At a two hour long event in San Francisco Apple announced updated iPhones, a new iPad Pro, an updated Apple TV, and small changes to their smartwatch
iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s+
As expected, Apple’s new phones are an update of last year’s models and share the same exterior, but feature stronger glass (the strongest in the industry, according the company), aerospace grade aluminum, a new Rose Gold color, and improved internals.
Both phones feature Force Touch by a new name, Apple is calling it “3D Touch” and claims it’s the successor to today’s multitouch screens.
3D Touch enables uses to press gently on the screen to “peek” at content, making the phone popover a preview screen of a message, map, contact, song, or just about anything else, or press harder to “pop” content and open the full app or feature.
Swiping between apps no longer requires double tapping the home button (though that still works), and it can now be done by pressing down on the edge of the screen and swiping to reveal the app switcher. 3D Touch looks like a pretty huge improvement in terms of usability, this is probably going to end up being one of those features that all smartphones will end up adopting.
The new iPhones are powered by Apple’s A9 chip, which they claim is 70% faster at CPU tasks, and 90% faster at graphics tasks.
They also feature 2nd generation, faster Touch ID sensors, as 12MP rear camera with faster autofocus, and a 5MP front camera that uses the phone’s screen as a flash which, like the rear LED flash, adjusts to ambient lighting conditions to deliver accurate colors.
The 6s and 6s+ are capable of 4K video recording, and of a feature Apple calls “Live Photos” which records a short 1 1/2 second clip on either side of a picture and allows the user to animate the pictures after they’re taken by pressing on the screen. As a result the user get a short video that gives the picture context.
Yearly upgrade program
addicts fans that need to upgrade their phones every year, Apple is rolling out a program of monthly installments that start at $32 a month. For the cost the users get an upgraded phone every year, and Apple Care+ for their device. Yes, Apple released a subscription service for phone hardware.
Pricing and availability
The iPhone 6 and 6+ can be preordered on Saturday, September 12th, and will start shipping on September 25th. Prices remain the same with the 6s starting at $199, and the 6s+ at $299.
It turns out the rumors of a larger iPad were true.
The iPad Pro has a 12.9″ screen boasting 5.6 million pixels (more than a Macbook Pro with Retina Display), an A9X processor which Apple calls “desktop class” in terms of performance, 10 hours of battery life and side by side, full app multitasking. It may just sound like a larger iPad, but the demo was truly impressive.
The Pro is 6.9mm thick, barely thicker than then 6.1mm iPad Air.
Interestingly enough, Microsoft’s own Kirk Koenigsbauer made an appearance at Apple’s event to showcase Office for iPad and how multitasking and shape recognition work on it.
The iPad Pro is designed to work with the Apple Pencil, a $99 stylus that can be used for precision tasks. A new connector also allows the tablet to connect to a physical Smart Keyboard that folds away much in the same way Apple Smart Covers do.
Pricing and availability
The iPad Pro will be available sometime in November and will start at $799.
“Oh, right that too…”
A new iPad Mini 4 will also be available for $399 and it will feature Apple’s A9X processor as well, but that’s all the company had to say about it.
Apple thinks that the future of TV is apps (think Netflix, online shopping, and smartphone games…).
Apple’s newest Apple TV will feature an App Store for games, shopping apps, and games, a touch remote, and very powerful Siri features.
This edition of Apple TV can search for streaming content across various apps (currently Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and Showtime only, but Apple is working on including others) so that the user can ask for a show and Apple TV will find it sparing the viewer the task of searching every individual app.
Siri can also find content by name, year, genre, artists, directors, and can filter the content it’s already found. For example, you could ask for “action movies,” then ask it to show you “just Rambo movies” our of the list it found.
While a person is watching a show Siri can be used to display information such as sports scores, the weather, and more without obstructing the video.
Siri can also control the playback and do things like rewind 15 seconds turn on subtitles temporarily if the user tells it they couldn’t understand the dialogue on the screen.
Pricing and availability
Apple TV will be available in late October for $149 for a 32GB version, and $199 for a 64GB version.
Things are staying largely the same in the Apple Watch world. Transit is coming to maps (but that’s all Maps not just Apple Watch’s version), there will be new bands and a few more metal options with Gold, Rose Hold, and Anodized Aluminum joining the lineup, and a partnership with Hermes for more stylish bands.
The most interesting feature shown was “Time Travel” which allows the user to turn the digital crown to see what events are coming up in their future.