Apple announced a lot of new products this morning, from new iPhones to revamped iPad lines to the new Apple TV. Here’s the basics of each new line, as well as when you can get your hands on them.
Yeah, I could have split these across many posts to make you click more frequently. Not my style. Ahem.
iPhone 6s/iPhone 6s Plus
The headliner phones this year from Apple are, as expected, mostly specification bumps from the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Apple’s new A9 chip is said to be 70 percent faster than the A8 in the previous generation, along with a new M9 motion co-processor which bumps graphics performance by 90 percent. Those are Apple’s figures, naturally.
This year’s impress-your-friends feature would appear to be 3D Touch, an iOS-centric version of Force Touch that allows content to “peek and pop” (yeah, another Apple term) from the screen depending on the length and impact of an onscreen touch. The rear cameras have been updated to 12MP with 4K video recording, while the front facing camera is a 5MP model that uses the display screen as a gentler selfie flash in low light. That’s a neat idea. TouchID also gets a boost with faster recognition of your fingerprints. Apple’s pretty much led the market in terms of quality fingerprint recognition, so I’m genuinely curious to see how much faster it can get.
Both models go on pre-sale this Saturday (probably at 5pm, if previous pre-sales are any indication) with full retail sale on the 25th of September. Being this side of the dateline, that means that Australia will see the new iPhones before the rest of the world, at least officially speaking. The countdown to a pre-release hands-on video from a full retail box (not the Apple-heavily-guided hands-on stuff you’ll get from the at-venue media today) starts now.
Australian pricing has been announced, and is as follows:
Apple iPhone 6s/6s Plus Pricing,,,
iPhone 6s Plus,”$1,299″,”$1,379″,”$1,529″
With a tip of the hat to Angus Kidman over at Finder it’s worth noting that those prices (once GST is taken into consideration) are actually cheaper than the outright US prices. No, they don’t cost $199 in the US. That’s the carrier subsidised price and the mistake that everyone makes every time there’s a new iPhone launch. There will be contract iPhones here — there always are — but the models here use staggered handset repayments rather than an upfront model with repayments structured into the monthly price instead.
Predictably the existing iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus lines have been pared down to 16GB only options, to make the new phones more attractive. At least (again with a hat tip to that other Kidman fella), they’re slightly cheaper than they were, although the flip side there is that the “cheapest” iPhone you can buy from Apple is now $220 more expensive than the previous low water mark, thanks to the removal of the iPhone 5c entirely.
The big new player in the iPad space is the 12.9″ iPad Pro. This is Apple’s play to the more content-creator-heavy market — they’ve always insisted that iPads can be used for more than content creation — with the same A9 chip but an 8MP iSight camera (reminder: Don’t use your tablet for photography, and especially not your 12.9″ tablet) and
Australian pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but in the US it’ll run to $799 (32GB), $949 (128GB) and $1079 (128GB). That’d suggest rough conversion pricing of $1139, $1353 and $1538 ex GST, presuming that the Australian dollar doesn’t collapse any further from now until November when it actually goes on sale. So probably $1399, $1599 and $1899 price points, at a total guess.
The iPad Pro will also support a Surface-style clickable keyboard cover and “Pencil”, Apple’s take on a tablet stylus. It’s not a surprise that the keyboard cover is sold as an additional extra (US$169), but it’s interesting to note that the Pencil is likewise not a bundled item, with a $US99 list price. That’s an expensive pencil!
iPad Mini 4
The iPad Mini 4 didn’t get a whole lot of on-stage love, but curiously it’s the one new device you can buy right now. It’s essentially the iPad Air 2 in iPad Mini form factor, costing $569, $699 and $829 (16/64/128GB) for the Wi-Fi versions, and $729/$859/$989 for the LTE models.
Apple TV 4th Generation
As expected, the Apple TV 4th Generation was also announced. Apple either doesn’t want to or just plain can’t keep a secret any more, can they? The 4th Generation finally brings gaming to the fore, with an onstage demo of multiplayer (and Aussie developed) Crossy Road shown on stage, showing off the gaming chops of Apple’s new set top box.
The remote’s redesigned with a glass-topped “Siri Remote” that works from voice (hence the Siri branding) that also uses touch gestures for selection. No word yet on Australian availability, but in the US it’ll ship in October for $149 (32GB) or $199 (64GB). So again consulting my exchange rate crystal ball, expect maybe $250 and $350 price points when they make their way here. On the plus side for the Apple TV, it’s regained a prominent spot on Apple’s website where for years it was something of a hidden extra. Maybe Apple does care about it again after all.
iOS 9, WatchOS 2, TVos, El Capitan.
Apple did have quite a bit to announce, and it wasn’t just hardware. iOS 9 has been bubbling along nicely for a while now in developer form, but it’ll formally launch to devices on September 16th (which could well be the 17th here, depending again on timelines). It’ll work for iPhone 4s and upwards, iPad Mini, iPad 2 and better and iPod Touch 5th generation devices. It’s said to require less installation space, but I suspect I’m not going out on too much of a limb here to suggest that running it on an older device may be an exercise in lag.
WatchOS 2 is also coming on the 16th for those with an Apple Watch, and finally, tvOS is coming whenever the Apple TV launches, as it’s the new underlying operating system in the Apple TV. Expect the jailbreakers to be feverishly working to try to crack that one, although given the relative lack of success had with the 3rd generation model, that might be a break that’s a long time coming.
Finally — yes, there was an end to all this madness — El Capitan, the next version of Mac OS X, will release on September 30th. You should probably get your download quotas sorted well before then to encompass all the software you’re going to have to update over the next month.