On Wednesday, Apple announced some exciting new hardware and software. You can read a great summary of the entire event on The Verge, but I’d like to highlight just a few specific things I found interesting:
While the demo may have made it look just like another video streaming box with some games on it, it really is going to change how we consume TV. It’s the beginning of a new platform— a hybrid between interactive apps and passive TV.
The MLB app was a great example. The demo was only 2 minutes long, but it really showed the kind of functionality you can expect from video inside an app. You can get stats related to the baseball game you’re watching, and those stats are time-synced. So if you pause the live video, all the stats are paused too. This kind of interactive broadcast is going to be the future of watching sports.
Siri integration with the TV remote is very cool, and the demo looked great. But I constantly have trouble with Siri on my iPhone and Apple Watch, so I’m not too optimistic about Siri on the Apple TV. I also still feel stupid talking out loud to a computer, especially when it doesn’t understand me half the time!
3D Touch and Taptic Engine are the future of touch screens. 3D Touch measures how hard you’re pushing on the screen and the Taptic Engine lets you feel it. It’s almost like pushing a physical button. This gives a whole new level of interaction to a flat piece of glass.
The new “peek” and “pop” gestures are tied to 3D Touch, and will be just as intuitive as tapping and swiping. Because of the hardware and software integration required to implement it, it will be very hard for any other smartphone to duplicate.
It’s also another differentiator from Android that complicates cross-platform development.
The Apple Watch now has two new aluminum colors (gold and rose gold) and a bunch of new band colors. They also announced a watch from French luxury goods maker Hermes, which comes with a specially branded watch face. A lot of tech press have dismissed the new bands, but I think Apple realizes that wearables will not succeed if they aren’t fashionable and customizable. I expect that the Apple Watch and accessories are going to be a big seller over the holidays.
But while the watch is gaining more traction, that doesn’t mean you need to have a watch app. Even with the updated watchOS, third-party app functionality is still very limited. You really need to have the right use case for your app to succeed on the wrist.
If you have the time, you can watch the full presentation. If you don’t have two and a half hours (!!!), many of the promotional videos and ads that were shown are also available on Apple's YouTube channel. And if you want the new iPhone, pre-order starts tomorrow at 2:00AM Central Time!