Yesterday was one of Apple’s big yearly events; perhaps the most anticipated because it’s the event that always announces a new or updated version of the iPhone. If you’ve been keeping up with the rumors, then chances are you weren’t overly surprised by what transpired in San Francisco yesterday, though there was one or two “wow” moments. The event provided plenty of information and new upgrades, and it started with the company’s newest device, the Apple Watch.
It was another product that many people thought was unnecessary, yet as time (pun intended) marched on, more and more users found it incredibly accommodating to their everyday lifestyle. Apple boasts a 97% customer satisfaction rating, features 10,000 apps, and provides a HealthKit to promote an active lifestyle.
The Apple Watch and Watch OS2 will now allow 3rd party complications which allow the user to view things like top news stories from their favorite outlet, weather, current time at their location and time somewhere else in the world, flight time reminders, or scores for their favorite team. Facebook messenger is also going to be available, making it easier to respond to messages and provide locations. iTranslate is a big one for those who need translation assistance while traveling, allowing the user to speak into the mic and receive a translation in 90 different languages.
Perhaps the biggest news with the Apple Watch is its ability to assist those in the medical field. With the AirStrip app the watch allows doctors to receive messages from nurses that shows information such as vital signs in real-time and lab results. Doctors can view patients and their diagnoses, and can scan ahead to see what other upcoming appointments they have. This information is kept private as the app authenticates the user while the watch is on, then secures the information when the watch is taken off.
Sense4Baby allows doctors to communicate with pregnant patients at home who wear the watch on their wrist and baby sensors on their stomach. This allows doctor to request a Non-Stress Test to check the heart rate of the mother and the child, and differentiate between the two. While the test is being run, the mother can even listen to her baby’s heartbeat through the Apple Watch.
With the new update comes new styles of watch faces and bands, allowing users to create more unique color ways to suit their own preferences. Apple also teamed up with Product Red, in which a portion of the proceeds will go towards assistance in finding a cure for AIDs.
The Apple Watch is available now, and Watch OS2 will be available on September 16th.
An iPad announcement was expected, though this one did have a surprise moment. Apple’s new iPad Pro was on display and showed off all its new capabilities. A screen that’s 78% bigger than the original iPad while remaining only 6.9 mm thin and weighing in at 1.57 lbs, the iPad Pro boasts a 10 hour battery life and four speakers that create three times the audio volume. The audio also balances accordingly based on how the iPad is being held for full audio experience. With a bigger screen comes the ability for Apple to install a full size keyboard for faster and easier typing.
The goal with the iPad Pro is to allow its users to create more. Whether for work or play, it’s focus is on multi-tasking and efficiency. During the announcement, Apple revealed that it’s worked alongside Microsoft to run Office and some of Microsoft’s notable programs that were previously unavailable on the iPad. The program allows users to use two apps side by side – such as Excel and Word – to help improve multi-tasking and project management. With Adobe, users can create layouts for magazines and ads with the use of the Apple Pencil. That’s right, Apple now has a stylus all their own and it opens up opportunities for users who want precise drawings or the ability to use programs like AutoCAD on their tablet. The iPad Pro also offers shape recognition, so editing papers or charts with quick gestures quickly transforms them into professional grade graphics.
A team-up with Microsoft seems just as unlikely as introducing a stylus, an obvious change of pace from the Steve Jobs days.
The iPad Pro can also be connected to an external keyboard through it’s Smart Connector; three magnetic circles that come into contact with three prongs on the keyboard that provide a quick and easy connection for those who prefer a computer-like keyboard.
In the healthcare realm, the Pro can be used to view the human body and better diagnose injuries and allow physical therapists to show their patients exactly what muscle or bone is being worked on for better accuracy and understanding.
The iPad Pro has a 12.9 inch retina display, an A9X chip processor, 8 mp camera and starts at $799 with an October ship date. The Apple Pencil starts at $99, and the Smart Keyboard starts at $169.
Apple TV hasn’t taken off quite as quickly as their other products, but with some new upgrades Apple is hoping more people cut the cable cord. Apple announced new apps, a new remote and voice activation with Siri that searches through iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and Showtime to provide the most accurate results.
