Today at Apple’s highly anticipated two-hour event, the company revealed their most innovative lineup of products, both hardware and software, yet. Some of the bigger points Apple introduced were the iPhone6, iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Pay, Apple Watch and iOS 8, though of course, many finer details were involved as well.
As rumors suggested, the iPhone 6 and its larger counterpart, the iPhone 6 Plus, do have a 4.7-inch and a 5.5-inch screen, respectively. Both phones have rounded edges, and the design is intended to be continuous so there’s no edge to be found. Both phones are thinner than Apple has ever made before, which “took an incredible amount of engineering,” according to presenter Phil Schiller. The iPhone 6 is 6.9 mm and the iPhone 6+ is 7.1 mm, compared to the iPhone 5s, which is 7.6 mm.
One-handed improvements seem to be a big emphasis of these newest phones. With the news phones, the landscape screen is more functional and messages, mail, stocks and keyboard which will have a horizontal two-up display. Especially on the iPhone 6+, the landscape mode has been created so that its easier to use one-handed. Both phones have HD retina displays, and as Schiller said, “that alone makes these phones amazing.”
He introduced the Apple A8 chip, which is 13 percent smaller chip than the previous version. The CPU is 25 percent faster and the graphic performance is 50 percent faster. Significantly, he noted that this phone will be 50 times faster than the original iPhone. It is also 50 percent more energy efficient and the battery life is the same or has experienced improvements in every metric from previous versions.
The phones feature a new camera that will use Focus Pixels and will be able to focus twice as fast using the technology found in high-end DSLRs. Each new phone has image stabilization, however, iPhone 6+ has optical image stabilization, which means the camera can actually shift up and down and side to side as well as in and out. The front camera on each phone, or the FaceTime HD camera, has a new sensor, a larger aperture and can take in 81 percent more light.
The iPhone 6 will start at $199 and is available in gold, silver and space gray and currently has 6 Apple-made silicon cases of differing colors as well as 5 leather Apple-made cases. The iPhone 6+ will start at $299 with a two-year contract and goes up to $499 with a 128GB phone. The iPhone 6 has more LTE bands than any other phone and has the ability to transfer from VoLTE (Voice over LTE) to a carrier seamlessly in the middle of a call.
iPhone 6 and 6+ will be available for pre-order Sept. 12, and Apple hopes to make this the fastest roll-out it has ever done. The phone will be available as of Sept. 19 in the United States, Japan, United Kingdom, Australia and five other countries. Apple scored an incredible marketing deal using the incomparable duo of Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon in two of their iPhone commercials.
One of the biggest hardware updates to the iPhone 6 is the motion coprocessor M8. It will gibe iOS 8’s fitness app more information than ever before. The chip will allow the app to estimate distance, steps, take note of elevation changes through barometric pressure and tell how many stairs you’ve climbed.
One of the biggest additions to iOS 8, which will be available to other iOS devices on Sept. 17, is the fitness app mentioned above, but iOS 8 will also feature a new messages app which will now allow you to share location, audio messages, quick type options to better suit one-handed use as well as new controls in the corner of the screen, again, for one-handed use.
After Schiller covered the finer aspects of iOS 8, the presentation shifted to what everyone has been waiting for Apple to introduce, what Tim Cook said will take them into a completely new category of service: Payments. Though it was thought to be called the iWallet, Apple today introduced Apple Pay. Thank goodness they’re branching away from iEverything. Though the video that was shown was a little corny, Tim Cook mentioned just how antiquated the process of paying with a debit or credit card is. With Apple Pay, Apple will add security, efficiency and privacy to paying electronically.
And those are the biggest concerns we had about putting your wallet on your phone. As we mentioned, Apple had already put in one of the necessary steps to making a payment process secure in a previous phone with iTouch. Now in the iPhone 6, an NFC radio strip will be built in across the top of the phones to transfer information, however the phone also feature a secure element chip that will store all of your encrypted payment information.
On top of that, once you’ve uploaded a card and corresponding information, when you make a purchase with Apple Pay, the system will use a one-time, device-only account number to make the transaction. The final purchase is then authorized with iTouch, using your fingerprint. Apple Pay will also create a dynamic security code, which will be more helpful at keeping your information secure than the one security code on the back of a card.
Because the credit card number isn’t ever stored in the phone, you won’t have to cancel a card if a phone is stolen. Also by using Find My iPhone, a user can suspend all payments if a phone is stolen or missing.
Apple has already partnered with an incredible number of banks and credit card companies. They have partnered with MasterCard, American Express and Visa, which account for 83 percent of all credit cards. As far as retail locations making contactless payments viable, Macy’s, Walgreens, Staples, Subway, McDonalds (who will also use it in their drive-thrus), Whole Foods, Apple retail stores and Disney have all stated they are incorporating the systems into all of their retail stores.
Apple Pay can also be used to make paying for things via apps and online easier and more secure. Once your information has been uploaded to Passbook, the process will be as easy as a one-touch process. You’ll no longer need to put in address and credit card information. Once apps have been updated to incorporate Apple Pay, it will be as easy as one touch, of course, with an iTouch verification to check out. Apps that have already incorporated Apple Pay include Targer, Groupon, Uber, Panera, MLB, Starbucks, Staples, Tickets.com and OpenTable, which is actually transforming to not only make reservations, but will allow users to pay for their bill at the end of the meal using Apple Pay.
Apple Pay won’t be available as soon as the new iPhones come out, but look for it to be available in the U.S. in October 2014. Availability in other countries should quickly follow.
Following their departure from iNaming, Apple also debuted their highly anticipated Apple Watch in an admittedly suave video, which was met with much applause. As Cook said, this will be the next Chapter in Apple’s history. Each watch will be completely customizable, from the band, to the watch face, to the type of display shown for time. The watches start at $349 and come in three different styles, Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch Edition, which is 18 karat gold that has been made twice as hard as standard gold. The devices will work with iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6 and 6 Plus. No set date was given, but we were told to look for the device in early 2015.
Rather than shrink down the iOS for phones, Apple wanted to completely redesign a watch to find new ways to communicate. This includes being able to send other people taps, allowing them to feel your heartbeat and being able to send voice messages through the message app. The watch is incredible in both how fashion-conscious it is, as well as how functional and beautiful the design and flow is.
Apple has absolutely delivered this time around and consumers will have a lot to think about. Do any of these features capture your interest?