In case you were too busy yesterday, or if you just live under a rock, here is a summary of Apple’s 2015 keynote announcements. In typical Apple annual fashion, they announced new colors for the Apple Watch along with WatchOS 2, the Apple iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil, a new AppleTV box with tvOS and Siri, all new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus with 3D Touch, iOS 9, a new iPhone upgrade program, and Mac OS X El Capitan.
Apple announced new colors available to the Apple Watch as well as updated software, WatchOS 2. The new OS will be available for download on September 16th. The new OS will contain many requested features from both users and developers, with some big changes coming to what is exposed to app developers, as well as what users can do on their watch face (including some video). The biggest user-facing changes will involve greater customization of the watch, including allowing the screen to stay on for longer and more watch faces. The Apple Music interface has been improved and “short videos” will be allowed, such as Vines. Complications are a new addition to the watch app model, allowing for easier access to information using the crown. Native apps are another developer goodie being offered, which will allow significantly more functionality, including Facebook Messenger and the above mentioned videos, with a potentially great feature of using an Apple Watch as a GoPro viewfinder.
The Apple Watch will now come in a gold color and rose gold. Apple is also offering more band colors for the Sport Edition, as well as a new leather band option.
Apple iPad Pro
Apple’s iPad Pro features a 12.9-inch screen which will showcase 5.6 million pixels on a single display. The device will be powered by iOS 9, which promises more multi-tasking features to make it a productivity-focused tablet, along with a full-sized virtual keyboard. The iPad Pro will run on a new “console-class” third-generation 64-bit A9X GPU which is 1.8 times faster than the one present in the iPad Air 2. The company also claims that this is faster than 80% of the portable PCs and it also packs along two times better graphic performance, while allowing the tablet a 10-hour battery life.
The iPad Pro will also include 4 speakers, and will be just 6.9mm thick as compared to 6.1mm on the Air 2, and will weigh just 1.57 pounds. The tablet will utilize an 8 MP iSight Camera as well as Touch ID. Apple has also announced a physical keyboard for its new tablet, very similar to the one utilized by Microsoft’s Surface line of devices. Along with this accessory, the company has also announced a stylus, which it has dubbed as the “Apple Pencil”.
The iPad Pro will be available in three storage options. The 32 GB version will cost $799, while the 64 GB option will cost you $949. Both these iterations will support Wi-Fi only. The 128 GB version will support both Wi-Fi and cellular up to 150 Mbps LTE and will cost $1079. Meanwhile, the Apple Pencil will cost $99 and the “Smart Keyboard” will be available for $169.
The Apple TV will cost $149 for the 32 GB version and $199 for the 64 GB version and will be available starting October. The Apple TV will be powered by the 64-bit A8 processor and will support Bluetooth 4.0, HDMI, Ethernet, Wi-Fi and IR receiver. Its remote will also include Bluetooth 4.0, accelerometer, gyroscope and will apparently work for three months on a single charge.
Touting that “the future of TV is apps”, the Apple TV will have an App Store, with the company release a Software Development Kit (SDK) for third-party developers to build apps and games to be used directly on the TV. An overhauled user interface integrates Siri voice controls for the first time, allowing you to scroll through menus and playing movies and more by simply using your voice.
The Apple TV remote has received a massive redesign, incorporating a touchpad as well. Moreover, the company has also integrated Siri with it as well, allowing users to speak to their remote to make use of the “Universal Search” feature to find movies, shows across iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Showtime. Apple has announced that it’ll be adding more channels to this list over time. Along with the standard control buttons such as volume and menu toggles, users will be able to use the remote as a gaming controller for several games such as Rayman, Guitar Hero and even Crossy Road. Surprisingly, the TV itself doesn’t seem to feature a power button.
iPhone 6s & iPhone 6s Plus
The last time Apple upgraded the megapixels of its iPhone camera was with the iPhone 4S. With the new 6S and 6S Plus, the rear camera will have 12MP instead of 8MP and the front camera will have 5MP instead of 1.2MP. Apple’s new sensor produces less grain and color noise through a process called Deep Trench Isolation, while also providing better color accuracy. Video resolution has been improved to 4K, with 8 million pixels of detail. The most interesting addition was Live Photos. The new feature produces a new kind of image that mostly lives as a still, but when activated by a slight force touch, the photo animates with a couple of seconds of motion and sound.
The new iPhones are made of a custom, specialized aluminum, along with what Apple says is the toughest glass available on any smartphone. The handsets are each available in Silver, Gold, Space Grey and the new Rose Gold (pink) color options.
The new iPhones will feature a new function called 3D Touch. Depending on how hard you press, different UI functions will be presented when you push and hold or tap the screen. “It provides distinct tactile feedback for your actions, letting you know exactly what you’ve done, and what to expect.”
The new iPhones will be available to pre-order on September 12 in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, United Kingdom and the United States, with shipments beginning on September 25.
Apple announced the next version of iOS for the iPhone and iPad line, and it will be available for download on September 16th. The new OS brings improvements across the board, from under-the-hood enhancements such as performance and battery life, to more overt changes such as an overhauled multitasking system.
iPhone Upgrade Program
Apple introduced a new subscription service for the iPhone, that will allow users to get a new device yearly. The “iPhone Upgrade Program” will initially roll out in Apple retail stores located in the United States. Apple will roll out this subscription upgrade plan in the United States with the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. As a member of the service, you will be enrolled in a monthly installment plan that will start at $32 a month. In exchange for the monthly due, subscribers will receive a new unlocked iPhone annually and will also have accidental protection via Apple’s AppleCare+.
The program will begin to roll out on September 12, allowing potential users to register their interest. To be a part of the program, it is a requirement to visit a US Apple retail store and sign up using a personal credit card. Once your first device arrives, it must be activated with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon.
The pricing tiers for the program are as follows:
iPhone 6s (16GB) – $32.41/mo
iPhone 6s (64GB) – $36.58/mo
iPhone 6s (128GB) – $40.75/mo
iPhone 6s Plus (16GB) – $36.58/mo
iPhone 6s Plus (64GB) – $40.75/mo
iPhone 6s Plus (128GB) – $44.91/mo
Mac OS X El Capitan
While the Mac line wasn’t really a part of the Apple Keynote yesterday, their El Capitan webpage was quietly updated saying it will be available on September 30th. Apple said the new release would focus on improving performance and the overall user experience. As many users have already seen in El Capitan’s public beta, it includes changes to the UI, along with new security features and access to new APIs.