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Apple Special Event lowdown: New iPhone, iPad Pro & gaming Apple TV


Apple announced the next generation of iPhones, iPads and Apple TVs among the major announcements made by the company at the Apple Special Event held in San Francisco yesterday. The company also updated its Watch, other than releasing accessories like a remote, a keyboard and a stylus.

Here is a quick lowdown of all the new devices and features announced at the conference yesterday:

iPhone 6S & 6S Plus: Apple announced new iPhones – the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus and both come with some interesting upgrades. The new iPhones now feature force touch, or 3D touch, which detects the pressure applied by a user when touching the screen. The phones also feature upgraded 12MP cameras that can record 4K video, and 5MP front cameras with ‘retina flash‘. Essentially, the device brightens the screen to three times its normal brightness to add light to images. Additionally, the device has been upgraded with a 64-bit A9 chip and now supports WiFi speeds of up to 866 Mbps and 300 Mbps on LTE.

Interestingly, Apple now offers a monthly payment plan which lets users upgrade to newer iPhones every year starting at $32/month which includes AppleCare+. Devices sold as part of the upgrade program are sold unlocked, letting users choose their carriers. Pre-orders for these devices will start on the 12th of Sept (in the US), and the devices will be officially available from the 25th of September.

iPad Pro: Apple’s new iPad Pro is a monster tablet at 12.9 inches, even bigger than Microsoft’s Surface 3’s 12 inch screen. The device also has a better resolution that MS’ offering at 2732*2048 pixels, while the claimed battery life is higher too, at 10 hours on the Pro vs 9 hours on the Surface 3. Priced at $799 for the starting model, the same as the Surface 3, it’s clear what Apple is considering competition here, it’s not the traditional Android tablets, rather the full Windows 10 sporting Surface 3.

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While Apple hasn’t revealed the internals of its new iPad, the company mentions that the tablet includes a more powerful 64-bit A9X processor that it claims to be faster than 80 percent of the PCs shipped in the last 12 months. Even if this ambitious claim is true, and even given the new split screen mode, we still don’t feel a device running iOS can be as useful productivity-wise as a machine running a more fully-fledged OS like Windows 10. Maybe if the device ran OSX, we would consider it worth it. The device comes with a couple of optional accessories.

The Keyboard looks similar to Microsoft’s Surface keyboard and connects via three circles along the side of the device. The keyboard will cost users $169.

The Stylus, which Apple fashionably calls ‘The Pencil’, lets users draw and write on the iPad and can sense both pressure and tilt, letting users use it like an actual pencil. The company claims the device is accurate down to a single pixel. The Pencil will be priced at $99.

Apple TV: Apple TV got a long overdue redesign, and now comes with a new app store, OS and a multi touch remote. The device runs tvOS and has Siri integrated as well. The device will accept voice commands like “that one Modern Family episode with Edward Norton”, and display relevant Modern Family episodes as results. The company also focussed on gaming with the new design, with the device now capable of playing games like Guitar Hero. However, Apple imposes a limit of 200MB on static resources a developer can have on the device at a time, requiring games to be relatively small, and given the low-end specifications, don’t expect it to run the next Assassin’s Creed.

As for technical specification, the device has a 64-bit A8 processor and supports Bluetooth 4. The device will be launched in October, priced at $149 for 32GB and $199 for 64GB. The remote that works with it comes with a glass trackpad, motion controller (for gaming) and voice input for working with Siri.

Apple Watch: The Apple watch got a minor makeover with new colours & straps and native apps like Facebook Messenger and GoPro. It will also feature a medical app called Airstrip, that lets users measure vitals in real time. The Watch will be updated to Watch OS2 on September 16th.

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Software updates: According to Apple, both iOS 9 will launch one week from now on the 16th of September. iOS 9 will supports all devices with an A5 SoC or newer. For iPads this includes everything except the original iPad. Supported iPhones include the iPhone 4s and any iPhone released afterward.

Image source: Flickr user Michael Summers

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