Wednesday , June 6 2018

So, yesterday Apple did something. Our only iPhone 6 / iWatch post.

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Look, we write about Android stuff here, and sometimes that strays into things Google’s doing within its on ecosystem, as well as things that are Chrome, and otherwise of interest. We tend not to write about Apple much. Ausdroid does Android, and there are plenty of other places that talk about tech generally, and that talk about Apple stuff only.

However, this little graphic, shown above, prepared by none other than Ron Amadeo from ArsTechnica, caught our attention and it seems worth mentioning if only because we’ve not said a word about the iPhone 6, and maybe we should acknowledge its existence.

On raw specs, the iPhone 6 really isn’t vastly different to the Nexus 4, released almost two years ago. In fact, in Ron’s graphic, the two are almost on par. Of course, there are things that the iPhone 6 does (and which the iPhone 5S did) which Android still hasn’t figured out, perhaps due to patents, perhaps due to other factors, such as Touch ID (Apple’s fingerprint technology which actually works really well), a super thin, sturdy and stylish design, and a pretty amazing camera. There’s also those built-in health features that many Android phones simply don’t have (though some do).

Comparing the iPhone 6 and the Nexus 4 is really a bit unfair, because though the paper specs can be shown to be similar, I think few would seriously contend that the iPhone 6 is the Nexus 4’s equal in terms of usability and quality. The Nexus 4, with its glass front and back, was easily broken, and it is significantly thicker than the iPhone 6.

They also announced a watch

In a surprise to no one, Apple announced an iWatch, which isn’t called an iWatch, just a Watch.

I’m sure there’ll be those who think it looks fantastic and offers everything a smartwatch should and more, but I think we need to be a little realistic here; it’s not the most attractive watch I’ve seen.

Android Wear devices aren’t either (or certainly haven’t been, to date), Pebble’s original Pebble and the later Pebble Steel aren’t gorgeous either, and while Samsung’s played with smartwatches for a while, they’re certainly reasonable but not great.

However, the instant love that Apple fans everywhere have shown for the Apple Watch is almost amazing. So quick to discard the Moto 360 (which has a fairly nice design, although it’s not to everyone’s taste), some have already talked themselves into buying a watch by saying all sorts of amazing, revolutionary, incredible things about it. Take Aaron Souppouris over at the Verge. He’s said things like:

  • “But while not conventionally attractive, it does achieve one extremely important goal: anonymity.”   …   because apparently a distinctive, thick, square slab of metal on your wrist is anonymous and appealing.
  • “The standard “Apple Watch collection” models will be available with a choice of two finishes, stainless steel or “Space Black” stainless steel, and with six different types of strap.” … because changing the band on a watch hasn’t been around for decades, and does nothing to change the actual appearance of a large, bulky, square watch with an off-centre crown.

My personal favourite:

“Whether fitted with leather strapping or metal links, a Moto 360 is a Moto 360. Changing the strap on a Pebble Steel is simply changing the strap, and nothing else. The Apple Watch’s customization is deeper. The proprietary system lets straps come with their own lugs (the small pieces of metal that connect a watch’s case to its strap), and these lugs are individually tailored to match both the strap and the finish of the watch.”

THE LUGS. Oh my god, you can change the lugs. No longer content with just changing the bands, you can now change the little pieces of metal that the bands connect to, as well. This is game changing! This is revolutionary!

… except that it isn’t. Whether you change the lugs, or change the bands, an Apple Watch is still an Apple Watch. It’s still the same shape, size, distinctive design that people will see and recognise as an Apple Watch. The same as a Moto 360 stays a Moto 360 with a different band on.

These Apple news sites have to try better.

But, we digress. The Apple Watch has some nifty features too, including built-in NFC to work with Apple’s upcoming Apple Pay service. A neat, if not curious, inclusion for a watch to be sure.

Will the Apple Watch sell by the boatload? Yes, probably it will.

The Wrap

I think I’ve said enough. I didn’t pay much attention to Apple’s news yesterday, and I probably won’t for some time. Am I an Apple hater? Most certainly not. I use only Apple computers at home and in the Ausdroid office, and our server (in the office, not our web server) is an Apple as well. However, I do like to poke a little fun at Apple when I can, just as Apple users like to poke fun at Android from time to time as well.

