After introducing Apple’s new iPhone 6 to the world, the projector behind CEO Tim Cook displayed Steve Job’s famous words: “One more thing…” This came as an understatement on a day when the tech giant from Cupertino, CA, announced a whole lot. Herein, we break down the next generation of iThings.
The iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus
Although it surprised no one, Apple unveiled its hotly-anticipated iPhone 6 on Tuesday. It will come in two sizes, each with a screen larger than last year’s four-inch iPhone 5S. The thinner, sturdier smartphones measure in at 4.7 inches for the regular model, and 5.5 inches for the iPhone 6 Plus, in order to display more information with the completely new, easily navigable user interface.
They also boast processor speeds up to 50 times faster than the original iPhone and capable of running Apple’s new game graphics engine, Metal, for long periods without overheating. As expected, battery life is also improved—16 days on standby, 12 hours browsing via an LTE cellular connection. Alongside the A8 processor is the iPhone 6’s M8 motion co-processor, which is a fancy name for a motion sensor that can measure relative elevation, walking and running distance.
The camera got the biggest, or perhaps most important, overhaul. The eight megapixel iSight camera now features a new sensor that allows for faster autofocusing, better tone mapping, and advanced noise reduction. A new image stabilization sensor removes the effects of shaking the phone. Ultimately, the size of the photos remain the same compared to the iPhone 5 generation, but image quality has been greatly increased. The user-facing FaceTime camera also got an upgrade to HD, making it actually useful for once.
Video has also received an upgrade, with the debut of incredibly fast (slow?) 120 and 240 FPS slow-motion modes, as well as stabilized 30 and 60 FPS modes for regular shooting at 1080p.
Pre-orders will be available Sept. 12, 2014, and the units are expected to be available September 19. The new iPhone will retail at $199 for the 16GB model, $299 for the 64GB model and $399 for the 128GB model (with a two-year contract). For the larger iPhone 6 Plus, the prices are $299, $399 and $499, respectively.
For non-early adopters, iOS 8 will drop September 17 for all other devices. It will include a host of new features, including the Health app, and perhaps most notably Apple’s bid to become a leader in the world of no-cash transactions.
Apple Pay is a new app that lets you purchase things both online and off using just your phone. After attaching a credit card to your iTunes account, you’ll be able to purchase things in a brick-and-mortaer store with just a wave using the iPhone 6’s near-field communication. For security’s sake, no personal data—your PIN, accounts, name, or purchase history—gets saved on your phone or shared with retailers and Apple. If your phone falls in the wrong hands and someone breaks your dynamic security code, you can suspend the account. American Express, MasterCard and Visa have all put their weight behind the app, as have retailers such as McDonald’s, Macy’s, Whole Foods and more. Another noteworthy addition includes a “Ride Now” button to instantly call an Uber cab, paid for with Apple Pay. This app should be ready to go in October 2014.
The other, long-rumoured device shared Tuesday was the Apple Watch, which aims to put useful apps, activity tracking and connectivity on your wrist. However, beyond a customizable watch face and app support is Apple’s promise of making communication feel intimate again.
Of course, you’ve got an enhanced interface for replying to text messages and viewing reminders. As far as new concepts go, there’s haptic feedback—that is, you can feel different textures on the phone through a vibration motor/speaker hybrid technology called Taptic. With it, you can share extremely intimate communication, including sharing your heartbeat and being able to tap your watch so that another user feels it.
Speaking of heartbeat, the watch is also promised to be a comprehensive health and fitness device. The backside sports infrared and visible light sensors that measure your pulse. Combined with motion sensors, it feeds a wide range of data into the iOS 8 Health app. It can track your runs and display notifications that motivate you to meet fitness goals.
It’s also a very design-centric gadget. Multiple straps and cases are available on launch, including an edition in 18-karat gold, a sports edition with a 60 per cent stronger case and one in stainless steel. Six band types will be on offer.
The battery is recharged by an inductive charging cable that affixed to the back of the watch using magnets, but no exposed contacts.
Now, the down side: yes, you will have to own an iPhone in order to use the device, similar to Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch. Only models from the iPhone 5 and newer are compatible. However, this means it can act as a tether to control your phone (including its camera) as well as various other Apple devices, such as Apple TV. The Handoffs app keeps data on your phone and watch in sync.
According to Tim Cook, the Apple Watch is expected to release sometime in early 2015, starting at a retail price of $349.