Apple Dominates September Smartphone News

Carrie Sylvester
Sep 10, 2015

Apple iPhone 6s and 6s Plus

September is notoriously the month of the iPhone, and Apple has continued its practice of rolling-out a new or newer generation of iPhones. On September 9th Apple introduced the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.

Although there were many smartphone models introduced this summer and more will undoubtedly come out in the months leading up to the Holiday gift giving season, it will be hard for any phone or manufacturer to rival the marketing and media splash that Apple has made.

iPhone 6s & iPhone 6s Plus

For the most part, Apple managed to avoid the leaked images and specifications leading up to the big news day, although most seemed to be expecting at least a 12 MP camera, and that was the case for sure. The front-facing FaceTime HD camera also got an improvement and now boasts 5 megapixels (MP) camera for selfies and video chatting. Although Apple’s tag line of “The only thing that’s changed is everything” is true, in my humble opinion outside of the impressive launch videos, I felt a little underwhelmed with the overall product announcements. Sometimes the hype can overshadow the product.

The phones come in two sizes, as did their predecessors. The iPhone 6s has a 4.7-inch Retina HD display (1,334 x 750 resolution) and the iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5-inch Retina HD display (1920 x 1080 resolution).

There are also some performance changes including having an A9 chip, Apple’s third generation 64-bit processor, and both models will ship with iOS 9.

For this analyst, the most interesting part of the iPhone announcements was a new feature called Live Photos, that takes a snippet of action by taking a series of 12 MP photos, 1.5 seconds before and after the actual image is captured, making the photo come to life if you press anywhere on the photo. This effect has been available for some time in some mirrorless cameras (Nikon comes immediately to mind with its Ashton Kutcher commercial back in 2012) and through apps like Flixel.

iPhone 6s will be available in the US for $199 (16GB), $299 (64GB), and $399 (128GB) with a two-year contract. The iPhone 6 Plus will be available in the US for $299 (16GB), $399 (64GB) and $499 (128GB). Both models are available in the US, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, and the UK as of September 25th.

Bypassing the Carriers

Another, somewhat genius part of Apple’s announcement that definitely seems to have slipped past much of the media hoopla is new iPhone Upgrade Program. Maybe it’s not the sexy part of the announcement, but it is the one where Apple strengthens its hold on the phone game. They are promising a new iPhone every year, UNLOCKED (you choose your carrier), with plans starting at around $32 a month, including the AppleCare protection plan. Unlocked was a dirty word in iPhone support language, and now that will be common.

The phones will be available at Apple’s U.S. retail stores, where customers can now get an unlocked iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, THEN choose their carrier. Of course the phones are also available through authorized carriers and resellers, but the big news here is really that Apple is offering customers the option to sidestep the carrier, thus making the carrier secondary in the purchase process. Makes one wonder, could Apple set its sights to become its own carrier one day? Hmmmm…

Apple has seen the writing on the wall before anyone else. Carriers are going to stop subsidizing our ravaging appetite for smartphone upgrades. But Apple doesn’t care, they are going to try to capture your loyalty before the carriers get the chance to say, “Hey wait,  you can’t do that – we liked that revenue!”

InfoTrends Opinion

You’ve got to hand it to Apple. They certainly know how to get some attention. It’s my opinion that the major players in the smartphone sandbox better up their game if they want to remain competitive. Apple’s limited model offering allows them to focus their efforts on specific areas of the smartphone, like camera enhancements and user interface improvements, like Apple’s new pressure-sensitive, 3D touch technology.

I said earlier, and meant it more as a challenge than a statement – “it will be hard for any phone or manufacturer to rival the marketing splash that Apple has made.” I hope that isn’t the case. I hope we see some splashy innovation from Android and Windows Mobile vendors like Samsung, Sony, or Microsoft.

Apple has thrown down the gauntlet and it will be interesting to see if anyone on the Android or Windows side of the world decides to take a run at the Title. That aside, the rest of us that happen not to be iPhone users are anxiously awaiting the next BIG thing, and if no one answers the call, Apple could win over even more converts from other smartphone platforms.

To learn more about the latest InfoTrends Mobile Imaging and smartphone analysis and insights, contact Matt O’Keefe with questions.

There are also some performance changes including an A9 chip with third generation 64-bit chip, and both models will ship with iOS 9, Apple’s latest operating system.

For this analyst, the most interesting part of the iPhone announcements was a new feature called Live Photos, that takes a snippet of action by taking a series of 12 MP photos, 1.5 seconds before and after the actual image is captured, making the photo come to life if you press anywhere on the photo. This effect has been available for some time in some mirrorless cameras (Nikon comes immediately to mind with its Ashton Kutcher commercial back in 2012) and through apps like Flixel.

iPhone 6s will be available in the US for $199 (16GB), $299 (64GB), and $399 (128GB) with a two-year contract. The iPhone 6 Plus will be available in the US for $299 (16GB), $399 (64GB) and $499 (128GB). Both models are available in the US, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, and the UK as of September 25th.

 

Bypassing the Carriers

Another, somewhat genius part of Apple’s announcement that definitely seems to have slipped past much of the media hoopla is new iPhone Upgrade Program. Maybe it’s not the sexy part of the announcement, but it is the one where Apple strengthens its hold on the phone game. They are promising a new iPhone every year, UNLOCKED (you choose your carrier), with plans starting at around $32 a month, including the AppleCare protection plan. Unlocked was a dirty word in iPhone support language, and now that will be common.

The phones will be available at Apple’s U.S. retail stores, where customers can now get an unlocked iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, THEN choose their carrier. Of course the phones are also available through authorized carriers and resellers, but the big news here is really that Apple is offering customers the option to sidestep the carrier, thus making the carrier secondary in the purchase process. Makes one wonder, could Apple set its sights to become its own carrier one day? Hmmmm…

Apple has seen the writing on the wall before anyone else. Carriers are going to stop subsidizing our ravaging appetite for smartphone upgrades. But Apple doesn’t care, they are going to try to capture your loyalty before the carriers get the chance to say, “Hey wait,  you can’t do that – we liked that revenue!”

InfoTrends Opinion

You’ve got to hand it to Apple. They certainly know how to get some attention. It’s my opinion that the major players in the smartphone sandbox better up their game if they want to remain competitive. Apple’s limited model offering allows them to focus their efforts on specific areas of the smartphone, like camera enhancements and user interface improvements, like Apple’s new pressure-sensitive, 3D touch technology.

I said earlier, and meant it more as a challenge than a statement – “it will be hard for any phone or manufacturer to rival the marketing splash that Apple has made.” I hope that isn’t the case. I hope we see some splashy innovation from an Android and Windows Mobile vendors like Samsung, Sony, or Microsoft.

Apple has thrown down the gauntlet and it will be interesting to see if anyone on the Android or Windows side of the world decides to take a run at the Title. That aside, the rest of us that happen not to be iPhone users are anxiously awaiting the next BIG thing, and if no one answers the call, Apple could win over even more converts from other smartphone platforms.

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