Apple’s latest iPhones were revealed yesterday, and they were well received — but the star of the show was the Apple Watch. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus had few surprises if you’d been following the rumors of the past weeks: A 4.7″, 1334 x 750 pixel screen for the iPhone 6, with a new A8 processor and improvements to the cameras in an incredibly thin package (6.9 mm). The iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5″ screen with 1920 x 1080 resolution, and pretty much the same internals as the iPhone 6, though the iPhone 6 Plus camera offers optical image stabilization.
These phones look to be solid hits for Apple, bringing larger screens and greater power to legions of iPhone fans. The new generation 64-bit A8 chip inside has 2 billion transistors and 64-bit support in a 20nm process, so it’s more powerful even though it’s 13 percent smaller than the A7 chip. Apple boasted that the A8 has 25 percent faster CPU performance and 50 percent faster graphics than the A7 — the A8 is 50 times faster than the original iPhone. It’s also up to 50 percent more energy efficient than the last-gen chips.
The cameras have been improved, though the pixel count remains at 8 MP. The autofocus is twice as fast, there’s better noise reduction and tone mapping to create better pictures. Apple’s also added support for 240 fps slow motion, and the front facing camera is also improved and can take better selfies than ever . . . if you care to.
The Apple Watch drew great attention, though details weren’t complete. The Apple Watch comes in several variations, with two different sizes and three different cases (aluminum, stainless steel, and 18 kt gold) and six different straps, with pricing starting at $349 (though we don’t know more than that about prices). It’s a fashion accessory as much as a technical accessory. The Apple Watch boasts a host of features covering timekeeping, health tracking, fitness, and communication. The most important fact, though, is that it isn’t shipping until “early 2015” so we have plenty of time to find out more about it.
One of the most interesting facets of the Apple event was the time spent talking about gaming. Apple’s Phil Schiller made a point of talking about how the new iPhones provide better sustained gaming performance, with better battery life, and how the new Metal software along with the A8 chip provides incredible gaming performance. To prove it, Apple brought Super Evil Megacorp on stage to demonstrate their upcoming MOBA Vainglory on the iPhone 6 Plus.
This was an incredible opportunity for a fledgling company, and the game looked more than up to the challenge of showing off the power of Apple’s new hardware. More than that, though, it showed the importance of games to Apple. After all, games provide the bulk of the revenue in the App Store, and it’s good to see Apple acknowledging that fact.
Apple’s new iPhones will be arriving September 19, and analysts are expecting sales to exceed 50 million units before the end of the year, if Apple can build them fast enough to meet the demand. Game developers should be very pleased to see new, larger and more powerful gaming devices reaching such large numbers of consumers so quickly.
Don’t forget, though, that Apple has yet to talk about the iPad or the Apple TV. We should still expect to see an October event from Apple where new iPad models will be introduced, and possibly a new Apple TV. While massive innovation isn’t expected now in the iPad line, refreshed models (probably with the new A8 chip and Touch ID sensors) will be even better gaming devices, and should be strong sellers this holiday.
Be sure to check out the [a]listdaily interview with Super Evil Megacorp’s Bo Daly and Kristian Segerstrale!