For many, Apple’s (News - Alert) announcement today brings about the same feeling as Christmas morning. In heads around the world, the same question is being asked, “What’s in the big white box?” It’s time to find out!
Today, in Cupertino, Calif., Tim Cook enters to a roar of applause, “On this stage 30 years ago Steve introduced Macintosh to the world. And, on this stage we introduced the iMac which signaled the rebirth of Apple. Today, we have some amazing products to show you.”
It’s here, finally—the official announcement of the new iPhone (News - Alert) (s).
The new, larger and far more visually impressive iPhone 6 and 6 Plus offer greater screen space as well as the new A-8 processor. The iPhone 6 also has a 4.7 inch screen and the iPhone 6 Plus has a screen space of 5.5 inches. The A-8 processor is 50 percent more energy efficient than the A-7 and is 13 percent smaller while graphics processing is 50 percent faster. This high level of energy efficiency affords sustained performance over a longer time span.
Apple’s new iPhone iterations also introduce a new camera. The 8 mega pixel iSight camera comes with Apples’s true tone flash phase detection auto-focus, which is the best way to do fast auto focus—almost two times faster than previous generations. Additional features include tone mapping, noise reduction as well as advanced faced detection.
There is one feature difference the iPhone 6 and the 6 Plus. The iPhone 6 has image stabilization, whereas the iPhone 6 Plus adds optical image stabilization. Both cameras can shoot in 1080p HD video with advanced video capability at 30-60 frames per second and the iPhone 6+ offers the ability shoot slo-mo video at 240 frames per second.
The new iPhones support up to 20 LTE (News - Alert) bands, and Apple is working with over 200 LTE carriers. The new phones offer VoLTE technology with near simultaneous voice and data. Wi-Fi is up to three times faster than previous iterations.
“Apple’s new devices offer operators a great opportunity to increase data usage and data revenues. Each of the new devices will lead to more cellular data use, which is also great news for operators – especially if they can price data services in ways that capture consumers’ imaginations. The iPhones support more 4G frequencies and also VoLTE, both of which are welcome additions for 4G operators and will boost global 4G uptake," says Paul Lambert, Senior Analyst, Operator Strategy at Ovum.
The iPhone 6 starts at $199, where its slightly larger ‘brother’ iPhone 6 Plus starts at $299 (with a 2 year contract). Each model can be purchased with up to 128 Gig, but one will pay for the storage. The 6 tops off at $399, and the 6+’s high end is $499. Apple said they will offer the phones in 115 countries by the end of year.
The days of the traditional card swipe may be coming to an end, with ApplePay. Using NFC technology, a user simply holds their phone by the POS station and makes payments seamlessly. Apple has improved upon security codes and outdated magnetic stripe technology with this latest move. People have looked to replace credit cards for years, but their focus was in the wrong place—Apple’s focus is on the user experience – and that may finally make the difference when it comes to mobile commerce.
Built into every iPhone 6 and 6+ is a groundbreaking NFC antenna, touch id and a secure element. The secure element is built into every iPhone 6 and adding payment options is as easy as taking a picture of the payment method and adding it to Passbook.
Privacy was a big focus for Apple with this and is offering something to make payments, fast, secure and private. There is no storage of credit card information, or giving one’s credit card number to a merchant. ApplePay creates a device only account number stored safely in the secure element and each transaction has a dynamic security code so if someone loses their iPhone, they can use find my iPhone, and suspend all payments from the device without the need to cancel any credit cards because the numbers are not stored on the device. Also, it doesn’t know what you bought, how you bought it and how much you paid for it and the cashier doesn’t see your name, credit card number or security code.
ApplePay will start in the United States with the new ApplePay API launching in October 2014 and the company said they already have agreements in place with American Express (News - Alert), MasterCard and Visa. The innovation giant also has deals in place with Disney (in stores and Disney World), Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Walgreens, Whole Foods, Staples (News - Alert) and Subway to use ApplePay.
Developers have had access to iOS 8 since Apple’s developer’s conference in June, and its major feature, other than a new keyboard, is continuity—the abilty to hand off tasks from iPhone, iPad or Mac. iOS 8 will be free to download starting September 17.
Finally, after what feels like decades of waiting for an Apple wearable, Tim Cook referred to the unveiling of the new offering as the, “...the next chapter in the Apple story…” and introduced Apple Watch to the world. It works seamlessly with the iPhone, and with its shrunken interface, needed innovation to ensure a quality user experience. The watch is, “made to be worn” Cook proclaimed.
John Ive discussed some of Apple Watch’s features including the ability to sense when the user is raising their wrist and activates the display. Also, a smart reply function offers subtle ways to communicate that technology often inhibits rather than enables and the Sapphire screen senses touch and force, adding a new dimension to the user interface while the watch’s haptic engine gives gentle notifications. The watch also comes with Siri functionality, digital touch and many fun customizable options.
There are three available versions: Apple watch, Apple Sport, Apple Deluxe and the starting price point is $349. The watch is also offered 6 different straps that are easily interchangeable.
The digital crown is Apple’s new navigation tool which allows for high functionality without blocking the screen. A quick reply system offers the ability to create customizable animated emojis and automated responses, while an activity app measures calories burned and levels of activity during the day.
Also, Watchkit enables third party developers to create applications for the wearable market’s newest toy.
Apple always has something outside of the box to offer its users, today it was a copy of U2’s new album, giving over 500 million people a free copy of the new LP. Also half a billion U2 fans across the globe will have access to the band’s new album, Songs of Innocence, which they can download for free from iTunes through mid-October.
Cook rounded all but one of the bases many were expecting—there was no mention of Beats. It’s probably safe to assume that there’s more to come.
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