My Real-Time Reaction to Apple Watch and iPhone 6

The big event is over. Today, Apple announced iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, with 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens, respectively; Apple Pay; and Apple Watch. What we don’t know is as important, if not more, than what we do. For example, Apple didn’t pinpoint when in 2015 the smartwatch would be available or how long the battery will last. But Cook did discuss the ease of charging overnight, which probably indicates enough.

As I suggested three days ago, today’s media event marks the beginning of the Tim Cook era, as he does things his way rather than Steve Jobs’. Notice how the CEO favors emphasizing the company brand over “i” this or that in product names. He also shed typical stern look for big, bold—and frequent—smiles. This is Cook’s day. 

But how will he feel tomorrow, the next day, a week later, or the following month? Much depends on how event invitees react and post about the gadgets, how investors respond to the news, and how the market receives the new devices. Shares showed some jitters, climbing up to $103.08 as Cook unveiled Apple Watch, then slumping before recovering enough to nearly even with the day’s opening price.

I had planned to write a long analysis but changed tact. Instead, I collect my tweets to reveal my real-time reaction during the two-hour media event, which started at 10 am PDT.

Before the tweets, something not mentioned in them: I’ve repeatedly said that Cook is a logistical genius, which he demonstrated today. By introducing iPhone 6 Plus, he effectively raised on-contract price to $499—when accounting for the 128GB model.

But the product line also is more complicated, with four distinct models—iPhone 5c, 5s, 6, and 6 Plus—than ever, with screen sizes of 4, 4.7, and 5.5 inches as most distinguishing differences. That said, choice is a good thing. If the company doesn’t offer broad enough choices, potential buyers will choose from someone else.

Now for those tweets:

9:30 am. Say, bloggers and journalists, is your inbox unusually free from PR pitches ahead of #AppleLive. Mine is. No one dares compete, eh?

9:31 am. I also see that tech news in general is light today ahead of #AppleLive, which foreshadows just how different is this event.

9:53 am. This is the first Apple anything I’ve watched in two years, since streams won’t go on Chromebook, which I’m not using now.

10:07 am. How dramatic my stream just froze with Tim Cook saying “Today, we have some amazing products to show you”. LOL

10:13 am. What? iPhone 6 isn’t 1080p? You got to carry a 5,5-inch phone for full HD? Oh, please!

10:14 am. Rumormongers got the screen sizes right (catchup, not innovation) — 4.7 and 5.5 inches.

10:16 am. Choke. Choke. iPhone 6 Plus is godawful naming. The connotations are “Plus Size” as in fat lady (apologies, lasses).

10:19 am. With #AppleEvent starting with iPhone 6, there’s hoping of something truly innovative ahead. Because this…

10:20 am. Can anyone else keep the #AppleEvent stream going? Mine keeps dying. Thank God for Twitter.

10:22 am. I’m living movie “Groundhog Day”. When I refresh the dead #AppleEvent stream, it goes back to the iPhone 6 video. Over and over.

10:26 am. I’m shut out of the #AppleEvent stream. Did Apple PR identify my IP address (for snark tweets) or coincidence?

Apple Sept 9 2014

10:32 am. #AppleEvent stream is back. #iPhone6 camera looks promising. Megapixels are over-rated. 8MP is good enough with right sensor and software.

10:35 am. #iPhone6 optical image stabilization looks promising. But 5.5-incher to get it?

10:36 am. Phil Schiller is talking #iPhone6 video cam. Let’s have some auto-refocus while shooting, please.

10:39 am. #iPhone6 does have continuous video autofocus (finally). Another catch-up feature and needed.

10:41 am. iPhone 6 and Plus ship on Sept. 19. Preorders on the 12th.

10:43 am. The 64GB models look like best on-contract values: $299 for #iPhone6 and $399 for Plus.

10:45 am. Interesting that most of the, ah, tweets on the #AppleEvent page are from Apple. Who says PR spins everything?

10:48 am. My griping aside about #AppleEvent page live tweets, the info, which includes pics and videos, is great curation of info.

10:49 am. Now my #AppleEvent stream is like a bad B movie. The video reverted to Phil Schiller and iPhone 6 but audio is Tim Cook talking payments.

