Apple dropped the bomb on a ton of new products during their yearly keynote!
Apple Watch will be getting updates for richer notifications, and a new view controlled via the crown to scan through your day called “Third Party Complications.
Future 3rd party apps coming to the Watch, Facebook Messenger will be bringing chat features, and Go Pro will enable live video streaming from their cameras straight to the watch screen to use a wrist mounted screen as the viewfinder.
Lastly new watch bodies and bands are coming. Gold and Rose Gold Apple Watch Sport in aluminum will join new bands for the same price as the current Sport. There will also be a new Product Red Stainless model where a portion of all sales will go towards fighting HIV/AIDS.
Apple took the wrap off the newest version of the iPad. The iPad Pro is a large format iOS powered tablet featuring a 12.9 inch display. The width of the iPad Pro is the same length as the height of the iPad Air allowing for side by side split-screening of full sized apps. At that size the screen can also display a full-sized on-screen keyboard.
Apple touted the 5 million pixel resolution, which doesn’t bring us to a 4K display, but should be plenty for multi-app usage. This is backed up by a CPU/GPU combo which Apple claims is twice as fast as the iPad Air, and they say brings the iPad Pro up to “desktop grade computing”. They backed this up by claiming the iPad Pro is faster than 80% of the mobile PC’s sold today, though they obviously didn’t mention pricing opposite the whole ecosystem of uber-cheap Windows slates that can run full desktop programs, and aren’t locked to mobile apps.
The 6.9mm thick devices is capable of up to 10 hours of battery life. The Pro holds 4 speakers which are orientation aware for creating the best possible stereo environment. This array should boost overall volume three times over the iPad Air
iPad Pro also gains a Surface like keyboard which combines the magnetic flipping and rolling with a hardware QWERTY keyboard.
iPad Pro also adds Surface-like stylus support with a stick called Apple Pencil. Pencil offers up force and angle awareness for drawing and precision apps. This Pencil has its own battery which must be recharged via the Lightning connector on the iPad.
Microsoft and Adobe were on hand to show off Office and Photoshop on the iPad Pro, and with full support for touch and for Apple Pencil.
iPad Pro will be available in Gold, Silver, and Space Gray starting at $799 for a 32GB model, $949 for 128Gb, and $1079 for 128GB + LTE. The Apple Pencil will sell for $99, and the Smart Keyboard will sell for $169. All of these products will be available in November.
Apple TV Updates
The new Apple TV is Siri powered and features it’s own wing of the app store. Voice commands will work similar to how the XBox allows users to navigate the UI, and the system will support iOS gaming with select titles at launch.
Siri is capable of searching across apps. Searching for a movie for example, she can look through iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, and HBO. She can also search for content based on criteria like actors guest staring. She also has a new built in skip feature, asking “what did she say” will rewind video and temporarily turn on captions. Support for future video streaming services is on tap, and Apple Music support is included.
The remote has a glass touch surface to scan through the UI or for interacting with apps. The Apple TV will also come with original slow motion video screensavers shot specifically for the platform. Rest a thumb on the surface will show your progress. Swipe down will give you more options, and swiping up will turn off on-screen menus.
Asking Siri search questions during video playback will bring up panels that answer your voice search without completely blocking the screen.
The new Apple TV will be available in November, and developers will have access to TVOS starting today.
iPhone 6S and 6S Plus
The outer shell looks similar to last year’s iPhone 6, which shouldn’t come as a surprise as Apple follows a Tick-Tock design schedule. The body might be similar, but the tech internals have gotten a refresh, further supporting my theory that the S series of phones is the better track to be on.
The screens remain the same size at 4.7″ and 5.5″, but are covered in a new ion enhanced durable glass. No Sapphire, but it should do a better of preventing scratches and damage. The new color this year is a pinkish Rose Gold. I’ve been claiming this kind of color and design update since the MacBook was announced. The Pink iPhone will tell people that you RECENTLY spent money on the newest, most expensive iPhone, so expect to see this model sell well.
The new iPhone comes with a feature called 3D Touch, which measures force for additional functionality. This haptic system can bring up contextual menus, give you a sneak peek at emails and messages, and will be accessible to third party developers.
It’s an interesting concept. In demoing the mail app, a moderate press can bring up a peek, and even harder press will fully open the email. Force touch gestures can also bring up info tied to your calendar, or to search for items. A force slide can bring up a multi-tasking cards layout to quickly move between active apps. It’s an OS wide gesture which looks to compete with some of the lifestyle and contextual features found in services like Google Now.
Like iPad Pro, the new A9 CPU/GPU combo built into the iPhone will be almost twice as powerful as that found in the iPhone 6. Apple again claims “desktop powerful” computing, and of course gaming will be one of the first areas to see the benefit of more powerful guts. Apple showed off a Warhammer demo to highlight console quality graphics gaming at 60fps.
The Motion co-processor will be built directly into the CPU, and that allows for always-on tracking of movement and microphone data while using less battery life.
The fingerprint scanner gets an update. Apple claiming performance twice as fast as the last TouchID, which is still the gold standard for biometric security. Any improvements here will just continue to distance Android fingerprint support.
A new 12MP camera sensor finally brings Apple to the world of higher resolution imaging. The sensor does not increase in size, but the new pixel array reduces cross talk, thanks to new trenching between pixels. This will provide for excellent color and less noise, but the smaller sensor size will face tough competition from larger sensor phones that can create shallower depth of field blur.
We can expect Apple to remain the champ of high speed slow motion video, and now Apple finally adds UHD video to the roster. As always, fashionably late, but many iPhone users will be happy to see this feature added as it brings stunning image detail to video. Happily iMovie on the phone will be able to edit and render 4K video directly on the phone, a feature Android is still terrible at while on the go.
Apple is also touting a “new” Live Photos feature, where force touching will display a Harry Potter style video clip shot at the same time as the photo was taken. Sound familiar? It’s a feature found on Windows Phones for a while now…
Apple has found some great sales success with the last iPhone 6, so for the 6S we’ll also see a new app in the Android app store for folks wanting to make the switch from Android to iOS. A fun little dig as Apple has some good convert momentum.
Disappointingly, the new iPhone 6S continues to start at 16GB of built in storage, which will be annihilated fast once you start shooting live photos and UHD video. 4K video usually runs around 3 minutes per GB.
If your carrier still does contracts, the starting price for the iPhone 6S on contract at 16GB is $199. The 16GB 6S Plus also stays put at $299 on contract. The iPhone 6 gets a $100 price break, and the 5S becomes the free option. Pre-orders start September 12, and expect to see lines around the blocks of your local Apple stores on September 25th, when these new phones go on sale.