Apple Unveils New iPhones, Smartwatch

By Michael Liedtke; Anick Jesdanun | The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV), September 10, 2014 | Go to article overview

Apple Unveils New iPhones, Smartwatch


Michael Liedtke; Anick Jesdanun, The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV)


CUPERTINO, Calif. - For the first time in years, Apples iPhones arent the star of the show. Apple unveiled a smartwatch called the AppleWatch on Tuesday, a wearable device that marks the companys first major entry in a new product category since the iPads debut in 2010. The move is significant because of recent questions about whether Apple still has a knack for innovating following the 2011 death of co-founder Steve Jobs.

The device's introduction upstaged the company's two new, larger iPhones, which won't just have bigger screens; they'll have a new, horizontal viewing mode to take advantage of the larger display.

The iPhone 6 will have a screen measuring 4.7 inches, while the iPhone 6 Plus will be 5.5 inches. In both cases, app developers will be able to design apps that can be viewed differently when the phone is held horizontally.

Apple also introduced a system for using the phone to make credit card payments at retail stores.

Apple is turning to the past as it lays out its future. The company is holding the event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts, the same venue where Jobs unveiled the industry-shifting Mac computer 25 years ago. The Cupertino, California, venue is near Apple's headquarters.

As for the iPhones, which still represent the main source of Apple's profits, larger models should help the company compete with Android devices.

Here's what's coming out of Tuesday's event:

* Larger iPhones

Now, Apple is increasing that. The iPhone 6 will have a 4.7-inch screen, while the iPhone 6 Plus will be 5.5 inches. The screen resolution on the Plus version will be sharper than previous iPhones, at 401 pixels per inch rather than 326.

With the larger screen comes a new horizontal view of the home screen. Usually, icons are stacked vertically, even when the phone is turned horizontally. App developers will also have new tools to rearrange their content to take advantage of that larger screen.

The new phones aren't as big as Samsung's latest flagship phones - 5.1 inches for the Galaxy S5 and 5.7 inches for the Note 4 - but they will be large enough to neutralize a key advantage Samsung and other Android manufacturers have had.

Notably, Samsung's Note phone isn't getting bigger this year. Last year's Note 3 was 5.7 inches. Instead, Samsung is emphasizing other hardware features, such as a sharper screen. It's also releasing a model with a curved edge to display weather, time and other information on the side of the phone.

Apple says the new phones will be faster and have better battery life than previous versions. The phones will also have a new sensor, the barometer, to estimate how much you've climbed stairs, not just how far you've walked or run.

Of course, some people still use their phones to actually make calls. When there's poor cellular reception, people will be able to make regular calls over Wi-Fi. The handoff between the two networks will be seamless. In the U.S., this feature will initially be available through T-Mobile.

The resolution on the camera is staying at 8 megapixels, while rival Android and Windows phones have been boosting that. The S5, for instance, is at 16 megapixels. However, the megapixel count is only one factor in what makes a good photo. Apple says it is putting in new sensors for better shots.

Apple is also improving a slow-motion video feature by allowing even slower shots. The camera will be able to take 240 frames per second, double what's in last year's iPhone 5s. Normally, video is at 60 frames per second.

The new phones will start shipping in the U.S. on Sept. 19, with advance orders to begin this Friday. Starting prices will be comparable to those in the past - $199 with a two-year contract for the iPhone 6 with 16 gigabytes of storage.

However, the step-up models will have double the memory than before - $299 for 64 gigabytes and $399 for 128 gigabytes. The iPhone 6 Plus phones will cost $100 more at each configuration. …

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