Apples Next Big Leap: Smartwatch, iPhone 6 unveiled

The long wait is over – For the first time in years, Apple's iPhones aren't the star of the show. With their recent announcement at about 5am NZT, Apple unveiled its newest toy, the smartwatch, a wearable device that marks the company's first major entry in a new product category since the iPad's debut in 2010.

But before we get to the products, I've got to have a bit of a moan. For a company that's famous for stage managing its events down to the tiniest detail, the livestream of Apple's launch event for its Apple Watch and new iPhones left a lot to be desired. People who tried to watch the event online were met with constant interruptions, dropped sound and occasionally even a simulcast in a different language hence  "#AppleFail" becoming a popular hashtag on Twitter this morning.

The Phones

 

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The device's introduction upstaged the company's two new, larger iPhones, which won't just have bigger screens; they'll have a new, horizontal viewing mode to take advantage of the larger display.

 

The iPhone 6 will have a screen measuring 4.7 inches, while the iPhone 6 Plus will be 5.5 inches. In both cases, app developers will be able to design apps that can be viewed differently when the phone is held horizontally.

Prices are slightly steep  for those tech fanatics who are desperate to upgrade sooner rather than later. The iPhone 6 ranges from 16GB for $999 to 128GB for $1299 and the iPhone 6 Plus ranges from 16GB for $1149 to a jaw dropping $1449 for 128GB.

 

Apple also introduced a system for using the phone to make credit card payments at retail stores which I'm a incredibly excited about, hopefully gone are the days of the three point check (Phone + Wallet + Keys).

The Smartwatch

First of all, why isn't it called iWatch? The theory is Apple may have run into trouble copyrighting the name; Swatch was one of the big objectors, and owns the rights to the name iSwatch.

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One of Apple Watch's notable features is something the company calls the "Digital Crown," (The crown is the dial thats been on the watch for decades) a small toggle on the right side of the device. The Digital Crown allows wearers to zoom in and out of apps, the thinking being that pinch-to-zoom on a tiny screen isn't a convenient way to navigate. (For what it's worth, I think Apple is right here.) 

Underneath the crown is a friends button that brings up your contacts so you can communicate with them. You can also share heartbeats or sketches.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook said the watch was about the technology as much as style.The Apple Watch will have a range of watch faces that can be personalised and will have six different straps, however it will need to be used with an iPhone. It will come in three models: The Apple Watch which will be made of stainless steel, the Sport (stronger and lighter) and the Edition which is made from 18 carat gold.

You can customise the watch so you can send "taps" to friends, so two taps could mean "call me asap".

One of the more interesting features is that the watch uses haptic feedback (think: tiny vibrations) to send users smart alerts. For example: If you're going the right way using Apple Maps (Goodluck) , you will feel a small but benign tingle against your wist.

Of course, fitness is one of the key focuses behind the device, and that's why Apple is pushing Watch hard to the Nike-wearing athlete crowd. Apple Watch can even read your heartbeat. It includes an official "Workout" app that can monitor calories burned or miles ran, and an "Activity" app that monitors the same metrics--but over the course of your day, including how often you're sitting versus standing.

Inside Apple Watch is an S1 chip, a gyroscope, and accelerometer. In order to use GPS, Apple Watch has to tether to your iPhone. Instead of plugging the device in to re-juice it, you can charge the battery using inductive charging, which snaps together with your watch-using magnets.

Apple Watch will be available in 2015. Pricing starts at $350USD (About $425 NZD)

 

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