I Predict – September 2014

Time again for another Apple keynote, and therefore time to predict what might be in it.

We are expecting a new iPhone, and probably a wearable device, such as a watch.

My wild prediction at this point is that they will drop the iPhone/iPad split – there will henceforth be one device in a number of screen sizes from 4.5″ to 9.7″, maybe even larger. No idea what the name will be – perhaps iPhone will disappear and iPad will remain, or maybe an entirely new name.

The wearable device will be wrist mounted, capable of replacing a watch, but not not defined by that. Health sensors will be a major benefit. I also think that it will only be a peripheral to another iDevice. I think an earpiece under the Beats brand will be part of the mix.

Thats it for now – lets see how I’ve got on in about 90 minutes time.

*Update* – I Failed!

I think I was right about the [watch](http://apple.com/uk/watch) though in terms of its feature set, but failed in respect to the earpiece, although maybe its possible, just not advertised. I guess it connects to the phone though, not the watch. I don’t really see people talking Dick Tracy style to their wrists.

Whilst my prediction of a rebranding around a single name was wrong or at least premature, style-wise both iPhone and iPad all share very similar design details, maybe that will come a little further down the line.

Apple Pay was interesting, but probably isn’t going to have much effect here in the UK as contactless payment has only just been deployed. In my experience, it sort of works, but is pretty hit and miss and with the exception of not having to type the PIN code, not a great deal more convenient. Also, you still have to pull that card from your wallet if you have more than one contactless card. Apple Pay would be boon, but I think it will take them a while yet before you can leave your credit cards at home.

The phone is a nice update, but I’m not convinced by the size, particularly of the larger one. If you think about it, the development of the watch was probably very much informed by the market demand for a larger phone/phablet. Apple I think realised that a watch was not just about a cool gadget, but about usability. Whipping out a phablet sized device gets awkward, and was one of the primary reasons I am against larger devices. Putting functionality on a wrist mounted device makes using the phone so much easier, regardless of phone size. Its why I was thinking they’d merge iPhone and iPad to create a single device, because the size becomes less important when coupled with a wearable.

Looking at the features outlined in the keynote, I was surprised at the deep level of integration. Whilst I expected a watch type device, I was expecting version 1 to be more basic than it is, and I think thats why its been a while coming compared to the competition. Apple wanting it to be right, not just driven by a desire to be in a particular market.

As far as design goes, they provided many personalisation options, although I actually think the basic watch case is a little boring to look at. It looks pretty thick as watches go, but expect some large improvements in thickness once version 2 comes along. By the time the traditional case manufacturers get to work on creating other strap options, and assuming strap interchangeability is quick, simple and robust, you can personalise your watch to your hearts content.

Battery life is going to be really key. I’m going to say its got to be a minimum of 16 hours, but really they’ve got to be targeting more like 48 hours to make it really acceptable. I’m going to assume also that some power will be reserved for continued health recording, with the display being disabled to preserve longevity once the battery drops below a certain level.

I was initially concerned that as a left-hander they’ve overlooked the placement of the crown and button, but I’ve since read reports that you can choose handedness, although don’t know how that might affect use of the crown and button as they will be inverted when worn on a right wrist.

It’s certainly been an interesting keynote. The U2 album giveaway just didn’t seem to fit with the rest of it. The banter between Tim Cook and Bono suggested that Apple must have paid something to the band for exclusivity. What might have been nice was U2 then giving a share of the proceeds to something else charitable. Maybe that is happening, but would have been an even nicer gesture.

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