Apple’s big event kicked off last night and the big news was two new iPhones (one of them bigger), a new wearable Apple Watch and near-field payment capabilities.
I’m not going to go into all the details – primarily because everyone else on the planet is already reporting on the Apple event, and secondly because you can relive the action blow-by-blow with us courtesy of our liveblog of the entire launch event. (opens in new tab)
But, in the interest of completeness, I’ll just say that Apple introduced two new iPhones; the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. Both phones are expected to ship on 19 September (so all those Apple extremists who have been camping out at Apple stores around the country (opens in new tab) are going to have to cool their jets for another 10 days before they can plunk down their money for a new toy – do these people have real jobs? Are they using their holiday time to make sure they are among the first in line?)
Anyway, the stock iPhone 6 will have a 4.7in display (0.7in larger than the iPhone 5S) but the iPhone 6 Plus will have a 5.5in display. The iPhone 6 should have about the same 14 hours of talk time (again the same as the iPhone 5S) but the iPhone 6 Plus should double that.
The iPhone 6 pricing should start at about £539 for the 16GB model, and the 6 Plus will start at £619 (again, for 16GB).
The Apple Watch that everyone had been expecting seems to be…well…pretty much what everyone was expecting. It’s a wearable, it’s a bit big and clunky, it can read your heart rate and stuff and it needs to be tethered to a nearby iPhone. Oh, and it buzzes when you’ve got mail or messages.
The Apple Watch will come in three varieties; Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Edition (with an 18-karat gold case). They should go on sale in early 2015.
Finally, Apple is trying to jumpstart the near-field payment technology that has been around for a while but just hasn’t taken off the way people thought it might. Called Apple Pay, it’s basically a way to pay for stuff with a wave of your iPhone (or presumably your Apple Watch).
They announced that they’ve already signed up Walgreens, Disney and McDonald's, so you will soon be able to wave your iPhone and buy a double bacon cheeseburger with a side of fries (I wonder if your Apple Watch can track your cholesterol levels too?).
There are many critics of the near-field system and most of them are coming from the security sector. Apple made a big point of stressing that it has built-in a lot of security safeguards with their system but I doubt that will satisfy those who think near-field is a disaster waiting to happen.
Other than that U2 played a song or two and said they would give away digital copies of their next album for free on the iTunes store (opens in new tab) for a limited time.
So, I have officially done my part in covering the Apple event. On to other things.