Apple is encouraging developers to get ready for early spring when the Apple Watch is expected to ship. To maximize the number, and quality, of apps available on that date, Apple released their new WatchKit, along with a beta version of Xcode and iOS 8.2. This release is available only to developers, but interested parties can view a new video from Apple with more details. In the meantime, here's what Apple had to say on the subject:
When Steve Jobs lured John Sculley to run Apple, he asked the CEO of Pepsi if he really wanted to sell "sugared water" for the rest of his life, or change the world at Apple. We all know how that went, but ironically, in January 2015, Coca Cola will be releasing an update to their Freestyle app and dispensers that will allow users to customize their beverage, with 3 combinations of 100 different choices plus their choice of percentages, to create a unique mix. Living up to the Freestyle name, users can experiment with different flavors and find the perfect combination to soothe their tastebuds. The experimentation is likely to result in extra revenue given how many tries a user might have to attempt to get their personal favorite. They can then share that concoction with friends.
I had the opportunity to interview Sumit Mehra, CTO of Y Media Labs, whose clients include PayPal, Salesforce, and Sesame Street. Y Media Labs helps businesses with their mobile roadmap, artwork, programming, cloud services, testing, and maintainence. As a large digital agency, they keep a close eye on emerging technologies and markets. The Apple Watch is just such a device worth considering, so I asked him about it.
I have a good job. I get to review apps and accessories, often before they hit the market. But today that good job is a great job, as I had the opportunity to interview Jon Taffer, host of two of my favorite shows, Spike TV's Bar Rescue and Hungry Investors. Unlike most "reality" TV shows, Taffer's programs are truly real (although condensed for practical purposes) examples of bars and restaurants that need help, and get it, from one of the industry's most renown experts. Jon walked me through how the unscripted shows are produced, without his meeting any of the players in advance. The one thing we don't see is his crew of more than fifty working in parallel to rebuild each bar from the inside out, in less than five days. But this interview wasn't just about his TV shows.
There's a line from The Social Network where Justin Timberlake's character says "a million dollars isn't cool. You know what's cool? A BILLION dollars." Apple could say the same thing to the makers of Pebble, the watch I wear, and the first to raise $10 million on Kickstarter. According to analysts, Apple should sell 20 million Apple Watches and earn $10 billion from those sales. That doesn't even count the inevitable apps that will be formatted and sold for the small screen. If you do the math (as I did) this requires an average sale of about $500, which assumes customers may choose more expensive bands, extra chargers, and of course, the $5,000 gold model. Plus, I've heard other analysts predicting 30 million sold, so this could be a conservative estimate.
I spend way too much money on electronics, which explains why I have achieved "Elite Plus" status at Best Buy. But today that's a good thing, as Elite customers get early access to Black Friday style deals, from the comfort of their own homes. The brand new iPad mini 3 can be picked up for $75 off, without waiting until Thanksgiving and worrying about stock and crowds. In addition to the deal on the iPad mini 2, a 40-inch TV can be purchased for $180
There's a security alert going around about "Masque" attacks, which poses a potential threat to iOS users but, according to Apple, has not resulted in any problems so far. Masque takes advantage of Apple's iOS Enterprise Developer program which bypasses the official App Store to let businesses install apps on their employees' iOS devices.
There has never been a better time for fans of smart watches and fitness bands. The Apple Watch validates the market, yet has enough shortcomings that it leaves room for competitors. I've worn a Pebble since they were available and I appreciate many of the features it offers, but it's getting a little long in the tooth. It doesn't offer any of the health sensors that are so popular these days.
Apple is scaling their product line, both bigger and smaller. Apple simultaneously introduced a bigger 4.7-inch iPhone and an even bigger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus and the 1.5 to 1.65-inch Apple Watch. While that Apple Watch won't ship until early Spring, there have been rumors of a larger iPad, potentially dubbed the iPad Pro, with a 12.9-inch screen. Apple did indeed introduce new iPads a month after the iPhone and Apple Watch, but they kept the same screen sizes.
It's unlikely that Apple had much role in designing the new Beats headphones that were released today, given the product design lifecycle, but they are the first Beats products announced since Apple acquired the firm for $3 billion this summer. The Solo2 Wireless headphones operate via Bluetooth and offer 12 hours of battery life. A RemoteTalk cable can be used to turn the wireless headphones into wired ones, complete with an inline microphone. This is useful if the battery dies runs out, or for Airplane Mode use.