On September 9th 2014, during its keynote, Apple announced two new, bigger iPhones (the 6 and 6 Plus), a new Touch ID based payment system and its own wearable/smartwatch.
Unlike previous keynotes, this time, instead of spending the first 30 minutes or so of the event on Apple’s achievements, Tim Cook cut straight to the chase unveiling the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, due to time constraints.
As expected, the iPhone 6 features an all-new design, and inline with the leaks that we’ve seen so far. From the protruding camera, to the iPad mini / iPod touch like design, it’s without a doubt one of the most beautiful handsets we’ve seen to date from Apple.
Apart from the new aesthetics, the device is just 6.9mm thick, making it the thinnest iPhone yet. And just like the iPhone 5s, the iPhone 6 also features an anodized aluminium back, but gives up the glass strips on top and bottom, instead opting for a full metal design on the rear.
The display of the iPhone 6 features a resolution of 1134×750, making it a modest upgrade over last year’s iPhone 5s and 5c maintaining the Retina ppi density. Though there’s nothing earth shattering about this particular resolution, we expected Apple’s 4.7-inch flagship to carry at least a full-HD 1080p display.
It also sports the all new second generation 64-bit A8 chip, which is 25% faster than the A7, and sees a massive leap of over 50% in graphics performance. One of the benefits of these performance gains is the all new ‘Sustained Performance’ Mode, which ensures that the device does not get hot when it’s being hammered with a ton of tasks.
There’s an M8 motion coprocessor on board as well, which is designed to pick up on movement-based data for fitness apps without draining much battery. It also with features like relative elevation, which is calculated using the built-in barometer.
As the rumours had suggested for a while, the new iPhone 6 does indeed come with NFC for payments, utilizing the Cupertino giant’s new ‘Apple Pay’ service, about which we will talk about in more detail later.
iPhone 6 pricing structure: the 16, 64 and 128GB models will retail for $199, $299, and $399 contract, respectively, in the United States, meanwhile the pricing of unlocked models hasn’t been disclosed, yet. And yes, there is no 32GB version this year, instead we get 128GB model priced at $399.
iPhone 6 Plus
Instead of waiting until after announcing the iPhone 6, Cook announced the huge 5.5″ iPhone 6 Plus alongside the smaller 4.7″ iPhone 6. The iPhone 6 Plus features Optical Image Stabilisation, a larger battery (possibly a larger battery life as well) and an iPad-esque interface, in addition to what the iPhone 6 offers.
Also, like the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6 Plus follows the new iPhone aesthetics.
As with the smaller iPhone 6, the iPhone 6 Plus offers an improved, 500 dpi Touch ID fingerprint sensor.
The power button, as with the 4.7-inch model, is located on the side of the device. This, in turn, makes it easier to reach the button with just the one hand.
The iPhone 6 Plus offers a 5.5-inch ‘Retina HD’ display that Apple has laden with Ion-strengthened glass, not the much rumoured sapphire glass. it offers 185% more pixels than the iPhone 5s, and even though it’s considerably larger, users will surely notice a considerable difference when making the jump from one of the current fleet to the iPhone 6 Plus.
The “reachability” feature, which is also accessible to those on the standard iPhone 6, sees the interface slide downwards when the home button is double-tapped, making it incredibly easy for users to navigate the entire UI with just one hand.
The iPhone 6 Plus also borrows a lot of its UI aesthetics from the iPad and hence offers a lot more over the iPhone6 other than the increased screen size.
iPhone 6 Plus pricing: the 16, 64 and 128GB models will retail for $299, $399, and $499 contract, respectively, in the United States, meanwhile the pricing of unlocked models hasn’t been disclosed, yet.
Both the aforementioned devices have been equipped with NFC, meaning that Apple’s long-awaited mobile payments push can, now, finally commence. With the Apple Watch integration to boot, it’s clear that Apple is not going in half-heartedly here, and although there’ll be a bit of skepticism given the recent iCloud hacking scandal, it’ll be intriguing to see whether the Digital Age will finally signal the end of traditional credit and/or debit cards.
Apple Pay will allow iPhone and Apple Watch users to make swift payments using their devices and a combination of NFC, Passbook, Touch ID, and what the company describes as “Secure Element“.
Apple Pay will also be compatible with the all-new Apple Watch, allowing users to enjoy tap-to-pay through the new wearable when synced with their iPhone. That being said, those using an older handset will not be able to reap the benefit of Touch ID authentication.
Now, there’s just One More Thing…
Apple has finally unveiled their beautiful wearable device dubbed simply as the “Apple Watch,” rather than the much expected iWatch moniker.Designwise, it looks just like an ordinary square-faced watch but it isn’t one that is easily forgettable. It is covered by sapphire glass and is water-proof hence,it can take a few splashes of water here and there.
Towards the side of the watch is what Apple has dubbed as the ‘Digital Crown,’ which is the go-to button for many tasks, such as zooming in, scrolling, going back a menu, etc.
The new device features a bunch of sensors on the back of the device, which are used to grab data from the user’s body, like heart rate sensor, GPS, accelerometer etc.
The Apple Watch will be available with 6 different types of straps and will come in 3 different models:
- Apple Watch
- Apple Watch ‘Edition’ – features 18 karat gold casing
- Apple Watch Sport
All the above models are also available in two sizes.
The Apple Watch will be compatible with the following devices:
- iPhone 6
- iPhone 6 Plus
- iPhone 5s
- iPhone 5c
- iPhone 5
It will be available in early 2015 with a starting point of US$349.