TIME Gadgets

Apple Watch: 10 Things to Know

It's coming out early next year

The rumors were true—Apple is indeed releasing a smartwatch. The Apple Watch (sorry, “iWatch” fans) will be the first big new product line Apple has introduced since the iPad in 2010, and the first under the leadership of Tim Cook as CEO.

Like the iPad, iPhone and iWatch before it, the Apple Watch will enter a market where other tech companies have tried and failed to reach a mass audience. As with those earlier products, Apple hopes that a mixture of sleek hardware design and easy-to-use software will convince millions to buy a device they never even knew they needed.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Apple Watch:

You Need an iPhone to Use It

Like many smartwatches, the Apple Watch is meant to be used in conjunction with a smartphone. Think of it as as an easier-to-reach display that can relay information from your phone—when someone sends you a text, for instance, the Apple Watch can display the message on its screen for easier access. Though the watch was unveiled along with the iPhone 6, it will also be compatible with the iPhone 5, iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c.

It’s Expensive and It Won’t Be Out Soon

Shocker—Apple is introducing a gadget at the very high end of the category’s price range. The Apple Watch’s retail price will start at $349 when it launches early next year. Samsung’s Galaxy Gear retailed for $299 last fall, while the Kickstarter-funded Pebble smartwatch costs $150. Apple products typically sell at a premium, which helps the company maintain its huge margins.

It Has Animated Emojis

Everyone’s favorite yellow emoticons will have more verve on the Apple Watch. Users will be able to customize the facial expressions of emojis by touching different portions of the figure’s face. For instance, users can touch the emoji’s mouth to widen its smile or tap its eyebrows to raise them higher. The 3D figures spring to life before being texted off to a friend also using an Apple Watch. The redesigned emojis are a way to compensate for the fact that the Apple Watch screen is prohibitively small for sending traditional text message to friends. In addition to animated emojis, Apple Watch will analyze incoming texts and present a selection of potential responses that might make sense in context. Users can also use the phone’s microphones to dictate text.

It’s Compatible With Apple Pay

The new device is part of Apple’s broader scheme to replace your physical credit card through Apple Pay, a service that allows people to buy products through the press of a button on their iPhone 6 or Apple Watch. Utilizing Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, the devices will be able to communicate with payment systems at participating retailers using credit card information they already have tied to their iTunes accounts.

So far, McDonald’s, Staples, and Macy’s are among the companies that have agreed to accept Apple Pay.

It’s Using the Watch Dial in a Creative Way

The iPod’s click wheel was an innovation that simplified the chore of navigating through a thousand songs on an MP3 player. Apple hopes it’s hit on similar design magic by turning the traditional watch dial—now the “Digital Crown,” in Apple PR-speak—into a button that can be used to navigate the watch face. Through the dial, users will be able to zoom in and out on the screen, as well as scroll up and down, without obscuring the watch’s small surface. It also serves as the home button and the way to call up Siri, who will return as the Apple Watch’s digital assistant.

It’s Got a Boatload of Fitness Features

Fitness apps are seen as key to gaining a foothold in the wearables market. At the Apple Watch unveiling, Apple heavily promoted the ability of the watch to be a personal trainer as well as a communications device. The Apple Watch will use an accelerometer and GPS technology to constantly track the activities of its wearer, whether he or she is jogging, cycling or on a leisurely walk. The watch will also encourage users to meet basic fitness standards like standing up a bit during each hour and getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day.

It Has Three Different Models in Two Sizes

The Apple Watch will come in three different styles. There’s the basic Apple Watch, the Apple Watch Sport, which will have a sweat-resistant wrist strap and the Apple Watch Edition, which will come in an 18-karat gold watch case. All of them will be available in two different sizes of either 38 mm or 42 mm for the watch face. The watches will all be customisable with easily changeable wrist straps. Expect these colorful straps to become the iPhone cases of the wearables era.

