These annual Apple events have been pretty much the same for a while now – but Tim Cook did manage to unveil a couple of surprises this year.
As has become the tradition each September, Apple CEO Tim Cook took to the stage at the Flint Centre in California to reveal the latest line of gadgets and gizmos which will supposedly transform our lives – or at the very least part us from our money.
Using Steve Jobs’ famous introduction “one more thing…”, Cook unveiled the latest incarnation of Apple’s flagship product, the iPhone 6. It is thinner than the iPhone 5, with a larger display (4.7 inches), and curved sides. The iPhone 6 is powered by the new A8 chip, which is reported to be 50 times faster than the original iPhone, released all way back in 2007. The iPhone 6 will hit stores in the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan on Friday 19th September.
The first Apple phablet
Alongside the iPhone 6, Cook introduced us to the iPhone 6 Plus, the brand’s first phablet. With a 5.5 inch screen, the Plus is almost a full inch longer than the iPhone – while it is still nowhere near as big as some of the LG and Samsung models, it is the largest iPhone to date. Like the iPhone 6, the Plus lets users take slow motion videos and HDR ‘burst’ selfies with a new and improved front-facing camera.
If you’re stuck with an older version of the iPhone for the foreseeable until you become eligible for an upgrade, fear not – a software upgrade will be available from the 17th September. iOS 8 will be compatible with the iPhone 4S, 5, 5s and 5c, and includes advanced camera and photo library control functions, as well as the new Health app. iOS 8 is also the first Apple operating system to work with third party widgets. After the kerfuffle of last year, though, just to be safe, I’d recommend using an extra alarm clock if you decide to download the upgrade overnight. Wouldn’t want you to be late for work again!
Cook mentioned at the event that, for all its innovation, Apple customers still rely on a “fairly antiquated payment process”. Enter Apple Pay, a new mobile payment platform. The idea is pretty simple; customers scan their credit cards and upload the data into their Passbook app. When they wish to make a payment for an Apple purchase, they can generate a single-use code, which Cook believes will eliminate the risk involved with exposed credit card numbers (although he was careful not to mention the other ‘exposed’ security issues Apple has experienced with iCloud of late). If the phone is then stolen, the user can simply suspend payments, just as they would if they lost their card. Apple Pay is currently compliant with over 200,000 stores, and will integrate with native retail apps such as Target and Open Table.
And finally – Apple wearables
While other companies may have beat Apple to the smart watch finish line, brand loyalists have been waiting patiently. Apple Watch is the first original product Apple has made since the iPad, and according to Cook, is “the most personal device we’ve ever created.” It comes in a variety of styles and two size options (38 and 42mm), and enables the user to take calls, send and receive messages, and track their health and fitness. Apple Watch will launch “early next year” with a price tag of $349. (Perhaps rather tellingly, Cook made no mention of the watch’s battery life – something Apple products are notorious for.)