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Liveblog: Apple Unveils Apple Watch, iPhone 6 and Apple Pay

Tim Cook is ready for his close-up.

Vjeran Pavic
  • Apple unveils the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in 4.7 and 5.5 inch screen sizes.
  • The iPhone 6 will cost $199 for the 16GB version and $399 for the 128GB model with a two-year contract and will start shipping on Sept. 19. Preorders begin Friday.
  • Apple unveils mobile payment system, Apple Pay, with Touch ID fingerprint verification and NFC.
  • Apple unveils Apple Watch. It will come in two sizes; prices start at $349. It will be available early next year.
  • Apple will give away the new U2 album, Songs of Innocence.

Apple entered its first new product category in four years with the debut of the Apple Watch, which joined a slew of other announcements that included updates to the flagship iPhone and the introduction of a new wireless mobile payment scheme.

“Today, we have some amazing products to share with you and we think at the end of the day you will agree that this too is a very key day for Apple,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said onstage on Tuesday.

The introduction of Apple’s new generation of devices, met with thunderous applause, is the first glimpse of Apple’s future under Tim Cook, who took over as Apple CEO in 2011 from the company’s iconic founder Steve Jobs.

To underscore just how important Sept. 9 is to the future of Apple, Cook picked Cupertino’s Flint Center for the Performing Arts as its venue. Steve Jobs launched the original Macintosh in 1984 and staged the company’s rebound with the launch of the Bondi Blue iMac there. It is also where Cook cements his legacy, for better or worse.

Whether Tuesday’s announcements amount to Apple’s “best pipeline in 25 years,” as Eddy Cue, an Apple senior vice president, told Re/code at the Code conference this spring, will be debated for some time.

The iPhone 6, which packs upgraded processors, batteries and cameras, will start at $199 for the 16 gigabyte model and cost up to $399 for the 128GB configuration with a two-year wireless contract. It will ship on Sept. 19; customers can begin preordering this Friday.

Tuesday also marked Apple’s march into mobile commerce. Apple Pay, a mobile payments service built into its new iPhones, will allow shoppers to tap their phone at checkout terminals to purchase items without a credit card or cash. It’s potentially one of the most important new features from Apple as it could become a recurring revenue source for a company that generally relies on new products to spur revenue growth.

But it was the introduction of the Apple Watch that drew the most applause. Offered in two sizes, myriad configurations and watch bands, the Apple Watch is a rounded-edge square watch that tracks movement, distance and heart rate. Sending and receiving messages will require it to be tethered wirelessly to an iPhone, but tracking, music listening and other functions can be done without the phone. The watch will be compatible with the new models and the 5 series. It will be available early next year.

Also worth noting is you will be able to control Apple TV with the watch. It doesn’t mean much now, but it’s a hint at Apple’s direction with a series of inter-connected devices.

It is the beginning of a strategy to envelop consumers within the Apple world by making products work together seamlessly. Apple calls this “Continuity”: Receive a text message on your iPhone and respond on your iMac desktop; or search for a Wi-Fi network on your Mac and your iPhone’s Wi-Fi hotspot automatically pops up as an option.

“It will redefine what people expect from a watch,” Cook said.

These devices are expected to take advantage of the home automation and health and fitness features of the new iOS 8 mobile operating system.

“This is the next chapter in Apple’s history,” Cook said.

Re/code’s Walt Mossberg, Dawn Chmielewski, Ina Fried, Bonnie Cha, Lauren Goode and John Paczkowski are on scene at Flint Center covering the event live.

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