Science and Tech
Six Takeaways from Apple's iPhone 6 Reveal Event

Devin Connors | 11 Sep 2014 16:00
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iphone_6_touch_pay

3) Apple Pay, or Apple Wants All of Your Money to Flow Through It

...Apple Pay. Apple Pay is the new digital, contactless payment system, and boy is it a doozy. Simply put: You'll be able to use your iPhone 6/6 Plus to pay for virtually anything you buy.

First, you load your credit cards into Apple's Passbook app. This app doesn't store your actual credit card and account numbers, though; instead, Passbook and Apple Pay generate new, temporary account numbers for each card/number you plug into it. This way you can use your cards and such without exposing cards to the world. Once everything is loaded up, you go to Staples or McDonald's (two announced partners) or wherever, buy a bunch of crap you don't need, and then tap your phone to the base station by your register. There are already a bunch of stations like this, as some credit cards have similar chips built in (tap instead of swipe), but now that Apple is in the contactless payment business? Every business is going to invest in them.

But what about online? Apple Pay works the same way, actually. You go to an online store through an app or Safari, load your cart with the aforementioned useless crap, and then tap one button. Done.

Both methods are tied into Touch ID, so your fingerprint acts as the master key.

This is important on a number of levels. For starters, you won't be swiping cards at the likes of Target anymore, only to find out your card number was stolen (along with 40 million other numbers) because of lackluster security. Is Apple Pay hacker-proof? That remains to be seen, but a thumbprint trumps a decades-old magnetic strip any day of the week.

This shift also means Android is going to have to get serious about contactless payments, and fast. I'd expect some contactless Google Wallet news in the near future.

4) Apple Announced Watches that are Coming in 2015

iWatch

The Apple Watch is now a thing. Well, it's sort of a thing, as the line isn't launching until "early 2015."

There are three Apple Watch lines, and the lowest entry point is $349. There's the Apple Watch, the Apple Watch Sport, and the Apple Watch Edition. Ignoring the fact that "Apple Watch Edition" is a really stupid name, each lineup has two sizes (38mm and 42mm). Some models have multiple colors. And there are a lot of different, interchangeable strap options.

There a lot of choices here, but the basic breakdown is easy to digest: The Apple Watch is for most of us (...who are willing to spend $349 on a smartwatch), the Apple Watch Sport is for the fitness freaks, and the Apple Watch Edition (ugh) is for the gold-loving upper-crust millionaires in the audience. Seriously, the Edition models are all made from 18-karat gold.

The Apple Watch platform looks incredibly slick, and I really like some of Apple's choices here. The band/strap system will make accessorizing painless (but expensive), the digital crown/home button is a fantastic approach interface, and you know Apple is going to have decent app support at launch.

But then there's the bad news. For starters, the Apple Watch seems to be more iPhone-dependent than many Android Wear watches are on Android phones, which means there are more scenarios in which your phone and watch must be buddies (like working out). The starting price of $349 is another drawback, since most of the Android Wear crowd comes in around $180-$250. That's a big investment on top of an iPhone 5, 5S, or 6 Series phone, while an Android Wear watch will work with nearly any KitKat Android phone. Which brings us to our next point...

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