Usually, we’re treated to two Apple events in the autumn months; one in September for the iPhone and one in October for the iPad and any other lose ends.
Yesterday, Apple decided to mash all them together into one big event, and this was one of their longest in the last few years, clocking in at over two hours.
Rather than kicking off in the usual way of parading lots of big, impressive numbers about sales, Apple CEO Tim Cook got straight into it by talking about Apple Watch.
Only a few months into the wearable’s release, we’re already getting a major update to its operating system as well as new bands and a new rose gold, aka pink, model. Alas, still no word on when it’ll be available in Ireland or other countries.
Apple Watch aside, we were into the big reveal of the show. The iPad has been slightly struggling as a product lately, especially in comparison with the giant that is the iPhone.
Trying to decide what the iPad, and indeed any tablet device, is actually for has been trickier than companies thought. The iPad mini is solely an entertainment consumption device, but what about the productivity apps?
Enter the brand new iPad Pro. With a 12.9 inch screen, the iPad Pro is aimed at people who want to do actual work on their iPad. The bigger screen with iOS 9’s new features for productivity like split-screen apps make this a proper go at trying to lure people away from laptops and to the iPad.
Immediately comparisons were drawn to the Microsoft Surface, a very similar device in looks and functionality, even down to the iPad Pro also having a keyboard and stylus, creatively called Apple Pencil.
It’s impossible to not compare them, but we live in a world big enough for the two of them, so maybe their respective fans shouldn’t be at each other’s throats yet.
The Apple Pencil will be the big pull for the iPad Pro. It’ll allow it to become both a much more creative and productive device, scribbling down notes and drawings like it was paper.
From the iPad Pro, they went on to Apple TV. For so long, the little “hockey puck” set top box was deemed a hobby by Apple, but was always on the cusp of being their next big product, even before the Apple Watch came out.
The updated box comes with a new remote featuring a touch panel to interact with the Apple TV’s new interface, as well as a big push to use Siri with a button to control it right there on the remote.
Apple TV is now open for apps, meaning developers will be able to make apps like on your smartphone for your television. Gaming will make big ways in this, with the controller acting similarly to a Wii controller.
The graphics also seemed very Wii-like, much more cartoony than “proper” game consoles. If that changes, we’ll have to wait and see.
Closing up the event was the one thing we were sure we’d see, new iPhones.
We got our predictable upgrade, with the new iPhone 6s and 6s+. They’re virtually identical to the previous generation iPhones, but with one new colour, a pinkish rose gold like the new Apple Watch model mentioned earlier.
There’s two big hardware changes though with the 6s and 6s+. First is the camera, bumped up to 12 megapixels compared to the 8 of the last models. It’s a tight competition for Best Smartphone Camera between the iPhone and Samsung’s best offering, but the increase in megapixels might just put the iPhone on top.
They also showed a new feature called Live Photos, which, when you tap and hold the photo, brings the photo to life, like something from Harry Potter. Or, you know, a GIF.
It’s done by the camera capturing a second and a half extra around the time that you take the photo.
The second big hardware change is 3D Touch. The harder you press on your phone, the more context or info you get.
Say you press hard on the camera icon on the iPhone home screen. You now get a little menu pop underneath that lets you quickly take a selfie or a video.
3D Touch will bring a whole new way to interact with your phone, from swiping between apps and having more choices, making fewer screens to go through.
This will absolutely take some getting used to, with a whole new learning curve on what a hard press will do on this certain screen in this certain app.
Apple crammed a lot into this presentation, unusually for them. While everything had room to breathe, there was still so much to get through.
While this is traditionally solely the time for iPhones, putting everything in together that Apple had left to announce this year took some of the sheen off of Apple’s crown jewel.
The iPad Pro came away the winner, the one thing unveiled that truly felt new and interesting, if you don’t include the Microsoft Surface.