Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Technology & Opinions: Apple iPhone 6, 6 Plus and Watch VS Samsung Gear series

Apple's new smart watch -- Apple Watch
Image from DNews
So the moment has finally come, and unlike my old self I was rather excited about the latest Apple products. At Hong Kong time 0am this morning, Apple announced the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, together with the much anticipated Apple Watch.

Image from Adam Outler's Google+

Since I haven't actually touched and played with the device, my comments below will base purely on the videos I have watched on the internet. For a change, I will start with the watches. So far, Samsung has flooded the market, like they always do, with their Gear, Gear 2, Gear Fit, Gear Live and the latest Gear S. All these experiences of making smart watches have not been wasted, as their smart watches do get better and better with time. In Gen 4, the Gear S is already a device with standalone 3G capability and a much anticipated curved screen. Still, we can't compare without getting to know them, so here are some videos of the better ones from Samsung, and Apple's.

The Samsung Galaxy Gear Fit is not really a complete smart watch, rather it is a smart band, but I think it has the best look. Coming in second, the Gear Live is the best-looking smart watch with the perfect size, while Gear S is a bit too large as a watch despite having a cool curved screen. As for the Apple Watch, since it is still in Gen 1 of Apple, it definitely looks better than Samsung's Gen 1 Galaxy Gear, but definitely needs a few more generations before it can be considered "handsome", right now it just looks too kiddy, especially at US$349.

(Here's an Apple Watch parody, just for the fun of it.)

The software department is Apple's strength area and I expect it to outperform Samsung by a fair margin, turns out, the Apple Watch looks pleasant and smooth on demo mode, but lack of surprise that can differentiate itself from existing smart watches in the market. The presence of a map is a nice touch, though you probably need a bigger screen for this functionality, maybe this point helps to justify the size of the Galaxy Gear S, but I think the Gear S does not have map capabilities.

Samsung Galaxy Gear Live, released on June 25, 2014, excluding Hong Kong
Image from PhoneArena
The Galaxy Gear Live therefore remains as the best smart watch in the market at US$199 but surely the next one will have to look even better than the Gear S to capture more customers, including me. Maybe on top of that, they will have to first include Hong Kong as their market as the Galaxy Gear Live is not marketed thus not sold in Hong Kong.

One thing Apple did do well in making this watch is the sapphire display, others should seriously consider following, though I was expecting to see sapphire on its iPhone 6 instead because then it will truly be first.

Huawei Ascend P7 Sapphire
Image from Huawei
But all is too late, because Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei has announced its Ascend P7 Sapphire stole the headlines for being the first smartphone ever to have sapphire as their display.

For those of you who are interested in videos regarding the latest Samsung products, you can head to my other post titled, Technology: Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Edge, Gear VR & S!!! Here I will just save the space for comparative opinions of the iPhone 6, 6 Plus and the Note 4.

Initially, I was thinking this is going to be a 'bye-bye-Android killer' iPhone, because few can resist buying the next iPhone with a sapphire display. I had my Apple ID and credit cards ready for action and then I was brought back to the ground from cloud nine. It has got to be the most severe anticlimax of the year for anyone to know that the iPhone 6 will be without sapphire display. Without the sapphire display, iPhone 6 is just, as summarized in the image below, another outdated Android.

Image from Ron Amadeo's Google+
But to be fair, and it's a cliché, that specification isn't everything, and having used the camera on the iPhone 5s and be impressed by it, I am sure that the 8 megapixel f/2.2 camera on the iPhone 6 which allows slow motion video shooting at 240 frame per second, is going to be even better than that on the 5s. My only worry is, the Sony sensor powering the iPhone 5s camera will once again power the iPhone 6's, because that will mean, Sony will always leave the best phone cameras for themselves.

iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and HTC M8
Image from Marques Brownlee

Other than a better camera, a bigger screen, faster CPU and a design which completely looks like a replica of the HTC M8, I do not see how attractive the iPhone 6 will be to the non-Apple fans without the killer sapphire display. Sure enough, you have the iOS 8, but older iPhones will get that too, making an upgrade even less reasonable.

Thus my verdict is, if your old iPhone battery is functioning alright and you are not in desperate need for a bigger screen, then you do not need to rush for an upgrade, otherwise, upgrade before your battery crosses the two-year-old line. It does not matter how much you trust Apple, the battery manufacturers in China is another story.

My cousin's iPhone 4
Image from Adonis Lau

Technology: Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Edge, Gear VR & S!!! @ Locky's English Playground

Technology: Welcome Samsung Galaxy S5 !!!@ Locky's English Playground

Technology & Science: Sapphire iPhone 6 VS Unknown Samsung Note 4 & Mohs Scale feat. Oppo Find 7 @ Locky's English Playground

Samsung Gear Live Review @YouTube

Samsung Gear Fit Review @YouTube

Apple Watch hands-on @YouTube

Head to Head: How Apple's New iPhone, Watch Compare to Samsung's Products @abcNews

Huawei Ascend P7 Sapphire: now with sapphire display @WhaTech

Why the iPhone 6 isn't rocking a sapphire crystal display @CNet

The Apple Watch (Parody) @YouTube

iphone 6 trailer - iphone 6 PLUS trailer official apple - iphone 6 official video by apple @YouTube

The iPhone 6 Model! @YouTube