Apple Unveils Sleek New Watch, Bigger iPhones | NECN

Apple Unveils Sleek New Watch, Bigger iPhones

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Apple unveiled a sleek new smartwatch dubbed the Apple Watch and two new, bigger iPhones on Tuesday, marking its much-heralded entry into wearable technology and signaling its intentions to keep innovating three years after co-founder Steve Jobs' death.

    The event, held at the same Cupertino venue where Jobs unveiled the industry-shifting Mac computer a generation ago, was capped by a performance by U2, whose new album "Songs of Innocence" would be available for free on iTunes.

    Apple's big reveal wasn't without its hitches, as technical problems marred its livestream and frustrated would-be watchers online.

    But at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts itself, CEO Tim Cook's announcement of the new watch — "the most personal device we've ever created," he said — was met with a standing ovation from Apple fans.

    The smartwatch, with its square display and rectangular bezel and screen, can function, Cook explained, as a fitness monitor, communication device and, of course, timepiece. It will start at $349 and be available in early 2015.

    What looks like an ordinary crown on the watch's side is a dial that lets users zoom, scroll and navigate, in a departure from the commands iPhones use. Its touchscreen, with a sapphire crystal, also senses force.

    "What we didn't do was take the iPhone and shrink the user interface and strap it on your wrist," Cook said.

    The watch, available in two sizes and in 18-karat gold with a variety of straps to choose from, was the crowning new product announced at Tuesday's event, closely watched by Apple fans and industry-watchers, near the company's headquarters in Cupertino, California.

    Its unveiling came after two new iPhones, iOS 8 and Apple's first game were announced.

    Both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus boast larger screens, more powerful cameras and a new payment system Apple vowed would prove a radical improvement.
    The iPhone 6's screen will measure 4.7 inches, the 6 Plus' 5.5. Both boast a new next-generation retina display, and apps on both can be viewed differently, including in a double-paned display, when the phone is held horizontally, giving it the air of an iPad.

    Each model also promises a more powerful camera, with autofocus and face detection that's twice as fast as older models' and that works seamlessly in video, in a move by Apple that seemed designed to preclude users from needing separate cameras. The iPhone 6 Plus comes with optical image stabilization, too, to adjust for users' unsteady hands.

    Both models also use a new payment system, dubbed Apple Pay, that CEO Tim Cook said was safe, simple and a vast improvement for users' experience.

    It will let users use credit cards already on file with iTunes or take a photo of their cards to use them, and to preserve their safety, no credit card information will be stored on their phones.

    "We're totally reliant on the exposed numbers and outdated and vulnerable magnetic stripe interface," he said. "This whole process is based on this little piece of plastic." 

    Prices for the iPhone 6 start at $199 for a 16 GB model and go up to $399 for 128 GB, while the 6 Plus starts at $299 and goes up to $499. Pre-orders will begin Friday, and the products will begin shipping a week later, on Sept. 19.

    Apple also launched its first-ever own game, a battle game called Vain Glory.

    That wasn't the only exciting news for gamers: The new iPhone also boasts a new 64-bit chip, the Apple A8, which Apple promises will make for a 20 percent faster CPU and 50 percent faster graphics, according to The Verge.