So, that said, leave your hate-filled comments (in either direction) at the door, but if you’ve got some discussion you’d like to have about the relative merits, please feel free.

Chris Rowland   Editor and Publisher

Chris has been at the forefront of smartphone reporting in Australia since smartphones were a thing, and has used mobile phones since they came with giant lead-acid batteries that were "transportable" and were carried in a shoulder bag. He saw the transition from AMPS to GSM, loved the Motorola StarTac, and got into Palm technologies in a big way. The arrival some years later of the original iPhone, and then the early Androids, awoke a new interest in mobile technology, and Chris has been writing about it since.

Today, Chris publishes one of Australia's most popular technology websites, Ausdroid. His interests include mobile (of course), as well as connected technology and how it can make all our lives easier.

21 comments

  1. I’m glad that Apple has finally bitten the bullet and realised the need to include NFC, because now it will finally have reason to become more widely used.

    Also, if Australian banks implement Apple’s Tap & Pay before supporting Android NFC payments on phones other than the GS4, then I will be quite annoyed.

    • They definitely will. Absolutely 100% guarantee. I’ll bet my house on it.

      And then the Apple crowd will be all “well my iPhone has a new special wireless payment thingy. Can your Android do that?” And despite having had NFC functionality for literally years, non-Samsung Android users will begrudgingly reply *sigh* “no, but…” *fiery rant*.

      My blood is boiling even thinking about this inevitable day.

  2. I didn’t see anything revolutionary in iPhone from Apple yesterday, but I havent seen anything revolutionary from Samsung, HTC, LG, or Oppo in the phone space in the last year either. It’s the sign of a mature market. One thing you might want to mention as a reason for Android fans to pay attention to the iPhone cycle is for the carrier deals.

    You’ve linked to deals from Optus, Virgin and Vodafone in the last few days – it’s no coincidence that most carriers deals start on the day the iPhone goes on sale.

    (ps. I used and love iOS and Android)

  3. I just wonder where Apple is going with the emphasis placed on fashion iterations rather than technical innovation. Lest any Apple fan write me off as a Google or Android phanboi I’ve contributed my fair share of dollars to Apple and continue to use their iPad, iMac and will probably purchase a Macbook Air in the near future. I’m not even going to try and list the iPhones and iPods I’ve owned over the years.
    Ever since Jobs died the true technical innovation has simply been absent. When the first iPhone and iPod came out they were truly revolutionary and affordable to a fair chunk of the populace with a bit of a strech budget-wise they were affordable to an even larger chunk of those who cared about tech and what it could do for them. Since Jobs died most of the launches have been incremental iterations or catch ups enthused about as new features or innovations. Even iOS8 is a catch up to features that Google have been putting out for the last few years.
    So far as I can see the truly new innovation is the Watch and other than the nudging feature (I can barely bring myself to actually utter the name Taptic) and the Apple Pay system Android Wear seems to have everything else covered. Hell, if Google had the mind share that Apple did we would have had NFC payments years ago!
    Apple seems to be trying to compete through appealing to exclusivity and fashion accessorising. For highly remunerated professionals an Apple Watch Edition loaded up with the most expense band and dare I say it, LUGS will act as a non-verbal signal of either true wealth or the pretense of wealth. If the Watch starts at US $349 I can only imagine what the most expensive version will cost. Add to that the increase in price for the iPhones (a mid range iPhone 6 Plus is $1,129 as compared to $600-700 for a HTC One M8 with 64GB card and internal storage) and Apple is trying to set itself as a premium phone manufacturer affordable by the rich.
    Who knows, that could work as a marketing strategy but the last time I looked Jobs, Wozniak and the other tech utopians coming out of California in the 60s onwards weren’t about expense, exclusivity and mating signals but rather about how tech helped people lead better or at worst more comfortable lives.
    It seems like Brin, Page and others still hold onto that hope and aim their products at the widest possible audience. You can argue that the price of such products is an erosion in our privacy and we partially become the product to be marketed at but I’d take that version any day over paying through the nose for the ‘privilege’ of surrendering private data to marketers.
    Oh and let’s not forget the difference in cloud storage. If you buy an HTC or other flagship Android phone you’ll get upwards of 50GB storage on Google servers for the first two years of ownership. With Apple it’s 5GB free and then escalating price for paltry steps up in the amount of space available.

