Apple Live Event Roundup: iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple Watch and Apple Pay

Bonus: U2 new album Songs of Innocence free to download on iTunes

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TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) – Apple announced a 4.7″ iPhone 6 and a larger 5.5″ iPhone 6 Plus, a first Apple wearable device Watch and introduced their new payment system called Apple Pay.

The new iPhones are priced starting from S$988 (S$1,148 for iPhone 6 Plus) without contract. iPhone 5S sees a price reduction. Apple Watch will retail for US$349 available early 2015. Apple Pay allows you to store securely your credit card and easily make payments via the new devices iPhone 6 and Watch but we doubt it reach Singapore anytime soon.

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iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

Apple introduce 2 new iPhone devices today and as the rumours have suggested, there are 2 new larger sizes: 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays. They are both slimmer than the previous generations and will come in champagne, black and white colors. Both phones feature a new A8 chip and the graphics that gets pumped out of this chip is incredible as demonstrated on a MOBA game called Vain Glory. There’s also a new barometer sensor that detects your altitude, using air pressure to measure relative elevation.

The bigger iPhone 6 Plus has a few more features – landscape mode on the home screen and apps, camera stabilizer that synchronizes with the gyroscope and since it’s bigger, the iPhone 6 Plus also has a larger battery capacity for the most talktime and standby.

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Both phones will come with iOS 8 installed and includes the health app which monitors your exercise activities daily. LTE support gets a boost up to 150Mbps and a new feature call voLTE that allows you to make quality audio calls that seamlessly switches between LTE and WiFi automatically when you move from indoors to outdoors. NFC support is added as well primarily for payment purposes.

Improve focus speed on the new camera as they now incorporate SLR’s phase detection technology and panoramas can reach up to 43 megapixels. The new cameras can also do video at 1080p at 30 or 60 frames per second and slow-mo mode now has the ability to capture 240 frames per second.

Prices start from S$988 for iPhone 6 and S$1,148 for iPhone 6 Plus and will be available for pre-0rdering in Apple Store Singapore on 12 September 2014.

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Apple Watch

Perhaps more impressive than the iPhone announcements and leaks, the Apple Watch received lesser leaks and attention from the media yet when the features were announced it blew us away. Very little can be explained until you have actually seen how it works, and as simple as it looks, inside it’s a pretty complicated and high-tech device.

Although not stated, the Apple Watch seems to use the exact same new sapphire display as the iPhone featuring incredible resistance against scratches and knocks. The screen is so sensitive it can tell the difference from a tap or a forced press, a more significant technology shift from the multi-touch, giving birth to even more gesture capabilities. Under the watch there are sensors and infrared-lights that detects your pulse and heart rate, allowing the watch to capture your daily activity. Apple Watch is also capable of alerting you of long sitting periods, calculating if you have enough exercise for the day.

apple-watch-chargingCharging is an effortless snapping the charging connector to the back of the watch similar to MagSafe technology we see in MacBooks but there wasn’t any information about the battery life or standby time. Hopefully with so much features packed in, Apple Watch won’t suffer from battery drain issues we have been seeing on other smart wearables.

Navigating, scrolling and pinching (depending on the app) is controlled via the crown’s rotation and pressing the crown itself acts like the home button. The lower flatter button brings you to your friends list where you can call them (via iPhone), text them via voice, and even draw quick strokes or send taps or heartbeats overs.

The new Apple Watch will arrive early 2015 and priced at US$349 (~S$440.64).

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Apple Pay

One of the most talk-about problems on mobile today is payments. Despite the amount of apps and hardware that promises easy payment options, none of them actually really succeeded in making payments on mobile convenient, in fact with the amount of options it’s pretty much a mess.

Apple Pay seeks to solve this problem by making credit cards payment simple and secure. Simply scan your credit cards and get verified with the banks to store your credit cards in your iPhone, once all that’s done you will be able to pay using NFC and Touch ID. Apple has already partner up with AMEX, Visa and MasterCard which is pretty much what we all are using these days. Security is a hard problem to tackle but Apple seems to do it right, with an addtional security element that never stores the card number but instead uses a dynamic security code, and everything you buy or pay (according to Apple) is private. In the event your phone gets stolen you can suspend your payments for that lost device using Find my Phone service, and since there’s no credit card numbers stored, there’s no need to call up the banks to cancel your cards.

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App developers will also soon be able tap onto Apple Pay SDK and allow users making payments natively. Apple has promised to bring the technology to other countries, but with regulations and policies differences in various countries it won’t be an easy task and might take some time before we will be able to use Apple Pay here in Singapore.

Bonus: U2 was invited to perform at the event and the hugely popular band launch their new album “Songs of Innocence” in conjunction and offering it free to download on iTunes.

 

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