Apple has launched two new iPhones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and the Apple Watch smartwatch at a much-hyped launch event in California.
Chief executive Tim Cook introduced the iPhones in a short speech calling them Apple's best ever iPhones.
The iPhone 6 is 4.7 inches and the iPhone 6 Plus is 5.5 inches with Phil Schiller, senior vice president of marketing, taking to the stage to talk about the new devices in-depth.
Apple's smartwatch, expected to be called the iWatch but actually called Apple Watch, looks more like a traditional watch than the smartwatches produced by other tech firms and will come in three main styles- the Watch, Watch Sport and Watch Edition.
Shares in Apple spiked above the $100 mark before the launch for the first time since the middle of last week, dropping just above yesterday's close of $98.36 per share during the presentation, ultimately closing 0.4 per cent lower.
Boom! And there you have it. Apple sets the smartwatch market on fire in a stroke! pic.twitter.com/y4aD5blIY4— Ben Wood (@benwood) September 9, 2014
The many faces of Apple Watch…. pic.twitter.com/p7mH4gR7um— Ben Wood (@benwood) September 9, 2014
The Watches feature a touch screen and a crown that controls functions such as zoom, scroll and select, and will go on sale early next year starting from $349, working with the new iPhone 6s, the 5S and 5C.
Options for the Apple Watch include two different sizes, 38mm or 42mm high, six different metals including stainless steel and 18-carat gold, and six different strap styles, including a link bracelet and sports band. Users can also choose from a variety of face designs from chronograph to a photo, and change them on screen.
Functions of the watch include being able to make calls, send messages and emails. It also lets users communicate with others with a simple sketch, tap or digital version of your heartbeat.
The watch also monitors fitness through an activity app , much like the Nike Fuelband or Jawbone Up wearable fitness trackers.
iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
As well as the larger screen sizes, both models have retina display, an A8 chip for faster processing, and will run the new iOS 8 operating system.
The 4.7 inch iPhone 6 has a 1334x750 resolution screen, while the 5.5 inch iPhone 6 Plus has a 1920x1080 resolution display. In terms of surface area, the iPhone 6 screen is 38 per cent larger and the iPhone 6 Plus 88 per cent larger than the iPhone 5.
Both phones will support voice calls over wi-fi.
An important feature for many users- both iPhones will have a very welcome longer battery life compared to their predecessors.
The iPhone 6 will be priced from $199 on a two year contract and the iPhone 6 Plus from $299 in the US,
Pre-orders will begin on 12 September to go on sale on 19 Septemeber, with the aim of being in "115 countries by the end of the year" said Schiller.
In the UK, both phones will be available on O2, EE, Vodafone and Three, with all four of the major networks beginning pre-orders on 12 Spetember, however pricing and tariffs have yet to be revealed
Apple also launched a mobile payment service called ApplePay, allowing users to pay for things with an Oyster Card-like swipe of their phone- or Apple Watch. This will only be available in the US for now however.
Big name banks including Citigroup, Bank of America and Wells Fargo have partnered with Apple in addition to some of the world's largest payment companies, Visa, Mastercard, and American Express.
What the analysts say
Here's an initial comment from analyst IG's David Madden:
Both new phones have curved edges and are thinner than any phone ever made, the iPhone 6 has a 4.7" screen while the iPhone 6 plus has a 5.5" screen, Apple has listened to customers demand for bigger screens.
The iPhone 6 has one million pixel density and the iPhone 6 plus has over two million pixel density,both phones have retina HD screens, the battery life has been ramped up too, I would appear that Apple are taking the positives from the iPhone and the iPad and putting them together.
Apple also launched the Apple Watch and a mobile payments systems, both have been overshadowed by the new iPhones, tech users are frantically trying to ascertain which new iPhone is superior, the stock initially dropped nearly two per cent but the share price was back above the $100 mark (pre announcement level).
Key move: different sizes and styles. Apple pushing very hard to generalise the product beyond male technology fans.— Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans) September 9, 2014
CCS Insight's Geoff Blaber tweeted: "Apple Pay is Huge. This will define Apple's business post Steve Jobs," and "The smartwatch category has just been completely redefined."
An interesting insight from retailer John Lewis, which is calling the Apple Watch a "game-changer". Buyer for tablets and computing at the high-street favourite, Will Jones, said:
"We know that wearable technology has to look good or consumers just won’t wear it. Apple has not let us down, and there's no doubt that the curved and customisable design of the Apple Watch will play a key role in convincing consumers to wear a computer around their wrist every day, no matter what they're doing.
Over the last year we have experienced a surge in demand for wearable technology devices, as functionality improves and consumers become increasingly concerned with health and wellbeing monitoring. With the HealthKit features installed and the ability to play music, receive calls, send messages and view pictures, we predict the Apple Watch will be a game changer - not just in the smartwatch market, but in the watch market full stop."
IHS on Apple Pay- it says Apple is already in talks with key financial players to expand the service internationally. Here's why IHS thinks Apple has finally cracked mobile payments:
Mobile payments and wallet services have been launched by device manufacturers numerous times in the past, and so far none have succeeded in gaining mass user adoption. Unlike many other services, Apple holds a number of advantages:
- It already has millions of user credit card details on file from Apple IDs, which users can choose to simply add to Apple Pay.
- Its tight software and hardware integration; Apple Pay uses Apple’s proprietary Touch ID to verify purchases and iOS app Passbok to store information
- Apple is primarily focused on hardware sales; which means it does not need Apple Pay to generate additional revenues, user information or for other services such as advertising, enabling Apple to focus on user experience rather than generating revenues.
- Apple also boasts a strong list of US retailers that plan to support Apple Pay, which ties in to the existing US contactless payment infrastructure.