As expected, Apple today had their September Event, where they finally took the wraps off what they have to offer to the world, this included the latest from the world of iPhone, as well as the first generation of Apple’s “next big thing”.
So, let’s get right to it.
Probably one of the most guaranteed thing to be announced today at the Apple Event, is of course the new iPhone 6, but of course Apple were never rumoured to be introducing one iPhone 6, but two, and that’s exactly what they did.
DISPLAY(S) – RETINA HD
The two new devices Apple have announced were the iPhone 6, and the iPhone 6 Plus, differences being of course the display! The iPhone 6 has a 4.7 inch display supporting an odd 1334 x 750 resolution, whereas the iPhone 6 Plus supports a 5.5 inch, more traditional, 1920 x 1080 resolution … yes an Apple phone has a standards set display! Being larger displays, Apple have moved the Lock button from the top, to the right of the device.
The differences between the two new iPhones is, thankfully, rather minimal. Both device can access the now 1.3 million Apps from the App Store, which will scale to work using ‘desktop class’ scaling!
Probably one of the biggest feature coming to the iPhone 6 range, is the changes made for landscape. Just like with the iPad, you can now rotate your iPhone Home Screen to landscape and still be able to use and interact.
The big feature of the landscape mode is what it brings to the Apps you use. Apple have essentially brought iPad class functionality to their own applications when put in to landscape mode on the iPhone 6 range. Whilst the iPhone 6 is no where near as phablet friendly as say the Galaxy Note line from Samsung, it at least has the best additions Apple could have brought to keep iOS consistent.
One disappointing feature of the iPhone 6 line is in the Camera department, the iPhone 6 range still has an 8 Megapixel sensor, which yes has been improved with some new features, such as 270fps slo-mo, optional 60fps 1080p video, and some stabilisation things we’ll get to in a second, but in a wave of incredible Camera devices come out, even in the last year, the Camera on the iPhone 6 is average at best.
One of the biggest differentiators of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, regarding the Camera experience involves Stabilisation. Where the iPhone 6 continues Apple’s software-led image stabilisation, the new iPhone 6 Plus finally bring Optical Imaging Stabilisation to the iPhone line.
The front facing Cameras on the iPhone 6 line also remain rather unchanged, but does collect more light for clarity, but does offer a new feature called ‘Burst Selfie’, which allows you to do, what it sounds like, take multiple Selfies at the same time till you find the best shot.
Of course powering the new iPhone 6 line is Apple’s custom silicon, the A8, as well as it’s co-processor the M8 (not to be confused by a certain device by a certain other company).
The A8 continues Apple’s 64-bit strategy, and offers over 50% faster performance, vastly improved graphics performance and is also 50% more energy efficient than the A7, which could result in more decent battery life when in use, despite Apple simply saying the battery will be “same if not better than 5S”.
The M8 co-processor delivers in a whole new collection of motion tracking with the iPhone 6, including a new barometer, which all in turn allow much more data to be tracked using the iPhone 6 line, which in all helps with the Health app, as well as certain other device Apple have also announced.
Apple have also upped the anti with Connectivity and hardware on the new iPhone 6 range, which includes much faster Wi-Fi thanks to Apple finally bring 802.11AC to the iPhone!
Another big feature of the iPhone 6 range is Wi-Fi Calling, who Apple apparently have just invented even though multiple devices still contain it today. Regardless, Wi-Fi Calling and VoLTE (Voice Over Long Term Evolution) will be available on the iPhone 6 line. For those wishing to take advantage of this, only T-Mobile and EE in the UK will support this from day one.
PRICE + AVAILABILITY
The iPhone 6 range will be available starting mid September in an awkward size options dropping 32GB size, but keeping 16GB … something we’re not too keen on. Below are the US prices on a two year contact.
16GB: $199 / 64GB: $299 / 128GB: $399
iPhone 6 Plus
16GB: $299 / 64GB: $399 / 128GB: $499
Currently launching soon exclusively in the US for now, this is Apple Pay, probably the most interesting thing Apple announced at the event today.
Whilst Apple hide it from everyone, the new iPhone 6 Range do contain NFC chips, which will be exclusively used for this, Apple Pay, and it’s actually pretty good!
The second Apple introduced Touch ID, we were all waiting for the technology to allow payments and purchases, whilst that won’t come to iPhone 5S users, that will now be possible with the new iPhone 6 range.
To purchase any items, users can either purchase things out of their iTunes account (using non-Currency bonus) or traditionally by adding their Credit or Debit Card, which is incredibly easy. You can add your Card by taking a picture of your Card, as which you and your bank will authenticate, or the traditional route of manually inputting.
Once you’ve added a Card, enjoy purchasing things Wirelessly, it’s as simple as that. MasterCard, VISA and American Express will be supporting Apple Pay, and it will work on all retailers currently supporting Google Wallet and Contactless Payments, and of course the high level of interest Apple will bring much more retailers too.
Should you lose, or your iPhone get stolen, you can remote wipe your iPhone including all Credit/Debit Card information being remotely wiped. So far, 220,000 companies and retailers support Apple Pay, with more coming.
After covering Watches left, right and centre, this admittedly is not going to be something fun to write up, but here it is.
