Bigger than its predecessors, the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus will pack more pixels and power into a thinner design that has a glass face curving around the sides to meet an aluminum enclosure.
Not a lot of plastic compared to last year's unveiling of the one-piece polycarbonate outer body of the iPhone 5C. The 2013 models came in a variety of boldly colorful, shiny lacquered coatings that were “unapologetically plastic,” Apple designer Jony Ive declared.
The latest in the line of iPhones will come in silver, gold and space gray starting Sept. 19 and they boast faster processors, better graphics and even improved face recognition for selfies.
Tuesday's introduction was followed by announcements for Apple Pay — a new service to make purchases from stores and apps easier and more secure come October — and Apple Watch — a timepiece and “fitness companion,” including one with a plastic band, that launches next year for $349.
“It's driven Apple from the beginning. This compulsion to take incredibly powerful technology, and make it accessible, relevant, and ultimately, personal,” Ive said during a news conference at the Flint Center in Cupertino, Calif.
For the phones, major advances include high-definition displays (more than 1 million pixels for the iPhone 6 and 2 million for the Plus), an A8 chip that allows for 25 percent faster processing power and up to 50 percent faster graphics, an M8 co-processor that will continuously measure motion data, Wi-Fi calling for times of poor cell conditions, and new camera software with faster autofocus and optimal image stabilization for low-light shooting.
Video capabilities are better, too. Just like the iPhones essentially replaced point-and-shoot cameras, camcorders will likely be next. The new models take slow-motion video and time-lapse videos with a tap. A new sensor for FaceTime also lets in more light for better quality.
“These iPhones obviously have bigger displays, but more importantly, they're amazing products in every single way,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said.
They're dramatically thinner as well — just 6.9 mm for the iPhone 6 and 7.1 mm for the plus size. That compares to 7.6 mm for the iPhone 5S.
Apple also designed silicon cases in six colors for the new devices. The iPhone 6 starts at $199 with a two-year contract for 16 GB and the iPhone 6 Plus starts at $299. Pre-orders will begin Friday.