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Apple: Watch, iPad, tv, iPhone

Apple: Watch, iPad, tv, iPhone
by Paul McLellan on 09-09-2015 at 3:35 pm

 If you didn’t watch the Apple event from the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium this morning, you didn’t miss a whole lot. The only truly different thing announced was the new remote control for the new Apple TV. Everything else was pretty much what you might expect (bigger screen, faster). The whole show seemed remarkably wooden compared to a Steve Jobs love-a-thon, and the crowd was pretty subdued. And at the end, when I was hoping for a dramatic “one more thing” we got One Republic instead.

The show started with the Apple watch. They didn’t really announce anything new from the point of view of the electronics, just new finishes, new straps, a relationship with Hermès.

Next up the new iPad, called the iPad Pro. It has a 12.9″ screen, the size picked so that the width is the same as the height of the previous iPad and the aspect ratio is the same. It is 2732×2048 pixels (5.6M if you can’t multiply those in your head). Inside is the A9X which is their third generation 64-bit tablet processor. If has twice the memory bandwidth, twice the flash storage performance and 1.8X the overall processor performance of the previous generation (“desktop class”) which makes it 22X faster than the original iPad (with 360X the graphics performance). 10 hour battery life, 4 speaker audio, a tiny bit thicker than the iPad air (6.9mm vs 6.1mm). It is the same weight as the original iPad. 8MP iSight camera. 802.11ac (WiFi) with MIMO (multiple attennas). Optional 150Mbps LTE. Pricing from $799 for 32GB to $1076 for 128GB with LTE.

There is also a new physical keyboard (a bit like the Logitech one I have for my iPad except it communicates through a magnetic 3 terminal connection rather than bluetooth). There is also an (optional) stylus called Apple Pencil. It can sense position, force and tilt and as a result can do some neat calligraphy and watercolor effects. I doubt a casual user like me would get one, but for professional designers I think it would be a no-brainer. $169 for the keyboard, $99 for the pencil.

 Next up Apple TV (or tv as it looks like we have to write it). The new remote is totally different from the previous Apple TV remote. It has a touch surface, Siri is built-in for voice control, it has motion sensors (like the Nintoendo Wii) for games, unlike the current remote it can also control the TV itself turning it on/off and changing the volume. It has a new operating system called tvOS which works with Xcode and other iOS technologies (so I assume that tvOS is another variation on OS X like iOS in the iPads and iPhones). It contains an A8 chip with Bluetooth 4.0, HDMI (TV connector) and Ethernet (connector to your cable modem or whatever you have). The remote communicates with Bluetooth so you don’t need to point it at the tv box like with the current remote. The remote is rechargeable and last 3 months on a charge (through a lightning connector). The 32GB Apple tv will be $148, and 64GB will be $199 (and the existing Apple tv will still be available at $69).

 The moment everyone was really waiting for. iPhone. Year on year growth has been 35% with growth in China at 75% (versus growth for the rest of the Chinese suppliers at -4%). As widely expected they announced two models, the iPhone 6S and the iPhone 6S+ with 4.7″ and 5.5″ screen respectively. As also widely expected, it has what they are calling 3D touch which can detect light touches differently from heavy touches. This has been integrated into the operating system and applications so that the light touch typically gives a sort of peek at something, that goes back when you release, and a strong touch takes you there more permanently. Inside there is a 3rd generation A9 64-bit application processor with “a new transistor architecture” which we all know just means FinFET. It is 70% faster than the A8, 90% faster graphics (“console class”). It also contains a motion coprocessor M9 that is permanently on and is used for health and fitness apps (pedometer etc). They didn’t say explicitly so they may have been trying to be deliberately misleading, but they implied the M9 being permanently on means that you can say “hey siri” and get voice recognition to fire up even if the phone is off. New fingerprint sensor. New 12Mp camera. I never expected to hear the words “deep trench isolation” in an Apple keynote but that is what is used in the camera image sensor to keep the pixels from interfering with their neighbors. 4K video (including ability to edit it on the phone). For the frontside camera, 5Mp, the display backlight can be used as a flash (at 3X the normal brightness used for backlighting). LTE modem with 300Mbps capability (not sure if any carriers actually can support that) on 23 bands so great for international. 866Mbps WiFi.

There is a sneaky App for Android that gathers up all your data and migrates it to the iPhone, making migration for Android users easy.

Pricing is $199-399 for the iPhone 6s and $299-499 for the iPhone 6S+ with a typical carrier contract. These are the same as the old 6 and 6+ prices (which are now reduced to $99 and $199).Can preorder on 9/12 for delivery on 9/25 with iOS 9 being available on 9/16 (for older phones).

More details all over the web I’m sure. And Apple’s website is, of course, here. If you want to watch it, the keynote can be replayed here.

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