New Apple iWatch & iPhone 6 On Sale September 19 In OZ
I’ve just finished watching Apple’s iPhone and Apple Watch keynote and it’s a must-see event packed with some amazing new things from Apple.
There was also a live U2 performance and giveaway of U2’s latest album, Songs of Innocence, which will be given to half a billion iTunes account holders free of charge until October 1.
A new section on the Apple site has gone up about the Apple Watch which you can see here – it’s sure to be one of the world’s most visited web pages over the next 24 hours and beyond and an absolute must see for yourself.
Due to this being a global event there were live streaming glitches at the beginning of the stream, with ongoing dropouts and the sound of a live Chinese translation in the background this cleared up as the new Smart Watch was revealed.
The glitches even attracted comment on Twitter.
The problems marred much of the presentation of the new iPhones and even re-loading Apple’s site to get the stream going again became a problem, but by the time the Apple Watch was revealed, the stream settled down.
Apple saved the best for half-way through the two hour event with the iconic “one more thing…” slide to spend an hour, showcasing Apple Watch, a wrist-worn computing platform that is even more disruptive to today’s smart watches than the original 2007 iPhone was to every type of phone before it, while also launching the long awaited 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus in sizes up to 128GB.
The Apple Watch makes even the latest round Android Wear watches look primitive in comparison, and while Samsung definitely made some nice advances with its SIM-enabled Gear S smart watch, Apple Watch absolutely blows it away by being much more advanced.
It’s not just a watch, but the world’s most advanced fitness tracker that makes all other fitness trackers look simple in comparison, as well as an app platform, portable map, communications device that works with dictation or intelligent messages, new animated emoticons and even little drawings or tap sequences or even your live heartbeat to send to another Apple Watch user.
The watch has a “Taptic Engine” inside which uses haptic technology coupled with a speaker to issue silent vibrations and/or sounds to indicate various things, such as a vibration sequence for when you next have to turn left and another for when you have to turn right when navigating with the inbuilt mapping system.
Notifications work much more smoothly than on Android Wear and you get Handoff, where you can start reading a message on your watch and finish reading it on your phone.
Apple Watch has an SDK so developers can take advantage of the Apple Watch screen and functionality. Tim Cook explained how he uses it to control his Apple TV. Another Apple employee uses his as a wireless viewfinder for his iPhone’s camera. Another uses it as a walkie-talkie.
Apple Watch has the most elegantly designed digital crown to zoom into and out of information on the screen, which can also be pushed inwards to make selections or activate Siri or other tasks. Another button underneath the digital crown gives more control in addition to the touch screen that can sense both touch and the force of your touch, all giving the end user precision control.
Numerous high-end watch faces are complemented by the sapphire screen, the fluidity of the interface and the sophistication of its first and third party app ecosystem, alongside interchangeable straps that click into place and so smoothly attach to your wrist in various styles.
There are three editions of Apple Watch in two sizes, large and small for men and women, the regular Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sports and Apple Watch Edition.
Each has the exact same internal hardware, just a different set of bands and construction materials, with a lighter alloy in the sports edition and 18-karat gold that’s twice as hard as regular gold one of the options in the Edition range.
It will start at US $349 and works with works with iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 5s, 5c and 5 – which is already over 200 million potential Apple Watch customers.
Battery life wasn’t mentioned in the keynote but the charging mechanism magnetically clicks onto the back of the phone, covering the four visible sensors that can check an incredible array of aspects of your movement, fitness and health.
Apple Watch is also compatible with Apple’s new NFC enhanced Apple Pay system which seeks to take on digital wallets globally with a new Apple standard, already being rolled out into major US stores including Target, Subway, Nike Stores, Apple Stores, Macy’s, Bloomingdales and many others, with other countries to get Apple Pay as well in the future.
Tim Cook said on stage: “It will be available in early 2015 – and it is worth the wait. We think people are going to love to use Apple Watch, they’re going to love to wear it. It’s something functional yet incredibly beautiful. It empowers people and enriches their lives. Apple Watch is the most personal device Apple has ever created. We are so excited about apple watch and I hope you are as well.”
Mr Cook continued his wrap up of the event, stating: “It’s been an incredibly fun morning for us. You’ve seen the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. These are the best iPhones we’ve ever made. They have an amazing larger display and they’re better in every single way, it’s the biggest advancement in the history of iPhone. And Apple Pay, it’s going to change the way you pay for things forever and everything you need is right in your iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. It also works with another product. Apple pay will work with Apple Watch.
