The tagline before this year’s iPhone event was “Wish we could say more.” Now that the event has come and gone, we can certainly see why.
Apple unveiled a whole mess of new products and features during today’s keynote in the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, with the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and the Apple Watch leading the charge.
Per routine, Apple CEO Tim Cook was the first to grace the stage where he dove straight in to “the biggest advancement in the history of iPhone.”
iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
If you’ve been following the leaks leading up to the event, the new look of the iPhone was not a surprise. It features the familiar rounded edges with a glass front that curves around the side and seamlessly meets the aluminum back. The iPhone 6 comes in two sizes with a 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch display, respectively, with the power button now located on the side so it’s more accessible with the larger size. The rear camera also slight protrudes from the surface to accommodate the new technology. But the exterior design isn’t all that’s new on the iPhone, which launches Sept. 19 with preorders beginning Sept. 12. It also got a slew of other upgrades:
Retina HD: The Retina display has been a part of the iPhone since the iPhone 4, and today got an upgrade to Retina HD. Retina HD display is 1334×750 on the iPhone 6 with 326ppi and 1920×1080 with 401ppi on the iPhone 6 Plus with higher contrast, darker blacks and broader view angles on ion-strengthened glass.
A new horizon: The new iPhones take advantage of the new screen real estate with a new horizontal home screen view to make the phones easier for one-handed use.
A8 chip upgrade: According to Apple, the new chip is 25% faster and 50% more efficient than the previous A7 chip, while measuring in at 13% smaller. This helps lead to better battery performance across the board with the new models.
M8 hits new heights: The new M8 motion coprocessor can estimate distance, measure elevation changes, and it even has a barometer for atmospheric data.
Making calls: The new iPhone supports Wi-Fi calling that transitions seamlessly to cellular network when needed. The on-board 802.11ac Wi-Fi is also said to be 3x faster.
Cameras and video: It wouldn’t be an iPhone upgrade without a better camera. The new version features an 8-megapixel iSight camera with True Tone flash and an all-new sensor. It also features a Focus Pixels, which provide the sensor with more information about your image for better and faster autofocusing, among other upgrades. Panorama mode is up to 43 megapixels now. The front-facing FaceTime HD camera has a new sensor that lets in 81% more light with improved face detection and a new burst selfie mode, which will surely be a hit. The new iPhone shoots 1080p video at 30fps or 60fps, and slo-mo at 240fps, which is up from 120fps on the 5S.
Cost: Prices on contract will start at $199 for the iPhone 6 and at $299 for the iPhone Plus.
iOS 8: Some iOS 8 features were addressed and it was announced that the new operating system will launch Sept. 17. Of course, the new models will come with iOS 8.
Apple Pay: Cook unveiled an entirely new payment system that combines NFC and Touch ID called ApplePay. Apple hopes that this new method will replace actual wallets with Passbook keeping track of your cards. When you go to a physical location, Apple won’t know what you bought, where you bought it, or how much you paid and the cashier won’t see your name, credit number or security code. ApplePay will be available as free update with iOS 8.
And One More Thing … Apple Watch
The “next chapter in Apple’s story” was finally announced under the name “Apple Watch”. So we can now remove “iWatch” from our vocabularies and begin to look forward to early 2015. The sleek new Apple Watch garnered several rounds of applause as features were unveiled.
Design: The Apple Watch flat-out looks great. Its rectangle in shape with rounded edges, comes in a variety of metal colors and three versions: Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, and Apple Watch Edition. There are also a variety of strap types and colors ranging from plastic to leather to metal. Each strap is cleverly designed in its own right.
Wearing the crown: Instead of pinching and zooming on the tiny 38mm and 42mm screens, Apple created the digital crown in place of the dial on a typical watch. The digital crown scrolls and zooms without blocking the screen. The crown also doubles as the home button.
Timely announcement: Among other things, it’s still a watch, so it better be accurate. And Apple says it’s accurate to +/- 50 milliseconds.
Cost: Starts at $349 and will be available early 2015. The Apple Watch requires an iPhone (no earlier then the iPhone 5) for use.
Other Apple Watch features:
- Senses when you raise your wrist to activate display
- Utilized Siri
- Features smart replies and dictation so you won’t have to type on the tiny screen
- New Digital Touch lets you send quick sketches, taps and even your heartbeat to others
- Equipped with Retina display and polished with a single crystal of sapphire
- Differentiates between tap and press
- Features Taptic Engine for haptic feeback
- Custom designed chip and S1 processor
- Infrared and visible light LEDs with photo sensors detect pulse rate
- Gyroscope and accelerometer provide comprehensive picture of daily activity
- Back crystal includes charging solution and combines MagSafe with inductive charging
- “Glances” gives a dashboard-esque brief look at individual apps
- Favorited photos from phone or Mac show up on watch
- Maps gives haptic feedback to notify for turns with different feedback for left and right turns
- Fitness app monitors activity and movement, allows goal setting and gives complete picture of all day activity
- Move ring, exercise ring, stand ring track fitness
- Works with ApplePay
End of an era:
As OWC Brian has pointed out, the classic iPod no longer appears on Apple’s site, marking the end of a nearly 13-year era. However, the iPod Touch and other models are still available.