Apple Intros Two New iPhones, Smartwatch

Apple on Tuesday unveiled two new bigger, more pixel-packed iPhone models – the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus.

The models represent the “biggest advancement in the history of iPhone,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said during the event, which was being live streamed, though many viewers were complaining on Twitter as the stream was buffering and breaking under the stress.

The iPhone 6 touts a 4.7-inch display and resolution of 1334x750 (over 1 million pixels), while the iPhone 6, considered a “phablet” as it’s a cross between a phone and a small tablet, has a 5.5-inch display and 1920x1080 resolution (over 2 million pixels).

The new devices also sport a next-gen Apple A8 64-bit processor that touts 2 billion transistors, and 50% GPU performance gain, Apple said.

The new models will also support higher-quality calls using voice over LTE ( VoLTE) as well as WiFi-based calling, and will be capable of connecting via up to 20 LTE wireless bands. Both phones also use Apple Pay, a new system that lets consumers buy goods and services with a touch of a finger.

Apple will start the pre-orders process on September 12. The iPhone will sell for $199 (16 gigabytes),  $299 (64 GB) and $399 (129 GB), with a two-year contract.  The iPhone 6 Plus will start at $299 (16 GB), and move up to $399 (64 GB) and $499 (128 GB), with a two-year contract. Consumers can preorder them on Friday, Sept. 12; they will become available at retail in the several countries, including the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the UK on Friday, Sept. 19.  

Apple will continue to sell the iPhone 5 starting at $99, and the free iPhone 5c.

Apple said the new iPhones will also allow developers to optimize their apps for the different screen sizes in the iPhone lineup.

The @XfinitySports Twitter handle chimed in, tweeting: “The @XFINITY TV Go app is going to look FANTASTIC on the iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus #AppleLive. #MostLiveSports all the time!”

Apple said the App Store is now has 1.3 million apps available.

Cook’s version of the “one more thing” line made famous by the late Steve Jobs was the expected smartwatch. The squarish Apple Watch (no “i” for this one) is controlled by a dial on the side of the device, called a “Digital Crown,” that’s optimized for navigating the smaller screen size (including zooming and scrolling), as well as something called Force Touch, which senses the difference between a tap and press. 

“We didn’t take the iPhone and shrink the UI and strap it on your wrist,” Cook said.

The Apple Watch will come in gold, black,  gray, aluminum and stainless steel,  offer three “collections” (the basic Apple Watch, Apple WatchSport and Apple Watch Edition) and two different sizes (38 mm and 42mm). It also bakes in health monitoring features and  uses a wireless charging mechanism. It also ushers in a “Taptic Engine” and a built-in speaker that, when used together, delivers alerts and notifications that the consumer “can both hear and feel.”

Apple Watch supports 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 4.0 to pair with the user’s iPhone.

Apple Watch, to be available in early 2015, will start at $349, and will be compatible with the iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus running the latest version of iOS 8. 

As Apple gets into the smartwatch game, programmers are already starting to target the platform. Among recent examples, both ESPN and The Weather Channel have launched apps for the Pebble smartwatch platform.

Apple also announced that iOS 8 will be released on September 17 and include new features such as predictive typing for Apple’s QuickType keyboard and Family Sharing. iOS 8 also comes with a new Health app that gives users fitness data that can be stored and accessed from iCloud Drive.