Apple has officially unveiled the latest iteration of its popular smartphone line during a special event in the US (Cupertino, California), confirming many of the rumours that were floating around.
Speaking to attendees at the Flint Centre, Apple’s head of marketing Phil Schiller revealed that the next version of the iPhone would come in two variants: the iPhone 6, and the iPhone 6 Plus.
As rumoured, the devices feature larger screens than their predecessors, with the iPhone 6 boasting a 4.7-inch display, and the iPhone 6 Plus a 5.5-inch display.
Big screens, bigger resolutions
Both phones also feature higher resolution displays which Apple is calling “Retina HD”.
On the iPhone 6, the resolution is 1334 x 750, while the iPhone 6 Plus boasts a full HD display at 1920 x 1080.
Apple has long held that phones with larger screens make it difficult to reach user interface elements near the top of the screen.
To address this issue on their large-screen devices, Apple has introduced a gesture it calls “reachability”. When you double-touch the home button, the whole display slides down, bringing the top edge in reach.
The new iPhones also run on a new processor Apple is calling the A8.
According to Schiller, it features second-generation 64-bit technology, and is based on a 20-nanometer process.
Thanks to the new hardware, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus also have improved support for Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, Schiller said, including Voice Over LTE (VoLTE).
Apple also announced improvements to its new iPhones’ cameras. Both devices will have an 8 megapixel camera with phase detection autofocus.
This will offer faster, DSLR-grade autofocus, Schiller said.
The iPhone 6 will have digital image stabilisation, while the iPhone 6 Plus will boast optical image stabilisation.
Their improved camera hardware will also provide full HD (1080p) video recording with slo-motion video at 120 or 240 frames per second, Schiller said.
As one might expect, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will ship with the latest version of Apple’s iOS – iOS 8, which has yet to be released to the public.
The new devices will also support Apple’s new payment system it calls “Apple Pay”.
For this, the new iPhones support near field communications (NFC), a technology Apple has long eschewed despite most other high-end smartphones supporting it.
Using NFC, Apple Pay lets users make payment at points of sale by holding their phone up to a sensor and touching their finger to the device’s fingerprint sensor.
Prices and availability
The iPhone 6 will be available in three variants, at the following pay-in prices in the US (on 2-year contracts):
- 16GB: $199
- 64GB: $299
- 128GB: $399
Similarly, the iPhone 6 Plus will be available at the following price points:
- 16GB: $299
- 64GB: $399
- 128GB: $499
Pre-orders will open on 12 September 2014, and the devices will ship out from 19 September, Schiller said. Apple aim to ship the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to 115 countries by the end of the year.