Apple Has Announced the iPhone 6S, the iPad Pro, and the… Apple Pencil

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Apple’s new Devices don’t disappoint, and the Apple Pencil is no exception

New iPhone 6S announced!photo: Apple – cc

Apple’s press announcements can be a little hit or miss on occasion, but this one was a whopper. While I didn’t get EVERYTHING right with my earlier predictions, I came pretty damn close. I was very wrong, however, in thinking there’s no way Apple would include 4K video on the iPhone 6S. Mother is gonna be pissed when I get home (she says dinner is for winners…)

Keeping in line with Apple’s “save the best for last” approach, the Apple Watch was first up with a few new wrist-bands coming soon for the bougier technophiles as well as a new and improved operating system simply called “OS 2.” The massive iPad Pro was then confirmed followed by a quicker, more navigation-friendly Apple TV module. Lastly, their flagship iPhone 6S was announced with more tweaks and features than most experts had anticipated. Let’s dive into it.

 

iPad Pro

new iPad Pro annoucnementphoto: Apple – cc

Starting price: $799

Availability:  November

Screen: 12.9 inch retina display

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Battery: 10 hours

Camera: 8 MP iSight camera

Along with an amazing looking screen (5.6 million pixels worth), the iPad Pro houses four speakers with separate resonation chambers – atypical of Apple’s aversion to “empty” space. With the inclusion of an optional wrap-around keyboard connected by metal contacts, the Pro blurs the line between iPad and laptop. Its new A9x chip delivers twice the memory bandwidth and storage performance speed of the A8x found in the iPad Air 2. Not bad, Apple, Not bad. However, what came as perhaps the biggest surprise (I think I saw a lady in the crowd faint) was the announcement of the iPad Pro’s complementary Apple Pencil. Yes, pencil.

 

Apple Pencil

pencil1photo: Apple – cc

Price: $99

Availability: November

Some of you might recall Steve Jobs famously deriding the stylus when the iPhone first came out – his reason being that nothing makes a better pointer than the human finger. Well, the times they are a changin’. While its name literally garnered laughs from the attending crowd (much like the original iPad when first released), the demo video showed a pretty impressive design utensil having much in common with the market-leading Wacom pads when paired with the iPad Pro.

While Steve rolls in his grave, the new Apple Pencil appears to be geared towards the designer crowd with its ability to detect pressure, tilt, and position (thicker lines when making strokes on a different axis). It requires power, but it can be easily charged by plugging its lightning port-tipped end directly into the iPad Pro’s charging port. If the precision of this thing is anywhere near as close to what Apple demonstrated, we might be seeing a new industry standard on the horizon.

 

iPad mini 4

An iPad Air 2 in a mini-sized frame… Next!

 

Apple TV

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 10.55.12 AMphoto: Apple – cc

Price: $149

Availability: October

My dear mother owns the original Apple TV and quite frankly I’ve always been pretty “meh” about it. It doesn’t do anything my Xbox 360 can’t do plus my Xbox can play “Resident Evil 4.” While mother would likely be too entranced by reruns of “America’s Got Talent” to appreciate Apple’s newest iteration, I’d be lying if I said the new module didn’t boast some remedies to some pretty annoying interface hiccups I’ve encountered in the past.

Search Feature: One thing I’ve never been able to figure out is why movie/show apps make it so tedious to search for what I want to watch. The fact that just about every major app is guilty of this leads me to believe it’s harder to do than I think. Apple has incorporated Siri into a newly designed remote that let’s you search ALL your apps simultaneously by actor, newer movies, genre, and other categories. Even though I only watch “Seinfeld” and NOTHING else, Siri also gives you the ability to search individual episodes by title, key words, or special guests. Another tip of the hat to Apple. I don’t give those out willy-nilly.

“What did he say?” Feature: Apple’s incorporation of Siri allows you to catch those missed one-liners and vital story elements when they just weren’t loud enough. By saying, “Hey Siri, what did he say?” the Apple TV can automatically backtrack a few seconds earlier while temporarily adding subtitles. This could be a blessing or a curse depending on whether or not you’ve got a significant other like my girlfriend who would regularly prefer to miss key plot points in favor of texting her friends. Haha, just kidding! I don’t have a girlfriend. Mother won’t allow it.

 

iPhone 6S

new iPhone 6S with Tim Cookphoto: Apple – cc

iPhone 6S Price (2-year contract): $199 for 16GB, $299 for 64GB, and $399 for 128GB.

iPhone 6S+ Price (2-year contract): $299 for 16GB, $399 for 64GB, and $499 for 128GB.

Pre-Order Date: September 12

Availability: November 25

Screen: 4.7 inch(6S)/5.5 inch (6S+) retina HD display (nope, no sapphire)

Camera: 12MP iSight Rear Camera with a 5MP front-facing camera. 4K video recording and “Live Photos.”

Processor: New A9 chip with M9 Graphic co-processor.

I was a couple months early with my predicted release date and I feel just awful about it. Really. The new iPhone 6S boasts faster wi-fi, faster touch ID, a far beefier iSight camera, 4K video recording, and “3D Touch” which appears to be the same thing as the Apple Watch’s “Force Touch” but… not?

What most does it for me is the new camera’s insanely detailed 12MP sensor with deep-trench isolation technology. When you have an image sensor with that many light-capturing cells so close together (we’re talking 12,000,000 pixels) they tend to bleed light into adjacent cells. Apple has apparently added barriers between these to limit this and give a richer more true picture. I’m looking forward to seeing this in action.

Live Photos: The inclusion of “Live Photos” allows you to record a few seconds worth of rapid-shot photos both before and after an actual picture is taken. Bear in mind this is all at the camera’s full resolution. While that’s pretty impressive, I can’t imagine that the 16GB storage on the base model is going to last more than a couple days without resorting to cloud storage. Hmm.

Color: Though I had imagined the color would be the only visible change to the phone, they don’t seem to have changed at all from the original iPhone 6 outside of the rose gold. While I think it would have been in Apple’s best interest to make at least some cosmetic change besides a tiny ‘S’ on the back, I suppose this is really a minor nitpick when compared to the other features.

And there you have it

While it might not be perfectly in line with what Jobs would have wanted, it looks like Apple is keeping things fresh while being careful not to get trapped by tradition. Most commendable.

Let me know if I forgot anything or got anything wrong below.

 

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Kel was once a regular staff writer until a Mr. Coffee accident at work reduced his typing speed to a pitiful 65 WPM (transcribed). Resuscitated from near-death and rebuilt with bionic fingertips, his writing is better... stronger... faster.

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