Apple’s Special Event: New iPhones and MoreBy Chris Ward
Today Apple held one of its signature events in its home town of Cupertino, California, announcing a new range of iPhones, a long-awaited wearable device, and a new payment system.
There were more rumours than have ever been witnessed before from an Apple announcement and the amount of mainstream press coverage has been staggering.
So what really happened? Was it all everyone anticipated? Let’s take a look…
It was the World’s worst kept secret that there would be new phones and we got two.
In a typical wave of Apple naming brilliance, we have the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. Both are thinner, more powerful (with a new A8 chip), larger and higher resolution. They also come with Touch ID security features, NFC capabilities (finally), and upgraded motion chips which include a barometer, for more accurate fitness tracking.
The designs are refreshed but still uniquely ‘iPhone-like’ and pricing (based on US prices) seems reasonable and somewhat more affordable than previous models. The phones will be available from September 12th. No new iPads as rumoured but there are several new software features available to aid the larger screen sizes that sound very intriguing for developers, such as ‘Split displays’ and ‘reachability’ gestures.
We were all expecting iOS 8 and I hope you have been busy updating your apps for it. Whilst iOS 8 will be available for a plethora of Apple devices, it is of course optimised for the new iPhone’s resolution, size and sensors. iOS will be available to everyone with a 4S and up from September 17th and final Gold Masters are available to developers now.
Apple was rumoured to be working on a new payment platform and it delivered. Apple Pay already has all the major credit card companies and an impressive 220,000 retailers on board, sadly all US based for now. The system works by taking a picture of your cards and then using the Touch ID and NFC capabilities to prove your are who you say you are and make the payment to a terminal. The platform will work with all devices announced today.
Apple also announced a watch, (or rather, a Watch) surprising a LOT of people, but it still wont ship until 2015. It takes several different approaches to existing wearable with some features that will have developers scrabbling to try. The OS interface is very different from any other existing iOS device, with a semi-3D ‘digital crown’ that can be scrolled back and forth to find the apps you are looking for, grouped into related categories. The watch will have a variety of different device and personal sensors. The SDK is called WatchKit, but it’s unclear when developers will get a chance to use it. Details are vague right now, but it will be available in different colours and configurations and will start at $350.
The classic iPod has finally been retired, iCloud has a new, cheaper pricing scheme, and U2’s new album has been given away to 500 million iTunes customers (presumably every single one is a U2 fan). There was no mention of when Yosemite, the new version of OS X, would be released, and no mention at all of last week’s iCloud security problems (although Tim Cook had previously addressed them).
There will be more to follow over the next few days and expect much more coverage on SitePoint, in the meantime, take a look at apple.com/live/ to catch up.