The New iPhones
The most important Apple products are always the new iPhones. This year’s event was bound to be a bit of a quiet one after the major updates introduced last year. The biggest new feature on the Apple 6S and Apple 6S Plus, the two phones announced Wednesday, is a feature called 3D Touch. This enables the phone to know how forcefully someone is touching the screen, so you can do one thing by touching the screen lightly, and something else by pushing hard.
As always, the phones have more powerful chips and cameras. They also have a new feature called Live Photos, which automatically record photos as short videos, so holding your finger on a photo will show you a moment of movement. Apple is also introducing an app for Android devices that makes it easier for people to switch to iPhones. The new devices range from $200 to $500 with a two-year contract, depending on size and storage, which follows the pricing of the previous versions of the phones. They will be available Sept. 25. IOS 9, the new operating system, will be available for older models on Sept. 16.
Apple has been selling an Apple TV product since 2007. Eight years later, Tim Cook, the company’s chief executive, began Wednesday’s discussion of television by saying that not much innovative had happened to the television experience in decades. “Our vision for TV is simple and perhaps a bit provocative,” he said. In short, Apple thinks that watching TV should feel like using a smartphone, with a home screen of apps.
Apple has developed a new operating system for the latest version of Apple TV and is opening it up to developers for the first time. One notable addition: games. Apple showed off a number of interactive games, including a bulked-up version of mobile game Crossy Road. They also showed off a version of Guitar Hero, which has mostly been played on consoles.
The new Apple TV comes with a new touchscreen remote with voice control via Siri (“show me a funny TV show”) as well as motion sensors for gaming. The new device costs between $150 and $200, depending on storage capacity. A beta version of the software is open to developers immediately, and the devices will be available in late October. While the new Apple TV is clearly more advanced than previous versions of the device, it is actually far less provocative than Silicon Valley’s real vision for television: the transformation of live television. Apple had hoped to launch a live TV service this year but delayed the project because it couldn’t get the content deals lined up.
The iPad Pro
Apple’s new iPad, the long-anticipated iPad Pro, has a bigger screen than Apple’s smallest laptops. It has a 12.9-inch screen and weighs 1.57 lbs., about the same weight as the original iPad. While the iPad rivals Apple’s line of PCs in physical size, it runs the same operating system that powers its other mobile devices, iOS. The device will be available in November and costs between $800 and $1,080.
Apple also developed two notable accessories for the iPad Pro. There’s a cover with a physical keyboard ($170) and a stylus called Apple Pencil ($100). Steve Jobs famously derided the idea of styluses, which seemed more like a square Microsoft thing. At Wednesday’s event, Apple brought Microsoft employees on stage to show how neat they can be.
Apple first showed off its new Apple Watch software in June at its developer conference. The biggest change is that developers will be able to build apps that run on the watch itself instead of on an iPhone. On Wednesday the company said the new software will be available Sept. 16 and showed off a few notable apps, including Facebook Messenger and Airstrip, an app for health-care providers that uses the app to monitor vital signs. It also announced that Hermès is making a new line of bands for the watch and that there will be several new finishes, including rose gold.