Our resident Apple addict, Dan Jones, shares his thoughts on Apple's latest gadgets that you simply can not live without.
This year has seen another innovative year for Apple. The announcement of their newest software updates iOS 8 for the iPhone and iPad, and OS X Yosemite for the Mac, started us buzzing. Now with the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 plus and the Apple Watch set for release, there is a strong eagerness filling the South West office.
iPhone 6 and 6 Plus: premium products for premium wallets
The Apple keynote on September 9th 2014 started with a bang as they kicked off showing us the new iPhone 6. A slow close up video looping around and teasing us with the look and shape of the new device came with its high and low points. Returning to the curved feel of the original iPhone (yet more similar to the iPad mini and iPad Air) seemed a good move. Although seeing the camera sticking out was a bit of a shock. In comparison to the iPhone 5, the 6 is significantly larger with a 4.7 inch display. To make it easier to picture, the iPhone 4 and 4s have a 3.5 inch display, the 5, 5c and 5s have a 4 inch display. Even more dramatically, Apple announced a second phone. The iPhone 6 plus is an even larger phone with some extra features. The display is a whopping 5.5 inches, similar to the Samsung's galaxy note 4's 5.7 inch screen.
The moment you pick the 6 up, you get an instant feel of something worth spending a lot on. Whether it's the slight curve of the screen, or the seamless transition between the phone chassis and the vivid clear display, it just feels premium.
The new A8 chip is looking to be a powerhouse. Although Apple haven't announced the specs for it, we can assume it will certainly be up to the task, building from the 64-bit architecture Apple added last year. The A8 chip is capable of a 50% power reduction, this is hopefully a large step in the direction of Apple fixing the battery troubles that have been lingering over their past devices.
The new iPhones feature Apple Pay; their great alternative to carrying a wallet full of credit cards. The NFC element means that it will work with current contactless readers and the top venders will be using it by default. How long before it's established in countries outside of the US, we can't be sure, but some of the large brands like McDonald's will be expected to have it by next year.
Every new iPhone has always had an improved camera and the 6 is no exception. Probably the most standout improvement is the slow motion video being increased from 120 fps to 240 fps. The 6 Plus has optical image stabilisation where the camera moves to counter your movement, making it easier to make sharper long exposure shots and smoother cinematic video.
Apple Watch: an apple all day keeps the doctor away
Apple have always been a company of pioneering advancement. From the mouse, to the iMac, to the iPhone, Apple have always led the frontier of technological advancement. Although the Apple Watch isn't the first smart watch to hit the stores, it will certainly be a technological first.
From the gorgeous look and feel, to the genius technology packed inside, the Apple Watch is an incredible prospect. It can be used with Apple’s health app to create a personal fitness overview. It will challenge and motivate you to be more active or to push you that extra mile. The sensors read your pulse and can tell you to take a break if you're working too hard or make you pace yourself. The watch will set you challenges and give you virtual rewards when you hit your milestones.
As well as being a personal fitness guru, the Apple Watch helps you communicate. It links up to your iPhone so if someone messages you, you can read it straight from your watch. It will also suggest replies based on what the message says. So if someone asks if you want go out for tea or stay in, the watch will suggest 'go out' and 'stay in' as replies.The watch gives "Taptic" feedback for you notifications. Apple has used this well as it really does feel like someone gently tapping you on the wrist. It's easy to notice the 'taps' and is much more discrete and personal than the vibrations of the Android Wear Smartwatches. You can also tap your friends on the wrist and send them different tap patterns. Like three taps for "lunch?" If you really want you can also send others your heartbeat, this is a cool feature however there isn't really much of a practical use I can think of.
The Apple Watch is also fitted with Apple Pay to make fast contactless payments in the same way as the iPhone. The watch comes in three varieties: the 'Apple Watch', the 'Apple Watch Sport' and the 'Apple Watch Edition'. Each of these has two sizes. The smaller one is intended for smaller wrists however still feels fine if your wrist is larger. The Apple Watch is due for release next year.