Apple launches larger, thinner iPhones

iPhone 6 and Plus will be 4.7" and 5.5" respectively. Apple Watch and Apple Pay system also launched at the event.

Web Desk September 09, 2014

Apple moved to recapture its role as a dazzling tech trend-setter on Tuesday with its first smartwatch and two large-screen versions of the iPhone.

Apple added in a new mobile wallet that will allow consumers to simply tap their phones to pay retailers.

The Apple Watch, a sleekly designed wrist device which links to the iPhone, "will redefine what people expect from this category," chief executive Tim Cook said at a launch event in Apple's hometown Cupertino, California.

"It is the next chapter in Apple's story."

New flagship mobile devices

Apple on Tuesday morning launched the much awaited new models of its popular though ageing line of iPhones - the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. The two new phones brought a size boost to the dimunitive phones as it moved closer to the 'phablet' end of the size range.

The new 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is only 6.9mm thick, with the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus slightly thicker at 7.1mm. Both are thinner than  the last iPhone, the 5S which measured 7.6mm thick.

Apart from the significant reduction in heft and the obvious choice in terms of screen size and the curved corners, the Cupertino company has invested in changes under the hood.

Both new phones are powered by Apple-designed A8 chip, which offers up to 25% faster processing power and up to 50% faster graphics. Apple claims that the iPhone 6 is also up to 50% more energy efficient.

The motion coprocessor, which was introduced in the iPhone 5S model, also gets an upgrade. The new phones have the M8 coprocessor, which continuously measures motion data from the phones accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass. In addition, the  iPhone 6 has a barometer that senses air pressure in order to measure relative elevation.

The company claims that the new phone will sport Wi-Fi speeds up to three times faster than last year's iPhone due to the 802.11ac wireless networking standard.

One of the draws for iPhones has been its camera. The new modesl sport a new 8-megapixel, 2.2-aperture camera which only slightly improves on the iPhone 5S. What it lacks in terms of raw hardware, the company claims it will be making up for in software improvements which will help the user take better pictures. Panoramas, for example, can now be up to 43 megapixels.

While the iPhone 6 features 'digital' image stabilisation, the 6 Plus has optical image stabilisation, a plus for all iPhone-graphers. In the burst mode, the iPhone can take up to 10 photos per second.

The new camera can also manage video at 1080p at either 30 or 60 frames per second, while slow-motion video can be shot at either 120 or 240 frames per second.

Needless to say, both new iPhones come with the new iOS 8 operating system.

Cook said the new handsets represented "the biggest advancement in the history of iPhones."

Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller said the new iPhones were "simply stunning" with polarized glass displays and bodies that are "thinner than ever before."

"These are the best phones ever made," Schiller said, as he described the new devices at a major set-piece event streamed live online.

The new iPhone 6 will start at the same price of existing iPhones at $199 for US customers while the iPhone 6 Plus will be at $299 with a two-year contract.

Schiller said the devices would be available in at least 115 countries by the end of the year. Apple will begin taking orders for iPhone 6 models on Friday.

Apple Pay

Cook said the Apple Pay system would replace an "antiquated payment process" with "an entirely new payment system" that allows consumers to touch their phones to retail terminals.

The new payment system will be built into the new iPhones and the upgraded Apple's operating system called iOS 8.

Cook said that in the United States alone each day, "that's 200 million times that we scramble through our credit cards and go through what is a fairly antiquated payment process."

Cook showed a video of a consumer tapping a phone on a payment terminal, commenting, "it's so cool."

Apple Watch

The list of goodies does not stop at the two new flagship devices. Apple has finally launched its competitor to Samsung's Gear smartwatch.

Cook introduced Apple Watch with the "one more thing" introduction that was a trademark of iconic Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

"It is the next chapter in Apple's story," Cook said of the first new product category to be entered by the company since the death of Jobs in 2011.

"We invented intimate ways to connect and communicate directly from your wrist; it works seamlessly with iPhone and it is also a comprehensive health and fitness device."

The watch comes in two sizes and an array of choices of interchangeable, fashionable wrist straps, and will also work with Apple Pay.

Apple watch will start at $349 when it is released early next year, according to Cook. The smartwatch will work with iPhone 5 models and newer.

While Apple Watch has touch-screen capabilities, many controls were designed into a "digital crown" button so fingers do not block screens.

Sensors can detect a wearer's pulse, and the devices tap into location-sensing features in iPhones to provide a "comprehensive picture of activity" and  help work toward fitness goals, according to Apple senior vice president of design Jonathan Ive.

Applications for the watch include map software that guides people to destinations with gentle "taps" on the wrist.

Apple showed off programs for checking into American Airlines flights, unlocking Starwood hotel room doors, and even controling home lighting or temperature.

"It is amazing what you can do from your wrist," Cook said.

He touted the potential for Watch activity and pulse tracking capabilities to promote fit lifestyles.

Market tracker IHS saw Apple as aiming to reset the wearable computing market the way it transformed the world of smartphones with the release of the iPhone.

"But moving into a new category is a bold, expensive and risky effort," IHS said in an initial analysis of the Apple announcements.

Despite an array of smartwatch releases, no one seems to have found the key to the market, according to analyst Roger Kay of Endpoint Technologies.


Haris | 7 years ago | Reply

All these features were available in almost every good smartphone of 2013.... and now its 2015 approaching and Apple is launching this old technology !!

Ali | 7 years ago | Reply

Wonder how much its going to cost in Pakistan.. around 70k?

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