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Apple Special Event

by Diana Benner
Image of a Macbook, iPad, and iPhone on a desk.

Apple finally revealed what Siri wouldn’t give us a hint about. Here’s a quick recap of everything you need to know from their most recent keynote.

iPad Pro

After more than a year of rumors, a jumbo-sized iPad has landed! The new iPad Pro brings a slightly larger screen at 12.9 inches, roughly the size of a 13-inch MacBook. The device is powered by a new A9X processor that is 1.8 times faster than Apple’s previous generation chip. It has a four-speaker stereo sound system and is just 6.9mm thick. Best of all, the tablet will last for 10 hours on a single charge.

The device was designed to take advantage of the new multitasking features that Apple added to iOS 9 to make it more useful for productivity. Apple’s Phil Schiller said that the iPad Pro offered “desktop-class” performance and that it would enable new types of applications never seen on any previous iPad.

In an unexpected twist, a representative from Microsoft came out on stage to show off a new version of its iconic Office software designed specifically for the new iPad. Microsoft showed off the “multitasking” found in the iPad which allows you to work on two documents at once.

Pricing for the iPad Pro will start at $799 for a 32GB model, $949 for a 128GB model and $1,079 for a 128GB model with LTE connectivity. It will be available sometime in November.

Smart Keyboard

Apple unveiled a brand new keyboard accessory designed specifically for the iPad Pro. It’s basically a cover and keyboard in one. It magnetically connects with a three-port Smart Connector to accommodate landscape typing. The Smart Keyboard will cost $169 and will be available sometime in November.

Apple Pencil

In addition to the keyboard, the iPad Pro will also be supported by the new Apple Pencil, which is basically a sleek stylus that is precise and supports force data. Pressing lightly will result in a thin stroke, while a firm press will produce a broader stroke. The Pencil features a Lightning connector that lets you recharge it while hooked up to the tablet. When using the pencil, multiple scans allow for capturing more points in a stroke. The pencil can be used to mark up emails, images and others items directly via select iOS apps.

The Apple Pencil will cost $99 and will be available sometime in November.

iPad Mini 4

The iPad Mini 4 will be a slightly thinner version of the third-generation iPad Mini. It contains a faster processor, and it also has a better camera than the iPad Mini 3. The new iPad mini 4, says Apple, packs “the power and performance of the iPad Air 2” into a smaller mini enclosure, which now weighs just 0.65 pounds. Make note that the faster processor and more RAM in the iPad Mini 4 means that it will support “split-screen” apps, which will debut in iOS 9.

The iPad Mini 4 will start at $399 for 16GB and is currently available.

iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus

The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6S Plus look practically identical to the current iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. However, internally they are different. Highlights include Apple’s new 3D Touch technology, faster processors, twice the RAM as last year’s iPhones, new 12-megapixel rear cameras and 5-megapixel front cameras, Live Photos, and a new color option.


3D Touch

Apple has included a variation of Force Touch, called 3D Touch, on the newer versions of the phones, which will call up secondary menus and actions when you press and hold the screen. For example, if you’re in your email inbox, applying fingertip pressure to an element in the message will surface more information, like maybe the flight number on an emailed travel itinerary, for instance. Apple called this concept “peeking in” during the live demo.


Better Cameras

Apple’s new rear camera on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus is 12-megapixels. The new phones feature better optics and it can record 4K video as well. The front-facing camera has been upped to 5 megapixels, and it supports full HD video as well as selfie panoramas. Both new cameras include a new software-based flash feature that should improve low-light photography.

Live Photos

When the iPhone 6s captures a standard photo, it also records a brief video automatically in the background. Simply force touch on any photo in your camera roll and you’ll see the brief animation play.

A New Color

The iPhones will now come in a new color, called rose gold. It basically looks like a blush pink, same as the new Apple Watch color option.

Hey Siri

With a new setting enabled, Siri will always be listening for the “hey Siri” trigger, even when the iPhone’s display is off. Earlier iPhone models have a similar feature, but the phone needed to be plugged in for Siri to listen.

New Touch ID

The new iPhones will include a brand new Touch ID sensor that Apple says is twice as fast as the scanner in the iPhone 6.

Apple’s new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will be available for preorder on September 12, with phone arriving in stores on September 25. On a two-year contract, the iPhone 6S starts at $199 for the 16GB model, and moves up to $299 for 64GB and $399 for 128GB. The iPhone 6S Plus 16GB model starts at $299, and costs $399 for 64GB and $499 for 128GB.

iPhone Upgrade Program

With Apple’s new iPhone upgrade program, you can now buy a new unlocked iPhone from Apple starting at $32 a month, and you’ll be able to trade it in next year and get the same tier iPhone at the same price with no lump payments.

Apple TV

The next-generation Apple TV will ship with a completely redesigned remote with touch controls and sensors that allow for motion controls. It’s powered by the 64-bit A8 chip and it’s the same size as the old Apple TV. The highlight is the fact that Apple is opening its TV platform up to third-party app and game developers with the new tvOS platform.

The remote is also a big component of the new Apple TV, featuring a menu button, a TV button, a Siri button and more. But the key feature is the glass touch surface, giving users the ability to scroll through a menu without having to tap or hold down any buttons. You can click and swipe to fast forward or rewind through shows as well.

Siri can be used to control Apple TV now as well, allowing users to ask Siri to find whatever they’re in the mood for, be it a new movie, a great game or live sports. You can also ask Siri about movies and TV shows (or basically anything you can think of) while you’re watching. Siri will show an update at the bottom of the screen without interrupting the show or movie.

The new Apple TV will be available in October at $149 with 32GB of storage and $199 with 64GB of storage.

Apple Watch

Apple announced new own-brand bands for the watch, new fashion partnerships for third-party bands, new Apple Sport colors, and it also shared details surrounding WatchOS 2’s upcoming release.

According to Tim Cook, the Watch has a 97% satisfaction rate so far. Examples of new apps coming to the watch include Facebook Messenger and an app that lets you control your GoPro camera from your wrist.

Beyond software, Apple announced a partnership with Hermes to bring a whole new range of bands to the Apple Watch. Bands will become available in select stores starting next month.

The company also announced two new colors for the aluminum Apple Watch Sport: gold and rose gold. Both new colors are available beginning today. There will also be new bands that accompany the new colors, and the Stainless Apple Watch will get a few new bands as well. Lastly, there will be a whole new range of Sport bands in fall colors, and WatchOS 2 will be released on September 16.

iOS 9

Apple’s new operating system, iOS 9 will include split-screen apps, a smarter Siri, content blockers for Safari and more. It will be released to the general public on September 16.

Featured Image: iDevices by Firmbee from Pixabay

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