Wow, what a day. During today’s special media event, Apple announced the brand-new iPad Pro, a revamped Apple TV, and the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. It’s time to take a look at today’s hits and misses.
The new Apple TV - The revamped set-top box was definitely the star of the show. After not seeing an upgrade since 2012, Apple put in a lot of hard work and polish into the new device, and it definitely shows. With a true App Store, Siri support, and the new remote it truly looks to be a game changer in more ways then one. While Apple spent a significant amount of time showing off the casual gaming functionality, the addition of the rumored streaming TV service sometime in 2016 could make the device a cord cutter’s dream and the cable companies worse nightmare.
The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus - Generally, I thought Apple did a great job adding some nice upgrades to both handsets. It’s a huge leap for consumers still using the iPhone 5s, and it should even get some iPhone 6 users to think about making the upgrade, thanks especially to the front and rear camera improvements.
3D Touch and iOS 9 – We’ve known that Apple was planning to introduce the special touch technology to the iPhone, but after seeing it in action today, I was really excited to see how this can be used by Apple and third-party developers in the future. And some iOS 9 design decisions, like the revamped app switcher, definitely make more sense now that we’ve seen 3D Touch. As the technology is added throughout the iOS lineup, it will become a standard and important way to quickly interact with our devices.
Apps, apps, apps, and more apps – Yes, we know that Apple devices are truly powered by apps, but it was great to see so many different titles getting time at today’s event – everything from casual gaming to apps designed specifically for medical professionals. And with the new Apple TV and iPad Pro, Apple has given developers even more ways to create exciting and ground breaking apps. The future is exciting.
The iPad Pro - While the iPad Pro was finally unveiled after years of rumors, I didn’t come away particularly impressed. Apple spent time showing off how the tablet could be used by graphic artists and medical professionals, but didn’t explain how it is truly different from the iPad Air 2.
And the pricing definitely lived up to the Pro moniker. A 128GB Wi-Fi + LTE iPad Pro, Smart Keyboard, and Apple Pencil cost $1,347 – before tax. That’s almost $50 more than the baseline 12-inch MacBook that comes with 256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM. Even the starter iPad Pro with 32GB of storage costs $1,067 with the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard.
The iPad mini 4 - How times have changed. In just three years, the iPad mini has gone from anchoring an Apple keynote event to barely receiving any mention at all. And that’s a real shame. It’s one of the most capable and accessible iOS devices, especially for families. But I suspect the small tablet may quickly be on its way to extinction and squeezed out by other devices in the iPhone and iPad line.
16GB iPhones - This was far from a surprise, but I’m disappointed to officially see a 16GB version of both the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. It’s simply not enough space for today’s iPhone users – especially with 4K video recording and the new 12-megapixel rear camera. Friends don’t let friends buy a 16GB iPhone.
The event length - Clocking in at more than two hours, today’s event was massive. There was so much new information that Apple executives, accept for Craig Federighi, didn’t even have time to throw in their usual amount of somewhat funny jokes. Even though it’s obvious Apple wanted to give developers time to create new apps for the iPad Pro and Apple TV, it was a lot to take in – even for the most fervent Apple watchers.
No big surprises - This isn’t exactly Apple’s fault, but after CEO Tim Cook vowed to “double down” on secrecy back in 2012, things seem to be heading in the exact opposite direction. All the major features of the new products were leaked well before today’s event. The only real surprise was the interesting iPhone Upgrade Program which should be very popular.
We appreciate you joining us for the jam-packed event. Definitely stay tuned here at AppAdvice in the coming weeks as we’ll be examining all of the new Apple products and the apps that power them.