At an event today in Cupertino, Apple introduced the Apple Watch, a new device that combines the power and utility of a smartphone or tablet with the simplicity and convince of a watch. Apple also introduced the next generation of their popular iPhone smartphone. The latest phone follows the status quo of recent smart phones of increasing the screen size, improving the camera, and processor, in a thiner casting than previous versions.
The new Apple Watch features a new interface that uses what Apple is calling a “Digital Crown” that acts as a dial that will allow users to zoom and scroll without covering the screen. The Apple Watch also acts as a fitness tracker by collecting data such as heart beat and steps taken. The watch will come with a number of different apps out of the box, and Apple is will provide an App Story for third party developers to provide there own offerings. One of the apps receiving the most attention is an app that will allow Apple Watch users to send doodles, taps, voice messages, and even heart beat to another Apple Watch user. The Apple Watch will come in three different models, A stainless steal Apple Watch, an anodized aluminum Apple Watch Sport, and an 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition. Apple will also offer a number of different bands that use a new magnetic locking system to connect to the watch.
You know it’s driven Apple from the beginning. This compulsion to take incredibly powerful technology and make it accessible, relevant, and ultimately personal. We’ve designed a range of products so personal you don’t put on your desk, or in your pocket. You wear them on your wrist.
-Jony Ive, Apple Senior Vice President, Design
The highlight of the iPhone announcement was transition from a single 4 inch screen size to two separate models, one at 4.7 inches and the other and 5.5 inches. Apple believes they have found a way to increase the screen size without limiting users’ ability to interact the device in one hand. While the screen is still one of the smallest on the market, some criticize the shift that leaves no major smartphone with a screen size of 4 inches or smaller.
The other big news to come out of the announcement was the introduction of Apple Pay a way to use the new iPhones, or the iWatch as a credit card. The service uses an expanded version of Apple’s Passbook app and the built in Touch ID finger print sensor to authenticate purchases. Apple was quick to explain that neither Apple, nor the retailer would ever see the credit card information, because of a “Dynamic security code” that talks between the card reader and your bank. Senior technology reporter and editor in chief of The Verge, Nilay Patel, questions if the iPhone’s battery, and the general public are ready for the iPhone to replace wallets.
This is a really really good idea, but it’s going to take a long time — and some bigger batteries — before anyone can actually get rid of their credit cards.
-Nilay Patel, The Verge, Editor in Chief
The announcement also featured news for current iPhone and iPad users with a major update to Apple’s iOS operating system. The new iOS 8 introduces extensions and customizable keyboards to iOS, and updates the Photos and Messages apps. iOS 8 also adds a new Health app that aggregates data collected by wearable health trackers, user input and the iPhone itself. Health will allow users to get a broader picture of their health through the data collected about their daily habits.
Apple also updated its iCloud syncing services. The biggest of these changes is a transition from having files compartmentalized by apps to a single iCloud Drive that more closely resembles services like Dropbox, and Google Drive. The update will also add the ability for families to share iTunes content such as apps, music, books, movies, and TV shows. Apple will also begin rolling out a new feature of iOS 8 and the much anticipated update to Apple’s Mac operating system, OS X Yosemite, that will allow users to be able to quickly transition what they are working on from their Macs to their iPhone or iPad and vise versa.
The Apple Watch will not be available until early 2015 for $349. The new iPhones will be available for preorder on September 12th, and in store on the 19th. iOS 8 be a free update available on Wednesday, September 17th, for iPhone 4s and newer, iPad 2 and newer, and the newest iPod touch.