Customers will have the choice of 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch handsets

Apple has unveiled the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, two new devices with a "continuous, seamless design", improved landscape view and a powerful A8 chip.

"Today we are pleased to announced the biggest advancement in iPhone," Apple CEO Tim Cook told the audience at the Flint center in Cupertino, California on Tuesday.

Update: Pre-orders available now.

iPhone 6 has a 4.7-inch display, while iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5-inch display, both coming with a new Retina HD screen made with ion-strengthened cover glass and available in gold, silver and space gray colours.

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They are the thinnest iPhones yet, with the 6 measuring just 6.9mm in depth, and the most powerful, able to sustain performance-intensive tasks like playing a game at higher frame rates - the A8 processor being 50 times faster than that of the original iPhone.

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Prices for the iPhone 6 start at £539 in the UK for the 16GB model; £619 for the 64GB model and £699 for the 128GB model. For the iPhone 6 Plus the 16GB model costs £619, followed by £699 for the 64GB model and £789 for the 128GB model.

Pre-orders start on 12 September, though the devices officially arrive on 19 September in the USA, France, Hong Kong, Canada, Germany, Singapore, the UK, Australia and Japan, with more countries to follow soon after.

Tim Cook also announced Apple Pay at the event, which utilises NFC technology built into the phone to allow contactless payment using TouchID.

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The new devices will run on iOS 8, which comes out on 17 September as a free download and will also work on iPhone 4s through to 5s (plus iPods and iPads).

While the 6 was rumoured to be getting a 13MP camera, Apple is sticking with an 8MP iSight camera which comes with an all-new sensor it claims is "a lot better".

Other new features include:

- Wi-Fi calling for making high-quality calls when cell conditions are poor.

- Health app in iOS 8

- Ability to capture slo-mo video at 120 fps or 240 fps.

- Video stabilisation

- Time-lapse videos

- Burst selfies

- New barometer

- Advanced wireless

"iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are the biggest advancements in iPhone history," said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. "The iPhone is the most loved smartphone in the world with the highest customer satisfaction in the industry and we are making it much better in every way. Only Apple can combine the best hardware, software and services at this unprecedented level and we think customers are going to love it."

Today's announcement followed months of speculation over the appearance and specifications of Apple's latest smartphone, numerous concept designs and a plethora of 'leaked' videos.

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