This week saw the latest Apple Event where they announced the launch of several new products.
The latest iPhone has been released in two sizes, the iPhone 6 with a 4.7” screen and the iPhone Plus with a 5.5” screen. These new models see an increase in battery life. For the iPhone 6 this is 10 hours more talk time and an hours more Wi-Fi browsing time compared to the iPhone 5S. For the iPhone 6 Plus, the battery increase is far larger: double the talk time and a couple more hours of Wi-Fi browsing time compared to the 5S. Along with a longer battery life, both models are thinner than their predecessor; 6.9mm for the iPhone 6 and 7.1mm for the iPhone 6 Plus. The processor has also been updated to an A8 chip which is said to be 50% more efficient than the A7 chip and have a 25% faster CPU all within a chip which is 13% smaller. Other improvements include that to the screen which is now extra-hard “ion-strengthened”. The iPhone 6 Plus has a Retina HD display which has a resolution on 1920 x 1080 pixels (coming close to 200% of the iPhone 5S) and the iPhone 6 has also seen the resolution be bumped up from 1136 x 640 to 1334 x 750. The iPhone 6 will be coming with iOS 8 which will be released as a free upgrade on 17th September. The iPhone 6 itself are set to be shipped on 19th September but are available for pre-order from today. Prices start from $199 for the iPhone 6 (16GB) and from $200 for the iPhone 6 Plus (16GB). It goes without saying that our devices will be compatible with the new phones.
Another product which was launched was the highly anticipated Apple Watch. Tim Cook describes the Apple Watch as “the most personal device we’ve ever created”. From purely time keeping device perspective, it is accurate within 50 milliseconds. Where it is such a personal device, it is also highly customizable. There are two case sizes; 38mm and 42mm. There are then 6 different finishes to the case. For the standard Apple Watch, these are stainless steel or space black stainless steel with a sapphire crystal display; for the Apple Watch Sport, these are anodised aluminium in silver or space grey with strengthened Ion-X glass and for the Apple Watch Edition, these are 18-carat gold in yellow or rose gold with a sapphire crystal display. Alongside these 12 different watch faces, there are also 12 different watch straps (excluding size differences) for the Apple Watch, 5 for the Apple Watch Sport and 5 for the Apple Watch Edition (excluding size and the two colours of metal differences). The face itself can also be customised so you can choose the colour and design elements and alter the functionality of it.
The Apple Watch keeps the traditional crown present but has updated it to a “Digital Crown” which allows you to zoom and scroll without covering the screen. You are alerted to notifications through “Taptic” feedback which results in a gentle tap to the wrist. Input wise, the Apple Watch is able to tell a tap apart from a longer press.
There are also a couple of fitness apps available. The one most useful for the person looking to become more active but unwilling to become a fitness fanatic is probably the Activity App. This displays your results as a series of three rings: one for “move”, one for “exercise” and one for “stand”. The “Move” ring will show you how many calories you have burnt. The “Exercise” ring shows how many minutes of brisk activity (anything from a brisk walk upwards). The “Stand” ring shows you how often you stand during the day (to a certain extent). Essentially the “Stand” function is to encourage you to stand for a minute an hour during the day. It will even remind you to stand up for a bit if you’ve been sitting down for too long. You can set your own goals for the calories but the Apple Watch is able to suggest goals for you. Exercise wise, the target is set to 30 minutes a day in line with the standard recommendations. To hit the target for the standing one, you have to stand for at least a minute in each hour for twelve different hours.
There are many, many more apps available for the Apple Watch such as using it as a viewfinder for your iPhone or a remote for your Apple TV. Through WatchKit, developers are able to create even more. Unfortunately, there aren’t any definitive specs released for aspect such as resolution for the screen. Battery wise, again, nothing has been stated but Tim Cook said that it would last all day.
Release date wise, it’s pegged at early 2015 and prices start at $349.
Apply Pay harks Apple’s first foray into NFC payments, something which they have shied away from previously. In the iPhone 6, Apple have incorporated a NFC antenna into the top. Where Touch ID is already a (relatively) established technology, it makes sense to use this for an added layer of security. To add a card to your Passbook, you can simply take a picture of a credit card to use it (security around this hasn’t been explained as of yet). Alternatively, you can use a card which is associated with your iTunes accounts. Apple say that there are various security measures in place to keep your data secure, namely that the cashier and merchant will not be able to see your card number and also that Apple will not keep data on what you’re buying. To pay you can either use your iPhone (simply hold your finger over the Touch ID sensor) or your Apple Watch (double click the button next to the digital crown and hold your watch near the reader). To help ensure Apple Pay’s success, Apple have managed to partner with banks such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express. There are currently over 220,000 stores which will accept Apple Pay, including Bloomingdales, the Disney Store and McDonalds.