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Apple reveals larger iPhone and Apple Watch

The firm launches a bigger iPhone and delves into wearable technology but there are still criticisms it is playing "catch up".

Apple has lifted the lid on bigger iPhone 6 models, with screen sizes of up to 5.5 inches, and also unveiled its first watch.

The new phones are a significant upgrade from the outgoing flagship, the iPhone 5S, which has a 4-inch screen.

The watch - called simply Apple Watch - is customisable in "millions" of ways, said the firm at its annual showpiece event in California.

The company says the watch is a health and fitness device with many of the same features as a smartphone - but crucially needs an accompanying iPhone to work.

It uses GPS and Wi-Fi to track the distance covered by the wearer for example, and a tap of the screen can send an alert vibration to another Watch user.

It will start at $349 (£216) and comes out early next year.

Ernest Doku, technology expert at, said Apple had nailed a "truly attractive design" which could win over consumers.

However, he added that Apple were quick to gloss over the fact that an iPhone is also needed - making it an even more costly product.

Among the features of the two new iPhones are a better sensor and autofocus for the camera, and a landscape mode.

A HD FaceTime camera also promises improved face detection.

The iPhone 6 comes with a 4.7-inch screen, while the 6 Plus has a 5.5-inch display.

"I'm pretty amazed they've dumped the 4-inch iPhone - it was hugely successful," said Duncan Bell from gadget magazine T3.

"It would have at least slightly addressed criticisms that all Apple does is follow the market, rather than leading as it once did."

A new payment process called Apple Pay was also announced. It uses fingerprint ID for security and stores payment information on a NFC chip. Apple claims the feature is more secure than keeping cards in a wallet.

Payments using NFC (near-field communication) technology could be "revolutionised" if Apple's feature catches on, says one expert.

Anthony Duffy, director of retail banking at Fujitsu UK, said the company had "again sent out a challenge to the industry".

"Apple's decision to go for NFC - a technology that up until now has struggled to clearly stamp its mark on the payments industry - is a bold one," said Mr Duffy.

Shares in the company jumped following the watch unveiling, but then settled back down to the pre-event price.

Chatter about the handsets' vital statistics had been circulating for months on technology websites and blogs, and many were proved right as Apple boss Tim Cook stepped on stage for the big reveal.

The phones go on sale in the US and eight other countries on September 19. Pricing is still to be announced.

Apple had been under pressure to make a bigger iPhone after rivals outgunned it with handsets like Samsung's Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8.

"Apple has finally learnt (from) Samsung that bigger is better," said Ashley Michael Pearson on the Sky News Facebook page.

Others, such as Nathan Mass, were more complimentary: "Apple offers devices with an unbeatable premium build quality and for that reason alone, I will always be an Apple fan!"

The Cupertino firm is also not the first tech giant to launch a watch product - Samsung brought out its Gear smartwatch in September 2013.

Google has also plunged headfirst into the trend for wearable technology with its Glass product.

Source : Sky News

10 September 2014
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