New iPhone 6S Leads Way at Apple Event, iPad Pro Also Debuts
Apple unveiled its iPhone 6S (pictured) and 6S Plus today at its annual new product blowout in San Francisco. The form factors and screen sizes of the two phones (4.7 inches and 5.5 inches, respectively) are the same as previous models, but that's about where the similarities end.
The big news on the iPhone 6S and 6S plus is the new input feature, previously called Force Touch and now branded 3D Touch. The feature offers on-screen sensors that respond to pressure. For instance, in Messages, a subtle press brings up a preview of a message, while a harder push down pulls up the full message. The phone also offers shortcuts that users can pull up for everyday tasks.
As with previous models, the 6S will run the M9 coprocessor, allowing it to render graphics 90 percent faster. The camera has been upgraded to 12 megapixels, a 50 percent increase, and will support 4K video photography, according to Apple. The iPhone 6’s 8-megapixel camera shoots video only up to 1080p.
Prices will start at $199 for the 16 GB iPhone 6S on contract, going up to $399 for the 128 GB iPhone 6S. The iPhone 6S Plus versions will cost $100 more than their iPhone 6S counterparts. The iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus will be available for preorder beginning on September 12. In-store sales are scheduled to begin on September 25 in a number of markets, including the U.S. and Canada, France, Germany and the U.K. The 6S will be available in silver, gold, rose gold and space grey.
Apple also introduced the iPad Pro, a larger tablet device aimed at the enterprise market. The new product comes along at a time when sales of standard iPads are dropping. The screen of the new iPad Pro will measure 12.9 inches diagonally and allow for a full keyboard. That’s appreciably bigger than the existing 9.7-inch model or the 7.9-inch iPad mini. The new iPad Pro weighs about 1.5 pounds, about the same as the first iPad despite the larger screen.
The company also showed off a pressure-sensitive stylus and a new keyboard cover to work with the larger tablet. The iPad Pro will start at $799 with 32 gigabytes of memory. The keyboard will cost $169 and the stylus, dubbed Apple Pencil, will cost $99. All three products will be released in November. The base iPad with the keyboard and stylus will cost $1,067, a little more than the starting $999 price of Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Air.
The company has been trying to push the iPad into the corporate market. Some observers have noted that a gadget with a bigger screen might prompt some professionals to swap out their laptops for tablets.
TV OS Unveiled
Apple also revamped its Apple TV set-top box with a new interface and remote. Armed with a new operating system (TV OS), the set-top box lets users search via Siri across iTunes, Netflix, HBO, and Showtime, with more providers promised in the future.
Apple TV has an updated processor, a Bluetooth 4.0 remote, volume and TV power controls, and three-month charge capability with a Lightning connector for recharging. The device starts at $149 for 32 GB of flash storage, with 64 GB also available for $199.
Finally, Apple and Hermès International announced a new version of Apple’s smart watch. The watch, which marries bands made in Hermès’ signature leather with a specially designed user interface, will go on sale next month. A price for the luxury smart watch was not announced.