Apple recently wrapped up its ‘Hey Siri’ event, which was held on September 9th 2015 at the Bill Graham Center in San Francisco. There were a ton of announcements. Now, that the dust has settled, let’s break it down.
The event itself was far more cohesive than the WWDC keynote in June, which in terms of Apple, was a train wreck. This time, the segments were executed with a degree of precision one has come to expect from the company.
New bands and watch faces were unveiled, however, it was watchOS 2 that caught my attention. The latest OS enables developers to leverage the Digital Crown, Taptic Engine, health sensors and more. I remember when the first iPhone was introduced in 2007. At the time, it was simply unfathomable to predict how powerful the combination of software, hardware and apps would become. Thought experiment: Try to imagine what the Apple Watch will look like in eight years.
Apple finally released the long-rumored iPad Pro. The new tablet sports a 12.9-inch Retina Display and twice the CPU performance of the iPad Air 2. With the release of the iPad Pro, Apple introduced its own stylus, Apple Pencil and a keyboard cover. Of course the Interwebs had a field day with this.
Apple has always remained firm in its belief that Mac OS and iOS serve two different mediums. In my opinion, the iPad has been a “lean back” device to consumer content and compliment your existing toolset (laptop / desktop / phone). The Microsoft Surface is indeed a device that is meant to replace your PC. Despite the lack of a USB port, I appreciate the iPad Pro upgrades. But at what point does a tablet end and a laptop begin? Or in this case, where does the iPad Pro end and a MacBook or MacBook Air begin?
As expected, the iPhone 6S and 6 PLUS were announced. The iPhone 6S introduces 3D Touch, the next generation of multi-touch. The technology senses how much pressure is applied to the display. 3D Touch also includes “Peek and Pop,” a new feature that recognizes force and works on both the home screen and in an application. The feature enables a user to preview content by gently pressing on the display – pressing slightly harder allows a user to “pop” into the full content.
The “iPhone Upgrade Program” is another new item worth noting. The program gives users the opportunity to purchase a new iPhone and AppleCare+ every year. The phones are unlocked and a monthly payment plan is available. This program will certainly be a catalyst for retaining customers, which is so critical in todays market place.
The phones include a ton of new features. Learn more and compare models here.
The Apple Watch, iPad Pro and new iPhone demos were pretty cool but it was the new Apple TV that captured my imagination. Apple believes the future of Television is apps. Tim Cook even declared that we have entered the “Golden Age of TV,” an age that features new hardware, a modern OS, a new user experience, developer tools and of course, an app store.
The new Apple TV includes a new user interface, universal search, a voice controlled Siri Remote and more. Some partners like Netflix, HBO and Hulu received early access to showcase their reimagined apps. However, I actually did a double take when Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet software, announced new apps from Zillow and Airbnb.
Real estate pros have been trying to reinvent property search for sometime now. There’s been “map search,” “proximity search,” and even the elusive “lifestyle search.” And of course, there have been new fangled approaches such as “mobile first” or “mobile only” that don’t even include a desktop component.
Could a “TV First” approach with voice service be the future of property search?
The new Apple TV allows users to search for movies using the Siri Remote. For example:
“Siri, show me action movies.”
Then you can refine that search:
“Siri, show me action movies starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.”
This experience could translate smoothly to the Zillow or Airbnb app. For Example:
“Siri, show me homes for sale in San Francisco.”
“Siri, show me homes for sale in San Francisco under $2 million.”
Zillow has already indicated that the app will include high-resolution photography and video. Users even have the ability to save homes by simply swiping the Siri Remote. Saved search and homes are accessible on all devices: Apple TV, Mac, iPad, iPhone and Apple Watch. This is truly a holistic experience.
The popularity of OTT (Over-The-Top) devices will only continue to grow and most already support voice search. Amazon fireTV includes Alexa, Amazon’s cloud-based voice service, the new Roku 3 features voice search and at a $35 price point, Google’s Chromecast is extremely accessible.
Digital designer, Wilson Miner, gave a passionate presentation at the Build design festival a few years ago entitled, “When We Build.” In the presentation, Miner references Marshall McLuhan’s concept that “the medium is the message.” The premise of the phrase is when new mediums are introduced, they create new experience and these new experiences shape behavior.
Could Apple TV introduce a new way to experience searching for a home? An experience that is voice controlled, takes place in the comfort of a living room on big screen and in the presence of family members. It certainly has the potential to do so.