You Can Send Someone Your Heartbeat

Apple spent a lot of time at its press event talking about how the Apple Watch is the most personal device it’s ever created. Case in point: a user can “send” someone else their heartbeat by pressing two fingers to the Apple Watch screen to allow it to measure a pulse. Users can also share sketches, sound recordings and wrist-based love-taps for other forms of 21st-century flirtation.

It’s Extremely Sensitive

Apple claims that the technology inside its watch will allow it to both give and receive tactile feedback with quite a bit of subtlety. The vibration system, called Taptic Engine, provides haptic feedback that varies based on the context—for instance, the device would vibrate differently depending on whether you needed to make a right or a left turn while using a navigation app. The Apple Watch’s touch screen will also be able to differentiate between a tap and a press, which would should present more control options on the very small amount of available real estate.

Apple Still Hasn’t Revealed a Bunch of Important Information

With the Apple Watch not slated for release until 2015, Apple still has a lot of questions to answer. How’s the battery life? The fact that the company crowed about the iPhone 6’s improved battery life but was silent on Apple Watch may not be a good sign. We also want to know whether it’s water resistant, whether there will be a version for lefties and which app developers will be on board at launch.

TIME Smartphones

10 Things to Know About Apple’s New iPhone 6

Apple Watch Cover
TIME Photo-illustration. Hand: Milos Luzanin–Alamy

A design overhaul, digital payment system, camera improvements and more

Read more about the Apple Watch in this week’s TIME magazine.

The iPhone 6 was finally unveiled Tuesday during Apple’s highly anticipated product announcement. Tim Cook first unveiled the iPhone 6—featuring bigger screens, a digital wallet, better cameras, among other features—before unveiling the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch won’t be out until next year, but the iPhone 6 is coming this month.

Here are 10 things to know about the new iPhone:

There are two models: the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus.

The iPhone 6 is 4.7 inches diagonally and 6.9 mm wide. The iPhone 6 Plus is 5.5 inches diagonally and a bit thicker at 7.1 mm. The iPhone 6 has enough pixels to make it better than a 720p HD display, and the iPhone 6 Plus has a full 1080p HD display — that’s more than some next-generation gaming consoles. Both feature a new design with rounded edges for a seamless touch.

Apple Pay, a mobile payment system on the new iPhones, is trying to replace wallets.

In Apple’s first push into the payments game, the iPhone 6 is equipped with Apple Pay and a Near Field Communication (NFC) antenna that allows you to tap your phone against a sensor to make payments. Credit cards from participating companies—Visa, Mastercard and American Express—can be linked to your phone’s Passbook. Several merchants, like Disney, Chipotle and Seamless, have signed on with more to come.

On the security front, your card information is encrypted, and each transaction has a one-time payment number. So if you lose your phone, you can simply cancel its payments as opposed to the card itself. Apple also emphasized that neither the retailer nor Apple will know what you purchased, where you purchased it, or how much you paid.

Apple Pay will be available in the U.S. on Oct. 24.

The phones’ cameras are the most advanced iPhone cameras yet.

The iPhone 6 has an eight megapixel iSight camera, a 1.5µ pixel sensor and a ƒ/2.2 aperture lens. “That’s a nerdy way of saying, we’ve made the iSight camera a lot better,” according to Apple.

There’s an all-new feature called Focus Pixels that’ll help the iPhone cameras focus faster and better than ever. This means better video, and slow motion functions, too. You can even take “burst selfies,” with the iPhone 6 able to take up to 10 photos per second.

Battery life on the new iPhones is equal or better to the old models.

The iPhone 6’s battery life is roughly comparable to that of the iPhone 5: it features 10 more hours of audio, and four more hours of 3G talk. Both have standby battery lives of 10 days.

The iPhone 6 Plus, however, offers the best battery life of any iPhone to date. It has 80 hours of audio and 24 hours of 3G talk, and its standby battery life is 16 days.

The new phones have barometers to sense elevation.

