As 2014 comes to a close, we're seeing lots of predictions related to Apple for the coming year. And many enthusiasts (and some market analysts) are expecting great things. It seems a safe bet that we'll see a 12.9-inch iPad in 2015. Lots of rumors have been circulating, and Apple's partnership with IBM is giving Apple's iOS devices more of a presence in the enterprise — which would be a prime market for a larger iPad. Of course, 2015 will also see the launch of the Apple Watch, with estimates suggesting Apple could sell some 30 million. Not only will the new watch make a huge splash in the wearables market, it will finally help bring out some of the potential of Apple's Health app and the HealthKit platform. Both were introduced with much fanfare, but haven't made much of an impression since the introduction of iOS 8 in September. The Apple Watch will likely change that, with its ability to feed data to the iPhone's Health app.
By many measures Apple Pay has been a success, and usage is only going to increase. It's one more instance in which Apple has figured out a better way to do something. Monday's big news is that Apple Pay will be coming to Chevron gas pumps in early 2015. According to AppleInsider, Chevron posted the news on their official Twitter channel. Chevron was an early adopter of Apple Pay, allowing customers to use it to make payments inside their stores and at Texaco Extra Mile locations, but now their service will be extended to the gas pump itself.
If you own stocks or have an interest in how the market is doing, you can use Siri to check current stock prices. In addition, you can compare performance, ask more general questions about how the market is doing, ask about the performance of specific indices such as the Nikkei, and more. Note that this functionality is available on the iPad as well, even though iOS on the iPad doesn't include Apple's Stocks app.
You must be aware of the huge security breach suffered by Sony Pictures, and that the FBI has blamed North Korea. The supposed impetus for the attack was the imminent release of Sony's movie "The Interview," a comedy in which two TV journalists (Seth Rogen and James Franco) travel to North Korea and assassinate leader Kin Jong-un as part of a CIA plot. The hackers uploaded documents, emails, movies, and extensive personal information from Sony's servers to the Internet. And they threatened terrorist attacks on theaters showing the movie. As a result, Sony withdrew the film from distribution.
A rumor keeps popping up that Apple may be developing a new 4-inch iPhone that it will launch next year alongside its larger brethren. According to a post on AppleInsider, which cites a market analyst with sources in Apple's supply chain, the phone may be called the iPhone 6s mini and have the same styling as the current iPhone 6 models, such as curved screen edges. It would take its place of the low end of Apple's offerings, replacing the iPhone 5c. And I'm guessing also the iPhone 5s. It's also rumored that Apple will use low-cost components from Qualcomm to keep the costs down.
I'm continually amazed at how useful Siri is to control the various functions of my iPad. I often use it to set an alarm or a timer. Doing so is so much faster than interacting with the Clock app itself. You can also use Siri to tell you the time and date, as well as the time at a specific location around the world. And you can ask Siri to tell you the date for a particular day of the week.
According to AppleInsider, which cites a survey by the investment firm Piper Jaffray, some 7 percent of iPhone users say they're planning to buy an Apple Watch. That doesn't sound like a lot, except that over the past 3 years Apple has sold over 450 million iPhones worldwide. So 7 percent of that figure is 31 million. That's a significant number, and some analysts are predicting that Apple will sell that many Apple Watches in 2015. Interestingly, that figure of 7 percent is a slight decline from the 8 percent who said after the September Apple Watch announcement that they were planning to buy. AppleInsider suggests that consumers have a wait-and-see attitude toward the Apple Watch: they're waiting until they have more information before making a decision.
All indications are that iPhone 6 users love Apple Pay, finding it both convenient and secure. In fact, new users of Apple Pay use the service approximately three times more frequently than new PayPal users, according to a report by ITG Investment Research. Their analysis found that "60 percent of new Apple Pay customers used Apple Pay on multiple days through November, suggesting strong customer engagement. In comparison, New PayPal customers used the service on multiple days during the same time period just 20 percent of the time." The top five locations where people used Apple Pay in the first six weeks of its availability were Whole Foods, Walgreens, McDonalds, Panera Bread, and Subway.
I use reading glasses for some things, a concession to middle age, but fortunately I don't ever need them when I'm using my iPad. That's because I've adjusted the settings so that the text is larger and bolded, making it much easier to see. These settings apply to all of Apple's apps and to third-party apps that support Apple's Dynamic Type. Previous to iOS 8 you could make adjustments to these settings, but they were located in different places. With iOS 8, however, Apple has gathered text size, bold, view, and brightness into a single panel in Settings.
I have a lot of apps on my iPad Air, and I can't always remember what folder I've put them in. Also, sometimes I do remember where the app is located, but it means swiping through a bunch of screens to get to the app. I'm finding that there's a much faster way to launch apps: simply ask Siri. Not only can you use Siri to launch apps, Siri can also help you find and download apps of interest.