Apart from launching a smartwatch and introducing a TouchID-based mobile wallet service, Apple also refreshed its iPhone lineup by unveiling two new iPhones – iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus at a press event held at Flint Center in Cupertino, California.

While iPhone 6 features a 4.7-inch Retina HD display, iPhone 6 Plus features a 5.5-inch Retina HD display. Both the phones are powered by a 64-bit Apple A8 processor and runs on iOS 8 operating system that was announced in WWDC 2014 earlier this year. iPhone 6 Plus also features an additional two-paned landscape mode.

iPhone 6

In a possible bid to make phones easier for one-handed use, both the phones include a new feature called “reachability”. Users can double-press on the home button, following which the whole user interface slides down enabling them to reach the top buttons.

Camera: Both the phones will feature a 8 megapixel iSight camera with a new sensor featuring Focus pixels that apparently enables faster auto focus and advanced noise reduction.

Apple mentions that the video capture has been improved and the camera is now capable of capturing 1080p videos at 60 frames per second and slow-motion videos at 240 frames per second. The FaceTime HD camera also features a new sensor and additional new features like single shot HDR photos, burst mode and HDR videos among others.

Ability to track elevation in apps

Apple mentions that both the phones also feature an improved motion co-processor M8 that apparently has the capabilities to track flight of stairs through a new barometer sensor along with existing capabilities of measuring motion data from accelerometer, compass, and gyroscope.

This will allow users to view how many flights of stairs they’ve climbed in the iOS 8’s Health app. Developers can also make use of this sensor in their fitness apps to measure elevation. Apple mentioned that Nike is shortly releasing an updated version of Nike+ that will be using this sensor for this purpose. (Also readImplications of Apple’s new motion tracking & fingerprint authentication features)

Other features include support for NFC, high-quality voice calls over LTE (VoLTE), Wi-Fi calling and Bluetooth 4.0. iPhone 6 seems to have moderately improved battery life over iPhone 5S while the iPhone 6 Plus seems to have a significantly improved battery life.

iPhone 6 battery life

Availability

Both iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will be available in the regular silver, gold, and space gray colors and are expected to launch in India right in time for Diwali. The phones are expected to be available from October 17, 2014 as per Apple India website. However, there is no official word on pricing yet. (Also readApple wants to sell Rs 1,000 crore worth iPhones in India)

Elsewhere, the phones will be up for pre-orders on Friday (September 12, 2014) and will start shipping from September 19, 2014 in the United States, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan starting from September 19, 2014.

iPhone 6 will be available starting at $199 (16GB) and will go up to $299 (64GB) and $399 (128GB) while iPhone 6 Plus will be available starting at $299 (16GB) and will go up $399 (64GB) and $499 (128GB).

iOS 8 & Swift Gold Master release: While this was not mentioned at the event, Apple has released the final version (gold master) of iOS 8 to registered iOS developers on Apple developer website.

It also informed that Swift language has reached gold master status for iOS and has invited developers to submit Swift-based apps to the App Store for approval. Swift for OS X will apparently reach GM status when OS X Yosemite ships later this year. More details on Swift programming language here.

iOS 8 on September 17th: Apple has also announced that iOS 8 will be available as a free download on the App Store from next Wednesday (September 17). It will be available for users on iPhone 4S and later, iPad 2 and later, iPod Touch 5th gen.

iPod Classic discontinued: Along with new launches, Apple also seems have to finally retired iPod classic, 13 years after launch. The Verge has a neat visual timeline of the iPod classic lineup.

Apple U2 tie-up: As an aside, if you are a fan of the U2 music band, Apple is offering U2’s latest album ‘Songs of Innocence’ for free to all iTunes subscribers across 119 countries for the next five weeks. Apple has reportedly paid both Universal and U2 an undisclosed lump sum to distribute this album, as indicated by a The Wall Street Journal report.