The iPhone 6 has an air pressure sensor to tell you how high up you are. That will help it better record your fitness activity in that running a mile uphill will be adjusted to count more than running a mile on flat ground. This fitness data can be stored, accessed and analyzed in the iPhone’s new built-in Health app, a hub to record your health data and link third-party apps that also track your movements.

The iPhone 6 is much faster.

With 802.11ac Wi-Fi, the iPhone 6’s Wi-Fi speeds are up to three times faster than those of the iPhone 5s. The iPhone 6 also has faster LTE than the iPhone 5s, and it can make use of more frequency ranges than other iPhones, making for better roaming capabilities.

Landscape view is improved.

Landscape views on the new phones will now be compatible for Mail, Weather and even the Home screen. A second pane will appear in landscape for some apps, like Mail. Keyboards on landscape will also be modified to make typing easier: additional characters will be placed on the sides of the traditional keyboard so users don’t have to tap an extra button to access them.

A reachability function will allow you to continue to use the iPhone 6 with one hand.

A double tap of the Home button will make the top of the screen roll down, so people with shorter thumbs or smaller hands can still use the iPhone with only one hand. Double tap the Home button again, and the iPhone 6 returns to its normal configuration.

With two-year contracts, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus start at $199 and $299, respectively.

The 16GB, 64GB and 128 GB iPhone 6 cost $199, $299 and $399 respectively with two-year contracts. The 16GB, 64GB and 128GB iPhone 6 Plus cost $299, $399 and $499 respectively with two-year contracts. Both models come in gold, silver and space gray.

They’re on sale Sept. 19.

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will be available in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan on September 19. You can pre-order them starting Sept. 12. If you can’t wait, you can download iOS 8—the iPhone 6’s new operating system—for free on Sept. 17.

TIME fashion

Watch Ralph Lauren Turn Mist into Models

His futuristic fashion show took place in Central Park

When your brand is as well known as Polo Ralph Lauren, it’s hard to get people excited about it. (Collared shirts — we get it.) So the folks at the label decided to get something going by creating a new type of runway made of mist. In a lake. In New York City.

On the evening of Sept. 8, fashionistas including at least one Jenner offspring and many Laurens were driven in golf carts (these people wear heels) to The Lake, as it’s known, near Cherry Hill on the west side of Central Park. Shortly after 9 p.m., a sprinkler head rose from beneath the surface and formed a 60-ft-high halo of mist. The models walked out into the fog — or at least, they appeared to. With New York City shimmering in the background, and Central Park foliage in the foreground, the modes’ images were projected onto the droplets of water by what the Polo folks were calling 4D technology. (Physicists and pedants would have pointed out that the show had maybe three dimensions and not even close to four, but this was not that kind of crowd.)

The hologram-like approach had the advantage of being able to take viewers to a bunch of locations in New York City without forcing them to leave the comfort of their park benches: the Brooklyn Bridge, Dumbo, the High Line, a different part of Central Park, all pretaped when those locations were empty. The models, who were even taller than usual, appeared to be walking on water, like an army of messianic dreamgirls in cheerful solids. There was even a holographic Ralph, taking his bow and doing a little dance step in the lake while the real Ralph looked on. The effect was spooky and otherworldly, but very very cool.

While the Polo folks were calling the event “a sensory experience that uses innovative technology that could forever change the landscape for a fashion show,” it’s hard to see this getting widespread acceptance, amazing as it was. Perhaps it solved the vexing problem of models who arrive late for shows, but the punctual ones aren’t going to be replaced by wraiths of mist filled with light any time soon.

Check out the video above, but watch out — it sneakily cuts away to a different, clearer video, for people who actually want to see, you know, the clothes. But you get the idea.

