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Apple Watch steals show from biggest iPhone ever

Gregg Keizer | Sept. 10, 2014
CEO Tim Cook leads biggest product rollout since the first iPhone to trumpet new smartphones, a digital payment service and a foray into fashion.

Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and the Apple iwatch
Credit: Apple

Apple CEO Tim Cook and several other top executives today pulled the wraps off the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and showed the company's long-awaited wearable, dubbed the Apple Watch, to a large audience in Cupertino, Calif.

At the same venue where 30 years ago co-founder Steve Jobs famously pulled the original 1984 Macintosh personal computer from a tote bag and then later let it speak in a robotic voice, Apple held its largest product roll-out since the original iPhone in 2007.

"I've been watching Apple keynotes for a long time. I'm not sure I remember anything quite like this," said Ben Thompson, an independent analyst, in a tweet before the 10 a.m. PT presentation kicked off. "Hype, audience, was always a big deal among techies, but this is a whole 'nother level."

"Talk about a comprehensive announcement," said Van Baker, an analyst with Gartner, in an interview after the Apple event.

"It's great to be back in the Flint Center," Cook said after he'd stepped on stage.

But for the millions who were watching the event via Apple's webcast -- the company had pulled out the stops and starting yesterday, redirected all visitors to the page that played the broadcast -- the presentation was a mess, with constant interruptions, black screens, failed audio, color bars, repeats of parts already seen, several "Access Denied" error messages, and what sounded like a Chinese translator talking in the background for much almost a fourth of the webcast.

"So, about Apple and the cloud..." tweeted Thompson, who was watching the webcast from his home in Taiwan.

"Surely it's an embarrassment of epic proportions that the world's mightiest tech company cannot even stream a live event," added Paul Thurrott, a noted blogger who primarily covers Microsoft and Windows, also on Twitter.

For his fourth iPhone introduction since taking the reins from Jobs in 2011, Cook kept to tradition by kicking off the event, then introducing other Apple executives, including head marketer Philip Schiller and Eddy Cue, who leads the Internet software and services group, to do some of the heavy lifting.

"[This is] the biggest advancement in the history of iPhone," Cook crowed, then showed off the two new iPhones before ceding the stage to Schiller.

The iPhone 6 sports a 4.7-in. display with an 1334-x-750-pixel resolution, while the iPhone 6 Plus boasts the long-rumored 5.5-in. screen with an 1920-x-1080-pixel resolution. Apple dubbed the new displays "Retina Display HD."

Both smartphones are powered by the next-generation A8 SoC (system on a chip) that Schiller bragged is 50% more energy efficient than last year's A7, with a 25% faster CPU and 84-times increase in GPU performance.


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