Apple launches Apple Watch, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Pay: everything you need to know

An Apple Watch, a slimmer, faster version of the iPhone 6, a larger iPhone 6 Plus and a payment system, Apple Pay, were unveiled as part of Apple’s annual product update keynote this morning.

At 3am AEST Apple launched the products in a much hyped event at the Flint Center for Performing Arts in Cupertino, California. Inside a specially designed white box structure Apple chief executive Tim Cook launched the new products “just down the road from Apple’s birth place”.

Here’s everything you need to know about today’s announcement, including all the details on the new products:

iPhone 6

Many of the rumours about the iPhone 6 proved to be true. The iPhone 6 is 4.6 inches in size and 6.9 millimetres in width (a decrease from the 7.6 millimetre wide iPhone 5) with 1.6 million pixels. The iPhone 6 is powered by an A8 chip with a 25% faster processing power and up to 50% faster graphics. This makes it up to 50% faster than the original iPhone. 

New capabilities include Wi-Fi calling, a new feature for making high-quality calls when mobile phone reception is poor. The iPhone 6 also includes a barometer that senses air pressure to measure relative elevation which means fitness apps will be able to tell if you are going up or down mountains. 

Apple claims the iPhone 6 is 50% more energy efficient, so that users can have “higher sustained performance”. This will be a welcome move for users who have long complained about the iPhone’s battery life. 

The tech giant has improved the camera on the iPhone 6. It includes focus pixels, a technology previously found only in professional DSLR cameras. Apple claims this enables faster autofocus, next-generation local tone mapping, and advanced noise reduction. 

Apple has also put a lot of work into the iPhone 6’s video capabilities. The phone includes a new Apple-designed video encoder which captures slow-motion video at 120 frames per second or 240 frames per second. The iPhone 6 also has cinematic video stabilization which steadies the video camera. 

Australia will be one of the first countries to receive the new iPhones, which will launch next Friday, September 19 along with the United States, Canada, France, Hong Kong, Germany, the United Kingdom, Singapore and Japan.

Cook described the new iPhones as “the biggest advancement in the history of iPhones”.

iPhone 6 Plus

The iPhone 6 Plus is a ‘phablet’ version of the iPhone which is 5.5 inches in size with a display of over 2 million pixels. Like the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6 Plus is powered by an A8 chip with a 25% faster processing power and up to 50% faster graphics. The iPhone 6 Plus includes the same camera and video capabilities as the iPhone 6. 

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus come with iOS 8. The tech giant describes this as “the biggest iOS release ever”.

Apple has also branched into the iPhone accessory market announcing the release of Apple branded iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus silicon and leather protector cases. 

Apple Pay

Cook also launched a payment system dubbed Apple Pay.

“The vision is to replace the wallet. And the starting point is payments,” he told the audience.  

Apple Pay will enable payment using an iPhone just by swiping it. Payment is enabled using a touch of your finger through Touch ID. Apple Pay will work with the three major payment networks: Visa, MasterCard and American Express. 

The tech giant says it will make paying for products through apps a lot easier.  

The payment system is being released in the United States next month with no information provided on when it will make it to Australia. “Work is underway to take it worldwide in the near future,” Apple said in a statement. 

Apple Watch

Cook saved his biggest announcement until last, Apple’s first foray into wearables — the Apple Watch. He describes it as “the most personal device we’ve ever created”. 

The wearable tech is controlled via a device called a “digital crown” which you can use to scroll, zoom, and navigate the Apple Watch without covering the display. The Apple Watch has a retina display and infrared and visible-light LEDs, along with photosensors which can detect your pulse rate. 

The tech giant first registered trademarks for the iWatch last year but has ended up calling the product the Apple Watch. There’s some serious bling involved in the wearable tech, which is built from custom alloys of stainless steel, aluminium, and 18-karat gold. It has customisable watch faces and bands. 

Siri is built in to the Apple Watch and it also allows animated emoji.