Catching up on technology

I watched with some interest, Apple's announcements last week.  I chuckled a bit at how the video, which I'd had on for ten or fifteen minutes without issue, died horribly right at 1300, when the keynote started.  In fact, I wasn't able to bring it up again, and resorted to watching Ars Technica's liveblog of it.

And what do I think?

Eh, I'm skeptical about the larger phones.  My suspicion, without playing with one, is that it's too big.  Even the littler one.  We'll see, I guess.  I did find the adjustments to improve one-handed use interesting, but have no idea how well they'll work.

Outside of that, I loved the camera enhancements, especially on the larger model.  I was surprised that going to phase detect autofocus would only double the speed of focus-finding, but that's still a big deal.  And image stabilization?  That's pretty cool.

ATP had some interesting talk about it, but I wanted to add a couple things to their coverage.  Marcus stated that DSLRs use in-lens stabilization, rather than sensor-based.  That's true for Canon and Nikon, but not for Sony.  In-lens is the only option with long lenses, but doesn't matter much at more normal distances.

I'm curious about how good the stabilization is.  Nikon's best allows four stops of improvements (they only have a couple of lenses with this much), but they have many with three.  I don't really know what Sony's best (on-sensor) stabilization can do, and have no idea with Apple (not that they're likely to talk about it).

They also advertised improvement in panorama capture, and I wonder how that works.  For sure, there's a lot of room for improvement over my 5S.

They also talked about improvements in both CPU and (especially) GPU, although I don't yet see any need for that.  Although I'm looking forward to an iPad Air with that improvement.  I play more games with that, and am much more likely to notice the difference.  Of course, there's also the issue that nothing's being written for the extra cycles yet; maybe that will change.  But I doubt it.

I thought the memory change was weird; moving the base to 32GB would be a lot better, although putting the up-steps to 64GB and 128GB a significant improvement (though a declining benefit with streaming music/movie services improving).  I have yet to get close to 32GB of use on my 5S, but am well over 16GB, without any movies, few photos, and with iTunes Match enabled.  So I agree with the ATP hosts that 16GB is getting to be ridiculously limiting.

The iPad-style layout on the 6+ in landscape is an interesting hybrid.  I can certainly think of situations where I'd like it, but I don't think I'd like it universally.

The other thing that will, I think, be a huge deal in the long run, is Apple payments.  I'm wondering about the security of the whole system (should re-watch the video to get the explanation), as it sounded a bit fragile, but hopefully I'm wrong on that.  If I am (and I hope so), then it should be a really good system, adding a world of convenience.

To facilitate it, there are two completely new pieces in the new iPhones.  A security chip, that will keep your credit card info in some encrypted fashion that is inaccessible to the rest of the system.  If it becomes allowed (it probably won't), don't use any third-party tool to access that.  And an NFC beacon, which will be used at the Point of Sale (POS) to do the payment.  From what I remember, you (in some order) tap the phone and use TouchID, so you pay without pain.

This has incredible potential, although I think it'll be iffy for a while.

But the Apple Watch... wow, has the media been waiting for that for a while.  And boy, do they deserve every bit of pain it has caused them.

I read a review from a watch geek, and it seemed that the watch piece was very, very good.  I haven't worn a watch in decades, personally, and eschew jewelry, so it has no interest to me from that perspective.  Functionally... I don't know.  The only part that seems very appealing to me is the use of Apple Pay.  Basically, touch the watch instead of the phonee, so you don't need to take that out.  Again, some impressive convenience.

As a fitness tracker... dunno.  That's one reason I would consider one, although I wonder how good it will be.  It won't be useful as a sleep tracker for the simple reason that it'll need to be charged at least daily (and I think battery life is going to be a serious limit on the first generation).  The ability to distinguish between running and biking is pretty cool, although I'm not sure how useful it is.  Does it really matter, as long as it tracks both?

The "taptic" vibrations could be cool, although it would take some tuning to figure out how much stuff to filter out for each person.  The idea of twitter or facebook vibrating on every incoming message is pretty horrific.  Especially when driving.

I think, though, the fact that it turns the display on when you bring the watch up to view it is a major saving grace, in terms of battery life.  I assume it also turns itself off after a set period of inactivity.  So, to get back to driving, I would assume it would turn on when putting your hands on the wheel, and turn off again pretty soon.  At least, I hope so, as the alternatives would blow.

All in all, it definitely leaves me curious, although I still wouldn't be able to use its killer app, as I won't have a 6/+ (6-series) iPhone at least until the next generation comes out.  And probably not until the 7 arrives (I'm with Casey, in that I don't think the current numbering scheme will even last until 10.  Although with numbers incrementing every other year, that still gives them quite a while to change it).

So do I want to spend $350+ on an Apple Watch.  Almost certainly not, at least for another year.  But I'm definitely looking forward to seeing where they go with it.

No comments:

Post a Comment