It’s that time of year again- Apple has graced us with news of a new iPhone and even a new Apple TV. The company from Cupertino is changing up its lineup of products to adjust to an ever-changing tech market. Here’s what they announced today.
Apple Conference: iPhone 6S, Apple TV, iPad Pro Launched
Apple TV is happening
Tim Cook is promising a lot with the new Apple TV.
“To deliver on this vision, we need a new foundation for TV, built on powerful hardware, that runs a modern operating system, with a new user experience, great developer tools, and of course an App Store,” Cook said.
The Apple TV ships with a remote with a touchpad and menu, TV, Siri, pause/play and volume controller buttons. Apple showed people flipping the remote sideways as well to play games.
The primary interface, though, is voice commands through Siri. You can talk to the TV and search content in iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, HBO and Showtime.
The TV interface looks like Neflix on the desktop. Lots of box art, plenty of images, rectangles everywhere.
The focus is very much on content and apps. It’s all about shows and movies and also your music. Apple TV plays music and other content through Apple’s redesigned stock apps.
The games look to split the gap between phone games and full-blown console experiences. There isn’t anything you’d see on Xbox or PlayStation, but there are lots of big-screen games that are more complex than your usual iPhone apps.
- Shopping apps on the TV
- Live baseball with stats
- 64-bit A8 chip with Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11ac and an IR receiver
- 32 GB model costs $150, 64 GB will run $200.
Apple stuck to the usual tick-tock product cycle with the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. The two phones don’t change the overall design in a large way, but they do improve.
The new iPhones use Ion-X glass, the strongest in the industry. That glass supports a display capable of something called 3D Touch. It’s Force Touch, but with three different levels.
Within the software, 3D Touch acts as a right-click for your thumb. It opens hidden menus and different options. Expect integration with iOS 9 to add stuff like selfies without opening the camera app or calling frequent contacts from the desktop.
The phones run on the new A9 chip, a 64-bit SoC that is 70% faster than the A8. Considering the A8 was no slouch, this is impressive.
The cameras are also being upgraded to 12-megapixel iSight shooters. This adds more details and better high-light images. Those of you who hated the camera bump, they have not fixed it this year.
In other news you may not want to hear, Apple added “live photos.” Take a photo, then long press it, and it will come to life… much like a video.
Pricing remains the same, with $200 for 16 GB, $300 for 64 and $400 for 128 for the iPhone 6S. iPhone 6S Plus is priced at the same intervals but starts at $300, all on a two-year contract.
Interestingly, Apple is running an upgrade program. For $32 per month, you can participate in the Apple Upgrade Program and get a new unlocked iPhone every year. The plan includes AppleCare+.
- Available Sept. 25
- Ships in silver, gold, space gray and rose gold
- 4K video capable
- 5-megapixel front-facing FaceTime HD front camera
- Retina Flash that lights up the whole display as a flash for the front-facing camera
- New app on the Play Store to help you move to iOS
- Second-generation Touch ID
- 7000 series aluminum, hopefully no more bending
Apple Watch improves
Apple announced that the Watch will now ship with AirStrip, an in-depth medical examination app. It can test for stuff like heart rate and glucose levels. It even does real-time vital stats.
You’ll also be able to enjoy the Apple Watch with three leather bands from Hermes, in case that smartwatch wasn’t fashionable enough.
WatchOS 2, the brain behind all the new features announced at WWDC 2015 like custom pokes from third-party apps and Facebook Messenger, ships on Sept. 16.
- Cheaper rose gold and gold finishes now come on the Apple Watch Sport, no change in price
“The biggest news in iPad since iPad” is a gigantic 12.9-inch slab that is the biggest device to ever run iOS. To put it in perspective, the width of the iPad Pro is the length of the iPad Air. It’s slightly thicker, too, at 6.9 mm compared to the Air 2’s 6.1 mm. At 1.57 lbs, it’s heavier than the first iPad, which is saying something. Don’t expect to carry this thing around all day like an iPad Mini.
Apple’s putting some serious juice behind its new monstrosity with a 64-bit A9X chip. Apple claims you’ll be able to get 10 hours of battery out of this thing, though probably not while running AutoCAD at 60 FPS.
While you’re using AutoCAD, you’ll probably want a keyboard to work on. The iPad Pro comes with a smart keyboard attachment that could pass as a Surface Pro at a glance. Apple also copied Microsoft’s tendency to use questionable materials in the keyboard with some kind of fiber keys for the iPad Pro keyboard. Weird.
Speaking of weird, Steve Jobs may rise again to stop Apple from offering a stylus with the iPad Pro. It’s called the Apple Pencil, a pressure and tilt-sensitive stylus.
The iPad Pro also received support from a company that might surprise you- Microsoft. Redmond is building support for the iPad Pro’s side-by-side apps into Office to make it the best possible experience.
Getting this laptop-esque experience will require laptop-esque pricing. The iPad Pro starts at $800 for 32 GB with wifi, $950 for 64 GB with wifi, and $1080 for 128 GB with cellular. The Apple Pencil is $100 and the smart keyboard will run $170. All available this November.
- iPad Mini 4 with power of iPad Air 2 at $400
- iPad Mini 2 at $270
- TypeKit support for Adobe apps for iPad
- 3D4Medical medical imaging app for iPad Pro
- 4-speaker audio
- 8-megapixel iSight camera, good luck taking pictures with it
- 802.11 ac support
- iOS 9 will be available Sept. 16
- iCloud pricing has changed- 50 GB is $1/month, 200 is $3/month, and 1 TB is $10/month
Final Thoughts and Analysis
The Apple TV is the biggest new product here, and it’s as unremarkable as was leaked. This is another box that can help us manage our living rooms and stream content to our TVs. The interface looks nicer than a Roku or Chromecast, but the feature differentiation seems minimal. Apple promised more to come on TV, and we expect a lot more.
The new iPhones seem good. They’re faster, prettier and come with new features, which is nice. 3D Touch seems like a bad direction to go in, though. iOS is great specifically because it’s simple and easy to use.
Adding a right-click function is exactly the kind of thing that confuses people. I don’t see how this adds to the experience (take that with a grain of salt, though, as we haven’t seen iOS 9 yet).
Still, new iPhone, with a better camera, and some interesting features. It’ll sell.
The iPad Pro is more mysterious. Apple talked about the consumer use cases on stage, but… who wants a 12.9-inch tablet? Is this something people will really buy? Or is it an enterprise tablet made to sell to businesses for them to stuff in kiosks?
Either way, here’s to the next few months and finding out how well this stuff works.