TIME Music

First Listen to U2’s New Album, Released Free at Apple Watch Event

Apple Event
Apple CEO Tim Cook, left, greets Bono from the band U2 after they preformed at the end of the Apple event on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, in Cupertino, Calif. Marcio Jose Sanchez—AP

What you'll hear on Songs of Innocence, as long as you've got iTunes

There’s a term for what has just unfolded at the Flint Center in Cupertino: a “media event.” This wasn’t just news or a launch, although it was both of those things, but landed, like its four human stars, through an electrical storm of Internet rumor. Was it true that U2, one of the biggest bands in the world, had again teamed up with Apple, one of the biggest brands in the world? Both come garlanded with past glories and saddled with huge expectations. Could band and brand repeat the trick that underpins the success of each: innovating, shaking things up, while never losing their distinctive and defining essence? The last two hours have answered at least some of these questions, loudly.

On the bare stage in a small auditorium, without any of the clever effects that garnish their stadium shows, U2 performed a song called “The Miracle” from a new album, Songs of Innocence. Before this, the existence of the album had been rumored, so too a raft of false speculation about the nature of the Apple tie-up. Now we know the facts. This will be the largest album release ever, landing without charge in the iTunes libraries of the approximately half a billion account holders in 119 countries around the world and streamed to millions more through the new iTunes Radio and Beats Music services, with a physical album release, including more tracks and special formats, to follow in October.

The numbers sound impressive, but does the music?

It wasn’t easy to judge when first I listened to some of these tracks in May, in a studio in North London. These were still works in progress, with producer Paul Epworth at that stage behind the mixing desk in a lengthy process that has been overseen by Danger Mouse and has also tapped the production talents of Declan Gaffney, Ryan Tedder and Flood. Bono sat next to me on a small studio couch, singing along pitch-perfect and at a volume that submerged the recorded accompaniment of his three bandmates. His voice has never been stronger or better.

Yet U2 has always been about more than its charismatic singer and Songs of Innocence—which I finally heard in its entirety yesterday without Bono’s distracting presence—is about U2. The 11 tracks look back to the band’s musical roots in the punk and post-punk era, paying explicit homage to the Ramones and the Clash, and carrying resonances of later genres and bands, not least the many groups such as Arcade Fire and Coldplay that flourished by tapping into their influence. But Bono, guitarist Edge, bass player Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. share more than a narrative of musical development: they met while still at school in Dublin, forming the band as teenagers in 1976. Their personal lives are interwoven; their tribulations shared as freely as their triumphs. All apart from Clayton sought sustenance in religion, acquiring an iconography and vocabulary that marks this album like its predecessors. The title of the record is deceptive, even ironic. These are songs of experience and much of it searing. There may be faith but that faith appears challenged.

So the album packs an emotional punch, not so much the flame-waving uplift of U2’s stadium crowd-pleasers, but something more complex and sometimes uncomfortable but always compelling. Every track is recognizably U2, driven by a great if idiosyncratic rhythm section (Mullen Jr. is fearsomely precise while Clayton flirts with the danger of a relaxed beat) and Edge’s great jangling guitar riffs. Yet the end effect is startling, different—and very, very good.

Here are quick descriptions of each track:

