iPhone 6: price and release date
The event kicked off with a bang by announcing the 4.7-inch iPhone 6. The iPhone 6 is 6.9 mm thin, compared to the 7.6 mm profile of the iPhone 5s. Both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have thinner backlights, photo-aligned IPS LCDs, ion-strengthened glass, and improved polarizers for outdoor visibility. NFC is built into the top of the phone. The iPhone 6 body is constructed with recyclable aluminum, and is free of BFRs, Beryllium, and PVC. The iPhone 6 has a mercury-free 1334 x 750 display, which works out to 38% more pixels than the iPhone 5s. Leather and silicone cases will be available.
The 16 GB iPhone 6 will be $199 on contract, $299 for the 64 GB iPhone 6, and $399 for the 128 GB model. Off-contract pricing in America will be $649 for 16 GB, $749 for 64 GB, and $849 for 128 GB. Off-contract pricing in the UK will work out to £539 for 16 GB, £619 for 64 GB, and £699 for 128 GB. The iPhone 6 release date is set to September 19 with preorders starting this Friday. 115 countries will have access to the iPhone 6 by the end of 2014.
Be sure to check out our new topic page for the iPhone 6 Plus, which has absolutely everything you need to know. For a closer look, check out our hands-on video with the iPhone 6.
iPhone 6 Plus: price and release date
At the same time, the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus was announced. It has a slim 7.1 mm profile, compared to 7.6 mm for the iPhone 5s. It boasts a full 1080p mercury-free 1920 x 1080 screen (that's 185% more pixels than the 5s, by the way). NFC is built into the top of the phone. The iPhone 6 Plus body is constructed with recyclable aluminum, and is free of BFRs, Beryllium, and PVC. Leather and silicone cases will be available.
The iPhone 6 Plus starts at $299 on contract for the 16 GB model and is shipping on September 19 with preorders starting this Friday. The iPhone 6 Plus will cost $399 on contract for the 64 GB model, and $499 on contract for the 128 GB model. Off-contract pricing in the U.S. will be $749 for 16 GB, $849 for 64 GB, and $949 for 128 GB. Off-contract pricing in the UK will be £619 for 16 GB, £699 for 64 GB, and £789 for 128 GB. 115 countries will have access to the iPhone 6 Plus by the end of 2014.
Be sure to check out our new topic page for the iPhone 6 Plus, which has absolutely everything you need to know. We also got some hands-on time with the iPhone 6 Plus.
Apple Watch: price and release date
Then there's the much-anticipated Apple Watch. It's striking a clear balance between fashion and function. It monitors your health with a built-in heart rate monitor and smart, practical software, and offers a wide range of bands, apps, and faces. Three types will be available: Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition. 38 mm and 42 mm sizes will be available. Color options will include space black stainless steel, space gray or silver anodized aluminum and 18-karat rose or yellow gold. Band options include elastomer, stainless steel mesh, quilted leather; the leather with a solid metal clasp in Modern or Classic styles, and a stainless steel link bracelet.
A hardware dial called the Digital Crown helps navigate with precision, though touch input is also used to get around. The Apple Watch charges wirelessly through a custom MagSafe charger. A subtle haptic feedback motor called Taptic can provide gentle vibrations for notifications. A gold-plated luxury edition will also be out for the big spenders. The Apple Watch will require an iPhone 5 or above for full functionality, but for most of us that shouldn't be a problem. It will be available for $349 in early 2015.
Be sure to check out our new topic page for the Apple Watch, which has absolutely everything you need to know. We also had some hands-on time with the Apple Watch at the announcement.
The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will both be shipping with iOS 8, which will be rolling out to devices all the way back to the iPhone 4s on September 17. The update will include new features for Messages and Photos Features, the improved QuickType Keyboard, Extensibility for apps to interact with one another, iCloud Drive, and a new Health App. Be sure to read our massive feature explaining everything new in iOS 8.
NFC and Apple Pay
At long last, the iPhone and the new Apple Watch is getting near-field communications, enabling all sorts of secure mobile payments. Apple Pay is a one-touch checkout that doesn't require any pin numbers. Just use TouchID to pay with the integrated fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Apple Pay ties in with Passbook to keep track of your various credit cards, which can be added simply by taking a photo of them.
On the security side, using Find my iPhone, you can remotely lock down all payments made through Apple Pay. Apple doesn't know how much you spend, and cashiers don't get your credit card information in the transaction. American Express, MasterCard, and Visa are already on board. Citi, Bank of America, Capital One, Wells Fargo, and Chase are also on board. 220,000 retailers will be supporting Apple Pay, including Walgreens, Staples, McDonald's, and Macy's. Apple Pay will also be able to be used for making purchases online from the device.
Apple A8 64-bit processor and new M8 motion processor
Apple is using a new A8 processor in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. It's built using a 20 nanometer process, and has 2 billion transistors in it. Overall, the footprint is about 13% smaller than the A7 chip, while increasing the CPU speed by 20% and graphics processing by 50%. The A8 will leverage Apple's new graphics rendering engine, Metal, and there are already a ton of game developers supporting it. Vainglory was on display to demonstrate what's up, and you can check out the gameplay here.
At the same time, Apple has upgraded their fitness-centric co-processor. It can now tell the difference between cycling and running, and figure out distance and relative elevation on its own thanks to a new barometer. Nike+ will take advantage of the new capability in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
LTE and Wi-Fi upgrade
The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will now take advantage of 20 LTE bands, speeds up to 150 Mbps, and voice over LTE thanks to carrier partnerships with Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile (Sprint was conspicuously absent from the slide talking about this). Wi-Fi calling is being supported with specific carriers (T-Mobile U.S. was mentioned), and Wi-Fi ac for really high-speed data transfers while at home.
iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus camera: Focus Pixels and 240 FPS slow-mo
The newest iPhones sport 8 megapixel cameras with f/2.2 aperture lenses and a new image stabilization mechanism. Autofocus is now about twice as fast, and face detection is vastly improved. The iPhone 6 has digital image stabilization, while the iPhone 6 Plus has a proper optical image stabilization which moves the lens itself as needed.
You'll now be able to shoot slo-mo 1080p video at 120 frames per second or 240 frames per second. Cinematic video stabilization offers hyperlapse-style videos. A new system called Focus Pixels will enable smooth continuous autofocus while shooting video. The front-facing camera also enables burst shot and HDR for the ultimate in selfies.
Read more about the new iSight cameras here.
iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus Battery
The iPhone 6 will afford 50 hours of audio playback, 11 hours video, 11 hours Wi-Fi browsing, 10 hours browsing on LTE or 3G, 14 hours 3G talk time, and 10 days standby. Meanwhile the iPhone 6 Plus will offer 80 hours of audio playback, 14 hours of video, 12 hours of Wi-Fi, LTE, or 3G browsing, 24 hours of 3G, and 16 days of standby.
Bigger screens mean more possibilities
With the bigger screen, users will be able to enjoy iPad-style user interfaces throughout iOS 8. Namely, that means second panes while viewing content in landscape orientation, but you'll also get some new keyboard buttons for cut, copy, and paste. Speaking of which, now the home screen will rotate appropriately when holding your iPhone 6 Plus in landscape.
In portrait, a new gesture, a double-touch on the home button, will scoot down the whole UI so you can tap elements at the upper part of the screen without having to reach. Swiping from the edges will now now move forward and back in Safari, and let you flip through Mail and Messages. Apps will scale automatically and seamlessly to fit the new screen resolutions, though as always, developers can optimize for specific devices.
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Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.