Apple unveiled two new iPhones, a smart watch, a mobile payments system and its music marketing muscle today. Besides the widely expected announcements of the new phones and the watch, Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced Apple Pay, its new mobile payments system (using NFC technology), then shocked everyone with an offer of a surprise free download of the new U2 album, Songs Of Innocence.

The new iPhones, as expected, will feature larger screens and a number of other cosmetic and performance enhancements. The version with the 4.7-inch screen is called the iPhone 6 and its 5.5-inch cousin is the iPhone 6 Plus. Both versions will be available on September 19th, with pre-orders starting on the 12th. Besides the new, bigger screens, here are some of the highlights and improvements in the phone, as detailed by Cnet:

Curved edges for a sleeker look
A larger, 128GB high capacity for the top-of-the-line models
Faster processor
Improved camera and video performance
The phones were very much as predicted. In fact, with so little suspense, Business Insider confirmed that this was the fastest iPhone announcement ever. That is, it only took Tim Cook 8 minutes from the start of the presentation to make it official.

Meanwhile the other new Apple gadget, the $349 Apple Watch is getting mixed reviews. Many people still aren?t convinced there?s a real need ? or purpose ? for the category. But, then again, that?s what many said about tablets 4? years ago when Apple rolled out its original iPad.

The other big tech news from Cupertino was the debut of Apple Pay, Apple?s new mobile payments system, featuring Near Field Communications (NFC technology). Apple Pay will launch with the full support of six major banks. And it will be immediately accepted at more than 200,000 merchants.

The gadgets may have gone as predicted, but the big surprise ? arguably the biggest secret ever kept for one of these Apple unveilings ? was the U2 announcement. The existence of the new album itself was a big deal, but Apple and the band doubled down with the announcement that it was available free to all registered users of iTunes. Tim Cook proclaimed it ?the largest album release of all time.?

No one does suspense better than Apple. So to wrap up the event, U2 performed the new album?s first track, ?The Miracle (of Joey Ramone),? live on stage.

– Pat Welsh