“Today we are launching the biggest advancement in the history of the iPhone,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the start of the company’s press event in Cupertino, Calif., where Apple is headquartered.
The iPhone 6 will feature a larger 4.7 inch retina HD screen, while the 5.5 inch iPhone 6 Plus model also will be offered. The full 1080p HD screen features no borders with glass that covers the entire surface and curves around the edges of the thinner device.
A camera protrudes a bit out the back. While it has a new sensor, the camera is still 8 megapixels. However, the camera does a better job of recognizing faces in scenes and delivers better focus, especially in low light conditions, with the iPhone 6 including digital image stabilization, while the iPhone 6 Plus has optical image stabilization.
An improved video camera also enables slow-motion video to be captured at 120 fps or 240 fps.
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The iPhone 6 screen will boast over 1 million pixels, the iPhone 6 Plus more than 2 million pixels.
The handsets, with faster Wi-Fi built in, also feature an A8 chip, which makes graphics 84 times faster than the original iPhone. The devices also are 50% more energy efficient, although battery life remains about the same as the more recent iPhone5s. The iPhone 6 Plus, however, features a longer battery, given its larger size.
Talk time has improved, though, to 14 hours for the iPhone 6 — up from 10 hours — and 24 hours with the iPhone 6 Plus.
Still, the A8 chip marks an improvement over previous iPhones, given that it’s 25% faster when it comes to processing power and boasts 50% faster graphics.
Calls can now also be made via Wi-Fi when cell conditions are poor.
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Pricing for the iPhone 6 starts at $199 and goes to $399. The iPhone 6 Plus will start at $299, with the highest priced at $499.
The devices, which become available Sept. 19, will come in gold, silver and space gray.
The iPhone 5 continues to perform well for Apple.
The smartphone, introduced in 2012, is still its most popular handset with a 27% share, followed closely by last year’s iPhone 5S, at 25%, according to research firm Localytics.
Yet the update to the iPhone, first launched in 2007, is important to Apple since it represents over half of the company’s revenue.
Analysts already anticipate that the new iPhone 6 models will sell more than 75 million handsets by the end of the year.
While the iPhone essentially created the smartphone revolution, Apple has faced some stiff competition recently from Samsung with its Galaxy line of devices. Amazon, however, has struggled with its Amazon Fire Phone, which the company recently discounted by $200 to 99 cents in order to boost sales.
Apple live streamed the reveal of its new devices and software here from the Flint Performing Arts Center in Cupertino, Calif.
“Today, we have some amazing products to share with you and we think at the end of the day you will agree that this too is a very key day for Apple,” Cook said.
During the presentation, Apple also unveiled Apple Pay, a way to pay for purchases using your iPhone 6, starting in October. Credit cards are securely added, with tokens used rather than credit card numbers. The actual credit card numbers aren’t store on the phones, in case the devices are lost.
Each transaction is authorized with a one-time unique number, Apple said, adding “Apple Pay is more secure than keeping cards in a wallet.”
Target is one of the company’s first retail partners, as are Disney, McDonald’s, Macys, Subway, Whole Foods, Nike, Panera and Groupon.