Apple once again made history at the Flint Center for Performing Arts center yesterday with the reveal of the latest iPhones, the long-expected Apple Watch and the Apple Pay system.
iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+
The iPhone 6 is bigger than the iPhone 5 and 5s with a 4.7-inch 1-megapixel screen. Taking a page out of Samsung’s book, Apple also revealed the iPhone 6+, a 5.5-inch version with a 2-megapixel screen, one of the highest resolutions in a smartphone to date.
Both versions feature a new A8 chip capable of running high-level graphics and games that often look better than those on a game console. The phones are also slimmer than iPhone 5s, and the power button has migrated to the side of the device.
The camera has also improved with a new 8-megapixel iSight camera, complete with a 5-element lens exposure control and a new feature called Focus Pixels, which provide the camera sensor with more information about the image that allows the phone to autofocus better and faster. Another feature is the introduction of time-lapse videos with iOS 8, which is interesting because it directly takes on Instagram’s recently released Hyperlapse app.
The iPhone 6 starts at $199 for the 16 GB model, with the 64 and 128 GB models being $100 and $200, respectively, more expensive. The iPhone 6+ starts at $299 for the 16 GB model, with the same storage options and price increases.
The most innovative feature of the new iPhones is the introduction of Apple Pay. The system uses a combination of the Touch ID sensor, Passbook and a near-field communication (NFC) band in the top of the phone to enable one-touch, contactless payment. This means that Apple hopes to eliminate the “hassle” of carrying around a wallet with just a simple tap of your iPhone or Apple Watch.
Privacy and security experts don’t need to be concerned with Apple Pay. Each and every card is stored not with the credit card number, but rather with a unique device account number that is assigned, encrypted and stored within the Secure Element, a separate dedicated chip in the iPhone. Every time a purchase is made, the device account number along with a transaction-specific dynamic security code is used to process the payment, meaning that your personal information is never shared with merchants, creating another layer of privacy to prevent identity theft and fraud. Apple also doesn’t save your transaction information, so all transaction information is only shared between you, your bank and the merchant.
Apple has already forged partnerships with Macy’s, Walgreen’s, Whole Foods, McDonald’s and Disney to implement NFC payment scanners in physical locations. Online retailers like Target, Groupon, Uber, Panera, MLB At Bat and OpenTable will also be integrating the payment into their sites.
Apple Pay will be launching in the U.S in October.
The Apple Watch is Apple’s first foray into the ever-growing wearable market. It is the most personal product they have ever made simply because it was made to be worn.
Taking cues from the fashion world, Apple introduced three collections of the Apple Watch to represent a different lifestyle. The base collection comes in stainless steel or space black cases with a sapphire crystal display. The Sport collection comes with aluminum cases in silver or space grey with strengthened Ion-X glass and colorful durable bands. The Edition collection is encased in 18-karat gold cases, wither in yellow or rose with a sapphire crystal display, and elegant bands and closures. It also comes in two sizes, a 1.5 and a 1.65-inch model.
Each of the bands on the Apple Watch is removable, allowing for even further customization depending on your daily usage. The primary navigation tool for this device is the Digital Crown, which is basically a watch wheel that allows users to zoom, scroll and select without covering the screen, along with a standard touch screen.
One of the more exciting features of the Apple Watch is the new tactile sense. Every time you receive a notification, it “taps” you similar to someone tapping your wrist. You can also send voice or text messages, draw sketches, send new customizable emoticons and even your own heartbeat through these sensors. The tactile sense also becomes integral with the map app as the watch will tap you letting you know which way to turn when giving you directions. Each directional tap feels different, so you’ll know whether to turn left or right.
Apple Watch also contains a bevy of health sensors and applications. The watch can measure your daily activity, such as the number of steps taken, how high of a climbed and calories burned. It can also measure health information such as heart rate. Two apps were developed specifically for health and fitness: Activity and Workout. Activity shows daily activity and lets users know if they need to sit less, move more or just get going. Workout tracks all of your workout information.
Most importantly, the Apple Watch tells time, keeping time to within 50 milliseconds and able to switch time zones wirelessly. User can choose among a variety of digital watch faces and customize those even further for a more personalized experience.
There is no word yet on the data storage or battery life of the device, but the Apple Watch starts at $349 and will be available in early 2014.
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