Apple Launches New iPhones, Apple Pay and Apple Watch

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When it comes to travel gear, my phone is one of my first considerations. I’m on my phone a lot, even when traveling internationally, and with the amount of use I get out of it, I put a fair amount of thought into which models and features I choose.

I’ve been an iPhone user for years now, and I feel like between my iPhone, MacBook Air, iMac, iPad and my Apple TV, Apple has control over my life, so making a switch to a Samsung Galaxy would be a complete jolt to my system. Choosing a technology brand is like attaining airline elite status: once you’ve made your choice, it often pays to stick with it. In general, I like my iPhone even though the screen is a bit small and I’m still not really used to the on-screen typing (compared to the Blackberry I had back in my Wall Street days).

With that being said, I think today is an exciting day for Apple, and I can’t wait to try out the new iPhone models. I’m leaning toward the iPhone 6 Plus, since I’m a big guy and I’m not concerned that it won’t fit in my hands. In addition, today’s announcement should be exciting for travelers as well with all the new functionality included in the Apple Watch, which will allow you to check into your hotel room from your phone. Here’s a rundown on what Apple has in store:

Apple launched the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
Apple launched the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
The iPhone 6 will start at $199 with a two-year contract and will come in gold, silver, and space gray. It has faster LTE service than the previous 5s and features the Health app, which will be rolled out in their new operating system iOS 8. The iPhone 6 has a 4.7-inch display, and the iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5-inch display. Both iPhone 6 models will feature a new Retina HD display, and are the thinnest iPhones yet. Apple’s new iPhones will be available on September 19 and up for pre-order on September 12.

The battery on the iPhone 6 Plus will allow for up to 24 hours of talk time and up to 16 days on standby. Internet usage will be up to 12 hours on 3G, up to 12 hours on LTE, and up to 12 hours on Wi‑Fi – a great improvement over my current iPhone 5S, which is usually dead by the afternoon since I use it so much.

Apple Pay
Another feature that will be available with these new phone is Apple Pay, which will launch in the US next month. Apple Pay is a mobile payment system that lets you pay with your credit cards right from your iPhone. Starting out, Apple Pay will allow you to store your American Express, Mastercard, and Visa cards in the app.

Apple Pay will available on both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
Apple Pay will be available on both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

You’ll be able to use Apple Pay at over 220,000 US merchant locations when it launches. In addition, Apple is partnering with many merchants including Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Walgreens, Duane Reade, Staples, Subway, McDonald’s, Whole Foods, and Panera Bread, all of which will be accepting Apple Pay. Other merchants joining by the end of the year include Disney, Seamless, Instacart, Sephora, Nordstrom, Chipotle, and MLB.com.

Pay with your phone with Apple Pay.
Pay with your phone using Apple Pay.

With Apple Pay, you’ll use the Touch ID technology that requires your fingerprint to pay from your iPhone. It also uses SecureElement, which will securely store your bank account information.

Apple Pay will bring mobile payments mainstream.
Apple Pay will bring mobile payments to the mainstream.

Other features of Apple Pay include one-touch checkout, no card number entry, no need to type addresses, and no card information shared with the merchant. That means cashiers will not see your name, your card number, or your security code. Each transaction is authorized with a one-time unique number that generates a dynamic security code, replacing the security code from the back of your card.

When Apply Pay launches, you’ll have the option to use your credit card on file from your iTunes account, or you can easily upload a new card by taking a picture of it. You’ll be able to use Apple Pay not only with merchants, but also for online purchases.

Apple Launches Apple Watch.
Apple Launches Apple Watch.

Apple Watch
Apple also announced their new product called Apple Watch, which will launch in 2015 at a starting price of $349. In order to use Apple Watch, you must have an iPhone, as the watch will complement the phone by providing fitness and health information while you workout and throughout the day. You’ll be able to send and receive messages, make phone calls and access your email.

There will be three different models: Apple Watch includes “stainless steel or space black stainless steel cases, sapphire crystal, and a range of stylish bands.” The Apple Watch Sport collection includes “anodized aluminum cases in silver or space gray, strengthened Ion-X glass, and colorful, durable bands.” Finally, the Watch Edition is ” 18-karat gold cases in yellow or rose, sapphire crystal, and exquisitely crafted bands and closures.”

My Take

I want to get the iPhone 6 from a size perspective, though I’m concerned that it will feel like carrying an iPad around, and the additional battery life from the iPhone 6 Plus is incredibly tempting. I don’t think I’m going to be getting an Apple Watch just yet, as I’m content with my iPhone and soon to be new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus.

What are your thoughts on the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus along with all the new features. Are you excited to try Apple Pay? Has anyone switched from Apple to Samsung or vice versa. What was your experience?

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