Apple unveils iPhones 6S, 6S Plus, iPad Pro overhauls Apple TV
Apple executives took the stage at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium as around 7,000 people watched on Wednesday, kick-starting an event likely to unveil upgraded iPhones in addition to showing off a larger iPad and an updated Apple TV.
Apple on Wednesday unveiled two new iPhones — aiming to build on the success of its handsets — and introduced an overhauled Apple TV along with a larger-screen iPad Pro.
The new smartphones are the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, keeping the same overall dimensions of the last version.
'They look familiar, but we have changed everything about these iPhones,' chief executive Tim Cook said at a San Francisco special event.
One of the key new features is called '3D touch' which responds to pressure exerted on the screen to allow users to look inside messages and applications.
Read: #AppleLaunch: The best reactions from Twitter
The new iPhones will use the upcoming iOS 9 operating system, which supports new features such as 3D touch.
The 6S will include the 4.7-inch (about 12-centimetre) display of its predecessor and the 6S Plus — one of the more popular handsets in the 'phablet category' — has a 5.5-inch screen.
But the devices have more powerful processors that allow for improved graphics, and a new aluminum body.
The new phones, which will come in four metal finishes, will also come with an improved, 12 megapixel camera. Apple also said the new iPhone will record 4K video.
The new iPhones will go on sale on September 25, with advance orders starting this Saturday.
Consistent with past models, the iPhone 6s will start at $200 with a two-year service contract. The iPhone 6s Plus will start at $300 with a contract. Last year's models will cost $100 less.
The markets getting it right away are the US, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the UK.
Watch: Apple unveils iPad Pro, iPhone 6S and new Apple TV
The base models of the new iPhones will come with 16 gigabytes of storage. But for $100 more, Apple is offering 64 gigabytes. For an extra $200 over the base prices, Apple is offering 128 gigabytes.
Cook described the new Apple TV, a product which the company long called a 'hobby', as the future of television, offering personalisation and ease of use. It starts at $149.
The announcement came after Cook showed off a big new iPad aimed at business customers, which has an optional 'Pencil' stylus and keyboard. He also began describing an updated pair of iPhones that feature a so-called '3D touch' interface and other upgrades.
Read: Apple's 12.9 inch iPad Pro is aimed at enterprise customers
Demonstrations of the new Apple TV showed tricks to make viewing easier: digital assistant Siri, which is behind the voice control, can rewind a video for 15 seconds and turn on subtitles, when a viewer asks something like 'What did she say'?
Read: New Apple TV unveiled with App store, Siri and touch remote
'We've been working really hard, and really long,' on TV, Cook said, emphasising the word 'long' in a nod to the time it has taken the company to produce an ambitious TV product. 'We believe it is the future of television,' Cook said.
Twitter users were generally impressed with Apple TV, with some people joking that they would have to buy a TV to use the Siri remote and app store. 'I'm all about this new #AppleTV. Shut up and take my money,' wrote Twitter user Ethan Anderton.
The new TV will run on an app store also will let developers create new software for Apple TV, including video games. Nearly 20% of US broadband households own at least one streaming media player, and Apple has a long way to go in the market, according to data from research firm Parks Associates.
Roku is the leader in streaming media boxes, accounting for 34% of all streaming devices sold in the United States in 2014, according to Parks. Google Inc's Chromecast and Amazon.com Inc's Fire TV were next. The Apple TV box came in fourth.
Cook began the morning by talking up the Apple Watch, saying customer satisfaction for the new product was 97%. Apple is working with French luxury goods maker Hermes on a new watch collection, and Facebook Messenger is coming to the device, he added.
He then rolled out the 'iPad Pro' with a 12.9-inch screen and said it had performance similar to a desktop computer. Apple showed off a 'smart' keyboard and a stylus called 'Pencil'. Apple called the device the 'biggest news in iPad since the iPad'.
Apple said it had partnered with Cisco Systems Inc and IBM to help power the iPad pro, which it said is up to 1.8 times faster and has a 10-hour battery life. Apple announced partnerships with former rival Microsoft Corp and Adobe Systems, as well.
'The iPad Pro faster than 80% of the PCs portable PCs shipped in last 12 months... We can do things on an iPad you can'd do on a notebook,' Apple executive Phil Schiller said at the event. With a larger screen on the new iPad Pro, apps running side by side will have more room to breathe.
Many people on Twitter seemed unimpressed by the new iPad and lamented its large size, however, as well as the $99 price of the Pencil. The new iPad will start at $799.
The new iPad also marks Apple's latest attempt to steal corporate customers away from Microsoft, whose personal computers have been business staple for decades. Microsoft makes a tablet designed for the needs of office workers called the Surface Pro 3 that sells at prices starting at $800. With a 12-inch display screen, the Surface Pro 3 is slightly smaller than Apple's new tablet.
(With inputs from Reuters and AFP)
Follow HT Tech for the latest tech news and reviews , also keep up with us on Twitter, Facebook, Google News, and Instagram. For our latest videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel.