Apple held its usual September event tonight, and it unveiled three major new products: a new Apple TV, the iPad Pro, and the iPhone 6S/6S Plus. The new Apple TV is effectively the old Apple TV, but with Siri, applications, and a funny-looking remote. It looks fun to use, but it’s nothing revolutionary and most likely won’t change the TV landscape as much as Apple wants it to.
Apple also made a big fuss about gaming on the new Apple TV, but since applications cannot be larger than 200 MB, don’t expect much from this. Then again, Apple showed off a 100% Wii Sports rip-off as the big new thing in gaming, so I’m betting on Apple still not really having a clue about gaming.
The iPad Pro, on the other hand, is literally Surface. Like, there are no ifs and buts – it’s literally an iPad Surface. It’s got a 12.9″ display, a crazy-fast processor and graphics chip, a foldable, Surface-like keyboard cover, and a stylus/pen for ink. It, of course, makes great use of the new Aero Snap and Windows 8.x multiwindow features introduced with iOS 9. The base model is fairly cheap, but much like the Surface, once you add the keyboard cover and pen, prices go up substantially.
Speaking of the pen, Apple drapes it in all sorts of annoying Apple-isms, but it does actually look fairly advanced – closer to top-of-the-line Wacom stuff; this isn’t the stylus that came with your Palm device. It’ll be great for artists, but much like the Surface’s pen, I just don’t see a use for it any other application.
Lastly, Apple unveiled the iPhone 6S and the 6S Plus, and it’s got some really, really cool stuff. The Force Touch and Taptic engine stuff from Apple’s latest trackpads and the Apple Watch is built right in, now dubbed 3D Touch (…eh), and it’s used to add a number of new interactions into iOS on the 6S. You can gently press on, say, an e-mail, and it’ll show you a quick preview, or press a bit harder and open it fully. This also works for application icons, where it’ll open a menu with often-used actions for that application.
Think of it as Quick Look for applications. It will be open to developers, so you can expect all kinds of cross-application functionality, which is really welcome on a mobile platforms so heavily focussed on apps-as-islands. I really like this new feature, and I can’t wait to start using it (I’m buying the iPhone 6S early October).
And, unimportant to most but I just want to mention it: it comes in an awesome new colour that I’m totally going for. And, as always, it’ll have a faster processor, a better camera, and so on – all the usual things you can expect from a new flagship.