10:51 am. Because the #AppleEvent stream bounces around, I can’t comment much on #ApplePay. But I will.

10:54 am. I love this: “Security is at the heart of #applepay”. Oh yeah? Tell that to Jennifer Lawrence and other iCloud nude pic victims.

10:57 am. Wonderful you can use #applepay to request Uber from the local bar to ride to the local Panera to sober up with coffee.

10:58 am. Tim Cook channels Steve Jobs: “One More Thing”.

10:58 am. Tim Cook is all smiles announcing the “next chapter in Apple’s story”.

10:59 am. #AppleEvent One More Thing is definitely a watch.

11:01 am. So Tim Cook makes his mark, starting with naming. Notice Apple Pay and Apple Watch, not iPay and iWatch.

11:02 am. Tim Cook says #applewatch is the most personal device ever created by Apple. We will see.

11:03 am. Tim Cook rightly observes that new Apple category devices create new user interfaces.

11:04 am. Tim Cook says that Apple did not shrink down the iPhone UI. Apple adapted the watch crown for input and navigation. Clever!

11:08 am. What people miss about smartwatches: Timepieces are jewelry. That’s what we are used to. Must balance form and function.

11:10 am. The #AppleWatch design doesn’t appeal to me, but I like the design approach — form and function.

11:11 am. Funny, as Apple phone screens get larger, the new device goes smaller.

11:13 am. Last week, I asserted that Tim Cook needed an “iPod nano” moment at #AppleEvent. #AppleWatch is it, assuming benefits deliver.

Apple Event Tweet

11:16 am. Oh, there are three #AppleWatch collections. OMG. Edition is 18K gold bling. Mmmm.

11:18 am. I’ve never seen Tim Copk smile as much as he is today He says #AppleWatch covers “every discipline” at Apple.

11:19 am. #AppleEvent is now smooth for me. Everyone else? Started with the #AppleWatch announcement.

11:21 am. The big Qs now about #AppleWatch: Price and battery life.

11:23 am. If #AppleWatch isn’t available for the holidays, big miss. If it is…we’ll see.

11:25 am. If you think texting & driving is bad, wait until people lift the wrist and take both hands off the wheel to reply. #AppleWatch

11:26 am. #AppleWatch #Siri integration is promising. Voice not touch is the most-important UI for cloud-connected devices.

11:29 am. I can use #AppleMaps on #AppleWatch to find the way to Whole Foods to buy goods with #applepay.

11:32 am. WatchKit lets developers create actionable notifications. These do WHAT to battery life?

11:35 am. #AppleWatch most certainly is a development platform. Impressive. Think about future form factors. Clock? Connected appliances?

11:38 am. To reiterate: #AppleWatch potential is future off-the-wrist devices built around the platform (if Apple is smart).

11:41 am. “The list of features is a mile long” Tim Cook says about #AppleWatch. But, like #androidwear, needs a phone.

11:43 am. #AppleWatch pricing starts at $349, will be available next year, and Cook says “it’s worth the wait”. That deflates things.

11:44 am. #applepay will work with #AppleWatch”, Cook says. I would hope so.

11:45 am. Cook says #AppleWatch will “redefine what people expect from a watch”. I’m skeptical, but we’ll see. Too early to say.

11:46 am. iPhone 5 series, iPhone 6, and 6 Plus will support #AppleWatch. Tim Cook claims that works out to about 200 million users.

11:48 am. Apple follows where others lead. iPhone 6 4.7-inch screen and Plus 5.5 inches. #AppleWatch is smartwatch latecomer. Refinement.

11:52 am. What we see from #AppleEvent is refined, iterative innovation. #AppleWatch would be bigger if available now. Holiday 2014 is big miss.

11:55 am. New U2 album free on #iTunes.

11:58 am. The new U2 LP is exclusive to #iTunes until Oct. 13 to all customers in all countries.

12:03 pm. #AppleEvent is finished. Rumors pegged everything, even U2, broadly. Of course, the benefits are in the details, which we have much of.

Photo Credit: Apple

Editor’s Note: A version of this story appears on BetaNews.