Apple held a press event in San Francisco on September 9, 2015 to announce its Fall 2015 product lineup. As expected, Apple announced new iPhones and a new iteration of the Apple TV at the event. Apple also demoed the previously announced iOS 9 and watchOS 2. Both of these updates will be made available for existing devices on September 16, 2016. In a break from tradition, Apple also announced a new iPad Pro and iPad Mini 4. The iPad Pro will be available in November, and the iPad Mini 4 will be available September 25, 2015.
Apple Watch Lineup Changes Announced along with watchOS 2 Availability September 16.
Apple began the day by discussing watchOS 2. New watch faces and third party complications were again shown. It was indicated that with native apps, developers would be able to do much more with their apps. Among the apps featured by Apple were Facebook Messenger, iTranslate, and AirStrip. AirStrip is a medical app that allows individuals in the medical field to manage their patients, schedules, and real-time medical data. There is also a client app available for patients that allow them to collect and transmit data to medical professionals using the Apple Watch.
Apple announced new models of the Apple Watch and new bands. Two new finishes were announced for the Sport Watch Lineup. Gold and Rose Gold aluminum finishes were added, as were new finishes for the stainless steel Apple Watch line including the Product(Red) Apple Watch. New bands were also announced. New models are immediately available, and Apple WatchOS 2 will be available September 16, 2015. No changes are being made to the internals of the Apple Watch.
Apple Announces Next Generation iPad… the iPad Pro.
Tim Cook next discussed the iPad Pro. He called the announcement the “biggest news in iPad since the iPad”. The iPad Pro has a 12.9” display, but is still thinner and lighter than a laptop (it weighs about 1.5 lbs). It features a full-size on-screen keyboard when used horizontally. The iPad Pro display is almost 2 times the size of the iPad Air, which allows you to easily run two apps side by side. It is powered by the A9X chip that was described as providing desktop-class performance. Graphics performance was described as “Console Class”, battery life was estimated at 10 hours, and for the first time for an iPad it includes four speakers.
The iPad Pro will be available in November. It comes in Silver, Gold, and Space Gray. It starts at $799 for a 32GB WiFi only model. It will also be available at $949 for a 128GB WiFi model and for $1079 for a 128gb WiFi + Cellular model.
In addition to the new iPad Pro, Apple announced the “Smart” Keyboard. The keyboard is made of fabric and included within a cover. Apple added a smart connector on the iPad pro that allows accessories to connect to and be powered by the iPad Pro. The Smart Keyboard will be $169 and will be available when the iPad Pro ships.
Apple Pencil was introduced as a new input accessory for the iPad Pro. This stylus includes the ability to sense force and stroke to more precisely draw or write on your iPad Pro. Apple Pencil is battery powered, but allows you to plug it into the lightning port of the iPad to recharge. New applications will be able to take advantage of the Apple Pencil and integrate its abilities. The Apple Pencil will be available for $99 when the iPad Pro ships.
Microsoft was featured on-stage to show how Microsoft Office will take advantage of the new features of iPad Pro. Using the ribbon on the Microsoft Office Apps, the Apple Pencil can be used for annotation or markups of documents (it looks like this functionality may be available by touch too). The annotations will be stored natively with the Office Apps, and can be viewed on any device. Microsoft also showed the value of being able to use Microsoft Office Apps side-by-side on the iPad Pro.
Apple Talks TV and Apps – The New Apple TV with Siri and an App Store Announced.
Tim Cook noted that the TV experience has remained stagnant despite changes in technology. He promised that Apple would do something to change that, and stated that the future of TV is Apps. The center of the new Apple TV is the new remote and an App Store.
The new remote features a glass touch surface on top, with a microphone button to allow voice interaction with Siri. Rather than just search, Siri uses context to bring results to you. For example, you can simply ask Siri to show “funny movies”, and Siri will bring a list to you. Siri will also allow searching across iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, HBO and Showtime (with additional apps in the future). In addition to Siri functionality, the new remote includes motion sensing to allow you to use it as a “Wii-like” controller for games. iPhones and iPod Touches will also be able to be used as remotes for games on the new Apple TV.
The new remote will control the volume on your TV and receiver and allow you to power on your other devices. The 32GB version of Apple TV will sell for $149, with a 64GB version for $199. It will be available for purchase in late October 2015. tvOS is available for developers beginning September 9, 2015.
Siri was the star of the Apple TV demo. Among the features of Siri, is allowing you to navigate shows while playing. You can skip ahead (or back) a certain number of seconds or minutes, or even ask “what did they say” and it will skip back 15 seconds and provide temporary closed captioning. You can ask for information about actors in something you are watching, or check sports scores or weather while watching something. You can use voice commands to switch to other apps on Apple TV.
All the existing Apps remain on the Apple TV, but the Apple Apps have been revamped and updated. Additionally an App Store will be available that allows developers to create apps for the Apple TV and tvOS. Among developers that have already worked on apps, include Netflix, Hulu, Activision and Disney. The third generation Apple TV will remain on sale, but there was no discussion of what features if any will be available on the older device.
And Finally we have the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.
Apple saved discussion of the updated iPhone 6 for last. Cook introduced an updated iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus that keep the appearance of the iPhone 6 and 6 plus. Colors include Silver, Space Gray, Gold, and a new option of Rose Gold. The display size remained the same for the iPhone models, but the metal and glass were both updated to be stronger and more durable. 3D Touch was introduced for the iPhone as the next generation of multi-touch. The new iPhones will include A9 chips that are advertised as being “desktop class” processors. Siri can also always be launched by simply saying “Hey Siri” (even when not plugged in). TouchID is now twice as fast as before, and the camera on the iPhone was updated with an increased 12MP sensor.
3D Touch allows the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus to recognize how hard you are touching the screen to react based on the force of your touch. This allows additional menus to be shown on the home screen, or for you to peek at other information within an app. For example, if you are sent a street address in a message, you can peek at the map without leaving your message. 3D Touch also allows a new type of photo called Live Photo. When you take a photo with iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, by default it captures 1.5 seconds before and after your photo was taken so your photo can come to life when you use 3D Touch on the photo.
The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus remain available in 16GB, 64GB and 128GB models. The iPhone 6s starts at $649 for the 16GB model, with the 64GB model costing $749, and the $128GB model $849. The iPhone 6s Plus starts at $749 for the 16GB model, increases to $849 for the 64GB model and will be $949 for the 128GB model. They will be available for pre-order on September 12th and start shipping on September 25, 2015. iOS 9 will be available for existing devices on September 16, 2015.
The press event ran just over 2 hours in length. Although the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were featured last, the iPad Pro and new Apple TV were probably the biggest stars of the event. It will be exciting to see when Apps start to arrive on the Apple Watch that take advantage of watchOS 2, and when the Apple TV App store debuts in October. More to come as information becomes available. Please share your thoughts on our Facebook Page or send a tweet to us.