The long anticipated Apple announcement yesterday left us with one of the biggest advancements in the history of the iPhone -- iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. These new phones not only come with new features in communication, photography and app development, but will also roll out Apple’s new mobile payment process called Apple Pay. We highlighted some of the new features we found particularly interesting about both this latest version of the iPhone, and new payment process capabilities.
The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
Tim Cook began the presentation by introducing the new iPhones as “the best iPhones we’ve ever made.” Here’s why:
The New Look and Display
The iPhone 6 is dramatically thinner with a continuous and seamless design. They are the thinnest iPhones ever made. Along with a new look comes a new way to display content: The new landscape view. The iPhone 6 lets you see even more content when the phone is in landscape view and there is a landscape view for the home screen.
The A8 Chip
Apple has a new A8 processor for its new iPhone. The new chip has 2 billion transistors, up to 25 percent faster CPU performance and up to 50 percent faster graphics. Compared to the original iPhone, the new processor in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is rated to be 84 times faster. More importantly, Apple says the new A8 is up to 50 percent more power-efficient.
The M8 Motion Coprocessor
M8 is an integrated motion coprocessor that is designed for fitness apps. It's more than a step tracker, the new M8 can distinguish between actions such as walking and running. It also can calculate distance and elevation using a barometer to measure air pressure changes. Third-party app integration will be available with Nike already confirming it will updates its Nike+ app to support elevation tracking capabilities.
The iSight camera was already incredibly capable, but Apple is making it even better. Apple announced new focus pixels which is a fancy way of saying that the new cameras will have phase detection autofocus capabilities. Now the iPhone camera can focus faster and better.
Along with making the photograph better, Apple announced advances in video with a new video encoder, time-lapse video and cinematic video stabilization for a steady hand.
We are incredibly excited about the release of iOS 8, including new features like Healthkit and Homekit and extensions. A ton of new features break down information silos, and make this new iOS more context-friendly than ever before.
iOS 8 has been in beta ever since the WWDC announcement, and developers have formed their opinions about what will define the next generation of the iOS and Mac OS experience. We captured those opinions by surveying Slashdot's community of developers, and we found a tremendous amount of excitement about taking the Age of Context mainstream.
Apple is entering an entirely new category of service. The vision is to replace the wallet, and the starting point is with retail payments. When you think about it, the payment process today has a lot of steps: pulling out your credit or debit card also exposes sensitive information like name, credit card number and security code. It is easy to lose your card or have it compromised, and the magnetic strip is outdated - In fact, the entire credit card payment process is based on technology invented more than 50 years ago. It’s time for an update, and Apple is focusing on creating the best user experience.
Apple Pay, which uses Apple’s touch ID and NFC technology, enables users to make payments using the payment information already associated with their iTunes accounts. All you need is your phone to make a payment.
Users will be able to see all their credit cards in the Passbook application which already includes access to things like tickets and loyalty cards. The card information is stored in the iPhone 6’s new Secure Element chip. Users will be able to use the iPhone’s camera to take a picture of the card and add it to Passbook. Then Apple will verify the card with the bank.
There has been a lot of speculation about privacy and security when it comes to mobile payments, and Apple addresses these privacy and security concerns. When you add a new credit card, Apple doesn’t store the credit card on its own servers, or give it to the merchant, and each time you pay you use a one-time payment card. Apple stresses that it doesn’t collect payment history – meaning, it’s not tracking what you’ve purchased. In addition, the “Find my iPhone” feature can now be used to suspend your payment cards.
There are already six major U.S. banks supporting Apple Pay at the time of launch and 220,000 merchant locations are also supported. MLB, Instacart, and OpenTable are also supporting Apple Pay, as is Groupon.
Apple Pay will be available in the U.S. in October 2014. And work is underway to take it worldwide in the near future. We can’t wait to see how Apple Pay changes the way we make payments!
To learn more about what developers really think of iOS 8, download the Whitepaper with survey results from Slashdot’s community of developers.