UPDATED with Apple TV and iPhone announcements: The product introduction event just wrapping up today was widely watched by Apple fans and investors — mostly to hear about updates for the iPhone and Apple TV. But Wall Street seems unimpressed so far: Apple’s share price is down about 2% since the event started. Here are some of the announcements.
Apple TV: The late Steve Jobs once referred to this as a mere “hobby.” But CEO Tim Cook says that the “new Apple TV is the future of television” built on apps. It will have a more powerful control unit, and a remote control that can respond to voice commands — and search for programs across networks including Netflix, Hulu, HBO and Showtime. Siri, the voice command system, will respond to requests for certain kinds of movies. It also will use the bottom of the TV screen to display answers to other kinds of questions (e.g. about the weather or sports scores).
Apple TV, available in October, will have its own operating system, tvOS, that outside developers can use to develop apps.
As expected, they will include lots of games, including multiplayer ones. The remote will have motion sensors, enabling it to serve as a gaming wand. It will communicate with Bluetooth, which means users don’t need a line of sight to the TV and it can control other functions including volume and power.
Apple believes that users will want to shop via TV, giving them opportunities to view products on the screen and buy with a button push.
Sports fans can get alerts from different games, and watch two at a time with a split screen.
A 32 GB version of the new Apple TV will cost $149 and a 64 GB will cost $199. The existing model will still be available for $69.
iPhone: This is the most important product for investors: The iPhone accounts for about 74% of Apple’s gross profit. More than 44% of domestic smartphone owners had one in in the three months ending in July, according to comScore.
The new versions — called the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus — maintain current screen sizes (4.7 inches and 5.5 inches) but with a faster processor and a sharper camera with 12 megapixels. The combination makes it possible to shoot 4K videos.
They include what Apple calls 3D Touch, with sensors so users can make different commands based on how hard they touch the screen. This is already available on the Apple Watch and some of the company’s laptops. This technology, with the new camera, makes it possible to create what the company calls Live Photos that capture about a second and a half of video and sound before and after the still shot is taken.
With a two year carrier contract, the new iPhones 6s will cost a minimum of $199 and 6s Plus will cost $299 — the same as the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The older iPhone 6 now goes to $99 and the 6 Plus goes to will now go to $199.
iPad Pro: Apple says that beginning in November it will offer an iPad with a a 12.9-inch screen, with 5.6 million pixels, called the iPad Pro. “It is chock full of amazing advances and innovations,” Cook says.
The company says it will be better for video viewing, on-screen typing, and music playing. It’s also faster than 80% of portable PCs, and will have four speakers. It weighs 1.57 pounds, making it just a little heavier than the original iPad.
Apple has a specially designed flat keyboard for it, similar to the Microsoft Surface, and a versatile battery-powered stylus called Apple Pencil.
In a surprise, it will support Microsoft Office and can handle two apps, such as Word and Excel, on the screen at the same time. Adobe also is in, with a version of its Photoshop program.
The iPad Pro with 32 GB of memory will sell for $799 rising to $949 with 128 GB, and $1,079 for that model with a cell phone connection. The Apple Pencil will cost $99 and the Smart Keyboard will be $169.
Apple Watch: Execs also unveiled upgrades for the Apple Watch. It will now include Facebook Messages, and can serve as a photo viewfinder, and send a doctor information about a fetus’ heartbeat while the mother is at home. Apple will offer additional straps and designs, including one with Hermes.