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Last tuesday, Apple kicked off its big event at the Flint Center for Performing Arts, by unveiling a trifecta of new products, which include two shiny new large-screen devices, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, the long-anticipated Apple Watch, an advanced touchscreen wearable and a new mobile payment initiative named Apple Pay. Accompanied by the occasional standing ovation and outbreaks of applause, the new products were greeted with loads of support by a huge audience that comprised of VIPs from various industry verticals such as entertainment, technology, and fashion, employees of Apple and various press officials. Last year, in the early summer of 2013, Apple announced iBeacon, a feature that provided apps with a whole new level of location awareness.
Apple’s live stream of the event, faced a number of technical problems throughout the afternoon. If you were one of those countless viewers who were left in the dark for much of the event, here are the most important things you need to know about Apple’s big event.
Apple’s mobile payment platform, Apple Pay
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Confirming rumours, Apple on tuesday announced that it’s new mobile wallet, Apple Pay will support both contactless payments at the cash register and in-app and online payments on your smartphone.
Till date most mobile wallet promises have fumbled or failed to live up to the promise as they’ve been build around self-interest based business models that focused on driving dollars into the carriers’ own wallets rather than creating a great consumer experience. But by granting its users the ability to pay for real world goods and services using the payment information already associated with their iTunes accounts, Apple Pay is definitely pushing solutions to many of the problems tormenting other wallets.
As predicted by the rumours, Apple Pay is based on NFC technology and uses a combination of a secure chip called Secure Element and Apple’s Touch ID to verify consumer identity at the point of sale. Adding on to that, Apple Pay will also become a part of the passbook, allowing users to store credit cards in tabs along with their loyalty cards and other boarding passes. MobStac for Developers, our powerful SDK for iOS, lets you build exceptional mobile commerce apps with Point Of Sale ( POS functionality).
Users can add a card by merely taking a photo of it, and then getting it verified by their bank. As a part of Apple’s efforts to focus on privacy, during a transaction, a unique device number, different from the digits imprinted on the plastic card, is sent to the merchant along with a dynamic security code. That way Apple neither stores the credit card on its own servers, nor hands it over to the merchant, said Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior VP of internet software and services. And if a user loses his iPhone, he can suspend his payment cards using the new ‘Find my iPhone’ feature, without having to cancel his actual credit card.
Compatible with American Express, MasterCard, and Visa, Apple Pay has been designed to work with over 220,000 merchants at launch, including some of the biggest retailers in the country like Walgreens, Subway, Whole Foods, Macy’s and McDonald’s. Apple Pay will be launched in the U.S. in October as an update to iOS 8.
Apple’s wearable, the Apple Watch
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The wearable space just got way bigger. One of the most anticipated unveilings at yesterday’s big event was the long-rumored advanced touch screen wearable, the Apple Watch. Being a wristwatch, that is accurate to within plus or minus 50 milliseconds, Apple Watch is not only technologically impressive but also quite stylish.
With regards to looks, the Apple Watch comes in three different editions that lets users to pick out a watch that matches their personal style, namely Apple Watch, Watch Sport, and Watch Edition. Among them, Apple Watch is the most basic one while Watch Sport is more durable, and Watch Edition made of gold is more exotic. Adding on to that, the device comes in two watch face sizes as well, to suit users with different-sized wrists.
Even the interfaces of all the three watches have a number of standout features. Apple Watch allows users to navigate through the menus and apps by touching the ‘ digital crown’, a dial on the side that translates movement into digital data. Moreover it even allows users to zoom in and out of screens and menus with ease by twist the button. The display is a made of a sheet of sapphire, and inside there is a custom designed chip encapsulated to protect the electronics. Further, on the back , there are four sapphire lenses which hold LEDs and photo sensors that allow users to detect their heart rate- thus adding health-tracking capability to the watch. The watch also works with Apple Pay, the company’s new mobile payments system.
In their effort to build a watch where the functions are easy to find and use, the menu screen is composed of bubbles of circular app icons that users can arrange however they like. Further, they can even open an app, by just tapping on it. Another feature called Glances lets users cycle through a customizable series of data screens by swiping upwards from the bottom of the screen.
Starting at $350, the Apple Watch will be available in the market by early next year, according to the company. Though the watch will require an iPhone to operate, it isn’t limited to just the new iPhone 6 devices, as it works with the iPhone 5 or later devices as well.
The New iPhones: iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
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Powered by a new chip, the A8 processor, which is 50 times faster than the chip in the original iPhone, the new iPhone 6 has a 4.7-inch Retina HD display. It comes with an upgraded 8 MP rear-facing camera with better digital image stabilization feature and 2.1 MP front-facing camera that comes with some new features like HDR and a burst-shot mode. Meanwhile the iPhone 6 plus also has additional optical image stabilization that uses its gyroscope and the M8 coprocessor to cancel out extra shakiness.
In addition to aiding in image stabilization, the M8 motion coprocessor, can now detect whether the user is walking, running or cycling, or even going up and down stairs, thanks to a barometer that detects changes in air pressure. Moreover both devices feature Touch ID home buttons and NFC.
The iPhone 6 goes on sale on Friday, September 19th and will follow a similar pricing model as previous iPhones with the 16 GB model starting at $199, but larger storage capacities will be cheaper than previous releases. The 64 GB model will be available for $300 while the 128 GB model will be available for $400. The iPhone 6 Plus starts at $100 more.
Going forward, it should be interesting to see how Apple chooses to link its new products, especially the mobile payment initiative, Apple Pay with other new technology, right from iBeacons that trigger in-store alerts on smartphones of shoppers, to fingerprint sensors for extra authentication.