Apple September Event 2015 Highlights

Apple September Event 2015 Highlights

The Apple September Event is one of the most hotly anticipated events in the tech industry since it always entails new product announcements and upcoming services that the company plans to introduce as well as improvements/additions to existing services. This year’s Apple September event was no different.

Apple lived up to the expectations for this year’s event, taking the wraps off two new iPhones with the formerly named “Force Touch” technology, a giant new iPad and a reworked Apple TV. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the top announcements made at this year’s Apple September event

Apple September Event

The iPad Pro

Proving pre-event rumors true, Apple took the wraps off the new iPad Pro, it’s first ever big screen iPad and the most capable and powerful iPad ever created, according to Tim Cook. The new iPad packs a 12.9 inch display with a 2732 × 2048 pixel resolution. That’s 5.6 million pixels across the massive screen, even more than the 15 inch MacBook Pro with Retina display has. Although it’s powered by the A9X mobile processor, Apple claims that the new iPad Pro is faster than 80 percent of portable computers shipped in the last year. And it should be, considering that Apple is pitching the iPad Pro as a device built for creative and enterprise use.

The iPad Pro will offer 10 hours of battery life and has an 8 megapixel rear camera. It also features a display with a variable refresh rate, so when you’re reading instead of watching video, the refresh rate will slow down to save on battery life. The new iPad also comes with a four speaker setup with stereo sound.

The company also introduced a couple of interesting accessories for the iPad Pro that will augment its usage, namely a smart keyboard which is basically a fabric-bound cover that connects magnetically to the new iPad and can also be used as a stand, and; a stylus. Dubbed the ‘Apple Pencil’, it’s a pressure sensitive stylus that Apple claims is so precise, you can touch a single pixel on the screen with it. According to Phil Schiller, it is one of the most advanced technologies they’ve ever created.

The Apple Pencil is developed as Apple’s answer to the Surface’s stylus and the Galaxy Note’s S-Pen. Apple claimed that the Pencil feels like a true writing or drawing instrument, as it can calculate the angle of usage and orientation, to produce either broad or shaded strokes. The Apple Pencil offers full support for Microsoft Office including PowerPoint. Adobe also demoed three new apps for the iPad Pro that support the Apple Pencil, including one called Comp, which is used for sketching out quick ideas, Photoshop Fix, for quick photo editing, and Photoshop Sketch, for more intensive drawing.

The iPad Pro and its accessories will be available starting November 2015 and will be priced at $799 for the 32GB version, $949 128GB model and $1079 for the 128GB model with LTE connectivity. The Apple Pencil will cost $99 while the Smart Keyboard will retail for $169.

Apple TV

Another major announcement was that of the revamped Apple TV, which will now support third-party developer apps. By adding App Store support for Apple TV, many popular iOS apps will now be available for the big screen. Since Apple TV app development is based on iOS, developers will basically be able to build universal iOS apps that will work on Apple TV as well as the iPad, iPhone, etc.

From a hardware standpoint, the revamped Apple TV features the 64 bit A8 processor and comes with either 32GB or 64GB of storage. The biggest change hardware wise, is the remote. The previous remote for the Apple TV featured three small buttons to perform basic commands. The new remote features a microphone that activates Siri voice search, as well as motion and touch sensors to allow users to swipe through the Apple TV interface or play games. It uses Bluetooth to communicate with the base, so you don’t need to point the remote to the base for it to work.

With a Siri-enabled remote, viewers can now use Siri to find a show or a channel across streaming services. They can also use Siri to issue various commands, like for example, asking “What did she say?” while watching a show, and Siri will automatically rewind the show 15 seconds back and display captions, so the use can see what dialogue they missed. Siri can even recommend movies and shows that you may like to watch.

The revamped Apple TV runs on a brand new operating system called tvOS which shares development tools with the Mac OS and iOS, so developers can use the same tools like Xcode and Metal, to build apps for Apple TV. Apple TV is will go on sale in late October, starting at $149 for the 32 gig version and $199 for the 64 GB version.

iPhone 6S and 6S Plus

The other major announcement from the Apple September event was that of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, that are now made of a stronger aluminum alloy (used in the aerospace industry), and feature the A9 processor, a 12 megapixel iSight camera capable of shooting 4K video, a 5 megapixel front-facing camera and a new 3D Touch feature.

The iPhone’s new A9 chip is 70% faster than its predecessor in processing and 90% faster in graphics, making it ideal for games graphics. The step up in camera hardware (plus some extra software tweaks) on the other hand, means improved low-light performance, better detail and enhanced color. The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus can also capture bigger panoramas than previous models. You can also use the front-facing camera in conjunction with the phone’s screen to take better selfies, since the screen acts as a skin-tone-friendly flash. More importantly, the new iPhones can also edit 4K video and not just record it.

But the key highlight in the new iPhones’ announcement was that of the 3D Touch feature. Previously known as Force Touch on the Apple Watch, this 3D touch gesture measures the pressure from your finger, to present content accordingly. A light press will give you a preview of your content, while a stronger press will take you directly into whatever that content is. There are also some great “peeking” features that let you pull up interactions and info in your apps without having to dive right in. So for example, you can use 3D Touch for quick email glances, easy photo saving and other maneuvering. It’s implemented throughout iOS 9 and even has support from Facebook and other key third-party app makers.

The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus will retail for the same price as the current iPhones. Pre-orders begin September 12; and the phones will start shipping in initial countries on Sept. 25.

Apple Watch

There wasn’t much Apple Watch news expected at the Apple September event, and that was mostly true. The biggest news was that watchOS 2 would be released on September 16th and will bring new watch faces, a “time travel” feature that uses the digital crown to scroll the data on your watch face forward and most importantly, the ability to run third-party apps natively. Third-party apps will also have the option to display little bites of info on your watch face, something which Apple’s built-in apps can do already. Apple also unveiled a host of new Watch bands for the Apple Watch.

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