Bigger Phones, Digital Payment, Wearable Tech All Carry Apple’s Signature Style
The Big Day finally came — that day being called ‘Christmas in September’ by Apple fanboys and tech watchers appeared by live stream (albeit it with some technical difficulties) and live tweet, dropping the newest products, services, and apps by the company that continues to attract the most global attention with its signature ability to inspire with storytelling in a staid and left-brained industry.
The Apple Event, held annually in Cupertino, California, released as expected two new versions of their perennial classic, the iPhone. The iPhone 6 has a 4.7-inch display, sporting a 1334×750 pixel resolution, whereas the iPhone 6 Plus features a 5.5-inch screen with full HD 1920×1080 display resolution, apparently competing with the Android trend of larger screens.
Internally, the two iPhones identical, but with improvements over its predecessor the iPhone 5s. The new camera is an 8-megapixel shooter with an f/2.2 aperture 8-megapixel, with a new sensor and a faster autofocus. Both have digital image stabilization, but that of the 6 Plus has additional stabilization that uses the gyroscope and the M8 coprocessor. The front-facing camera gets some new features like HDR and a burst-shot mode.
The processor has been upgraded from the A7 to the A8, which promises to be up to 87 percent more efficient, with CPU processing power up to 25 percent faster and GPU speeds up to 50 percent faster. The M8 motion coprocessor, in addition to aiding in image stabilization, is able to recognize when its user is walking, running or cycling, and can even detect changes in air pressure. Lastly, both the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus will come with near-field communication (NFC) which will let users make purchases in conjunction with Apple Pay, which we will cover in detail further here. They also come with the same Touch ID system as the iPhone 5s.
Available for pre-order on Friday, September 12 and everywhere on September 19, the iPhone 6 retails at $199 for a model with 16 gigabytes of memory, $299 for the 64GB phone and $399 for 128GB; the iPhone 6 Plus is priced at $299 (16GB), $399 (64GB) and $499 (128GB).
The next big story, and that which seemed to initially interest Wall Street the most, is the aforementioned Apple Pay — a digital wallet that will allow iPhone owners to use their device to buy items in actual bricks-and-mortar establishments as well as online. While this is a feature of many Androids, Apple claims their system will be more safer and more useful. From CBS News: “Apple has teamed with financial industry heavyweights including American Express (AXP), Mastercard (MA) and Visa (V) and says Apple Pay will work at more than 220,000 retailers nationwide. Apple has been working with companies like McDonald’s, Disney, Target, Subway, and Whole Foods to integrate its service as well.”
The final unveiling of the day was the much anticipated Apple Watch, a sleek and simply designed wearable-tech wristwatch whose look and functionality harkens back to the original iPod. It comes in a variety of changeable styles, from metallic to leather bands, and with a multitude of screen displays. The most interesting innovation for this writer is the digital crown, a movable piece that allows for precision of control that the touch display could make problematic.
At present, an Apple Watch requires a corresponding iPhone and features many of the same apps — Maps, Siri, and the like. It certainly looks great, and it will be interesting to see how the Apple Watch will affect the wearable tech industry, as Apple products have in the past with MP3 players, smartphones, and tablets.
The Apple Watch will start at $350, and that it will go on sale in early 2015.