sell data about buyers and sellers.
All of this will take more time to really evaluate.  It is not available until October, 2014.

Apple Watch:
  • It is only useful, according to Apple, with an iPhone (5 and up).
  • According to Tim Cook (see his interview on the Charlie Rose show: ) it can be used while leaving your iphone behind while you work out.
  • It comes in a bigger and smaller version, with 3 forms (gold, not gold (steel) but still sapphire, and steel with very strong glass.  There are tons of watch bands for every fashion need a band can fulfill.  Really.
  • Other attributes:
    • It charges wirelessly, via a magnetic attachment - via a sealed element.
    • It has a microphone and "discrete" speaker.  It is Siri-enabled.
    • There is an accelerometer
    • Other interface info: It has a new pressure-sensitive touch screen/face, a new watch crown dial and button 
    • Sensors on the back, against the wearer's skin, to sense heart rate.
    • A haptic device to enable precise/careful vibration-like communications.  This is supposed to be very unusual.  If one person taps on the phone to communicate to another, it supposedly feels like being tapped on the wrist.
    • Networking:
      • Bluetooth 4.0
      • Wifi (types unknown)
      • NFC
  • What I do not like, so far:
    • OK, um, it is used to do everything and the kitchen sink as a total extension of the iPhone on your wrist.
    • It needs to be charged, presumably every day.  This implies to me and many that it will not be used to track sleep.  Sleep tracking is important to many folks.
    • It is not water proof - not to be used in pools or the shower.  The watch I have now is water proof.  I have worn my watch into a pool; I swim.  If the Apple Watch is ruined by this, I am quite concerned I will ruin it if I own it.
  • What people can use it for:
    • A watch.  Many faces are available.
    • A view into your data:
      • Weather, stock, facebook posts, what movies are playing nearby
      • Photos - keeps a local store of photos you want to be able to see.
    • Fitness coach:
      • Look at your fitness status for the day in three areas:
        • Calories for the day
        • Minutes of active exercise for the day
        • Stand - tracks taking breaks throughout the day to stand up for a bit 
    • Interaction:
      • Mail
      • play music (music is stored in the watch), control music, control an appleTV...
      • Text, use new creative emoticon capabilities, the haptic system to tap on a friend's wrist, and draw pictures on your watch for a friend.
      • Maps: rather than pull out your phone and looking at your phone screen, your watch can show a minimap.  Also, haptic communications can just tap left or right to let you know where to go at each intersection.  This is supposed to be very cool and very discrete.
      • Challenge a friend to work out more, or invite them to dinner
    • Remote:
      • Remote control for Apple TV
      • Remote for the camera on the iPhone, including remote viewfinder
    • Bill Pay

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