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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The iPhone 6, the iPhone 6+ and the Apple Watch are introduced- The Big News Gets Even Bigger from Apple!

After months of rumors, blurry photo leaks, vague predictions and geeks around the world treating today like Christmas, the announcement of the year finally took place in Cupertino, California this morning: Apple announced all-new iPhones and introduced a whole new product, the Apple Watch...nope, no "i" prefix at all.

The new iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6+ are larger in nearly every way but thickness. The iPhone 6 has a larger 4.7 inch screen, a little bigger in square footage when compared to the "old" iPhone 5S and its now-tiny 4" screen. The iPhone 6+, on the other hand, is positively huge in comparison to the 5S and has entered into the "Phablet" space with a 5.5" screen.
Small, medium and large- From left, the iPhone 5S, iPhone 6 with a 4.7" screen
 and the huge iPhone 6+ with a 5.5" screen.
(courtesy: Business Insider)

"So what?" I hear you asking. "It's bigger. How is that a huge deal?"

Well, gentle reader, it's something to notice because Apple literally invented the smartphone and ever since its 2007 introduction has stuck with the 4" screen year after year while competitors from Android and Windows Phone have built far larger products with screens nearly 7" across. It seems that Apple's stubbornness finally gave way to consumer demand for more screen acreage. Current Apple iPhone apps will work just fine on the new models, but as developers produce apps that take advantage of the larger surface, Apple users will experience more content in a larger format.

But, that doesn't mean the iPhone5S or the iPhone5C are history. Per his keynote address, Apple CEO Tim Cooke said both of the smaller phones will continue as part of the Apple iPhone family, but at a much lower price point. In fact, the 8G iPhone 5C is now free with a two-year contract with your favorite carrier.

The cost for the iPhone 6 starts at $199 for the 32 Gig model and increases to $299 for 64G model with the top iPhone 6 at a strong 128G of memory for apps, games music and other content.

The price of admission for the iPhone 6+ begins at $299 for 16G (not nearly enough memory, in my view), $399 for 32 G and a painful $499 for the 128G top o' the line version. $500 for a phone, even one that's under contract with a carrier? With equally sized Android and Windows phones with similar features going for less than two hundred dollars, I'm not sure I'll be able to make that kind of financial leap and to convince my wife that it's worth it too.

Apple also introduced a new service called "Apple Pay" that will be available for the iPhone 6 twins exclusively. With Apple Pay, credit cards are unnecessary. The phones use your credit information and allow you to make purchases at every retail or eating outlet with a common NFC (Near Field Communications) receiver. Apple claims there are 220,000 receiving units in stores now with more being added daily. They also boast of extremely high level security to protect your financial information from unwanted attention. When you're ready to buy, you open the Apple Pay app, place your new iPhone near the receiver and scan your finger across the sensor at the bottom of the phone. That's it. No card, no wallet and no hassle.

Apple's final announcement was made with their traditional "...just one more thing" as the keynote appeared to be drawing to a close. The hand-picked audience ooohed and ahhhed as Tim Cooke introduced the long-rumored "Apple Watch".
Apple thought the "time" was right for a smart-watch. The Apple Watch.
(courtesy: ABCgo)

The Apple Watch is, in many ways, a tiny extension of the iPhone. Coming in two sizes, the Apple Watch is still a thick chunk of metal. Square and shiny, the face can accept dozens of stylish, replaceable watch bands. Besides keeping time to within 50 milliseconds a day, the Apple Watch can send messages, play music, read your heartbeat and act as a remote monitor for your iPhone's camera. The apps are mostly accessed using touch and the stem of the watch as a sort-of mouse controller. The watch requires a connection with your nearby iPhone to employ most of its features beyond telling the time, however.

Apple's video can show it better than I can explain it, so you can go to Apple's homepage to see the video here. 

The new phones will hit the streets in less than two weeks and the watches are due- vaguely- sometime early next year.

Can you wait? Frankly, although the technology is impressive and the live demonstrations looked nice, I still want to see what Samsung, Motorola, Nokia and the other phone manufacturers will do before I go spending up to $500 for what amounts to a slightly larger iPhone 5.

You can also go to the Apple home page to see all the new products, too. 

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