News

POV: Apple Dazzles Again

Mindshare Point of View: From its base in Cupertino, California, Apple launched 2 new devices – iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus; Apple Pay – its unique mobile wallet solution and the highly anticipated Apple Watch.  With these came a raft of new features in its iOS8 operating system and the unveiling of two new fitness and workout apps.

Details

Apple, in what has become its hotly tipped September event, treated the world to a range of new product launches - some of which confirmed months of rumours and others that resulted in standing ovations from the theatre crowd.

Two new bigger iPhones were expected and both came in the 4.7” iPhone 6 and 5.5” iPhone 6 Plus forms.  A move from Apple to reflect the success Android and Windows Phone have enjoyed in selling larger ‘phablet’ devices.  In a nutshell, both new iPhone models are faster, thinner and tougher than their predecessors, as well as having better connectivity and much improved battery life vs. iPhone 5s.  Apple’s ‘Bigger is Bigger’ slogan extends to a more advanced camera, series of intelligent sensors and a gaming device to rival the likes of Playstation and Xbox.

From the disruption of the console industry, to the disruption of our physical wallets and the introduction of Apple Pay.  In talking about the many players who have attempted to solve the mobile wallet ‘problem’, CEO Tim Cook boldly stated that: “people have dreamed for years, but they’ve all failed”.  Apple’s means to succeed has meant the introduction of NFC (near-field communication) into iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, enabling the devices to work with contactless payment terminals at physical points of sale.  Plus, the integration of the Touch ID fingerprint scanner to confirm payment – replacing the need for a physical credit card and PIN number.  Apple reeled off a who’s who of key retailers from Macy’s to McDonald’s and Whole Foods to Disneyland whom with it has already integrated Apple Pay. 

Digitally, Apple has made paying on your mobile device even easier too – negating the need for filling in forms on the go and replacing this with digital cards stored in Passbook and purchases confirmed using Touch ID.  Even as far as paying for your bill in a restaurant booked via OpenTable or tapping ‘Ride Now’ within the Uber app.  The bottom line, Apple Pay is ‘easy, secure, private’ and Apple is ‘not in the business of collecting [users’] data’

And then, Apple’s ‘one more thing’.  Of course it was Apple Watch (not iWatch as rumoured).  A new logo and typeface - more akin to luxury fashion brand than tech company - and three ranges of watch (Apple Watch, Watch Sport and Watch Edition) described by Apple’s design chief Sir Johnathan Ive as: ‘as simple and pure as they are functional’.  Apple Watch serves as a remote to your other Apple devices (including Apple TV) and uses discreet ‘taptic’ technology to alert users with social network notifications, step-by-step map directions and daily calorie intake.  With Apple Watch comes a fitness and workout app – suited for everyday health and more organized workouts, linking to a standalone health app on iPhone. 

Implications

Apple reveled in how it had disrupted the PC, music and mobile phone businesses at today’s event – before following up with a series of new disruptions in new industries that included console gaming, video cameras, wallet and payments and watches.  On payments and health and fitness in particular, it has done only what Apple can do and make the potentially complex, effortlessly simple.  Apple Pay makes physical and digital payments quicker, easier and safer and Apple Watch combines a must-have fashion accessory with a means of helping the world get more motivated to get healthy. 

In Apple Watch, we see one of the world’s best loved brands move into wearable technology and start to see how our interactions with these new devices will completely differ from what we know today through our experience with mobile phones and tablets.  Mindshare’s dedicated wearables unit LIFE+ has been set up to define what these new opportunities for brands will look like – almost certainly moving away from visually-led content and more likely haptic (touch), audio and emotion-based ‘advertising’.

Today’s launch had the usual Apple swagger about it: ‘the world’s most advanced operating system’, ‘the most popular phone in the world’ and ‘a redefinition of what people will expect from a watch’ – but not without a host of incredible product innovations to back it up.  Just as it did with the introduction of the clickwheel on iPod and touchscreen on iPhone – Apple looks set to redefine how we purchase goods and services on the high street and ‘normalise’ health and fitness tracking, making it accessible to everyone, not just the early adopting few.