iPoint of Sale

It’s been almost a year since I waffled on about the then new iPhone 5 and what else people might want from a phone.

Now the iPhone 5S has been out for a bit, here’s what I reckon.

I previously wondered what else they could add in terms of hardware, and in the end they added three new features:

– Fingerprint reader
– M7 co-processor chip
– Faster CPU

Software-wise, you might have noticed that Apple also released iOS7.

Now, so what – you may well ask. Taken individually these new features seem like a bit of a gimmick in the case of fingerprint reader and only slight updates in the cases of the coprocessor and faster CPU.

But I think they’re just laying the groundwork for bigger and scarier things.

As Apple realised before anyone else (apart from maybe Amazon), it’s not about the individual devices; it’s about the infrastructure and reducing the friction involved when relieving customers of their cash.

With the new fingerprint scanner, assuming it’s accurate enough in real-world use, they’ve combined the devices in our pockets with our credit card details to produce walking points of sale. Tack on the new iBeacon bluetooth stuff and they’re about to make in-store tracking and payments as easy as Amazon made it online.

The new M7 chip basically takes care of capturing and processing all the data from the various gyroscopic, compass and accelerometer sensors in the phone, even when asleep, freeing up the CPU and preserving battery life. If basic gyroscopic sensors were good enough to navigate Lancaster bombers across Europe during WW2, imagine what the ones in an iPhone can do. All the time. Whilst it’s asleep. Some say scary, I say cool, a phone that knows when you’re driving and doesn’t disturb you.

Glueing all this together are the more boring features of the faster CPU and the new APIs in iOS7. Non-techies might not care but having more CPU power available means a lot more potential in terms of app functionality and the new iOS APIs make it easier to extract that functionality.

I think the new iPhone is greater than the sum of it’s parts and with my tin-foil hat on I know that its ultimate aim is to relieve me of (more) money, but I’m still quite looking forward to seeing what developers make of it’s new capabilities.

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