The long awaited iPhone 6 was launched today at the Flint Center in Cupertino. Here are some highlights from the launch presentation today:
Not your typical iPhone
The body of the iPhone 6 is noticeably different from all previous models. In addition to being significantly larger in size, it also appears to have undergone a complete overhaul. For starters, the power button has been moved from the top to the upper right-hand side of the phone, similar to many Android devices. The device is also significantly thinner than any previous model, at a mere 6.9 mm (or 7.1 mm for the slightly larger iPhone 6 Plus).
“Bigger than Bigger”
Apples slogan for the new iPhone is “Bigger than bigger” and features two sizes: a 4.7 inch screen for the iPhone 6, and a 5.5 inch screen for the iPhone 6 Plus. The screen itself is made of “ion strengthened glass” and features 1334 x 750 and 1920 x 1080 pixels for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, respectively. Senior Apple VP, Phil Schiller, points out that the 6 Plus has 185% more pixels than the Samsung Galaxy S5.
Better User Experience
The new interface brags that it is more user friendly, featuring double-panel apps, and a more complete keyboard (with extra characters and copy/paste buttons) in landscape mode. Apple also boasts that there are 1.3 million apps available for iOS8, and claims that apps that have not been updated for the new phone “just work.”
The iPhone 6 includes a new Apple A8 chip – a 64-bit chip that allows up 25% faster CPU processes and up to 50% faster graphics performance, as well as a longer sustained performance time.
Apple’s gaming engine, Metal, claims to minimize the amount of software between games and the processor.
The new fitness program features an M8 Motion Coprocessor that can calculate distance, elevation, and can also monitor distance and elevation.
Stunning camera quality
Apple products are known for their visual quality, and the new camera boasts 8 megapixels, true-tone flash, and a new iSight sensor, which allows users to focus pixels. Schiller also claims that smile and blink detection are better than previous versions. It also takes video at 1080 pixels with 30 or 60 frames per second. In slow motion, the camera can capture a whopping 240 frames per second.
Introducing Apple Pay
CEO Tim Cook shares his ambitious goal to replace the traditional wallet. Apple Pay does indeed look very impressive – you simply take a picture of your credit card, confirm with your bank and the phone, and the card is added to your phone. Unlike other digital payment methods, the phone does not store your card’s information, and instead issues a one-time payment number to merchants. If your phone is ever lost or stolen, you can simply suspend payments from the device without cancelling your cards. A band in the top of the phone lets you choose the card you want and pay instantly at participating retailers.
Not to be outdone by Samsung, Apple unveiled its new Apple Watch. The tiny device comes in two sizes, is easily customizable, and features an innovative user interface. The small dial on the side compensates for the small screen size, allowing users to scroll and zoom with ease. The Apple Watch can also monitor your pulse, send sketches to other Apple Watch users, and even send your heartbeat to other users. The Taptic Engine can send very specific vibrations, allowing users to “feel” GPS directions without even looking at the device. It also works with Apple Pay, for seamless digital payments.
Pricing and availability
The prices shown during the presentation included a two year contract. The iPhone 6 starts at $199 for the 16GB model, and goes up to $399 for the 128 GB. For those seeking a middle ground, Apple will also release a 64 GB version for $299. The iPhone 6 Plus will go for $299 for the 16 GB, $399 for the 64 GB and $499 for the 128 GB. They are slated to ship on September 19th, but they are available for pre-order this Friday, September 12th.
The Apple Watch will sell for $349, and is scheduled to be released in early 2015.
The launch received a standing ovation from the crowd, and was followed by a guest performance by U2. Despite some glitches in the live stream on Apple’s website, the overall presentation was impressive, and the iPhone 6 is expected to have a large impact on the smartphone industry.
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