Apple managed to make a major splash with three new releases at its September Event 2014, including the announcement of the much-heralded Apple Watch. We take a look at the new apps and gadgets alongside our usual highlights of the month’s best tech
Even before its existence was confirmed, the Apple Watch had probably attracted more discussion than most devices do in their entire lifecycle. But was it worth the wait? It’s perhaps too early to tell but everything about it – from its digital crown, fuss-free interface, built-in haptic feedback that aids navigation and allows users to ‘tap’ each other on the wrist, heart-rate tracker and pressure sensitive touch screen – screams potential. Apple has also managed to achieve something hitherto out of reach of most smartwatches: it really is aesthetically attractive enough to live on your wrist the whole time. Which potentially might finally help wearables crack the mainstream.
iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 Plus
iPhones have always been the petite option in the premium smartphone market but rumours abounded that the iPhone 6 would be going big. It seems the rumour mill was pretty on the money: the screen size has been upped from 4in to 4.7in with the iPhone 6, whilst its bigger brother the 6 Plus comes in at 5.5in. Both are significantly thinner than their forefathers at 6.9mm and 7.1mm respectively and include a 1080p HD video camera that can shoot slo-mo at a staggering 240 fps. Lastly Apple is angling to replace your wallet entirely with Apple Pay, the NFC-supported, fingerprint-secured payment system.
App: iPhone + iPad
The third jab in Apple’s triple whammy of releases is the latest version of its mobile operating system iOS 8. Whilst it was never going to be as significant a step forward as iOS 7’s major graphical overhaul, the latest OS comes with some neat new inclusions. Users can now include audio in messages and use the camera to shoot time-lapse video. Additionally, the slightly old fashioned keyboard has been updated so it suggests contextually appropriate words and its latest suite of tools, Health, gathers info and feedback from your activity tracker, heart rate monitor and assorted health and fitness apps all in one place.
Let’s face it: USB cables are a pain in the backside. Trying to plug them in invariably involves flipping them round and trying each way up several times until it finally slides home, often scratching the hell out of your anodised aluminium casing in the process. Happily this frustrating experience is now a thing of the past thanks to BelayCords, the reversible USB plug that will play nice with your ports regardless of which way up you hold it. It is also reinforced inside, has a wear-proof fabric exterior and comes with a lifetime guarantee, meaning that your stress-free USB cable will stay strong plug after plug.
In the past couple of years we’ve seen no shortage of bluetooth-enabled locks, offering access to your home without having to fumble for keys. But Noke is different – this bluetooth padlock is taking this tech from your front door and bringing smartphone-driven security wherever you need it, allowing you to lock garages, bikes, sheds and lockers in 21st century style. And don’t worry about getting trapped by a dead phone battery – Noke can also be unlocked by clicking out a user-defined pattern on its bolt, meaning not even an Apple battery can prevent you from gaining access to your prized possessions.