An Apple event was held on Wednesday to show off their latest technology and toys. They kicked off the whole show with the bold proclamation of "monster announcements" in store. And did they deliver? Well...sort of.
The first announcement was about Apple Watch, a device most people stopped caring about almost as soon as it hit the stores. They had some mildly interesting announcements for the medical field which are completely useless to the average user. And a Time Travel feature to allow for scrolling though personal calendars to see future appointments or events. Time Travel was a bit clunky in the demo and it's a feature that seems better left to Siri if productivity is a consideration. Apple also announced a new partnership with Hermes for some new leather strap options for the watch. They'll be affordable to the average joe, right? If the average joe can afford to spend anywhere from $1100 to $1500, sure!
Next up in the Apple announcements came iPad and another big, bold declaration, "The biggest news in iPad since the iPad." At least they were speaking literally, because the big announcement, the iPad Pro, is yet another example of Apple desperately playing catch up to the rest of the industry. The iPad Pro boasts a 12.9" screen, faster processor and a 2,732 x 2,048 display. Apple also announced a keyboard and stylus accessory called the Apple Pencil. This comes a full year after the launch of Microsoft's 12" Surface Pro 3. Microsoft was even present at the event to show off some strikingly familiar (if you've seen a Surface) Office features on iPad Pro using the Pencil and multi-tasking capabilities. The announcement boasted desktop power in the new iPad Pro but failed to deliver in any of the demoes. Where the Surface Pro 3 is capable of running programs like full Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, the iPad Pro must have special Adobe apps, Adobe Photoshop Fix and Sketch, that lack the features of the full suite. The iPad Pro will weigh 1.57 lbs and is about 6.9 mm thick. The iPad Pro has a starting price of $799 for 32GB, $949 64GB and $1,079 for 128 GB. The $1,079 comes with Wi-Fi and cellular capabilities. The iPad Pro will be available in November.
And the announcement that was probably the best of the day, Apple TV. Their proclamation, "The future of TV is apps," wasn't exactly a thunderbolt from the blue. Television viewing habits have been moving more and more in the direction of apps and streaming for years. With the rise of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu Plus and even Amazon Instant Video, you would have to be living under a rock to miss the trend. Nonetheless, Apple TV is pretty spectacular. The remote capabilities are fantastic with Siri as your navigation assistant allowing for voice search. Granted, the Amazon Fire TV remote has a voice search function as well, but it only works inside the Amazon store. With Apple TV, the user pushes the button to speak to Siri and she will search across all applications for fulfill your request. And with features like, "What did she say?" you can ask Siri what a character said and Siri will automatically rewind the video a few seconds and turn on subtitles to allow you to review the line. The remote also features a glass touch screen to allow easy scrolling through menus and volume controls for your TV.
Apple is also bringing games to your Apple TV. What impact will this have on gaming consoles, you ask? Well, not much, actually. The gaming capabilities are limited and the box doesn't support graphics heavy games like Call Of Duty or Halo so Sony and Microsoft don't need to worry about watching their backs anytime soon. But Nintendo could be a different story. Apple TV has become a hybrid machine that has combined the best elements of Apple TV with a gaming console like the Nintendo Wii. With Apple TV, games are played with the remote's motion sensors and glass touch sensor. So, get ready to duck and cover because Apple TV remotes will be flying.
Apple also announced a partnership with game developers Hipster Whale to launch a co-op/multiplayer version of their hit game Crossy Roads for Apple TV. The game allows friends to play together and against each other as they race across traffic and shove each other into oncoming vehicles. It's basically a next gen version of Frogger. (And I will definitely be playing on my Apple TV.) Game developers, Harmonix also announced an exclusive game for Apple TV called Beat Sports. Let's just be honest; it's Wii Sports with aliens and a slightly musical element. That's it. The new Apple TV will be available in late October.
Last, but not least, the iPhone. We all knew it was coming because Apple can't let a year go by without making you think you need a brand new phone to function like a human being. And with the announcement, yet another world-shattering proclamation, "The only thing that's changed is everything." Well, they've certainly put on their braggy pants for this one!
The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus sport some cool new features. There's a new 12 megapixel rear camera and users can shoot video in 4k resolution. The overall usefulness of a phone that can film in 4k is yet to be determined. 4k resolution televisions are still pricey for most people and watching 4k resolution playback on a phone's tiny screen or a computer screen without 4k display, is basically pointless. So, where the 12 megapixels might come in handy, 4k video is just overkill. They claim to have improved autofocus on both phones but if that protruding camera annoyed you on on the 6 and 6Plus, it will annoy you again on the S series.
A new function called 3D Touch incorporates pressure sensitivity to allow users to move around inside and between applications like never before on an iPhone. Users will be able to "pop out" information to view easier and switch applications without losing place or closing down any application that is already opened. Users will also be able to jump right to a function within the application. For example, holding down the camera app button will give you the option to immediately take that all-important selfie without having to open up the app and switch to the front-facing camera.
Having worked in tech, I watched people struggle on a daily basis to use even the simplest of functions on phones and tablets. Gestures that seem intuitive to designers may not be as intuitive to their average user. It will be interesting to see how quickly people get frustrated trying to figure them out. Apple will be offering an upgrade program in Apple Stores and the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus will be available for pre-order September 12th and to take home September 25th.
So, are you going to rush right out and buy that iPad Pro? How about the new iPhone? Personally, I'll be throwing my money at Apple TV. Leave us a comment below and we can chat!