Thoughts on the Apple September keynote

We are already in September 2014 and getting very close to when Apple show us their new iPhone.  The date has been made official now for 09.09.14 so I thought it would be fun to talk about what I expect to see from them.

At the time of writing and only days away from the keynote it's starting to feel like all signs point to a big one, a new product category even... Back when the iPhone and later the iPad launched Apple changed the landscape and our expectations of what we want in a phone or tablet, the thought that they are doing the same for wearables is  an exciting time to be an Apple fan.

In the last year my main Apple devices have been a 32GB iPhone 5C and 128GB iPad Mini with Retina.  Both have served me very well, in fact I love both and don't intend on upgrading my iPad at all but on the phone front I'm starting to think about my options.  My main reasoning for getting the 5C over the 5S was the build, I love the plastic finish and rounded edges for comfort and durability.  That's where I was 10 months ago but now I'm really getting into photography again I've changed my whole view on a bigger phone.  In work I use an S4 and as much as I hate the soft touch buttons I live with it for the screen, it's made dealing with mails and documents so much more efficient.

As a big fan of Instagram and editing shots purely on my iDevices I'm looking over at my 5C and thinking with a bigger screen and better camera this could be my perfect device.  Instagram seems squashed (how they haven't created an iPad app is beyond me) and as good as the apps are that extra bit of screen real estate would make for a much nicer experience.  On the camera front I've been pleased with my 5C and it's limitations (shake, low light...) wouldn't be all that much better on  the 5S so I don't feel like I've missed out in that regard by not getting the flagship model.  What I'd like to see in a new camera is some stabilisation technology and a bigger aperture to help with low light situations.

From all of the rumours I've seen both of these items could potentially be ticked off my list.

It's late in the cycle now so the latest leaks I've seen do appear to line up with a 4.7" curved edged iPhone 6 (in the same colours as the 5S), with an improved camera (as expected) and a new 128GB size option.

Personally I've not seen enough of the 5.5" to believe that they will release it at the same time as the 4.7" but it's possible they will show this also and then release later on in the year.  For me 4.7" is the sweet spot, I have my iPad if I want something larger and don't want to carry about a phone that big, I can see the market for it though.

So we will see a new iPhone, but what else...

Well the wearable market is ripe for Apple to come in and create something that makes us go 'Ah, that's what a wearable should be'.  It's a crowded market already with Android wear taking shape and all of the fitness bands (I've owned an Fuelband for a couple of years) and Apple should have enough market research by now to check in that their vision for it is ready for the masses.  I'm going to write up a post on my experience of using a NIKE Fuelband and what I would like to see in a wearable soon but for now I will give you taste of this.

My main takeaways from using the Fuelband (especially the SE) is that it needs great battery life, be easy to charge, tell me the time and motivate me.  I am not sold on the idea of a large amount of functionality around notifications given our always on expectations these days but can see the benefit in telling me who is trying to contact me, if it's important I can grab my phone but I really don't want to be disturbed by Facebook or Twitter updates.  I control these on my iDevices so as long as we have that level of control it would be fine, the iWearable (?) would be extension of iOS so would imagine this level of control is going to be possible.  I's also done some reading up on Healthkit and Homekit and a location aware band could be really powerful - more on this in my future post.

Is September too early for this new device? I'm thinking yes but we may get a tease like the MacPro we had at WWDC last year with a couple of models available for giving the press a heads up.  With all of the hype around Apple at the moment (Eddie Cue telling us it's the most exciting pipeline in years) and various outlets now confirming that we will see something else it's hard to ignore but for actual hardware... We would have seen leaks by now so I have to think it's been built in the US on a small number for this event with a launch late this year/early next.

Any iPads or Macs, nope we will have to wait until an October keynote for that based on previous years.

Onto software then...

I have watched the WWDC'14 keynote several times in the lead up to this announcement and I'm still blown away by the changes in Yosemite and more specifically iOS 8.  In fact iOS 8 is like getting a new iPhone, yes its on that scale.  

If extensions live up to what they can deliver, third party photo filters, keyboards and widgets on board the next 6-12 months in iOS is going to be very exciting.  As someone that lives on their iOS device for both work and pleasure having apps able to talk to each other, having any keyboard that suits what I want and app specific widgets giving me information I can only imagine how much more interactive it's going to be.

At the moment for example if I want to edit a shot to put onto Instagram using my favoured workflow (Snapseed, Afterlight and VSCOcam) I'm in and out of apps saving multiple images on my camera roll.  In iOS 8 I should be able to do all of this from within the stock photos app utilising the new extensions functionality all on one image.

As another example say that I use a third party To Do app, I could put a widget from that third party straight into the Notification Center Today view.

On the Yosemite front the most exciting change for me is handoff, where your Mac and iDevices are talking to each other enabling you to continue where you left off if you move away from your desk or come home and want to pick back up on your Mac from your iPhone.

So to summarise it's an exciting time for an Apple follower, with a new iPhone, potential new product and some great software changes coming.

Let me know what you think is in store for us.