Apple Inc. held a major launch event yesterday that was livestreamed, but not without some technical difficulties. The popular tech vendor delivered on months of speculation by announcing its new iPhone 6 models, a mobile payments platform, and a smart watch. There were some awkward moments on stage involving Apple CEO Tim Cook and Bono, Jonny Ive waxed eloquent about design, and Cook said “one more thing” before announcing the Apple Watch. But here’s everything you need to know without the fluff.
Speculation over a larger version of the iPhone 6 panned out with Apple releasing both the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 plus, breaking its pattern of only offering one size of device. Available for pre-order Sept. 12, the Canadian pricing for the devices off contract start at $749 for the iPhone 6 and $859 for the iPhone 6+. Adding more storage will cost you between $100-$200 more for 64 GB or 128 GB. The device will be generally available in Canada Sept. 19.
A larger iPhone means a higher resolution screen – 1920 x 1080 resolution on the 5.5-inch screen. That extra space gives this screen 88 per cent more viewing area than the iPhone 5s, according to Apple. A new landscape mode for the home screen will be featured. Buyers of the new, larger screen phones will not have to worry about app compatibility as Apple will automatically scale older apps up.
The new larger screen also means you can have more keys on the touch keyboard. Apple is taking advantage of that by offering copy and paste shortcut buttons, and of course there’s the one-button access to emojis. Under the hood, the iPhone 6 has Apple’s new A8 CPU that Apple promises is faster and more energy efficient. There’s also an M8 motion coprocessor that brings together data from the device’s accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, and the new barometer.
Connectivity should be improved with the new iPhone 6 supporting more LTE bands than before, with 20 in total. Other advancements in the cellular connectivity area have Apple promising downloads speeds up to 150 Mbps, depending on your carrier. Users will also be able to complete voice calls via Wi-Fi, which is now the faster 802.11 ac standard. Both iPhone 6 models also include Bluetooth 4.0.
Apple unveiled its payments service, Apple Pay, which CEO Tim Cook said could eventually serve as a replacement for your wallet. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will both include NFC chips near the top of the device so you can use them at tap-to-pay terminals. Users will have to keep their finger on the Touch ID sensor to authenticate it’s them using the device to complete a payment. Credit cards from American Express, Mastercard, and Visa that are issued by six major U.S. banks are supported and a long list of popular retailers will be using Apple Pay to complete transactions.
Apple Pay users will store their credit cards information in the Passbook app. The new feature allows you to simply take a picture of your card to add it to your device. Passbook is already tied to loyalty apps, so consumers can expect they’ll automatically receive points when making purchases with Apple Pay. Users will also be able to complete transactions in some shopping apps using a new one touch checkout that is tied into Apple Pay.
As anticipated, Apple launched its first entry into the wearables category. Apple Watch comes in two different sizes, 38 mm and 42 mm, and three different versions – Watch, Watch Sport, and Watch Edition. The different versions come with different cases and bands to customize the look of the watch. Priced starting at USD $349 and to be released in early 2015. It’s compatible with the iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6, and 6 Plus while running iOS 8.
Apple’s Watch will offer several ways you can interact with it. Use the Sapphire touch screen, or your voice and Siri. The “digital crown” on the side of the device can be used to scroll or zoom in and out depending on the app. Sensors on the watch’s back measure your heart beat (which you can share with your friends who also have Apple Watch).
Apple released its Pay and Watch products during the same keynote, and guess what, they work together. As demonstrated during the presentation, the Watch will have the same NFC chip that will authenticate with a payment terminal to complete a transaction. Both the watch and the iPhone will have a secure element (SE) storage feature, which allows you to store your payments card information without sharing it with either Apple or the retailer. Each transaction is authorized with a one-time unique number and Apple Pay creates a dynamic security token to validate each transaction.