Siri allows the user to search for movies and shows, by genre, actor, director, et al, and provides results based on popularity and recency. The example given was a Siri search for James Bond films, then narrowed down to only those with Sean Connery to provide a more direct listing based on the user’s preferences. The voice activation has the ability to speed ahead by saying things like “fast forward 5 minutes” or if you missed important dialogue all you have to say is “what did they say?” and Siri will back up 15 seconds. Siri can also be used to display information like weather or sports scores while watching a show or movie, listing the information on the bottom of the screen to avoid interrupting whatever the user is watching.
AppleTV has added more to entice cable cutters, especially sports fans. The MLB app demonstrated the ability to view one game while being able to see scores to other games in progress, get notifications surrounding other players or teams, and offer a split screen to watch two games at once. It also has a feature that allows you to watch highlights and view player stats without losing your view of the game.
The remote has a glass area that’s used for swiping and selecting shows or movies, and can even be used as the controller for games purchased in the app store. The touch area can also be used to speed ahead or rewind a show or movie for faster referencing. The remote is connected via bluetooth, and can be set up to power on/off the TV and control the volume, so multiple remotes aren’t needed. It has a three month battery life before it needs to be recharged via its lightening port.
Aside from the TV features, the upgraded device also allows users to play games that were previously only available on console, such as Disney Infinity and the upcoming Guitar Hero Live. Comic book fans are also able to read digital versions of their favorite books right on their television screen.
AppleTV features 64-bit A8 chip, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, HDMI, ethernet, and an IR receiver. The 32GB model will cost $149, and the 64GB will be priced at $199, and will be available late October.
iPhone 6S and 6S Plus
This is always the most anticipated announcement at the September Apple events. With millions of users worldwide, the iPhone 6 is the most popular phone ever. Apple hopes to continue that trend with the upgraded 6S and 6S Plus models announced yesterday, along with the new iOS 9 update.
The size of each phone remains the same at 4.7 and 5.5 inch retina displays, though the S models now come with a stronger, more durable glass for those accidental drops and quick moments of panic.
One of the notable upgrades is the 3D Touch, which creates a faster, more efficient way to open or peek a quick-view of notifications within the app itself. The 3D Touch senses pressure from the users finger, along with length of time pressed, and provides commands based on those two factors. This allows users to view photos or web links in texts without opening a second window, or save locations or dates for easier referencing.
The camera has been upgraded to 12 megapixels on the back, and the ability to film video in 4K, which is currently the highest definition available. Apple has also added a front screen flash for those all-important selfie photos to go along with the 5 megapixel front camera. Along with the added megapixels, the camera offers a faster and more precise focus, to provide incredibly clear photos with very little color saturation to provide crisp photos. Perhaps the biggest camera-related announcement was the addition of the Live Photo. The Live Photo adds a second and a half on either side of the photo being taken, so it’s not quite a video and not quite a photo and not quite a GIF.
A new color will be available for the 6S and 6S Plus, as Apple has added a Rose Gold version to its lineup alongside the Silver, Gold, and Space Grey colors. Inside the phone is the new A9 chip, which is 70% faster on CPU tasks than the A8 chip, and performs 90% faster in the graphics department when compared to the A8. This faster performance and enhanced graphics allows the 6S and 6S Plus to offer better gaming experience for mobile gamers. The updated phone also boasts a faster Wi-Fi and LTE, and is able to transfer information from an Android phone to the iPhone itself more directly.
Apple is offering an iPhone upgrade program, which starts at $32 a month and allows users to upgrade their iPhone at any time, regardless of who their carrier is. Most carriers are now implementing installment plans for phones, and Apple’s program may be a better option cost-wise for those wishing to upgrade their phone each year when a new model is available. The 6S starts at $199, and the 6S Plus at $299 with a carrier plan, which is roughly a two year upgrade time.
Users can pre-order the 6S and 6S Plus on September 12th, and will be available on September 25th, and the iOS 9 update is available on September 16th.
“Making you a better geek, one post at a time!”