Apple’s recent unveiling of three new products caused quite a buzz in the electronics community, especially the long-awaited iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. With new near-field communication (NFC), electronic payment capabilities, a larger screen, better camera, and improved battery life, this hot new model has competitors struggling to up the ante, and entrepreneurs wondering how the iPhone 6’s improved technology will affect their local businesses.
Paying for Stuff With Your iPhone 6
Apple has finally jumped on the bandwagon with NFC technology in both its iPhone 6 and Apple Watch. Something Android devices have offered since 2006 (Nokia 6131 was the first NFC-equipped phone), near field communication technology allows short-range transfer of encrypted data, such as payment information, between two NFC equipped electronic devices. Apple has appropriated the technology for its new “Apple Pay” system, and has teamed up with Visa, American Express, and MasterCard to allow customers to pay for goods and services with a single click, both online and at retail locations around the country.
Before you go rushing out to sign up with Google Wallet or MasterCard PayPass, however, be aware that Apple is restricting its NFC chips from being used for any apps but their own proprietary system, which is insular from other NFC payment systems. Merchants who wish to take advantage of the new NFC-equipped Apple products will have to sign up expressly with Apple Pay. How this divisive behavior on Apple’s part will affect the implementation of NFC payment technology remains to be seen.
iPhone 6 is Larger Without Feeling Bigger
Finally breaking away from its cramped 4-inch screen, Apple is outsizing Android’s 4.5-inch model with a slightly larger 4.7-inch screen. And the screen size on the Plus model is a generous 5.5 inches. If you’re thinking this will make for a bulky, clumsy feeling phone, think again. Apple combines its thinnest ever, most advanced multi-touch display with a seamless, rounded glass edge to make its new phones sleeker and more comfortable to use. At just 0.27 inches thick, this is one slim phone.
What does this mean for your local business? The larger display screen also delivers higher contrast, more accurate color, and wider viewing angles. All of this translates to a better user experience when interacting with social media and other applications. iPhone 6 users will no doubt be rabid app consumers, and looking for places to check in, post reviews from, and try out all the newest technology. Businesses that are “app-friendly” are likely to see an upturn.
Smile for the Camera
Foodies, Selfie-holics, and Instagram buffs will love the new features on Apple’s 8 megapixel iPhone 6 iSight camera. With incorporated HDR, reduced focus time, brighter colors (even when using the flash), and a noise-reducing imaging chip, this camera is likely to swell the numbers of photographic check-ins, Facebook posts, and Yelp reviews. The camera also features face detection, blink and smile detection, and burst mode auto-pick that uses programmed algorithms to pick the best from a burst of similar pictures. Digital image stabilization is included with the iPhone 6, and optical image stabilization is added to the Plus model.
With 1080p HD video at 30 or 60fps and 120 or 240fps in slow motion, new iPhone 6 users are likely to also be taking advantage of Yelp’s new video app to post videos with their Yelp reviews. Continuous autofocus keeps your subjects sharp even as they move around, and video can also be filmed in HDR mode. Business owners will want to make sure their establishments are video-ready!
Increased Battery Life Means More, More, More
The larger size of Apple’s new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus naturally incorporate more space for batteries, however Apple claims its new A8 chip is faster, better performing and also more power efficient. This adds up to not only faster performance but longer battery life. How long? Users can expect to browse to their hearts’ content on WiFi or film and watch videos for up to 11 hours on the iPhone 6, and longer on the Plus model – 12 and 14 hours, respectively.
What does that mean for your small business? Longer battery life means more time spent online and therefore more opportunities for local businesses to target consumers with mobile marketing. Longer battery life also means better reliability, which could lead to more iPhone users beginning to rely on their iPhones as a payment device.
So what is the main takeaway here? The long lines at the Apple store, days and even weeks in advance of the anticipated release, only demonstrate the population’s thirst for new technology. Business owners who choose to bury their heads in the sand and resist facilitating, promoting, and leveraging the tools of this brave new world are liable to quickly find themselves at the back of the pack!