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News : Innovation Last Updated: Sep 11, 2014 - 9:35 AM

Apple on Tuesday launched smartwatches, big iPhones and payments wallet
By Finfacts Team
Sep 10, 2014 - 1:42 AM

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Apple on Tuesday launched smartwatches, combining health and fitness monitoring with other mobile computer features; it also announced two bigger screen iPhones and Apple Pay, which will allow people to make purchases by holding a phone near a sensor.

"This is one of the most important days in Apple's history," said Tim Cook, Apple CEO, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. "Innovation is alive and well at Apple. You can scream it from the rooftops."

The Journal said each of the three initiatives faces challenges. Existing mobile-payment systems have failed to convince consumers that they are superior to swiping a credit card. Smartwatches and fitness bands have yet to sell in big numbers. And with its new top-of-the-line phone, Apple is asking consumers to pay more at a time when smartphone prices are plunging.

IDC, the IT research company, estimates that 19m smartwatches will ship in 2014, much lower than the 1.2bn smartphones that it expects will ship this year.

The iPhone 6 has a diagonal screen width of 4.7 inches compared with the iPhone 5s at 4in, the Samsung Galaxy at S5 at 5.1in and the iPhone 6 plus at 5.5in.

The smartwatch can run various apps, such as a calendar, map navigation and a music player.

It will rely on so-called inductive charging to replenish the battery and requires a magnet that attaches to the back of the watch from another device.

The watch will use Apple's Siri tool for controlling the device with voice commands.

The Apple Watch will start at $349 and require the owner to also have an iPhone.

The Journal says the top-of-the-line iPhone 6 Plus will cost $299 with a two-year contract, $100 more than its current premium model, the iPhone 5S. Apple is raising prices at a time when other smartphone manufacturers are facing pricing pressure that is driving down profit margins.

Before the price increase, research firm IDC estimated that the world-wide average selling price of an iPhone would be $657 this year, compared with $254 for Android phones including Samsung.

David Pogue, former New York Times tech columnist, wrote this piece for Yahoo!

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