Today was a big day at the Flint Center in Cupertino. As expected, Apple unveiled not one but two flavors of the iPhone 6, as well as a brand-new device, the Apple Watch. And a few famous rock stars stopped by to pay their respects.
Did you miss out? Not to worry. Here’s an A-to-Z guide to what happened today and what it all means.
A is for Apple. The stuff that dreams are made of, by, and for. Duh.
… and also for Apple Watch. Perhaps the least surprising Apple announcement of all time, the Apple Watch is an input and navigation gizmo for your iPhone, as well as a full-blown comprehensive health and fitness tracker. Just don’t call it an iWatch. That’s so 2012.
B is for Barometer. The new iPhone has a barometer that can measure changes in air pressure to gauge your altitude. So you can finally get full credit from your fitness monitoring gizmo for climbing stairs. Praise be!
C is for Curves. As in the new curved screen on both models of the iPhone 6, which are not quite as curvy as the ones on the Samsung Galaxy Round or the LG Flex. Still: The square corners of the iPhone 5s are gone.
D is for Dual Domain Pixels. These allow for a wider viewing angle on the iPhone 6. Remember those 3D rings that used to come inside Cracker Jack boxes where the picture changed when you moved it? This is nothing like that.
E is for Eight. As in iOS 8, Apple’s new mobile operating system, which was released to developers last month. Improvements include better battery management, niftier notifications, and a smarter Siri voice assistant. iOS 8 will be available for download Sept. 17.
F is for Fanboy/Fangirl. You know who you are. You buy a new Apple device every single year. You line up outside Apple Stores waiting for it to appear. You pick fights with Phandroids (aka Google Android fans) about what phone had which feature first. You are in hog heaven right about now.
… and also for Fitness. A new app designed to give you a comprehensive view of your daily activity, via the watch’s motion-tracking sensors.
… and also for Four Point Seven and Five Point Five. Those are the screen sizes of the two new iPhones, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. They’re substantially larger than the iPhone 5s but are more in line with the size of competing Android phones.
G is for Glance. The Apple Watch displays info quickly at a glance by swiping through various apps, like the music player, Calendar, Messages, and more.
… and also for Google Gnashing Its Teeth. Several iPhone features announced today are already available on Android phones, most notably the larger screen and NFC for mobile payments. Let the fanboy/phandroid Hunger Games begin, and may the odds be ever in your favor.
H is for HealthKit. This feature of iOS 8 gathers up all the health information collected by the Apple Watch and other wearable devices and puts it all in one place.
I is for iPhone 6. What else? The newest uber-phone will be available in two screen sizes: 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches. (That would be “venti” and “grande” for you Starbucks fans.)
J is for Jony. As in Sir Jonathan Ive, the lead designer behind many of Apple’s most iconic devices, including the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and new Apple Watch.
… and also for Justin and Jimmy. Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon starred in an amusing video showing off the iPhone’s Health app. At least, we think it was Timberlake and Fallon — we could see only their hands.
K is for Karats. The Apple Watch is a frankly gorgeous 18-karat gold timepiece. It’s possibly the first smartwatch that doesn’t scream “geek!” from 25 yards away.
L is for Landscape. When you turn the new iPhone 6 sideways, the icons on the home page rotate 90 degrees. And it took Apple only six iterations to figure this out.
… and also for Later. As in, you won’t be able to buy the new Apple Watch until much later — “early in 2015,” according to CEO Tim Cook.
M is for Mobile Wallet. The new Apple Pay system turns your iPhone into a mobile wallet, allowing you to make payments in retail stores with just a touch on your screen. Retailers accepting Apple Pay will include McDonald’s, Subway, Whole Foods, Disney, and Apple Stores (duh). You add your current credit cards by snapping a picture of them with your phone. Yes, really.
… and also for Mandarin. At least some viewers of Apple’s livestream of the event heard it in two languages — English and Mandarin — when the stream worked at all.
N is for Near-Field Communication (NFC). This wireless radio blasts data across extremely short distances, making it a key component of the new Apple Pay system. Instead of whipping out your plastic at the checkout counter, you wave at an NFC scanner with your phone or watch, and money is automatically deducted from your account. NFC is already found in dozens of high-end Android handsets, like the Samsung Galaxy S4, Google Nexus 5, and Nokia Lumia 1020.
O is for Optical Image Stabilization. The iPhone Plus’s 8-megapixel camera contains a sensor that compensates for your shaky hands when you snap a photo, making for fewer fuzzy pictures.
… and also for “One More Thing.” Yes, Cook invoked the magic phrase made famous by his predecessor to introduce the new Apple Watch. And, yes, he got a standing O.
P is for Pixels: The iPhone 6 Plus has more than 2 million pixels, or nearly twice as many as the iPhone 5s, making for a brighter and sharper image.
Q is for Queasy. Which is how we felt after watching Eddy Cue on stage with his flamingo-pink shirt.
R is for Retina HD. All those pixels make the iPhone 6 the highest resolution device Apple has ever built.
… and also for Rumor Mill. The run-up to the iPhone 6/Apple Watch announcement produced an unusually high number of (mostly) accurate and well-timed leaks, throwing the usual iRumor mill into overdrive. Coincidence or carefully orchestrated by Apple? We’ll let you decide.
S is for Sapphire Glass. A type of glass so tough even Chuck Norris can’t break it. Formerly used just to protect the iPhone 5s fingerprint reader, now deployed as the display on the new Apple Watch. And, no, it’s not made from actual sapphires, though given the cost of the watch ($349 and up), you might be forgiven for assuming that.
… and also for Sept. 19. That’s the day you’ll be able to buy the new iPhones. Lines will be forming outside Apple Stores in three…two… one…
T is for Time-Lapse. This feature of iOS 8 makes it easier to take time-lapse photos with your phone of, say, a gorgeous sunset or a melting ice cream cone. Just stand there and hold your phone in the same position for a few hours. What could be easier?
U is for U2. The Irish uber-rockers made a surprise live appearance at the end of the Apple show and announced the free release of their new album, “Songs of Innocence,” on the iTunes Store.
V is for Voice over LTE (VoLTE). Technology built into the new iPhones allows voice calls over higher speed 4G data networks, theoretically allowing for clearer calls. VoLTE is already available on some Samsung and LG phones, depending on your carrier.
W is for Wearables. An increasingly crowded genre of gadgets worn as clothing or jewelry (see Apple Watch). These are typically used to measure various bodily functions (no, not that kind), issue alerts, or display information, relieving you of the need to check your smartphone every five minutes.
… and also for WatchKit. A way for developers to build apps that work with the Apple Watch.
X is for eXtreme eXcitement. The reactions to the Apple Watch were even more enthusiastic than the news that U2’s new album would be available for free on iTunes.
Y is for Yahoo Tech’s Live Blogging Team. Because a) they’re awesome, and b) they haven’t been able to eat or go to the bathroom for hours.
Z is for Zero. As in the odds of any smartwatch maker getting any market traction at all after the A-Watch actually appears. Sorry, Samsung, Sony, Pebble, Martian, Meta, and the 10,000 other smartwatch hopefuls. Time’s up.
Questions, complaints, kudos? Email Dan Tynan at ModFamily1@yahoo.com.