Apple Watch Updates
Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off the company’s annual presentation by extolling the virtues of the Apple watch and its various functions, including Apple Pay and its fitness monitoring capabilities.
According to Apple, customers report 97% percent satisfaction with the Apple watch.
Jeff Williams, SVP of Operations, presented the watch, detailing a laundry list of new features, including third-party complications, a new watch face, adding transit to maps, and 10,000 watch apps on the app store which can display video and access hardware like the microphone and other sensors.
Williams also announced a few new popular apps coming to the watch, including Facebook messenger, iTranslate, and Go Pro, whose app turns the watch into viewfinder for video cameras.
Airstrip—which was demoed with its founder and co-founder—showed an app for doctors to view medical information and communicate with patients, including remote prenatal care.
Also announced was a new series of watch bands by high end manufacturer Hermes. Apple watches are now available in gold and rose gold finishes. New models are shipping today in 24 countries.
Cook called the iPad “the clearest expression of our vision of the future of personal computing.” The iPad has seen declining sales, and many were predicting that this year’s announcement would refocus the product on enterprise customers, which is exactly what happened.
After some dramatic shots of the solar system, we got to see the “biggest news in iPad since the iPad,” the iPad Pro—though that big news may have been eclipsed by Microsoft’s Kirk Koenigsbauer sharing the stage and showing the capabilities of the new office suite available for the Pro.
Further supporting the enterprise capabilities, a representative from Adobe showed off a couple of Adobe products: Photoshop Fix, Comp and Sketch, which will ship in October.
Also announced was the Apple Pencil—a stylus that causes the sensors to double the amount of scanning on the surface for a more accurate reading. The pencil is supported by both the Microsoft and Adobe suites.
With a 12.9” diagonal, the width of the pro is the same as the height of the Air 2. The display has a 2732x2048 resolution, or 5.6 million pixels.
The new A9X chip brings more powerful processing capabilities, being 1.8x faster than the A8X chip.
It also claims a 10-hour battery life, though that’s most likely when the device is running at its lowest power output with no apps open.
The sound system has a four speaker audio system, three times audio volume of iPad Air 2. It’s 6.9 mm thin, weighs 1.57 lbs., and has a smart keyboard accessory. The Pro also boasts a new connector tech called smart connector, which transmits power and data.
Apple also announced the iPad mini
2, which is essentially a smaller version of the iPad Air 2.
iPhone—pressure sensors and a better camera
With the wild worldwide popularity of the iPhone, and its basis in Apple’s revenue stream, it’s not really a surprise that the company didn’t do anything radically different.
The two biggest updates were the 3D Touch capability, which is really just a pressure sensor (hopefully the new 7000 series aluminum phone won’t bend if you press too hard), and the new 12MP camera, which can take 4K pictures and video. The front camera is 5MP.
One smaller but interesting update was the decision to turn the front-facing display into the FaceTime camera’s flash—basically the screen gets three times brighter when you take a selfie.
Finally, Apple announced Live Photos, which are photos that capture 1.5 seconds before and after a picture is taken, essentially creating a .GIF that plays when you press it. Live Photos can be set as a screen lock.
The new smartphones also have faster WiFi: the LTE advanced has 23 bands, WiFi speed is up to 866 mbps, and everything runs on iOS 9. The presentation also included a jab at Android, with a new app allowing customers to convert to Apple more easily.
Apple also announced a new upgrade program that will allow customers to get a new iPhone every year for $32.
Viewers also got to see a new iPhone ad featuring Bill Hader and what many were sure was a Kardashian.