Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) truly had an epic show in store today, as it unveiled three new devices and a new Apple service. In case you missed the event—and there were many who did due to Apple’s ongoing technical difficulties—here’s a roundup of what the company had to offer.
The iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus
This was clearly the most highly anticipated device expected from today’s event. It really does have a 4/7-inch display, as was rumored, and its big brother, the iPhone 6 Plus, sports a 5.5-inch display, as was also rumored. Both phones have a somewhat better camera, with Apple adding digital image stabilization to the smaller model and optic image stabilization to the iPhone 6 Plus. However, the megapixel count remains at eight.
Of course both have Retina HD displays, with the larger model sporting 1080p resolution. Management claims that the iPhone 6 can display 1 million pixels, while the iPhone 6 Plus can show 2 million. The display is curvier rather than flat like it was in previous models, and the processor is 25% faster than the processor that was in the iPhone 5S. Apple claims the battery life is much better as well because it has improved the efficiency of its chips.
Another new addition this time around is near field communication—finally—which will be used for the mobile payments service Apple also unveiled today. (See more on that below).
Apple will start taking preorders for both phones on Friday, and both will be released on Sept. 19, as previously expected. Both models come in silver, gold and space grey. The iPhone 6 starts at $199 with a two-year contract. The $299 model has 64 gigabytes of storage, while the $399 model has 128 gigabytes. The iPhone Plus has the same storage numbers, but all prices are $100 higher, as was expected.
The Apple Watch
The company also finally unveiled that rumored iWatch, which is actually just simply called the Apple Watch. It actually seems like the watch offers a greater value than what’s on the market, so it’s possible that even those who don’t consider themselves to be Apple fans might want it. But then will they switch to the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus? They will have to if they want full functionality.
Apple has built three different classes and two different sizes of its smartwatch. The different options span from a stainless steel model to the pure gold highest-end model. They all sport a rounded square face with a touchscreen, but users can easily swap out the type of band they use because they attach with magnets. There is a sport band, a couple of leather options and a stainless steel bracelet-style strap.
The device works with the iPhone 5 or newer, so older iPhone users are out of luck unless they upgrade. However, it offers some great functionality options. For example, there’s a heartbeat sensor, and Apple has made it possible for one user to send their heartbeat to another user. Kind of a strange functionality, but it’ll probably be popular with lovebirds and teens.
Also one user can tap another user through their contacts, and it will vibrate the other user’s watch to get their attention. It also utilizes Siri for search and offers navigation through maps. The digital crown seems to make it easy to navigate the small screen. The display is made of sapphire glass, as was expected.
And there are many swipe gestures that make it easy to use in spite of the display being so small. Of course it’s loaded with health and fitness capabilities as well, putting it smack dab in competition not only with the Samsung Galaxy Gear but also popular health wristbands like the Fitbit.
The Apple Watch starts out at $349, and it will be available for purchase early next year.
The Apple Watch is also compatible with the new digital wallet the company unveiled. It’s called Apple Pay, and it utilizes the iPhone camera to capture images of credit cards. To pay for something at a brick and mortar retailer, users tap their phone on a payment terminal and then simply use the Touch ID fingerprint scanner to confirm the payments.
The iPhone uses near field communication and tokens to complete transactions and keep payment information private. Apple said it has already partnered with a long list of merchants in the U.S., companies like McDonald’s and others. The company boasts 220,000 merchant locations as being on board with supporting Apple Pay. Six banks and three credit card service companies have signed up with Apple Pay.
This service could pose a threat to PayPal, as there’s an online functionality as well. Users no longer have to keep entering shipping and billing information with Apple Pay because it all goes with the Passbook service. Also many app developers are incorporating the service in with their apps. Apple Pay becomes available in the U.S. next month and will go global after that.
And now, let the debate about whether Apple stands a chance against competitors begin.