The Flint Center is packed this morning. It's more than just the usual jeans and checked button-down tech reporters. There are people with actual fashion sense in the crowd!
The lights are out and a video is playing with lots of Appley sayings like "change things" and "a whole new take" and "relentless optimism" cruising across the screen to some soothing instrumental music,
Tim Cook is on stage, he's skipping the usual updates, just saying "everything's great."
Starting with the iPhone.
Reporters do not usually clap, but a silent audience isn't very exciting. So Apple has stashed the reporters in the back five rows and filled the rest of the auditorium with people who do clap and yell. Apple employees, special guests.
And now a video of an iPhone, Smooth lingering shots over its body, another smaller iPhone next to it to show that, yes, this one is bigger.
The iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus.
Yes, "6 PLUS." Perhaps it will be 6+. Let's find out!
Nope, they're spelling it out. Phil Schiller is taking the stage to talk about it in some seriously flowery, romantic language.
They have "Retina HD" displays. Bright, Ion-strenghtened glass, improved polarizer, photo-aligned IPS liquid crystal, ultrathin backlight.
The new big phone (iPhone 6 Plus) is 5.5 inches, 1920 x 1080 dpi, 401 pixels per inch. Over 2 million pixels in there.
iPhone 6 Plus is 7.1 mm thick, thinner than any phones they've made before, says Schiller.
He is now pointing out some pretty obvious facts, like that you can see more text on a bigger screen.
New horizontal view in Messages and Mail. Also the Stocks app, does anyone use that app? Also a new horizontal home screen view, which is just the icons on their side.
There is a brand new gesture called "reachablility." Double touch the home button and the display slides down.
The CNN app gets a special shout out on stage!
The CPU and GPU are faster, as they usually are with each upgrade.
They're bringin out Super Evil Megacorp to demo their app.
Vain Glory is their multiplayer game, there is a character named Pedal, the design is very detailed and sharp.
There is an enemy base and some capture the flag action with a special crystal and lots of crash and bang noises.
OK, Phil is back after the demo. Battery life! It only has "equal or better" battery life as the iPhone 5S. People hoping for a leap in battery life will continue to be disappointed.
The M7 chip is now the M8 chip. This is what helps turn the iPhone into a fitness tracking device, counting steps and distance, even when your phone is in sleep mode.
Fitness is getting a lot of attention, could it come up again later? Say with a mystery product?
Back to the battery, I think many of us (ahem) would take a smaller phone with fewer features if it meant a battery that could last more than a work day.
He's rattling off some other improvements. The WiFi is 3x faster.
Answering a few of your questions -- no release date or prices announced yet.
This is pretty cool actually, you can make a call over wifi and transition to a cellular network while still on the call. Works only with T-Mobile in the US right now.
Wrapping up the new iPhone overview, Phil says "They are the best we know how to make."
He says the people who worked on the mobile payment problem before were doing it from a place of self-interest instead of figuring out the best way to solve the problem. I guess Apple is doing it out of the kindness of its heart?
A second video shows a woman paying with "Apple Pay" and it's of course much faster than the earlier example. She waves her phone at a payment terminal and it beeps. Done, paid.
The iPhones will ship on September 19, with pre-orders starting on September 12.
NFC is built into every iPhone 6 and 6 Plus which is the sensor that makes these mobile payments possible.