The star of Apple’s show today ironically wasn’t the new iPhone 6 range, but this the new Apple Watch … not iWatch, Apple Watch … who needs an i anyway. The interesting thing about this device, before we get to it, was how Tim introduced it. Tim actually used the “One more thing…” staple, famously used by Steve Jobs, which whilst garnered a large crowd cheer, was an interesting move to make, we’ll leave it at that.
The Apple Watch, which comes in three collections, Watch, Watch Sport and Watch Edition, is of course Apple’s first foray in to the Watch business, and it will be interesting just how well that leap in to the industry goes. All of the collections of Apple Watch also will be available in two sizes, for those who don’t want a Watch as ‘in your face’, which is good.
The differences between the collection of Watches available generally surrounds itself from the materials they are built using. All Watches have a Sapphire Crystal display, making them incredibly durable. The Watch Sport however will have a more rugged material, whereas the Watch Edition is actually made from 18-karat gold!!! … That one ain’t gonna be cheap.
Speaking of price, the Apple Watch starts at $349, making it the most expensive Smart Watch yet, and that’s before we find out the price of that Watch Edition…ouch!
Of course being Apple’s first gen device normally means things are shaky around the edges and probably not fully featured at the start, and that’s definitely true of the Apple Watch. The biggest problem we have with it though, brings us back to iOS 7/8, the UI, I mean just look at that App Home Screen on that Watch!
Despite that, Apple have added some interesting UI algorithms in to the Apple Watch we do support, which luckily for the Apple Watch is literally everything other than that Home Screen, whether it’s animated customisable emoji, to the simple, actually rather intuitive experience the Watch offers.
THIRD PARTY APPS
One interesting thing Apple are doing with the Apple Watch, in terms of navigation, is with the Digital Crown.
Aside from the obvious Touch Screen control. Apple have added two extra navigation features to the Apple Watch, which are either on the left or right of the device depending on whether you’re left or right handed. One of which is a generic shortcut button, which Apple showed instantly showing you Recent Contacts, as well as the Crown.
The Digital Crown, like with most Watches, can be rotated as well as providing its own button. The button functionality of the Digital Crown will be the ‘Home’ button for the Watch, whereas the rotation functionality can be used to switch between content, adjust forms or Settings, and more quicker and easier throughout the UI, although “most” functionality can be done without the use of the Crown.
Apple are making a very big deal of the Digital Crown, branding it as their Navigation option for the Watch, after mentioning the Mouse for the Mac, Multi-Touch for iPhone and Click-Wheel for iPod. Whilst it may not wow many, we actually love the idea of the Crown as too many Watch solutions, whether that’s Android Wear, to Pebble, obviously haven’t 100% thought of the average consumer who just wants a deluxe Watch, which can do things others can’t, but do it easily, and in a way that actually makes sense to an average Watch consumer, not just for a tech head.
Whilst Apple were very quiet about Battery Life, one thing they did mention was Charging, one of the biggest weaknesses currently on the majority of Smart Watches!
Traditional Watches, of course, don’t have any problems in regard to charging as they tend to last years, but with Smart Watches, manufacturers have had to package a collection of technology in to such a small package, then figure out how to add a charging solution, which Apple believe they’ve done.
Similar to the MacBook MagSafe connector, the magnetic charging connection simply does that, magnetically attaches to the back of the Watch and then does that job, charges… if only other thought of that. We will say this much though, the Moto 360 still wins for us using Wireless Charging a bit more traditionally, but Apple definitely take second place. Whilst the Apple Watch doesn’t have Qi Wireless Charging, the MagSafe charger does charge inductively, so the connected Charger does the use the same technology as Wireless Charging, hens why some people brand it as Wireless Charging.
So, what’s inside the new Apple Watch to enhance the experience? Well, aside from the obvious display, at the back you’ve your 4-pin Charging holes, which actually look pretty decent despite their main function. The 4-pins are of course sensors to enhance the extra experiences possible with the Watch.
BUILT IN SENSORS
Apple have also added a Heart Rate Sensor, making this the first Apple device that will be able to access the information for your Health application, which aside from that useful Health data, can also be used to send other Apple Watch users your heart beat, should you wish to do that.
The Apple Watch also has a GPS chip for easy tracking of steps, cycling tracks and more, which are enhanced further thanks to the build in Accelerometer allowing not only how far you’re going, but how actively you’re traveling.
The processor inside the Apple Watch, Apple have simply branded the “S1”. The S1 is a system of a chip processor which powers everything the Apple Watch can do, which according to Apple is the smallest and most confined system of a chip yet.
So, that’s the Apple Watch. It will go on sale, as we briefly mentioned, starting at quite an asking $349USD, which honestly is quite expensive to say the least. The Apple Watch however will not go on sale until ‘Early 2015’, so should you want one, you’ve a while to save up.
Free U2 Album
At the end of the Apple Event, Irish rock band U2 took to the stage and performed their latest single from their new upcoming album ‘Songs of Innocence’.
But, when the song ended, U2 lead singer Bono and Tim Cook, announced that iTunes would get the album exclusively to purchase for free until November 2014.
Whether you’re a fan, or just a casual listener, you’ve nothing realistically to lose if you want to listen to some new music, download the free album below;
Two new iPhones, a new Smart Watch, and a free U2 album, sounds pretty interesting to us, but what do you think of Apple’s announcements today, let us know below;