Apple Announces iPhone 6 and Apple Watch

By Paul Riegler on 9 September 2014
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Apple's store in Toyo

Apple’s store in Toyo

Apple introduced new phones, new software, and new devices at a launch event on Tuesday.

The long-awaited smartwatch, named the Apple Watch, is essentially a miniaturized computer with a wristband.  It is capable of traditional tasks such as maps and messaging and also adds health and fitness monitoring.

The new phones, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, have much larger displays than the current iPhone, measuring 4.7” and 5.5” diagonally (the current iPhone 5s has a 4” display).  Both have aluminum back and are thinner than the current models.  They also have a processor that is 25% faster and promise slightly improved battery life.

Key new features for the phones include the ability to place and receive phone calls over Wi-Fi, something that Android-powered phones have long been able to do, and Reachability, which allows users to use the larger phones more easily with one hand by tapping twice on the one physical button on the device, which causes the picture to move down closer to one’s finger.  Both have an improved camera with a faster light sensor and autofocus mechanism.

Apple also unveiled Apple Pay, a feature that allows users to pay for purchases using the device.  Apple Pay relies on near field communication, or NFC.  Using stored credit card information, a user can touch the fingerprint sensor to authorize payment.  With the watch, a quick tap against a merchant terminal does the same thing.

Apple will release three editions of the watch in 2015; pricing will start at $350 and the watch requires an iPhone 5 or iPhone 6 with iOS 8 to operate.  It will be charged using a special magnetic connector; Apple decided against wireless charging, saying it would not work well for this kind of device.

Apple also introduced a new mobile operating system, iOS 8, which will be available on September 17.  It includes new Messages and Photos apps, predictive typing for Apple QuickType keyboard, and the new Health app, which provides health and fitness data.  The new iCloud Drive allows users to store and access files on the cloud and access them from anywhere.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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