Apple has launched its highly anticipated iPhone 6 - in two models, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus - and made its long-awaited entry into the wearables market with a digital watch that can double as a fitness tracker and run a variety of apps.
Called the Apple Watch, it has an oblong glass screen with a curved, touch display and comes in three models - a standard version with a body made from black or silver stainless steel, a sports version in silver or gray aluminium and a luxury version in hardened, 18-carat gold.
The watch can be personalised to display any of numerous styles of watch face, in traditional analog as well as digital styles. It also runs a wide range of apps, relying heavily on the winder on the side of the watch, known as the crown, to control the interface.
Pushing the crown, for instance, takes the user to the home screen, which displays small, circular app icons in a colorful style reminiscent of the iPhone. The user can touch the screen to zoom in on a group of apps and touch again to open one.
The watches will start at US$349 (UK pricing has yet to be announced) and be available early next year, Apple said. They'll work with the existing iPhone 5, 5C and 5S, as well as the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus that were also unveiled at the same event.
It's the first new product category that Apple has introduced since Tim Cook took over from Steve Jobs as CEO. To launch it, Apple chose The Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, California, where Jobs introduced the original Macintosh computer in 1984.
The device puts Apple into competition with smartwatches like Samsung's Gear - which the Apple Watch resembles in design - and fitness trackers like the Fitbit and Nike FuelBand.
Cook called it "the most personal device we've ever created."
"We set out to make the best watch in the world," he said.
Apple put a lot of effort into figuring out how to turn the small screen into a workable interface for a device with so many functions. As well as the watch winder, there's a small button below it which, when pressed, brings up a screen showing icons of friends that can then be contacted.
In some of the apps, like Apple Maps, turning the crown zooms the display in and out. The watch will run third-party apps as well as those from Apple, and the company released a WatchKit for developers to build them.
The watch is also a fitness device. An accelerometer measures total body movement, while a custom sensor measures workout intensity by tracking the heart rate. It uses the GPS and Wi-Fi in an iPhone to track how far you've moved.
The watch can receive calls via the iPhone and has a built-in speaker and microphone for "quick chats." Apple recommends taking longer calls on the iPhone.
Some of the more unusual features include the use of haptic feedback for incoming messages, which Apple said feels like a "tap on the wrist," letting you know to look at the device. Users can reply to messages by choosing from a short, pre-written reply or dictating one through the microphone.
The watch also vibrates slightly when the maps app is being used, providing a different feel for left and right, so the user knows which way to turn without looking at the watch.
Besides the three basic models, Apple is offering a half-dozen straps to suit different styles, including traditional leather, steel links and colored plastics. The watch also comes in two sizes, one 38 millimeters high and the other 42 mm high.
As expected, both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus sport much larger screens than previous versions. The standard iPhone 6 now sports a 4.7-inch display, while the iPhone 6 Plus comes with a massive 5.5-inch screen, putting it squarely in "phablet" territory. Storage on both iPhone models now tops out at 128GB, double the amount of previous models, and cameras have been updated as well.
The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are even thinner than the 5s, coming in at 6.9mm and 7.1mm thick, respectively, compared to the 7.6mm iPhone 5s. The glass front of the iPhone 6 curves around the side, and each model features an anodized aluminum back. As some of the leaks we saw prior to the event indicated, the camera features a ring that protrudes a bit from the back of the device, but it doesn't really take away from the incredible thinness of the iPhone 6.
With the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple has upgraded the displays to what they're calling Retina HD. The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 has a resolution of 1334 by 750, with a pixel-density of 326 pixels per inch (ppi); the 5.5-inch 6 Plus goes full HD with a 1920 by 1080 display and a whopping 401 ppi. Apple says both versions are covered with "ion-strengthened glass," to make the iPhone 6 less susceptible to drops and scratches.
You'll definitely have more to look at on both models, and Apple has built new views into its iOS apps to make use of the larger displays. For example, the iPhone 6 plus will show your contact's profile picture next to their messages within the Messages app. Third-party developers will have the opportunity to update their apps as well.
Both phones come with a new generation 64-bit Apple A8 chip, which Apple says is 13 per cent smaller and up to 25 per cent faster than the previous-generation A7. Graphics on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus should get a boost as well, with the A8 chip carrying a graphics processing unit that Apple claims is 50 percent faster. And the A8 is 50 percent more energy efficient than the A7, which should translate to better battery life for the 6 and 6 Plus.
Speaking of battery life, the iPhone 6 promises around the same battery life of the 5s, coming in even better than the 5s in some categories; the iPhone 6 Plus offers more battery life still, thanks to a bigger battery.
The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus boast more advanced wireless capabilities, offering up to 150 Mbps LTE (compared to 100Mbps on previous models), and also supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi. And both models support Wi-Fi phone-calls, with seamless call hand-offs between WiFi and LTE/Lg.
Both phones sport an 8 megapixel iSight camera on the back with True Tone flash, 1.5 micron pixels, f/2.2 aperture and an all-new sensor. The result should be crisper details and better performance in low-light. The camera has phase-detection autofocus, which should offer even faster automatic focus for pictures and videos. And while the iPhone 6 has digital image stabilization, the iPhone 6 Plus adds optical image stabilisation.