While I didn’t attend Apple’s October 2014 event in person, I did watch the streaming video online.  The following are the top 5 announcements from the event:

  1. Apple Payments arrives on Monday, October 20 via a free iOS 8.1 update along with additional, minor enhancements.   Only iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, with include NFC, will be able to used to make payment in a physical, brick and mortar store like McDonalds, Whole Foods, Macy’s and more. Other devices, including the new iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3 and the iPhone 5S will be able to make online purchases, via apps and the web.  In both cases, you’ll need to associate a supported credit card (e.g. Chase) with your iTunes account.   Apple Payments was the single most important announcement at the event and has the opportunity to revolutionize the industry.
  2. New iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3.  Evolutionary, rather then revolutionary changes, the new iPad Air 2 is thinner, lighter, adds TouchID, a faster processor, improved rear-facing camera and is now available in gold.   The changes to the iPad Mini 3 are more modest and only include TouchID, an improved rear-facing camera and is now available in gold.  I was disappointed that Apple didn’t include more enhancements including updating the front-facing camera
  3. New iMac 27″ Retina 5K and new Mac Mini.   The new iMac looks the same as previous models but sports a gorgeous Retina 5K display, a quad-code i5 processor, AMD Radeon video card with 2GB of RAM, and 8GB of system RAM.  Two years since its last upgrade, Apple upgrades the Mac Mini with a faster processor and integrated Intel graphics. 
  4. Mac OS/X Yosemite.   Available now, via the Mac App Store for free.   I’ve been running previous beta versions with good results.   Key features include a new user interface, integration with iOS (Continuity), iCloud Drive, enhanced Spotlight search and an improved notification center.
  5. I was disappointed that there were no announcements for AppleTV or MacBooks.  I’m a big fan of AppleTV and have owned every model (except the most recent REV A model introduced in January 2103).   While Apple has introduced a handful of new apps and minor user interface enhancements, a major hardware and software update is overdue.  HomeKit home automation capability was rumored but there were no announcements.  I was also disappointed that there were no new MacBooks announced.   The MacBook Air hasn’t had a major redesign since it was introduced in 2008.  Perhaps 2015 will bring changes to both.
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