It's official: Apple has released a 5.5-inch iPhone. Officially called the iPhone 6 Plus, the device is Apple's first entry into the phone-tablet hybrid (a.k.a. "phablet") market. It also released the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch at an event in Cupertino, California that was slightly marred by problems with its livestream.
A few of the other features of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus:
- A faster Apple A8 processor, which Apple claims is 25 percent faster than the previous processor.
- A better battery life than the iPhone 5s.
- "Ion-strengthened" Retina HD resolution displays.
- The iPhone 6 is only 6.8 millimeters thick and the iPhone 6 Plus is 7.1 millimeters — both thinner than the 7.6-millimeter iPhone 5s.
- An improved FaceTime camera capable of HDR photo and video, and burst mode for selfies.
- A new NFC payment system called Apple Pay that lets people pay with their iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
The iPhone 6 will start at $199 with a two-year contract, while the iPhone 6 Plus will start at $299. Pre-orders begin on September 12, with phones actually shipping on September 19.
Why did Apple go big? In three years, phablets will outsell both laptops and tablets, according to a report from market research firm IDC. Samsung strengthened its position in the phablet market last week by releasing the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, which comes equipped with a curved screen.
The company separately introduced Apple Watch, available in two different sizes with a sapphire crystal display. Apple's first foray into wearables will be available "early next year" for $349.
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