Five Things To Look Forward To From Apple’s Watch, iPhone 6 Launch Event

Giuseppe Macri | Tech Editor

Apple’s Tuesday launch event was packed with new products, announcements and features, but we’ve broken down the five most important for you to look forward to late this year and early next.

1. iPhone 6, 4.7-inch display, available Sept. 19 for $199

Apple’s baseline iPhone 6 comes with 16 gigs of storage, a larger “ion-strengthened” 4.7-inch Retina HD screen with 1334 x 750 pixels, a thinner 6.9 mm body, rounded out — literally — by the phone’s new curved corners and edges. The phone boasts faster processing power thanks to Apple’s new A8 64-bit processor chip (50 percent more efficient and 25 percent faster than the A7), a slightly extended battery life, Apple’s new iOS 8 operating system and an 8-megapixel, 1080p stabilized, autofocus camera, all of which combines into a $199 price point slated for a Sept. 19 release.

2. iPhone 6 Plus, 5.5-inch display, available Sept. 19 for $299

The next size up is Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus — the company’s long-awaited phablet market entry which includes a 5.5-inch Retina HD screen and 1920 by 1080 pixels, or 185 percent more than the iPhone 5S. The phone is 7.1 mm thick and features the same internal hardware as the standard 6. The larger screen gives users the benefit of iPhone’s first landscape home screen, extra keyboard keys including cut, copy and paste, and a “reachability” feature, which lets users double-tap the home button to scroll the top of the screen down, allowing for easier access to top items without having to re-position the hand. The phone will feature battery life on par with the 5S.

The phones will be available for preorder Friday in “space grey,” white and gold, and will ship Sept. 19.

3. Apple Watch, available early 2015 for $349

Apple’s long-awaited wearable smartwatch will come in two sizes and with six different strap options including a plastic sports band, leather, metal and more. The watch will be accurate to within 50 milliseconds and connect with the iPhone 6 down through the iPhone 5. It includes built-in sensors and an accelerometer for fitness and health tracking applications. The touchscreen is reportedly sensitive and intuitive, able to distinguish the difference between a tap and an extended press, and the digital crown dial on the side acts like a an iPod touchwheel to let users zoom in and out on the display, scroll down or push in to return to the home screen.

Apple Watch includes a speaker through which users can interact with Siri, dictate messages and play music. The communication system includes its own dedicated button underneath the crown, which can activate phone calls of even send drawings to favorite contacts. Apple Watch charges inductively and includes a whole host of features derived directly from the iPhone including messaging, calendar, email, weather, maps, a walkie-talkie like function, Apple TV control, iPhone camera viewfinder and much more not mentioned during the announcement, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, who called the Apple Watch “the most personal device we’ve ever created.”

Apple Watch will come rounded or square in three different finishes: Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition in 18-karat gold.

4. Apple Pay

Apple Pay is the company’s first proprietary mobile payment system, which uses an antenna and a TouchID fingerprint scanner to use the credit card tied to your iTunes account (or any other you designate) with a swipe of your device. Apple has reportedly solidified partnerships with Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Chase, Bank of America and others along with some 22,000 retailers including Macy’s, Whole Foods, Staples, McDonalds and others. The Apple Watch will also make use of Apple Pay, letting users swipe their watch or phone for quick, easy and secure payments (Apple claims even they won’t know what you’re buying) throughout 80 percent of the U.S.’s credit card base, according to The Verge.

5. iOS 8 available for free download Sept. 17

Apple didn’t go into detail about its latest mobile software, but it did announce a final release date of Sept. 17, when users can download the update for free and find out for themselves.

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