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September 11, 2014

Apple's iPhone 6 and Watch Announcements: The Tech World Reacts

The most anticipated tech launch of the year happened last night, as Apple's Tim Cook announced the firm's latest range of devices.

Alongside the expected iPhone 6, Apple also announced a larger iPhone 6 Plus (boasting a 5.5-inch screen), as well as its first foray into the wearable tech market with the Apple Watch. If you missed the reveal, this handy video from Mashable condenses the whole keynote down into 90 seconds.

Now that the wait for the new devices is over, we asked a selection of tech bloggers if what Apple came up with lived up to the hype.

Julie Strietemeier, The Gadgeteer

Yesterday's announcement from Apple left me a little empty inside. I'll admit that the new iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus look very snazzy technically, and I do want one. However, I want one that runs Android instead of iOS! The main reasons why I'd personally want an iPhone 6 all have to do with the physical design - the screen looks gorgeous, as do the curved edges and aluminium case. The improved camera on the iPhone 6 Plus with optical image stabilisation is a nice upgrade, too. I am disappointed that Apple still hasn't added Qi wireless charging to their phones. That's a must-have feature for me now. At least they did finally add NFC which has been in Android phones for a few years. Also, I’m afraid Apple will have to do something pretty radical with iOS to make me ever want to go back. I love being able to tinker around with apps like Tasker on my LG G3 Android smartphone so that my phone turns on, launches my favourite streaming audio app and begins playing music when I start my car, all without me having to touch it.

Regarding the Apple Watch, that was the product I was most interested in learning about yesterday. It does look like it has a nice set of features and I like the fact that they are going to offer two sizes. But it does still look a little chunky and the design totally reminds me of a miniature version of Apple's original iPhone.

There are too many unanswered questions about the Watch to really form a good opinion on it though. We know nothing about battery life or how it communicates with the iPhone, which you must have to use the Watch. The price seems pretty high, too. I guess we'll have to wait and see how this plays out for Apple when it finally does become available.

Callum Tennent, What Mobile

Going in to this launch, my expectations were actually as low as they'd been for any Apple launch ever. Not that I don't want the new iPhone to be great - I do - but with the abundance of leaks and the pre-reveal of iOS 8 I wasn't sure what Apple could do to win me over.

However, be it the showmanship or the spectacle or my nine month old iPhone 5s suddenly weighing heavy in my pocket, Apple managed to win me over again. Truth be told, there isn't a lot you'd want to change about the iPhone 5s even if you could. A bigger, better screen is great. Apple Pay is great. Wi-Fi calling is great. iOS 8 will tie it all together nicely when it launches, and it'll be the best iPhone ever. Of course it will be. It can't be worse than the 5s, so you're almost forced into saying that.

In fact the strangest thing about this iPhone launch is that I'm not sure I like how the thing looks. We've been raised on shimmering glass and polished metal - this effort feels like something of a step backwards. Now that's a launch day surprise: Apple putting function before form.

Tom Armenante, Armenante

I definitely think the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have lived up to the hype. The one thing that the Apple devices were lacking previously was size and now with the latest release they've made up for that. They've also now got the leading screen, camera and processor on the market , too. I'll be getting one as soon as they come out.

Regarding the Apple Watch, I really like the way it integrates with the current Apple ecosystem and Apple Pay (which I'm sure will quickly become a huge player). I'm not 100 per cent sold on the form factor, but I'll reserve my judgement for when I have seen it in real life.

James Smythe, Mighty Gadget

I think the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is the biggest launch for Apple in years, and will no doubt be a massive success. However, it is hard not to think they are playing catch up with Android nowadays. Phablets and NFC have been around for years, and Apple have famously denied the need for a larger phone in the past. Saying that, I think it is good that they have swallowed their pride and released something that clearly has public demand. Hopefully it will force Android manufacturers to do something different to differentiate themselves again.

In general I am indifferent to the whole Smartwatch market for the time being - battery life is poor and I get pestered with notifications too much as it is, I don't need a device attached to my write to notify me constantly. I think it is largely a market created by manufacturers to boost waning profits from Smartphones. But with Apple jumping on board it is without a doubt going to be a successful new market and I think the health tracking aspects of wearable's is the most appealing part. I also quite like the idea of turn-by-turn directions on them - it'll make me look like less of a tourist when on holiday. Personally I will probably wait another generation or two for them to refine the features before I sell out and get one.