Phil Schiller, Apple Senior Vice President at Apple, speaks about the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook unveiled the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus Tuesday in what he said was “the biggest advancement in the history of iPhone”.

Cook announced the new phones in Cupertino, California, where Steve Jobs, former Apple CEO and co-founder, unveiled the Mac computer 25 years ago. The announcement was streamed on the Apple website.

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, both larger than their predecessor, the iPhone 5s, will be released in select countries on September 19 with pre-orders open from September 12. The launch countries include the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany and Australia. It is not clear when the new phones will be available in the UAE, however, retailers recently told Gulf News they expect to start stocking them four to six weeks from launch.

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus come in three colours: gold, silver and “space grey”. On a two-year US-based contract, the iPhone 6 will start at $199 (Dh730) for the 16GB model, $299 for the 64GB and $399 for the 128GB. The iPhone 6 Plus starts at $299, $399 and $499 for the three respective memory sizes.

Cook also, as expected, announced Apple’s entry into the wearable technology market with the iWatch. The Apple Watch will sense when a user raises his wrist and activate the display. The watch features a custom designed “S1” chip and connects with a user’s iPhone through GPS and WiFi. The watch, which also features the iPhone application Siri, can detect a user’s pulse rate and hosts a range of watch faces to allow users to personalise their device.

The price of the Apple watch starts at $349 and will be available early next year.

“We’ve been working on Apple Watch a long time,” Cook said.

Apple Watch, which comes in two sizes and three collections, is built from custom alloys of stainless steel, aluminium, and 18-karat gold. The iPhone is required with the watch, Kevin Lynch, vice-president at Apple confirmed at Tuesday’s unveiling.

Along with the new iPhone models the iWatch will be compatible with the iPhone5, 5s, and 5c, Cook said.

A number of wristbands will be available for the iWatch including a sports band and a series of leather bands, a stainless steel clip band and a stainless sleep magnetic band.

Apple’s new phones are the thinnest yet with the iPhone 6 at 6.9mm and the iPhone 6 Plus at 7.1mm. The iPhone 5s is 7.6mm thick.

The phones are also bigger. The iPhone 6 has a 4.7-inch display with 1334 x 740 326ppi and the iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5-inch, 1920 x 1080 401ppi display. The iPhone 6, with more than a million pixels, has 38 per cent more pixels than the iPhone 5s, while the iPhone 6 Plus has more than 2 million pixels, 185 per cent more than the iPhone 5s.

New to the iPhone is a special landscape mode for the home screen, which was previously only compatible in some applications.

Phil Schiller, senior vice-president of worldwide marketing at Apple, labelled the new iPhones 6 series design as “like nothing ever before”.

Both phones feature new generation retina displays, which Apple has called “Retina HD”. The new iPhones will also have a much faster A8 processor — up to 50 per cent faster than the original iPhone. The iPhone 6 series has also been pegged as a gaming device — the graphics are 84 times faster than the original iPhone — and Apple released a list of game developers, including Disney, EA Games and UBISOFT, which have committed to delivering games for the new phones by the end of the year.

The new iOS 8, to be released on September 17 ahead of the iPhone 6 series launch, will be compatible with existing iPhone models; 4s, 5c, 5s, the iPod touch 5th generation, iPad 2, iPad with Retina display, iPad Air, iPad mini and iPad mini with Retina display.

Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice-president of Internet Software and Services, also unveiled Apple Pay, a new form of contactless payment, at Tuesday’s announcement. The new method will first be released in the United States with Apple working with Visa, MasterCard and American Express, while Disney World and Disney stores have already signed on to use the payment option. It is compatible with the new iPhones and the Apple Watch.

Cook said that Tuesday was a “very key day for Apple”. The Silicon Valley company’s stock shot up when markets opened on Tuesday in anticipation of the launch. At time of publication the stock was up 3.75 per cent on the New York Stock Exchange to $102.05 following the announcements. Volume of Apple stock traded was in excess of 97 million during the second half of Tuesday trade. Apple stock usually trades in a volume of 48.9 million a day.