Apple has some new iCandy.
Critical glances from eyes around the globe turned toward the technology powerhouse as the company announced its latest generation of smartphones via a live-streamed event that started at 1 p.m. on Tuesday. The two phones unveiled — the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus — will be available for pre-order Sept. 12, with shipments beginning Sept. 19.
The new devices feature a showy arsenal of sleek design improvements, as well as significant functional upgrades intended to allow Apple to compete under increasingly competitive market conditions. The showcased improvements are no-doubt overdue, but as competitors populate the market with innovative designs, many are questioning the direction behind Apple’s latest decisions.
The aforementioned design improvements include a decrease in thickness, as well as an increase in size for both the 6 and 6 Plus. The iPhone 6 features a 4.7-inch screen, a vast improvement over the 4-inch screen of the previous installment of iPhone devices. But the true shocker is the massive 5.5-inch screen of the iPhone 6 Plus. The 6 Plus is intended to compete with the latest trend of “phablets” (short for phone-tablet hybrids), which has already been capitalized upon by competitors. The size of the 6 Plus is a steep contrast to the iPhone’s previously held reputation for being simple, compact and light.
Among the collection of announced functional improvements are a 25 percent faster processing speed, “ion-strengthened” glass, an improved FaceTime camera and — to the great relief of Apple-users across the globe — an increased battery life. These improvements were all expected, and though all will contribute to a greater overall experience, none of them are particularly groundbreaking.
Apple CEO Tim Cook claims the sixth generation of iPhones is the best iPhones the company has produced. Cook even went as far as to say that this announcement represented the “biggest advancements in iPhone history.” There’s no denying that. But while it may be the biggest advancement in Apple history, the jury is still out regarding whether or not it was the best advancement.
The phone wasn’t the only big announcement of the day, however. The Silicon Valley giant will also hope its Apple Watch — which will be capable of syncing with the phone — can also make a splash in the market, though it has a steep retail price at $349.
Apple has been steadily losing sales as competing companies flood the market with new designs. Tablet-sized phones are the latest big-seller, and they are expected to dominate the industry over the course of the next three years. But Apple isn’t known for tablet-sized phones. The company made a name for itself based on a foundation for simplicity. This latest development strays from that original vision, and the company might find difficulty in selling it to consumers. Furthermore, Apple already produces a line of tablets (iPad, iPad Air and iPad Mini), the sales of which could be affected by the introduction of a nearly tablet-sized phone.
Fortunately for Apple, the company maintains solid advertising and a strong fan base. Many consumers will likely stick with the company’s products without researching potential alternatives. Even so, the company will need to step up its game and fight hard to uphold its relevance as industry competition and consumer pressure are only expected to intensify.