Apple has been consistently announcing new iPhones annually for the last 8 years so when we heard that there was to be an event with the tag line “Hey Siri, Give us a hint” today we were fairly sure what we would get. It’s an off year so Apple were expected to update the software and internals slightly but leave the main phone design intact. The rumour mill also hinted at a large upgrade to the AppleTV streamer with the possibility of making it able to play games strongly hinted at and a new bigger version of the iPad.
So what did the event actually give us?
The Apple Watch got an announcement of a small software update. This update lets other third party apps tie in much more closely – they’ll be able to play video, access the watch’s speaker and microphone. The example they used was Facebook Messenger will now support voice. New watchbands are to be available in the fall including a weird band that wraps twice around the wrist and several new sports watches.
The iPad was next and we got to see the new iPad Pro – a larger 12.9″ size iPad with upgraded internals a number of software changes. The most obvious change is that you can run two apps next to each other simultaneously. The screen is also large enough for a full size keyboard.
The iPad Pro’s CPU is faster than 80% of portable PCs shipped in the last six months. The battery is huge and they claim a 10 hour screen on life. It has four speakers at the corners and weights 1.57 pounds (.71kg).
To accompany it they showed off a keyboard case which makes the whole thing look a lot like a Surface Pro.
If the keyboard isn’t for you Apple are also offering a Stylus called the Apple Pencil. This active Stylus is sensitive to pressure, angle and speed and is pitched as ideal for taking notes and for artists.
Apple surprised the whole crowd by bringing Microsoft onto the stage to show off the ability to use Office pushing the productivity features of the iPad Pro followed by Adobe showing Creative Cloud on the iPad.
Prices for all of these are Apple standard – high. The 32GB version is $800 -£520, 128GB $949 – £617 and 128GB plus cellular $1079 – £70. The Pencil is $99 – £65 and the keyboard cover $169 – £109. They will be available in November in the US and presumably in the UK at a similar time.
Next Apple talked about the iPad Mini – A new version called the iPad Mini 4 is to be available with the internals of the iPad Air 2. The iPad Mini 2 is to be dropped in price.
The next step was the biggest screen in the house – the TV. The new Apple TV now has Siri integrated – voice control. The remote now has a touch surface on the top and a mic button.
The operating system on the AppleTV is being changed slightly to become TVOS an offshoot of iOS specifically for big screens. This opens up apps and games and Harmonix came on stage to demonstrate a Wii style rhythm game. Gilt also came on to demonstrate shopping for clothes via the AppleTV.
The new AppleTV will be available for $149 – £96 for 32GB and $199 – £129 for 64GB. It will be available late October in the US and worldwide by the end of the year.
iPhone was next on the list – unsurprisingly there will be a new version the iPhone 6S and the iPhone 6S Plus. They look externally the same as the 6 and 6 Plus but have a new feature called 3d Touch. This lets the screen not just detect your touches but how hard you are touching. Pushing hard and a gentle touch get different results.
Internally there’s a faster CPU, GPU and more memory. Siri has been upgraded to listen for and respond to “Hey Siri” even when not plugged in. The camera has been improved to 12MP and a number of tweaks made to what they say is their best camera ever.
Outright prices were not given although Apple showed off their new subscription leasing – $32 a year and you borrow a new phone every year. Pre-orders will start on September the 12 and be available on the 26th.