Early this morning Apple held its 'Hey Siri, give us a hint' event. As the last minute rumours swirled, here in Australia those of us willing to sacrifice our sleep were waiting up for the live stream to start at 3am. We were treated to an interesting keynote focusing on the iPad, Apple TV and iPhone.
The keynote started off on a different note this time. There was no time for Tim Cook's usual 'updates' on store openings and marketshare. Instead we were straight into the action with the Apple Watch. First Apple demoed the upcoming WatchOS 2 recapping the new features that were announced at WWDC earlier in the year. There was also a demo of some new Apple Watch apps, in addition to some new watch bands, new case colours and a partnership with ‘Hermes’, who will design watch bands and watch faces for the Apple Watch.
Moving right along, Tim Cook and Phill Schiller showed off Apple's foray into the pro tablet market with the new iPad Pro. Featuring a massive 12.9 inch Retina display, the iPad Pro runs an extremely fast A9X chip. Notable features included a new 4 speaker setup and a more sensitive touchscreen. To compliment the new iPad, Apple introduced the 'Apple Pen' stylus aimed at artists and other users who require precise and accurate touch input. In addition to the stylus, Apple introduced a keyboard made for the iPad Pro. The keyboard/cover dubbed the 'Smart Keyboard' connects to the iPad via a new connector on the side of the iPad, and uses the new keyboard technology featured in the 12 inch retina MacBook. To demo the capabilities of the new tablet, Apple brought several software companies on stage to demo their apps, including Microsoft with a new version office and Adobe with some interesting new creative cloud apps.
Though it barely got a mention, Apple also debuted the iPad Mini 4, which is essentially the iPad Air 2 shrunken down. The 4th generation Mini features an A8 processor, a thinner design, better camera and upgraded wireless capabilities.
Following on from the updates to the iPad range, was the new Apple TV. Apple’s updated set top box features significantly upgraded hardware, including 32 GB or 64 GB of storage, an A8 chip and 2GB of ram. On the software side, Apple introduced its new Apple TV operating system ‘tvOS’ which features a revamped design and a multitude of other new features. One such feature is an App Store which lends itself to entertainment and games apps. Also central to the new experience is Siri, which features a content based focus. To compliment the new software, is a new remote that features an integrated touch pad and microphone for Siri. The remote also doubles as a game controller when needed. Apple again had serval app developers demonstrate their new games and other apps on the big screen.
Then came the announcement that everyone was waiting for - the iPhone 6S. As expected, the 6S is almost identical in appearance to the iPhone 6, bar a new Rose Gold colour to match the Apple watch. The adoption of 7000 series aluminium for the exterior of the 6S is also significant, and should put the 'bendgate’ issue to rest. Durability has also been improved through a new type of tough glass used on the display. Perhaps the biggest change in the 6S is the '3D touch' technology, where the iPhone multi touch display is able to recognise pressure in gestures and taps, as well as provide haptic feedback. This has enabled a new system of shortcuts and other functions activated by how hard and long the screen is pressed. Third party developers will be able to integrate 3D touch into their own applications to create more dynamic interfaces.
The iPhone 6s also features the obligatory significant performance improvements with the new A9 chip delivering up to 70 percent better CPU performance over the A8. Apple also demonstrated the significant camera improvements on the 6S. These included a 12 MP image sensor that has various new technologies to reduce noise and other issues associated with having a large megapixel count in a small image sensor. The new camera also allows video to be shot in 4K, which will mean much better video quality (and larger file sizes!). Apple has added a new photo mode to the 6S called 'live pictures', which captures the moments before and after a picture was taken to create a small movie out of each picture taken. One upgrade that will get selfie lovers excited is the new front FaceTime camera, which has been upgraded to a 5 MP sensor. In addition to this, Apple has enabled the retina display to be used as a True Tone flash to illuminate photos taken on the front camera. In a more minor upgrade, the voice activated ‘Hey Siri' feature can now always be used even while on battery power. Last but not least, the Touch ID sensor has been upgraded to 'Touch ID 2' which Apple claims is faster and more accurate then the previous generation.
The iPhone 6 will be available for preorder on the 12th of September, and available on the 25th of September. Pricing in the US will be the same as the iPhone 6 last year, however in Australia the prices have unfortunately gone up.
Australian Pricing is as follows:
6S - 16 GB - $1079
6S - 64 GB - $1229
6S - 128 GB - $ 1379
6S+ - 16 GB - $1229
6S+ - 64 GB - $1379
6S+ - 128 GB - $ 1529
Yep thats right folks, $1529 for an iPhone. This time you may have sell a child or body part to fund your purchase.
If you want to watch the keynote yourself, Apple's event page has the complete presentation for you to watch.
So thats that for the September event at MacTalk - vote and let us know what you liked, what you thought could have been better and what you plan on buying any of the new devices.. if any!