iPhone 6: Back to the future

For hardcore iPhone users in America, queuing up all night at outlets which release every new version of the phone, in small driblets, is some sort of ritual. TV loves it. Apple ain’t complaining. And large slabs of the Indian media which recycle US-origin reports, uncritically import this hysteria, without asking what, if anything, this annual hype means for the ordinary consumer in this country. In what follows, we have tried to winnow away the chaff of Apple fable from the facts as they make sense to a prospective phone buyer in India.

For starters, the specs: a 64-bit processor with a motion co processor; an 8 megapixel camera with full HD video recording and a 1.2 MP front facing camera with 720p recording; a fingerprint ID sensor; a wide array of Wi-Fi wireless bands; Near Field Communication or NFC sensors, a choice of 16, 64 or 128 GB of on-board memory… these are features common to both models unveiled last week: The iPhone 6 has a 4.7 inch retinal display; the 6 Plus has one of the largest screens in the market ( The LG G3 has the same size) — 5.5 inch — another half inch and it’s a phablet.

These numbers are not very different from a host of smart phones on offer today. As the iPhone 6 Plus touts full HD recording phones like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2 have gone UHD or 4K. Battery life is critical to app-heavy smart phones, yet Apple doesn’t specify the battery rating and doesn’t offer wireless charging which is becoming common. Nor does it specify how much on-board RAM it has: enough presumably.

But then Apple was always as much about aesthetics as about specs. We are told that the new phones are a seamless blend of metal and glass with more rounded edges. It reminds me of the Ambassador Car 20 years ago, which brazenly renamed Mark 3 as Mark 4 after changing the shape of the bumper.

The Apple Watch launched at the same time will work with the earlier iPhone5 as well: but it still belongs to an earlier generation of smart watch which can’t work on its own and doesn’t include a SIM. Health monitoring apps are not exactly breaking news.

While all this may sound as if iPhone 6 and the watch are a case of Back to the Future via other phones’ past, we must salute one innovation that the phone has blazed — more secure online payments. The Apple Pay app that comes with the phone is fuelled by a special chip that adds an extra layer of security — and coupled with NFC, it lets you ‘tap-n-pay’ where ever the technology allows, without having to use your card. This is great news except that just 5 banks in the US have signed up to work with the phone. That feature is unlikely to make much difference when the phones are available in India on October 17.

But in the long run it will jog the phone and payment industries into new era of safer mobile payments. I cannot help noticing that in the US, Apple will make a little money on every transaction done on an iPhone using Apple Pay. Just think, buyers in India are probably going to pay anything from Rs 55,000 to Rs 90,000 for these new iPhones — and then if Apple Pay comes here, they will continue paying Apple for the life of the phone. It’s all about money, honey!

It’s all in fun, but a few days after the launch of iPhone6, David Letterman in his popular Late Night Show in the US featured a hilarious mock TV ad for the Apple Watch. Search for “David Letterman’s Exclusive look at the Apple Watch” at You Tube.

From deccanchronicle News

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Posted on September 15, 2014, in Tech News and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I agree with almost all of what you say but the one thing I’m curious about is your savings. I assume that you invest a lot of that savings, but isn’t an investment in a company essentially just a vote of confidence that they will continue to produce products or services and continue to be profitable doing so? The money you earn isn’t going anywhere unless you burn it, so won’t it all just be turned back into stuff eventually one way or another?

    Like

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