Today Apple releases two new iPhones ‘iPhone 6’ and ‘iPhone 6 Plus’, at its product launch at the Flint Peforming Arts Center in Apple’s home town of Cupertino, California.
CEO Tim Cook touted the devices as “the biggest advancement in the history of iPhone.” As rumored, the phones will be sized at 4.7 (iPhone 6) and 5.5 (iPhone 6 Plus) inches, sporting resolutions of 1334 x 750 and 1920 x 1080, respectively. The “new generation” of displays, according to Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, include 38 percent and 185 percent more pixels than the iPhone 5 devices. He also said that the phones are the thinnest Apple has ever made and have equal or better battery life compared to the iPhone 5S.
Both iPhone 6 units will be available in gold, silver and space gray, just like the iPhone 5S. With a two-year contract, iPhone 6 will be priced at $199 for 16 GB, $299 for 32 GB and $399 for 64 GB. Also with a two-year contract, iPhone 6 Plus begins at $299, $399 and $499 at the same storage options. Both will begin shipping on Sept. 19 in the U.S. and eight other countries. Pre-orders will begin on Friday, Sept. 12. Apple’s goal is to be in 115 countries by the end of the year.
To help users handle the bigger phone, Apple has moved the on-off switch to the right edge of the phone. And when you double-tap the home button, the entire display will slide down so users can access items on the top of the screen.
Crucially, the bigger displays allow for bigger batteries: 11 hours of video watching on the iPhone 6 and 14 hours for the iPhone 6 Plus — up from 10 hours on the iPhone 5S.
Both new iPhones feature Apple’s new A8 processor, which is 25% faster than the iPhone 5S. The M8 co-processor will allow fitness apps to tell the difference between walking and biking and even measure your relative elevation.
And the iPhones will come with Apple’s new iOS 8 software, featuring a new HealthKit application that monitors users’ heart rates, sleep, weight and blood pressure among other health-related information. Apple said iOS 8 will be available Sept. 17 to customers who have an iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C or iPhone 5S.
A new 8-megapixel camera in both iPhone 6 models includes new software technology that improves focus, metering and more. The iPhone 6 will include software-based image stabilization, while the iPhone 6 Plus will have optical image stimulation. Combined with the new gyroscope and the M8 processor, Schiller said that the device will not only be stabilized, but that the stabilization will allow for higher-quality photographs in low-light situations. For the first time on an iPhone, the lenses in both cameras protrude from the back of the device.
The new iPhones will include near-field communication (NFC) technology tied to a new service called Apple Pay, which allows users to save their credit and debit card information and pay for items with their phones instead of cards. According to Apple’s senior vice president of internet services and software, Eddy Cue, the transactions will take place between users and the place where they’re making payments; Apple will not collect information about purchases. Partners include Disney, McDonald’s, Panera Bread, Starbucks, Subway and Whole Foods. Apple Pay will launch as a free update to iOS 8, beginning next the next month in the U.S.
A new chip, the A8, will power the iPhone 6 devices. Schiller said that it’s 13 percent smaller than the A7 and sports 20 percent faster graphics. During an on-stage game demo for Vainglory, developer Super Evil Megacorp showed 1.3 million polygons running at 60 frames per second on the new hardware. Schiller mentioned iOS 8’s graphics-focused Metal technology right before the developers took the stage to demo their game.
For the event Apple added a new building — a roughly three-story, white boxy structure next to the Flint Center, which the company is likely to use as a showroom for its new products.
Apple unveiled its previous line of smartphones, the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C, at an event almost exactly one year ago. During today’s event, the company also revealed a long-rumored smart watch, the Apple Watch.
Apple will also discount the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C by $100. The iPhone 5S will maintain its aluminum casing — it won’t get the iPhone 5C’s plastic treatment.