  1. “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)” — A homage to the Ramones, summoning up the days when U2 covered their songs and played in tiny venues. Up-tempo and danceable. You can almost smell the stale beer and feel your feet sticking to the floor.
  2. “Every Breaking Wave” — Melodic and melancholy. “Every shipwrecked soul knows what it is / to live without intimacy,” Bono sings.
  3. “California” — The track opens with the tolling of an Angelus bell and allows itself a musical joke, ba-ba-bahing Beach Boys-style over the phrase “Santa Barbara” before stumbling into tougher recollections. Both Bono and Mullen Jr. lost their mothers in their teens. A key line: “There’s no end to grief / That’s how I know / And why I need to know that there is no end to love”
  4. “Song for Someone” — The tempo slows; you can sink into this as a love song or a song about faith or the loss of love or faith. The lyrics are open to interpretation but the guitar soars.
  5. “Iris (Hold Me Close)” — If you ever wondered what drives Bono to keep endlessly busy, creating, doing, trying to mend things, you need only to listen to this track about his mother. As his family gathered at the funeral of his grandfather, his mother suddenly collapsed and never regained consciousness. This is an attempt to confront that history.
  6. “Volcano” — With a big bass line and up-tempo funkiness, this pays a visit to 1980s clubland.
  7. “Raised by Wolves” — A percussive intake of breath recalls Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” while the lyrics describe vignettes of urban misery and the crisis of faith this provokes.
  8. “Cedarwood Road” — This is framed in danceable drum and bass lines but there’s a softer, sadder core as Bono again revisits his teenaged years in Dublin.
  9. “Sleep Like a Baby Tonight” — The standout track. At many points on the album the music stands in deliberately jaunty counterpoint to darker lyrics. Here the mood of both is ambiguous; in what you could hear as a song about a relationship with a woman or an opiate.
  10. “This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now” — Dedicated to Joe Strummer and reflecting the impact of the Clash on the young U2 members.
  11. “The Troubles” — Despite the title, this isn’t another “Sunday, Bloody Sunday.” That track, on U2’s 1983 album War, protested one of the most infamous incidents in Ireland’s long conflict. In the new song, Northern Ireland’s Troubles have been internalized. This is an album about scars performed by scarred survivors.

 

 

TIME technology

Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Cameras Have New Sensors, Faster Autofocus

Apple has today announced what CEO Tim Cook claims to be “the biggest advancement in the history of iPhone.”

The new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are now bigger than their predecessors at 4.7 and 5.5 inches respectively. The phones come with nearly 40% more pixels than the 5S and are thinner than previous incarnations with their cover glass curving around its sides to meet the frame. And for photography enthusiasts, the two new models will come with all-new sensors and faster autofocus.

The camera is an 8MP iSight with a new generation sensor that uses 1.5-micron Focus Pixels, allowing for Phase Detection Auto Focus for the first time in the iPhone.

While the cameras still have an f/2.2 aperture like that in the 5S, the sensor upgrade means the phones can take high dynamic range shots with one click, rather than a series of shots.

The iPhone 6 Plus also offers Optical Image Stabilization technology with a “five-element lens” that is able to move in four directions – up, down, right and left – to compensate for hand movements and create better-looking long-exposure shots.

In just a few years, Apple’s iPhone has become the world’s most popular camera – with various versions occupying the top four spots on Flickr’s Most Popular Cameras chart.

“People love taking photos with their iPhones with good reasons,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing at today’s Apple press event. And with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple expects users will now take better photos than ever before, he added. “It’s no surprise we don’t see a lot of [dedicated point and shoot cameras] anymore,” he added.

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus’ new camera features will complement software upgrades that will come when iOS 8 is released. In the latest version of its mobile operating system, Apple introduces iCloud Photo Library, an automated back-up option for photos and videos.

The update also adds new photo editing tools to the native Camera app – with controls from brightness, contrast, exposure, highlights, shadows and colors – a new Time-lapse mode and the possibility to use App Extensions to use third-party filters and tools directly from the camera’s photo library without switching to another app.

With iOS 8, users will also be able to search their images more easily according to date and location, with Apple offering Smart Suggestions. “Just tap the search icon and you’ll get choices based on what’s important to you,” Apple explained. “One more tap gives you immediate access to photos taken nearby, photos taken the same time last year or your all-time favorite photos.”

iOS 8 will be released on September 17 with the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus having a shipping date of September 19. Prices start at $199 with a two-year contract.

Apple also unveiled a new smartwatch at the even, the iWatch, which is expected to appeal to a teenage market. The new customizable Apple Watch will come in different colors.


Richard Conway is reporter/producer for TIME LightBox


TIME Gadgets

The Apple Watch Will Have Animated Emojis

Apple Unveils iPhone 6
Apple CEO Tim Cook talks about the Apple Watch during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Everybody’s favorite yellow emoticons will have even more verve on the new Apple Watch.

