Last week, in San Francisco, Apple unveiled its eagerly anticipated new product range, with several new product releases combined into the company’s biggest ever launch event. We take a look at the new products that will soon be available in the UK.
Following on from the success of the iPhone, Apple’s most successful phone to date, the new iPhone 6S introduces a broad range of new features. As widely rumoured, the iPhone 6S has new 3D Touch technology, which allows users to access different features depending on how hard they press on the screen. Faster processing is provided by the A9 chip. The phone boasts a 12 megapixel camera and can film 4K video. Problems experienced with the iPhone 6 Plus’s inadequate rigidity have been eradicated with the use of strengthened aluminium casing.
Prices for the iPhone 6S will be £539 (16GB), £619 (64GB) and £699 (128GB), while the iPhone 6S Plus will set you back £699 for the 64GB model or £789 for the 128GB phone. It will be available to purchase from 25 September, and can be pre-ordered in the meantime.
The most obvious change to the iPad range is the screen size. This has changed significantly from the iPad Air 2’s 9.7 inches to the iPad Pro’s generous 12.9 inch screen. The iPad Pro is large enough to run apps side by side using its split screen mode.
With a thickness of 6.9mm, the iPad Pro can’t quite match the iPad Air 2, which measures a mere 6.1mm, but the iPad Pro scores better than the original iPad Air at 7.5mm. The iPad Pro offers impressive processing speeds of 2.25GHz, thanks to Apple’s A9X chip. It also features an 8 megapixel camera and the screen boasts 5.6 million pixel resolution, which may place greater expectations on the quality of graphics.
A portable smart keyboard, designed to increase the versatility of the iPad Pro, is available separately, priced at $169 in the US. The keyboard features a smart connector and has a water-resistant coating. The combination of increased screen size, add-on keyboard and high speed processing, position the iPad Pro as an ever more attractive rival to the laptop.
The iPad Pro is in direct competition with the Surface Pro 3 from Microsoft, but compares favourably in many aspects, including screen size, resolution and the camera’s megapixels. It remains to be seen whether other tablets will follow the lead and move towards larger screens.
This season’s must-have accessory for any iPad Pro user will be the new Apple Pencil. Retailing at $99, it can be used with the iPad Pro for various drawing and painting apps. The touch sensitive Pencil needs to be charged via its Lightning port.
For those who don't subscribe to the theory that bigger is better, the new iPad mini 4 could be an attractive choice. Now slimmer and lighter than its predecessor, the iPad mini 4 is fitted with the A8 chip for faster processing, and benefits from enhanced camera features both front and back. Touch ID security allows the user to unlock the phone at a single touch, as well as enabling instant access to iTunes and the App store, and the use of Apple Pay. The iPad mini 4 is available to purchase immediately and is priced at £319, £399 and £479 for the 16GB, 64GB and 128GB respectively.
For a more luxurious accessory, the latest Apple Watch, created in conjunction with fashion house Hermes, is fitted with a special strap and new range of faces. Prices for the Hermes Apple Watch will start at around £1,000. Apple has also announced its new watchOS2 operating software will be released on 16 September, to coincide with the release of the new iOS 9.
The new Apple TV introduces games to the streaming device. Its new remote control is touch screen and also features a microphone to enable voice operation via Apple’s Siri functionality, which includes finding games and movies to suit the user’s preferences. The multi-function remote also serves as a gaming controller. Being motion sensitive, the Apple remote operates along the lines of the Nintendo Wii controller. One of the added benefits of game functionality on the Apple TV is the ability for a user to switch seamlessly from iPhone to Apple TV while gaming.
Apple TV will not offer its own content, for now, but many industry experts believe that Apple content is in the pipeline, and a subscription package of movies and TV programmes may be launched as early as 2016.
The UK price for the new Apple TV has yet to be announced, but it will retail in the US at $149, for the 32GB model, and $199 for the 64GB version.