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:
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.