Apple has taken the wraps off the iPhone 6S, its latest smartphone featuring an improved camera, a faster A9 processor and a ‘3D Touch’ display able to distinguish between different types of press on the screen.
Apple also said that iOS 9, the software update for its existing phones and iPads, will arrive on September 16.
Early announcements during the event included a new 12.9-inch iPad Pro, with a ‘Pencil’ stylus and tear-off keyboard designed to compete with and respond to the Microsoft Surface Pro. The new Apple TV device also appeared, showing off a new tvOS interface, a TV App Store and Siri integration via a new touchpad remote control. Apple also announced new Watch designs for straps and cases.
Here are all the key details and announcements from the event.
The new iPhone 6S and the iPhone 6S Plus feature faster processors, better cameras, ‘3D Touch’ integration and come in a new pinkish ‘Rose Gold’ hue alongside gold, space grey and silver.
3D Touch adds pressure sensitivity to the swiping, pointing and touching that have defined how the iPhone works since its launch in 2007. To help achieve this, Apple said it designed a new Taptic feedback motor to help it give more detailed, faster and subtle cues to users about how they were interacting with the new ‘layer’ of interaction. The two new gestures ‘Peek’ and ‘Pop’ allow you to open contextual information immediately from other apps, and then ‘Pop’ them into the main view with a heavy press.
Those gestures also work from the homescreen, allowing users to go direct to different functions like taking a selfie in the camera, or searching for directions in Maps, without opening the whole app first.
The phones also feature:
- An A9 processor, 90% faster for GPU tasks and 70% faster for CPU tasks than the A8
- ‘Hey Siri’ now calls up the voice assistant whether your phone is charging or not
- TouchID ‘second generation’ which is twice as fast at recognising fingerprints
- An ‘all-new’ iSight 12-megapixels camera capable of 4K video and faster autofocus
- 5-megapixels selfie camera with a flash that works using the Retina display, specially tuned to flash three times as bright as normal
- ‘Live’ photos which capture a second and a half of motion as well as the full-resolution still image
- LTE Advanced capable of up-to 300 megabits-per-second, and up to twice as fast WiFi
The new iPhone 6S will be available starting September 25, with pre-orders beginning in the UK on September 12. Apple said it will also begin a new program — first in the US, but coming to the UK later — which will let customers buy a new iPhone every year, on contract, with AppleCare included.
IPAD PRO AND APPLE PENCIL
The iPad Pro is a 12.9-inch touchscreen device powered, and priced, to compete directly with laptops. Powered by a A9X chip, with 1.8 times the performance of the A8X chip it replaces from the iPad Air 2. That puts the iPad at 22 times the performance of the original for CPU tasks.
The iPad Pro is designed to work with a stylus — not a surprise, but a shock given Apple’s (or rather co-founder Steve Jobs’) prior expressed hatred for the input method, at least on a 3.5-inch device like the original iPhone.
The pressure- and tilt-sensitive Apple Pencil is designed to be a secondary input for the iPad, “to allow for a new level of precision with the iPad Pro” according to design chief Jony Ive. Apple said it would not replace touch, but make it possible to make new types of creative content on the device.
Apple said Pencil is designed to work with its own Notes app, but demo’d Microsoft apps and Paper by FiftyThree on stage to show off the precision and versatility of its new accessory.
The bigger iPad makes it possible to type with a full-scale keyboard directly on the screen, and also incorporates the same split-screen software modes possible in iOS 9 as the iPad Air 2. The display is extremely high-resolution, with 5.6 million pixels — more than the 15-inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display.
The iPad Pro is also built to work with a new ‘Smart’ keyboard with physical keys, similar to that seen on the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, but featuring the same ‘dome’ switch as on the recently launched Macbook.
The iPad Pro features a 10-hour battery, has an 8-megapixels camera, features a TouchID fingerprint sensor and a four-speaker audio system.
The iPad Pro also:
- Weighs the same as the original iPad – 1.57lb
- Is 6.9mm thick — compared to the 6.1mm-thick iPad Air 2.
- Has built-in speakers three times louder than the iPad.
- Comes in silver, space grey and gold.
- Will be released in November.
APPLE TV AND TVOS
Apple’s long-rumoured assault on TV is finally here. Years after launching the original Apple TV box, Tim Cook said that “our vision for TV is simple and perhaps a little provocative. We believe the future of TV is apps”.
The new Apple TV has a totally redesigned Apple interface, running on what Apple calls ‘tvOS’, and comes with its own App Store to make it possible to run full-scale games, video services and other apps on a very big screen.
Some of the developers already working on Apple TV apps include Hulu, Netflix, and games like Disney Infinity, Guitar Hero, Rayman Adventures, fitness apps with Apple Watch integration. Details on UK-specific apps for Sky, BT Sport or the BBC are yet to be revealed.
The new device has full integration with Siri, via a new Bluetooth controller that features a glass touchpad “that makes it both fluid and precise” said Apple’s Eddy Cue. The remote has typically few buttons, but has a dedicated option for Siri, Menu and Airplay.
Key to the experience is that Siri will search all of your apps for content, meaning if you look for a particular actor or type of movie, TV show or documentary it will look through HBO, Netflix, Showtime and other apps at once.
Physically the Apple TV is unexciting, looking largely like two of the older devices stacked on top of each other. But the device is not meant to be looked at directly, with all the focus on the TV screen including with a range of new animated, dynamic screensavers.
Siri will also respond to other queries, including traditional Siri questions about the weather, sports results and other information.
The Apple TV will also:
- Feature a 64-bit A8 processor
- Come in 32GB and 64GB models
- Be available in October
A range of new straps and fashionable choices for the Apple Watch were unveiled, built with the help of Hermes. A tan-coloured double-loop leather strap was among the new additions.
Apple also unveiled a rose gold and gold-coloured aluminium watch case, new for the 2015 Holiday season. A (project)RED band was unveiled too, alongside some subtly different leather straps.
In terms of software, Apple had already announced that the Apple Watch would receive a major update in 2015 with watchOS 2.0, which makes it possible to run native apps on the hardware — allowing users to completely disengage with their phones for different types of exercise tracking and other functions.
WatchOS 2.0, out on 16 September, also adds new watch faces and third party “complications” allowing different information to hit the front of the Watch, on demand.
At the event Apple said there are already 10,000 apps on the App Store with lots more to come. Among the apps demoed were more complex heart rate tracking via Airstrip.