In usual fashion, Cupertino behemoth Apple Inc. yesterday put its finest execs on stage to announce all-new products and upgrades, taking the world by storm in a 2-hour event marked with unprecedented oomph.
This isn’t a liveblogging session, so we’ll jump right to the quick. One of the less exciting announcements Apple made yesterday was the Apple Watch update, which included Watch OS 2, new apps, new finishes, new bands, etc. Then came the iPad Pro. And everything changed.
iPad Pro: the big kahuna of tablet computers
Apple’s new iPad Pro isn’t the first big tablet computer to hit the mainstream. However, it certainly looks like a blessing for the creative community. It has a 12.9-inch Retina Display (measured on the diagonal), pixels with variable refresh rate to save precious battery life, and a desktop-class A9X chip that eclipses most computers shipped in the last year. According to its creators, the chip’s power is 22 times greater than that of the original iPad. GPU performance increased 360 times, and it has faster graphics than 90% of the laptops shipped in the last 12 months.
You can edit 3 streams of 4K video simultaneously, and the 4 speaker audio system balances the audio dynamically depending on how you’re holding it. It’s almost just as thin as the iPad Air (thicker by just 0.8 mm), and comes with a smart keyboard (sold separately) and Apple pencil (also sold separately). Thanks to the increased screen real estate, multitasking finally makes sense on the iPad, allowing you to put two apps side by side and work with both of them at the same time.
The Apple Pencil is a thing of beauty and an engineering wonder all-in-one. Best thing you can do is watch Apple’s demo videos to fully comprehend what impact it will have on creatives everywhere. The tech giant surprised the audience with a Microsoft guest brought on stage to demo Office for iPad. Word and Excel on one screen really make a good case for productivity on an Apple device. iPad Pro starts at $799.
“We believe the future of television is apps”
Easily the biggest thing announced yesterday was the new Apple TV, featuring an all-new OS, a touch-enabled remote, its own App Store, Siri integration, and more. Everyone knew it was in the works, but no one knew when it would finally roll out. Tim Cook finally lifted the cloth off the product saying that the TV experience has been standing still while innovation has been booming around it in phones and computers. “We believe the future of television is apps,” he said. And it appears he is right. According to statistics, over 60% of the pay streaming video is consumed through an app on an Apple device.
Thanks to a new SDK and the new tvOS, developers can get to work on TV apps as soon as today. Wouldn’t you know it, the new set-top box has an App Store of its own, featuring apps and games. One of the most notable demos featuring a game was Beat Sports, essentially Wii Sports envisioned for the touch-centric Apple TV Remote. Siri is really helpful in finding what to watch, skipping through scenes, turning on closed captioning, etc. The black box will be available this October.
iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus
Apple’s incremental iPhone upgrades this year are really something to look forward to. Unlike previous years, when all the S-version got was an updated Home button or a faster processor, this time around Apple gave it all it’s got. New features for the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus include:
- New finishes (Silver, Space Gray, Gold, Rose Gold)
- 3D touch (essentially Force Touch from the Apple Watch brought over to the iPhone)
- Haptic feetback (finally!) via the new Taptic Engine, which incidentally forced Apple to reduce the battery size a little
- a powerful new A9 chip + iOS 9
- a 12 megapixel camera (50% improvement) with HD video and 4K video
- LTE Advanced (23 bands, the most in any smartphone), 2x faster WiFi
- stronger cover glass
- 2nd generation Touch ID (2x faster fingerprint recognition)
- sadly, the storage options remain intact (16GB, 64GB, 128GB)
As usual, the latest iPhone starts at $199 with a contract. More importantly for those saving up to buy an older model, the iPhone 5S is now officially free (also on contract), while the iPhone 6 from last year is just $99.
Filed under “nice touch”
Apple also introduced a feature called Live Photos, which lets you force-touch a photo (on any Apple device) and reveal the actual moment it was taken with video. Phil Schiller explained that iOS simply captures a few stills before and after the shot to create the Live Photo. The feature is on by default and the user doesn’t have to do anything extra to make it work.
Finally, since more and more Android customers are (allegedly) switching to iPhone, Apple has made an app that moves their entire Android data to the iPhone, making it easier than ever to jump ship. Expect iOS to gain some considerable market-share points in the coming months 😉