  4. Hopefully Google get their s**t together now and bring us Aussies NFC payment via Google Wallet.

  5. Maybe I don’t have to upgrade my N4 after all, since it’s still considered “current”. 🙂 On a serious note, it still feels as snappy as ever, and touch wood, both glass surfaces are still unharmed. While I technically don’t have to upgrade yet, I miss that new phone feeling. :p

    • I broke the back of my Nexus 4. It’s just a sheet of adhesive plastic, not glass. Cost me $100 to get replaced but I’ve since discovered you can get it replaced a lot cheaper than that.

  6. I like the comparison sheet, most amusing.
    I am most intherested to seeing how long it takes for apple pay to make it to Aus and how the banks respond… also hope that with NFC on the iphone we might see, say the public transport companies implement “tap to pay” so i can ride the bus and trains using my smartphone.

  7. In your references to differences between the iphone and the Nexus 4 you missed out on the key differentiator – price.

    The iphone is $869 / 16GB. The Nexus 4, at launch was $399 for 16GB and over a year ago had fallen to $299 before being superseded. A don’t know about you, but I don’t think 2mm thinner (but longer) is worth over DOUBLE the price – in anybody’s book.

    Frankly, this was an embarrassing launch for apple. Their catch-up iphone and iphablet failed to catch-up and their watch was square when everyone else had gone round. I have no idea, given their love of fixed pixel sizes, why they didn’t put a fullHD screen in the iphone, same as the iphablet. It would hardly be ahead of the market.

    The share price falling after the announcement says it all – there was no good reason for a new user to buy apple before the launch, and there’s no good reason afterwards either.

    • My guess is to improve battery life. I think that there is no need to go above full HD after about a 5 inch screen and below this would be ok.
      I wish Android phones started looking at battery life over screen resolution. I think 2 days full use without recharge should be the goal.

    • “No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.”

      Also, Apple’s share price ALWAYS drops after the announcement, and then surges well past what it was beforehand. It’s a known phenomenon 🙂

  8. It takes some effort to put aside “emotional connections” to platform A or B. But when you do that you can enjoy the benefits of both. For about 4 or 5 months I’ve been carrying an iPhone 5C in one pocket and a Nexus 5 in the other. I like both of them. They each do some things better than the other.

    I laugh when outlandish statements are made by people who have likely only used one of the 2 platforms. It doesn’t phase me too much because I know what’s true about both platforms. They are both very good systems, by the way.

    One thing I struggle with is the “superiority complex”, not of users of either platform, but of one of the two platforms – Apple. They seem to have no qualms about passing off their new gadget as the greatest innovation ever, when often it is anything but.

    Yes, their vertically siloed approach makes the experience generally more consistent and hassle free. No argument there. But their arrogance in proclaiming their superiority is downright off-putting. The hubris slaps me right in the face sometimes.

    Sometimes I slap back. Not intending a user as my target but that bastion of myopic pomposity who deserves it lashings. But I am probably deluded thinking that I can humble Apple. They have a systemic, inbred “superiority complex” that will likely never change.

    So, primarily I’m an Android guy. It works better for me to give more money to companies whose approaches are seemingly less self-serving.

    • “For about 4 or 5 months I’ve been carrying an iPhone 5C in one pocket and a Nexus 5 in the other. I like both of them. They each do some things better than the other.”

      So I’m not the only one… I have an iPhone from work, but really prefer Android, hence I have one for personal use. But you’re right, they both work well; some things just work better on one system, others on the other.

  9. I really like the angle you used in this story. Yeah apple make nice stuff, I use some of it too and love it, I’m also kind of in the specs don’t matter so much camp with Apple as they get to optimise so much more for their devices. having said that some of the positivity floating around in their friendly press is just annoying so it’s nice to see a more balanced view from the Android press.

  10. Diesel Black Gold takes on Samsung’s new Gear S. Google that Sh!t.

  11. I felt let down by the reveal yesterday. Apple was, for a while, a key innovator in the industry. Now they are just following to a large degree. I don’t care what brand or operating system everyone runs on but having as many innovators as possible drives the whole device type ahead.

  12. No doubt Apple will sue anyone who uses the the word “Watch” in their advertizing. Watch out Casio and the like for the lawyers letters..

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