“Everything you need is built right in to Apple Watch. And so now the foundation of Apple is built on the best personal computers in the world with the Macintosh. The best tablets in the world with iPad, the best phones in the world with iPhone made even better today with iPhone 6 and 6 Plus running the world’s most advanced mobile operating system with iOS. We couldn’t be more excited that iOS8 is finding its way into people’s lives with health, home kit and [. missed this bit].
“And now adding Apple Watch – the most personal device we’ve ever created. It will redefine what people expect from a watch.”
It’s at this point that Tim Cook introduced U2 to the stage, who performed a single from their new album Songs of Innocence, and it’s where both Bono and Tim Cook organised for this new album to go out in the biggest release of a single album in history to 500 million iTunes users free of charge. I checked and have already downloaded it to my iTunes music library.
iTunes users in 119 countries will be the beneficiaries of Apple’s and U2’s generosity.
Then there were the two new iPhones, looking almost exactly like the recent slim, thin iPhone 6 leaked images that have been on the Internet, along with slightly protruding lens on the back and a brand new round true-tone flash rather than the elongated one from the iPhone 5s.
There’s a 4.7-inch model called the iPhone 6 and a 5.5-inch model called the iPhone 6 Plus. They come with the A8 processor which is 25% faster than the A7 while having two billion transistors – a billion more than the A7, along with a new M8 motion co-processing chip.
There’s a new 128GB option at last for those who really want to pack in the digital media and apps.
The camera is improved again a sensor that is still 8 megapixels but nevertheless a big improvement, with the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus coming with Optical Image Stabilisation for the first time. You can also take larger panoramic photos of 43 megapixels with nearly invisible stitching thanks to the new A8 and M8 chips.
Camera specs include 1.5 micron pixels, f 2.2 aperture, next-gen iSight sensor – focus pixels, with dedicated pairs that can read the light coming in from objects, allowing focusing twice as fast as the iPhone 5s.
There’s also tone mapping, with noise reduction which Apple says all adds up to incredible photos, while a new time lapse video recording option delivers amazing time lapse videos that you wouldn’t think were made on a phone.
There’s a 150Mbps-class LTE chip that works on 20 bands – the most of any 4G smartphone in the world – along with VoLTE or voice over LTE so calls can be made on the 4G network rather than the 3G network, and in the US, Wi-Fi calling so a call can be started on a Wi-Fi network in case of poor cellular reception indoors and then seamlessly handed off to the cellular network when you go outside.
There are also next-gen Retina displays titled Retina HD, promising brightness, rich colours that are sRGB accurate, and ultra sharp text and graphics. The 4.7-inch screen has a resolution of 1334 x 750 pixels at 326 ppi and a total of a million pixels with 38% more pixels the 4-inch iPhone 5s.
The 5.5-inch screen on the iPhone 6 Plus has Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution at 401 ppi with 2 million pixels that gives 185% more pixels than the iPhone 5s.
You can turn the home screen sideways to get a horizontal landscape view, and you can do the same in various apps such as Messages, Mail and others to take full advantage of all of the extra space a larger screen naturally affords.
The iPhone 6 is 6.9mm compared to the 7.6mm of the iPhone 5s, while the iPhone 6 Plus is 7.1mm.
Battery life is either the same or in many cases better than the iPhone 5s as well.
There’s a great deal more about both new iPhone models that you can read here at Apple, but they are due to go on sale in the US, UK, Australia and other countries from September 19, and pre-order starting September 12.
iOS 8 is also finally going live from September 17, with the long wait for iOS 8 nearly over, and ready to install on any iPhone from the 4S up and any iPad from the iPad 2 up, delivering a dramatically better device with new Swype-style keyboard options and many more features thanks to the free iOS 8 update.
The iPhone 6 comes in gold, silver or “space grey”; in Australia pricing begins at $869 for a 16GB, $999 for the 64GB model and $1129 for the 128GB version if bought outright.
The iPhone 6 Plus – available in the same colours – will cost $999 for a 16GB version, $1129 for a 64GB model, and $1249 for the top 128GB version.
It has been an impressive launch and a new long wait for the Apple Watch now begins, as do the innovation departments with Google, Samsung, Microsoft and others taking advantage of the world’s R&D division, Apple, in Cupertino, although the sophistication of the Apple Watch in its first version will be tough for competitors to beat and quickly copy, with Apple potentially 5 years ahead of its smartwatch competition just as the original iPhone was 5 years ahead of Nokia and others just as Steve Jobs predicted.
We shall see, but Apple has just had a big launch – with still yet more to come in 2014, including the new iPad Air 2 and third-gen iPad Mini with Retina launching sometime in October, alongside rumours of a 12-inch Retina MacBook Air and a 27-inch iMac with Retina screen still expected to arrive before the year is out.