Apple has devised new animated emoticons that allow users to devise customized facial expressions by touching different portions of the figure’s face. For instance, users can touch the emoji’s mouth to widen his smile or tap his eyebrows to raise them higher. The 3D figures spring to life before being texted off to a friend also using an Apple Watch.

The redesigned emojis are a way to compensate for the fact that the Apple Watch screen is prohibitively small for sending traditional text message to friends. In addition to animated emojis, Apple Watch will analyze incoming texts and present a selection of potential responses that might make sense in context.

 

TIME Smartphones

The iPhone 6 Will Have Apple’s Most Advanced iPhone Camera Yet

Phil Schiller
Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, discusses the camera features on the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus on Sept. 9, 2014, in Cupertino, Calif. Marcio Jose Sanchez—AP

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will boast even more advanced cameras than Apple’s previous phones.

The new phones will have an eight megapixel camera, 1.5 micron pixels and a f/2.2 aperture. A new feature called Focus Pixels will automatically determine the direction of the phone’s focus and the distance to move the lens, leading to sharper images. Apple says the phones will be better at detecting faces than previous models, and the more advanced iPhone 6 Plus will boast optical image stabilization, which compensates for pictures taken with shaky hands.

In terms of video capability, the new camera will be able to shoot videos in 1080p at 30 frames per second and 60 frames per second. The camera will also expand on the iPhone 5s’s slow-motion capability by allowing users to film at 240 frames per second rather than just 120.

The front-facing camera for FaceTime has also been overhauled, with a new aperture that allows in 80% more light. The camera will also feature a burst mode that will take 10 photos in a single second and let the user pick the one that looks the best (the one with no blinking eyes, for instance). Apple marketing head Phil Schiller said the feature would be perfect for “burst selfies.”

TIME

Apple Unveils Watch Wearable Computer

After months of speculation, the tech giant does not disappoint

After months of frenzied speculation, CEO Tim Cook on Tuesday introduced what Apple hopes will be the next must-have device: a wearable computer called the Apple Watch.

Apple is positioning the device as “the most personal device we’ve ever made,” according to Cook. “We love to make technology more personal and allow our users to do things they never imagined,” he added. The device will start at $349 and be available in early 2015.

Now that the most-hyped gadget in the history of hyped gadgets is finally here, what is it and what does it actually do?

The basics: Apple took a computer, shrunk it, and slipped it into a curved watch casing. It runs a modified version of iOS, the iPhone and iPad operating system. It will come in two distinct sizes and a broad range of configurations.

Using a rotating dial on the side, called the digital crown, the watch can be manipulated without obscuring the screen, a major problem with other smartwatches. Its display is a curved touchscreen made of an ultra hard material. The screen technology can understand the difference between a tap and a more forceful press. The watch features a system that can give haptic and audio feedback, depending on how a user is manipulating it.

There are four sapphire lenses on the back of the watch that can detect pulse rate, for example. The watch also features wireless charging. There will be 6 different straps available. Straps can be swapped in and out quickly.

To make up for the smaller screens, the device relies heavily on Siri, the company’s voice-activated assistant.

Among the features executives demonstrated at the long-awaited unveiling: built-in software that tracks how many steps you take and how hard you are exercising, suggesting fitness goals.

Digital Touch, another app the company showed off, is intended to let Watch wearers communicate with one another. Users can send each other small, animated drawings that are transmitted back and forth.

And, much like Apple’s other iDevices, developers will be able to make apps for the device.

The Apple Watch is dependent on having an iPhone nearby to feed it information from the Internet or GPS. The watch will be compatible with iPhone 5 and 6 models. Whereas the iPad, when it debuted in 2010, was essentially an oversized iPhone minus the ability to make calls, the watch appears to be a companion device.

Analysts believe the market for so-called wearable devices is about to take off. In the next few years, people will be spending between $30 billion and $50 billion annually on wearables, ten times more than today, according to BCG Research. If they’re right, a lot of that will be the Apple Watch. Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty predicts Apple will sell about 30 million to 60 million shipments within a year, faster than any other new Apple product ever.

