Last Wednesday, September 9th, Apple held a gigantic keynote event in the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. The iPhone usually takes center stage at Apple’s fall events, but this time the company had so much more to announce! Let’s take a quick look at what they unveiled.
The first thing Apple covered in their keynote was Apple Watch. The watch is a new product category for them, and it seems like so far the Apple Watch has been extremely successful. Apple already talked details about Watch OS 2, which will allow native third party apps to run on the Watch and bring many new features, earlier this year. At their fall keynote, Apple showed off some impressive third party apps that run on Watch OS 2, focusing quite a bit on how the device can be applied in the medical field.
They also released some new Apple Watch models and configurations, including gold and rose gold colored anodized aluminum Sport watches, a more affordable Space Black stainless steel model with a black sport band, and even a model and three bands produced in partnership with high-fashion company Hermés. Finally, Apple refreshed the bands available for use with Apple Watch, releasing new colors of the Sport Band and some of the leather bands as well.
The iPad continues to evolve. The big news from the keynote’s iPad section was the much rumored iPad Pro. This device, built for productivity and creative design users, features a gigantic 12.9 inch retina screen which Apple pointed out is as large as two iPad Air screens next to each other in portrait orientation. It can be configured with an optional physical keyboard, the Smart Keyboard, the uses a new proprietary magnetic connection port to connect to the iPad Pro. Apple also designed a stylus for use with the iPad Pro called Apple Pencil. Apple Pencil can be used for precise control, particularly in drawing applications to create beautiful fine art creations. The processing and graphics capabilities of the iPad Pro far outstrip any other iPad Apple has released, putting it on par with desktop computers.
iPad Mini also got a significant internal upgrade, bringing its performance in line with the iPad Air 2. Apple is calling this most recent Mini the iPad Mini 4. The iPad Air 2, which didn’t get refreshed during the keynote and remains the fastest 9.7 inch iPad Apple sells.
With iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 4 now both boasting comparable internals and the iPad Pro becoming its flagship model, the future of Apple’s iPad looks bright.
The iPad Mini 4 is available for purchase now. The iPad Pro will be available in November. Find more information on Apple’s new iPads on their website here.
Apple followed the same pattern it’s had for the last several years and released an “s” revision to the iPhone 6. The iPhone 6s line matches the iPhone 6 line that came before it visually and by being available in two different sizes, the 4.7 inch iPhone 6s and the 5.5 inch iPhone 6s Plus. So what’s new?
First off, Apple is matching its Apple Watch Sport color options by including a 4th color for the iPhone 6s: rose gold. The phone is also machined out of 7000 Series Aluminum, the same alloy that is used in the Apple Watch. This makes the phone much stronger without making it much heavier.
The iPhone 6s’ headlining feature is something called 3D Touch. This feature gives the user the ability not only to tap, swipe, and hold on the screen to interact with it, but it also allows them to perform a stronger press to activate different functions on screen. One such function that Apple showed off on stage is to perform a stronger press on one of the icons on the iPhone home screen. 3D Touch then brings up a list of different functions that are commonly used in the app. Another use for 3D Touch is to “peek” at the contents of a text message or email without fully opening the message by pressing hard on the message in the messages list. The user can then “pop” into the message by pressing even harder. 3D Touch allows for a new level of interaction with iOS devices and it will be interesting to see how Apple develops it over time.
Just like always, the camera on the 6s was also saw major updates. This time, Apple brought the camera’s megapixel count to 12, allowing for larger more detailed photos. Also significantly, the rear camera on the 6s is now capable of capturing 4k video. Apple also engineered the screen of the 6s to flash brightly when taking a selfie in low light, allowing it to function as a camera flash for the front facing camera. Finally, Apple introduced a feature called Live Photos. When turned on, it allows the still photos taken by the phone to animate by capturing a few seconds of video.
Also as per usual, Apple introduced a new chip in the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, the A9. They claim that it is a 70% faster CPU and a 90% faster GPU than the A8 present in the iPhone 6.
Apple is also using the iPhone 6s to introduce the second version of its Touch ID sensor, which allows you to unlock your phone faster and is more accurate. It’s also using the phone to introduce faster LTE and Wi-Fi speeds.
The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are available for preorder now in 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB models. They will ship with iOS 9, which releases on September 15th, and will be available in stores and for delivery on September 25th. Find information on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus on Apple’s website here.
The last product Apple introduced at its fall keynote this year was an all new Apple TV. The new set top box looks a lot like the old one, though taller, but it packs in a lot more horsepower and adds many new features that will make the experience of using this new Apple TV much different, and improved, from the versions that have come before it.
First, Apple announced a new operating system for the Apple TV – tvOS. Along with tvOS, the new Apple TV has an app store. This will allow developers to create apps for the TV that the user can select, purchase, and install. This will include TV and movie content providers like in the past, but also allows developers to bring games to the Apple TV. Add to that the fact that the Apple TV supports bluetooth game controllers and you have yourself a capable game system.
The new Apple TV comes with a new remote – the Siri Remote. Unlike the old remotes that shipped with previous versions of the Apple TV, this remote is connected by Bluetooth rather than using an infrared blaster. This means that you don’t need to point the remote at your TV to get button presses to register. Like it’s name suggests, you can use the remote with Siri to find things you’re looking for on Apple TV. Even better, Siri search is cross platform, so that means that you can search for a movie like “Saving Private Ryan” and Siri will show you which apps have that movie available for streaming. Siri search on the Apple TV is also intelligent and context aware. For example, you could say, “Find movies with Tom Hanks and Matt Damon,” and Siri would show you a list of movies with both those actors in them.
For navigation, Apple has ditched the directional buttons on its older remotes and now uses a glass touch pad that you can swipe on. The remote also uses a built in gyroscope to track the motion of the remote, much like the Nintendo Wii – a feature that will be used heavily in games. The Apple TV also has six buttons on it that perform other functions.
Finally, the Apple TV has received a gigantic speed boost. It has an A8 chip in it, the same that’s found in the iPhone 6.
With these new features and performance upgrades, the Apple TV should jump back to the top of the streaming media playing pack.
The new Apple TV is available in 32GB for $149 and 64GB for $199 and will be available in October. Find more info on the new Apple TV at Apple’s website here.
Apple certainly had a packed keynote this fall! Are you planning on purchasing any of their new products this fall? Let us know in the comments section below!