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Apple Unveils Watch, Two New iPhones

Apple's still-ongoing presentation announced a new operating system for their devices, a payment system, a new iPhone and the company's long-awaited wearable device.

The Apple Watch has finally arrived.

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the new device Tuesday morning during a live event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino. It’s the first new product from Apple since Cook took control of the company from Steve Jobs in 2011.

The watch comes with a flexible band and rounded square screen.

Apple has been rumored to be working on a wearable device for more than a year and was initially said to be targeting a 2014 launch. But Cook has often said that the company will take its time to develop a stellar product. Meanwhile, competitors including Samsung and Sony have released their own watches to compete with the likes of fitness-trackers such as Nike FuelBand and Fitbit.

Payment system.

Apple CEO Tim Cook thinks paying with a credit card is antiquated, so he has announced a digital payment system that the tech giant has dubbed Apple Pay.

The mobile wallet was announced Tuesday morning during an Apple live event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino. The payment process allows people to pay for purchases by tapping their phones to a sensor while holding their finger on the TouchID button.

Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus featuring Apple Pay
Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus featuring Apple Pay announced on Sept. 9, 2014. Courtesy of Apple

“That’s it,” exclaimed Cook. “It is so cool!”

Apple Pay is starting in the United States with credit cards from MasterCard, Visa and American Express. It will also work with the big six banks. More than 22,000 retailers will work with Apple Pay, including Macy’s, Subway, McDonalds and Disney stores. 

Apple takes on the bigger boys.

After months of speculation and leaks, Apple has unveiled its latest flagship smartphones: the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The announcement came during a live event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino.

Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus announced on Sept. 9, 2014. Courtesy of Apple

The 6 features a 4.7-inch display, while the 6 Plus is equipped with a 5.5-inch screen. Both feature an anodized aluminum back, and what Apple is calling “Retina HD” displays — a step forward from the Retina branding used in the current iPhone 5s and 5c. However, despite the increase in size the phones are actually thinner then the current models; during the company’s presentation this morning, Apple’s Phil Schiller noted that the iPhone 6 is 6.8mm thin, with the 6 Plus coming in at 7.1mm. The company’s current flagship, already a thin phone in its own right, measures 7.6mm in thickness.

The bigger size also translates into longer battery life. Apple is claiming that the iPhone 6 boasts 10 hours of standby time (the same as the iPhone 5s), with the iPhone 6 Plus coming in at 16 hours. For audio playback, the company is claiming 50 hours of battery life for the 6, and a whopping 80 hours for the 6 Plus (the iPhone 5s is rated at 40 hours of batter life for audio playback.) The 6 Plus also gets a bump when it comes to the camera; it will feature optical image stabilization to provide cleaner, clearer photos. Both of the new phones shoot 1080p video at either 30 or 60 frames per second, along with Apple’s own slow-motion mode.

Both phones will also feature Apple’s new mobile payment system called Apple Pay, which will let owners pay for goods and services with a tap of their phone.

The new iPhones will come in three colors — gold, silver, and what Apple calls “space grey”, with the basic model coming in at $199 on-contract for 16GB of storage. The $299 model will come with four times the storage — 64GB — while the $399 model will include 128GB of storage for music and media. The 6 Plus starts at $299 for 16GB, with $399 and $499 models coming in at the same storage specs as the 6. Both phones will be available on Sept. 19, with pre-orders starting this Friday Sept. 12.

Rumors have indicated that Apple would be introducing two larger models of its phone since earlier this year, with size being the biggest differentiator. Since the introduction of the original iPhone back in 2007, Apple’s devices have stayed on the smaller end of the smartphone spectrum. The first model had a 3.5-inch screen, and it wasn’t until 2012 with the the iPhone 5 that Apple decided to incorporate a taller, 4-inch screen into the lineup. In the meantime, however, phones from other smartphone manufacturers have incorporated larger screens that let users access more content at a single glance. With the introduction of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple has the opportunity to compete against those larger devices.

More to come…