Farhad Manjoo, New York Times:
Four times before in its history, at media events planned with military precision, Apple introduced a new invention that radically altered how the technology industry conceived of its future. The company hopes it did that again for a fifth time on Tuesday by unveiling the Apple Watch, a stylish smartwatch that is the company’s first advance into a new product category since it created the iPad in 2010.
Yet in some ways, the most consequential headline at the event went unannounced. The biggest news was about the old Apple: It’s back, and it’s more capable than ever.
Any question about how well Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, is managing the reins of the world’s most valuable company will most likely be put to rest after Tuesday’s profusion of product announcements at the Flint Center in Cupertino, Calif., where Steve Jobs first showed off the Macintosh in 1984.
The announcements included two large-screen iPhones and a new electronic payment system that allows users to make purchases at stores through their phones.
Apple, under Mr. Cook, looks every bit as daunting to rivals as it did under its iconic co-founder, Mr. Jobs.
Walt Mossberg, re/code:
The Tim Cook era at Apple emerged onto the public stage today in full force, and it bears subtle differences from Steve Jobs’s Apple.
Jobs liked to say that Apple lived at the intersection of technology and liberal arts. He even appeared next to a huge slide showing a mock-up of the crossroad of streets bearing those names.
Tim Cook’s Apple appears headed to some different street corners — the intersections of technology and fashion, and technology and banking.
Steve Jobs at the intersection of technology and liberal arts
The company has entered new product categories — smartwatches and mobile payments — for the first time since the iPad was unveiled by Jobs in 2010. And the two new iPhone models it introduced at a lavish ceremony today were the first wholly new designs since Jobs’s death in 2011.
At the event today announcing those new products, it was crystal-clear that Apple sees itself as a financial player and a company aligned with the fashion world, via the stylish watches and bands it showed off.
And it was also crystal-clear that Cook is finally getting Apple moving forward again in a big way, and taking some different paths. In fact, it’s hard to remember when Apple, at least in recent years, has entered two big new product categories on the same day.
Nilay Patel, The Verge:
I just had the chance to play with the larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, and while it’s nothing surprising after all the leaks, it’s still a fascinating phone. It’s right in the middle of the familiar iPhone experience and the iPad; enough so that it’s hard to see why anyone would want an iPad mini if they have this larger iPhone.
If you’ve seen the leaks, you already have a good understanding of what this larger iPhone looks like, but in person it’s not at all what you’d expect.
First off, it’s much smaller in the hand than I expected — the thinness really helps here. And the screen is just stunning; it looks more like you’re touching pixels than ever before, and the rounded edges make it somewhat easier to hold. I have big hands and can reach across the the entire display with my thumb one-handed, though, so I’ll have to ask someone with smaller hands here what they think. I’m especially curious about the double-tap on the home button that slides the interface down to make one-handed operation easier; I’ll never use it since I don’t have to, but it’s a unique riff on the idea of one-handed operation.
Philip Elmer-DeWitt sums up the Wall Street analysts views here, if scroll down a bit.