TIME Gadgets

Apple Announces Plans to Reinvent the Wallet

Apple Inc. Reveals Bigger-Screen iPhones Alongside Wearables
Philip "Phil" Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc., speaks about the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus during a product announcement at Flint Center in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Apple wants to replace your wallet

Apple on Tuesday said it would try to reinvent the humble wallet by entering the payments business. At an event in Cupertino, Calif., during which the tech giant unveiled a raft of new products, CEO Tim Cook showed off Apple Pay, a system to make paying for things simpler and faster.

“Whether it’s a credit card or a debit card, we are totally reliant on the exposed numbers and out-dated strip on the back,” said Cook. “This is exactly what Apple does best,” he went on. There are some $12 billion worth of debit and credit transactions in the U.S. daily, according to the company, or 200 million transactions.

Apple is using NFC technology to communicate between its devices and point-of-sale systems. The company is partnering with big banks like Barclaycard and Bank of America for Apply Pay. The company said it would launch with partners representing 83% of credit card volume in the U.S. and add more over time. There are about 220,000 merchants that already have compatible point-of-sale systems, but Apple is also partnering with stores including Staples, Subway, Duane Reade, Whole Foods, Disney and others to adopt the technology. McDonalds is even adding Apple Pay technology to its drive-throughs.

“We are not in the business of collecting your data,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. Cue went on to say Apple will not know what you bought or where you bought it. “It’s fast, it’s secure, and it’s private,” Cue said.

The system will be available in October on iPhone 6 models.

TIME smartphone

Apple Introduces iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

The new iPhones will come in two different sizes

Apple on Tuesday announced two new iPhone models during an event in Cupertino, Calif. The long-rumored iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will come in two sizes, one with a 4.7-inch screen and the other with a 5.5-inch display.

The devices, which will go on sale on Sept. 19, will start at $199 with a two-year wireless contract. The larger version will cost $299. The company will continue to sell the iPhone 5S for $99 and the iPhone 5C for free.

With the new devices, the world’s most successful smartphone maker is intensifying a campaign to woo customers in countries outside North America and convince Google Android users to switch. Apple CEO Tim Cook said the new devices were “the biggest advancement in the history of iPhone.”

The larger phones sport a number of additional features beyond their much larger, higher-resolution displays. Built-in software allows the phones to be used in horizontal views, much like Apple’s larger tablets.The devices are also the thinnest phones Apple has ever shipped.

The company also said the two new devices have equal or better battery life than the iPhone 5S, despite their thirstier displays. Both feature an 8-megapixel camera with image stabilization to take better photos in low light, for example. “These are the best phones you have ever seen,” Cook said just ahead of the unveiling.

The larger iPhones are an acknowledgement that the tastes of mobile users have changed since Steve Jobs first unveiled the disruptive smartphone in 2007. So-called phablets—devices that straddle the capabilities of smartphones and tablets—have grown more popular.

In the U.S., web browsing on screens 4 inches or less, the size of the iPhone 5S screen, decreased 11% from May 2013 to May 2014, while traffic on screens greater than 4 inches leapt by 132%, according to Adobe. In a survey by Kantar WorldPanel ComTech, 42% of respondents who bought a new smart phone in the first quarter of this year said screen size was the most important design element.

Some observers mocked Samsung when it first revealed the 5.3-inch Galaxy Note in 2011. Two years later, the Note 3, its successor, managed to sell 10 million units in about two months when it was introduced last fall. Samsung announced to new devices a few days before Apple’s event.

Analysts largely expect the iPhone 6 to sell well during the holiday. In a research note earlier this year, Canaccord Genuity analyst T. Michael Walkley argued Apple will likely benefit from pent-up demand for a device with a larger screen. “We believe the extended replacement rates combined with new larger-screen iPhones position Apple with its large installed base for record iPhone 6 sales,” he wrote.

—with Victor Luckerson

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser