Apple has mastered the art of hiding its shortcomings by using the magician trick of attention distraction. Larger screen, faster processor, better camera, all are features Apple presented as extraordinary while already in the market in various Android phones. Same with the watch. What Apple did not release, for example, is the ability to multi function : Not to have to close apps to use other apps. Sure, it is an OS feature but still something that puts the iPhone way behind its Android competitor.

Nothing from the event was a surprise. We all knew already that Apple would release a bigger faster iPhone, a payment system and a watch. The surprises, if any, were in the details.

The camera features are impressive. Already the number one camera in the world, Apple is clearly determined to continue being the leader in the mobile camera phone by keeping up with high quality features. That means that any and all photo tech company in the mobile space will have to continue focusing on the iPhone as the number one platform. And since what goes on the iPhone eventually ends up in the iPad, we can expect some of these features in the next release of the tablet.

The iPhone camera has some impressive features
The iPhone camera has some impressive features

With the 6 Plus, Apple is clearly going after the phablet market and that is good news for anyone in the photo tech space. Larger screens means better user experience for photography, whether in editing, management or visualizations. It will become  a more overall comfortable experience. The irony here is that while they increased screen size on their phones as per customer requests, they also come out with another device that has the smallest screen ever put on the market, the Apple Watch.

 Apple Watch keeps your favorite photos on your wrist. You can zoom into photos with the Digital Crown, then swipe to scroll through them. And even choose one to display on your watch face.
Apple Watch keeps your favorite photos on your wrist. You can zoom into photos with the Digital Crown, then swipe to scroll through them. And even choose one to display on your watch face.

The watch integration of some basic photo features is a welcome surprise but might lead to more frustration than enhancement.  Having to visual images on such a small screen, one attached to your wrist ( imaging the twisting needed to show an image to a friend) doesn’t seem like a pleasurable experience. What is interesting here, however, is the added possibilities this second screen offers to any photo app. From remote control of the iPhone camera to detail rendering and many other yet undiscovered applications, this might lead for some interesting integrations. If and when the watch becomes synced to the tablet and the mac desktop, the possibilities become even more enticing.

Remains the adoption. Will the watch be a success or a flop?  A look at recent similar launches from Samsung or Motorola point to a pessimistic outcome but Apple has already proven that it can take an existing  langering product and make it an overnight success ( think iPod). Since the release is still months away, we will have to wait and see.

Finally Apple Pay. While it could be unrelated to photo tech, it is not. Clearly Apple has launched Apple Pay so it could benefit from in-app purchases, a revenue stream that was escaping them. While presented as an overall payment solution – available for the physical world – Apple primary thought here is to not let any revenue from the very lucrative app market escape them. For developers, while they might have to share another portion of their revenue, it will certainly make it easier to include a simple form of payment into their apps.

As always with Apple, you have to read between the lines and what they do not say is sometimes, if not all the time, more important than what they showcase. The next few months will tell us if any of the announcements will have a significant impact but we are certainly excited by the possibilities.



Photo by Herve “Setaou” BRY

Author: Paul Melcher

Paul Melcher is the founder of Kaptur and Managing Director of Melcher System, a consultancy for visual technology firms. He is an entrepreneur, advisor, and consultant with a rich background in visual tech, content licensing, business strategy, and technology with more than 20 years experience in developing world-renowned photo-based companies with already two successful exits.

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