Many eyes are glued to Twitter streams and live feeds for the Apple special event today! The much-awaited unveiling of new hardware, software and tech is taking place at the Flint Centre in Cupertino, California. That’s the same place they announced the original Mac and the iPhone 5s, so expectations are high.
From designers to developers our team are feasting on the announcements. Keep checking back – they’ll share their thoughts below:
Thoughts on the Apple special event 2014
Well, that’s a wrap! Tim Cook and U2 are offstage and the rapturous applause has died down. Over my tenth cup of coffee this morning (the event started 5am NZ time), what do I think of the announcements? The new iPhones look great, but unusually they were almost a sideshow amidst a slew of new directions from Apple.
From a design point of view, I’m excited that the new phones have a more integrated landscape experience. Permitting a landscape home screen may seem like a small touch but it means there’s no longer a ‘preferred’ orientation. It’s a natural move with the extra screen real estate of the 6 plus. I’d expect to see a lot of phone apps (including our own) become more tablet-friendly with the extra layout options.
Looks like your receipt photos are going to be unbelievably crisp and clear, which will help in those cases where they’re a bit crumpled or smeared… but I’m not sure we can think of an accounting use case for 240fps slow-motion video capture! Software-wise, the new iOS8 is going to be great. We’ve covered our thoughts on Extensions and TouchID previously when we attended WWDC, and we’re excited to get to grips with the Gold Master releases now that they’ve been seeded to developers. UPDATE: I’m told the team has already downloaded it and are installing as I type.
The Apple Watch looks fantastic. For us it’ll probably be driving a lot of work into notifications and what you might want or need to be shown at any time. We’re happy about the fitness side of things as well, but in general we’re more interested in the health of your business! As Tim Cook said, “It’s amazing what you can do from your wrist…” Bank reconciliation, maybe? Sounds like you guys are pretty keen already:
— Cloud Professionals (@TWintheCloud) September 9, 2014
— Anton Gerner (@antongerner) September 9, 2014
When the dust has settled on the shiny new hardware, the really big news for us and for SMBs everywhere is Apple Pay. As a first step, it’s pretty great for consumers. Why carry a wallet and cards around with you when you can make a payment with a secure system in your phone? It’s an interesting backdown from Apple as well, given their previous reluctance to provide NFC in their phones.
We’ll be watching carefully to see how this plays out for situations beyond retail and convenience payments. What if you wanted to do a pay run in Xero Payroll from your mobile phone? As you’d expect the focus of the event was the announcement and not the technical or legal details, so we’ll have to wait and see. It’s also worth remembering that mobile wallets permit phones to make payments, but not to accept them. For that you still need a payment provider and external hardware, like Square or Paypal Here. As an interesting side note, is it coincidence that Square canned their mobile wallet app four months ago? Coincidence or not, there’s general agreement that disrupting the payments industry is going to take a behemoth like Apple.
Some other thoughts from the team watching in San Francisco:
Apple announces Apple Pay, deciding to include an NFC chip with the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. This highly anticipated move is a huge win for SMBs and further shakes up the payment infrastructure. The heft of Apple entering the payment space promises to accelerate streamlined and seamless payments.
As an SMB, I want payments to fall into the background, to be invisible. I want to focus on the customer relationship. Think about Uber; I get into the car and I get out. I never have to touch my wallet. It becomes a more personal service. The future is where, as a customer, I go to the businesses that know me and they provide great service. It gets even more interesting with the joint announcement of the Apple Watch, which will work with Apple Pay. No need even to pull out your credit card, wallet or now even your phone!
– Peter Wen, product analyst
This strikes the market in a big way. Companies such as Square, Google, Paypal, and others have tried multiple times to create a market. They’ve shown that it’s hard to convert and maintain their business with small business owners.
Square’s first go at Payments was with the “Wallet” app. This was the first time a big company had tackled SMB payments with their customers. Apple takes this further with fully integrating with their hardware and software: iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and the Apple Watch!
This means people never have to deal with physical credit cards again. Anyone who owns an iPhone and has purchased an app or song through the iTunes/App store is ready to go with Apple Pay, as Apple already has your credit card information. This is huge because a lot of customers can’t be bothered setting these things up.
Apple Pay is going to help a lot of businesses, large and small, to enable seamless and transparent payments.
– Juan Arreguin, product designer
On an unrelated note, Xero is hiring for the brand-new Watch Accounting division… among other things. Any Swiss natives with a horological background are invited to consider a career in mountainous New Zealand making beautiful accounting software. Descendancy from Hans Hilfiker or experience with 1-inch screens a plus.