With the sun packing up for warmer climates as winter approaches, heads are now being turned towards the festive period. For tech fans, that means new stuff! Apple are often first out the blocks, and they’re yearly autumn unveiling has sent the internet into the typical overnight frenzy.
Here’s the lowdown.
There were three major announcements at Apple’s special San Francisco event on Wednesday, and I’ll rank them in the order of which I give a damn about the most. So I’ll start with the only all-new device they announced at the show- the iPad Pro. The device represents new ground for Apple, who are now incorporating a larger iPad into the family. At 12.9-inches, it adds over 3-inches to the iPad Air, as the device looks to align itself with the Hybrid/Portable PC market. The A9X chip is said to produce twice the power of the iPad Air 2, and the 5.6 million pixels crammed into the Retina display means the iPad Pro is likely to house the most stylish display we’ve ever seen on an iOS device.
Rather than just taking the iPad Air and making it slightly larger, Apple have provided the Pro with a companion. The Apple Pencil is the iPad’s answer to the stylus, and Apple hope it will give creatives an extra layer of functionality. For digital creatives, the stylus is your primary weapon for creating content on displays, with your finger just unable to do a good enough job. Able to measure both tilt and pressure, the Apple Pencil can make drawing and sketching as intuitive and simple as using pen and paper.
It’s the increasingly lucrative market of graphics tablets that the iPad Pro is clearly hoping to tap into. Currently dominated by Wacom and flirted with by Microsoft with their Surface tablet, the stylus allows graphic designers, photographers and illustrators the first opportunity to use an iOS device for productivity.
Shipping in November, the iPad Pro will retail at between $799 (£519) for the 32GB Wi-Fi only model, and $1079 (£701) for 128GB with Wi-Fi+LTE. With an extra $99 bolted on the Apple Pencil, they won’t come cheap.
Apple TV 2
Despite encouraging sales of their first Apple TV creation, it somewhat lacked a direction in what is was trying to achieve. Three years have passed since their last effort, and the strength of the market has fortified with Roku, Google and Amazon all battling away with impressive devices. Apple TV the second then, brings about a certain level of overhaul and a new focus.
Apple have followed in the footsteps of their competitors by refocusing the streaming box for a more app-based experience. Now coming with its own operating system, CEO Tim Cook seemed much more enthusiastic about the prospects of Apple TV 2, after previously describing it as a “hobby”.
“The Future of TV is apps” Cook said. With a greater focus on app-based content, user experience will further align with market leaders Roku and Chromecast. No word was said on the recent rumours that Apple will be entering the content creation industry by making their own TV shows and movie subscriptions. The foundations have been put in place however, and Apple TV has clearly been shunted forward in the companies thoughts.
Other new features on Apple’s streaming box include:
- A new motion controlled remote that includes a touch surface, making the TV box a much better device for gamers.
- Compatibility with Siri, who can act as a voice controlled menu for finding content and answering general questions.
Coming in late October, the new Apple TV box will cost between $149 and $199 (£96-£129) depending on how much storage you’d like (pricing it well above most of its competitors).
Finally, Apple refreshed their market-leading smartphone range with the iPhone 6s and 6S Plus. Identical in design to their now familiar look, the new iPhones have received one or two tweaks on the inside to keep fans interested. Their displays have seen a tech upgrade, with “3D Touch” now able to differentiate between levels of pressure you apply on screen, and perform different operations as a result. Elsewhere, there is a beefier chip, slightly better camera and the ability to shoot in 4K.
Little in the way of excitement can be drawn from the latest iPhone release, and fans may have to wait for the upcoming OS 9.0 rollout for the next significant change.