We now know the fall Apple event today in San Francisco featured a new high-end iPad Pro, a long over-due new Apple TV (hardware and software), a Siri update, iOS release notes and new Apple Watch OS 2 and designs.
But the really big news is that, as a result of the release of a new iPhone, there will be some fantastic deals on smartphones and tablets that will allow consumers to upgrade their iPhones by end of the month, well ahead of early Black Friday deals.
First, here are details from today’s Apple event:
What to Expect from the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus
Introduced as the most advanced smartphones in the world, the iPhone 6s (4.7-inch display) and iPhone 6s Plus (5.5-inch display) come in silver, gold, space gray and a new rose gold color with 7000 series aluminum and new Dual ion-exchange glass that is the strongest in the industry. The new A9 chip is 70 percent faster than the A8 and features a new transistor architecture that is optimized for real-world use.
The brand new interface introduces 3D Touch as the next generation of multi-touch, recognizing force and enabling new gestures. This allows users to access shortcuts to the things they do frequently. Press lightly for a peek at the content and continue pressing to pop into the content itself. Tactile feedback for actions lets you know exactly what you’ve done and what to expect.
Other notable specs:
- Motion co-processor built into chip, embedded and always on second generation Touch ID sensor (two times as fast)
- New 12 megapixel iSight camera (50 percent more pixels) with faster and more accurate auto-focus
- 5 megapixel FaceTime HD camera (can use front-flash for FaceTime camera)
- HD video with new 4K video option (eight million pixels per frame)
- “Live Photos” (can capture 1.5-second video around a photo using 3D touch)
- New charging docks (match metal finishes of iPhone), leather covers and silicone colors
Apple Introduces New Retail Pricing Program in the U.S.
Whether you want the latest iPhone or simply want to upgrade to a newer model, Apple is offering payment options to help you get the device that’s right for you. Consider it similar to leasing a car. Note: At publishing, we have yet to see pricing models from mobile carriers on the new iPhones, but we expect them to follow suit.
- Get the newest iPhone with 24 monthly installment plans of $27 per month for the iPhone 6s and $31 per month for iPhone 6s Plus (these are unlocked allowing you to choose your carrier of choice and after 24 months, you own the iPhone outright).
- Get a discount on older iPhone models: iPhone 5s moves to FREE, iPhone 6 starts at $99 and 6 Plus starts at $199 (w/2 year contracts, however, most mobile carriers do not offer them anymore).
- Join the iPhone Upgrade Program: Starting at $32 a month, choose your carrier and get a new, unlocked iPhone each year and that includes AppleCare+ (and replacement of a damaged iPhone up to 2 times).
- New Pricing on 5GB iCloud: Get 50GB for $0.99 per month, 200GB for $2.99 per month and 1TB for $9.99 per month.
Pre-orders start September 12, and devices will be available September 25. iOS 9 will be available September 16. (This USAToday story adds more details on carrier costs.)
What to Expect from the New iPad Pro
The iPad Pro will sport a desktop-class CPU that is faster than 80 percent of portable PCs shipped in the last 12 months and graphics tasks faster than 90 percent. It will also come with an 8 megapixel iSight camera, FaceTime HD camera, WiFi and LTE networking and Touch ID built in. It will come in silver, gold and space gray for $799 (32GB ), $949 (128GB ) or $1079 (128GB and LTE). Expect it to ship in October. Other features include:
- 12.9-inch diagonal screen with 2732 x 2048 pixels (5.6 million pixels)
- Third generation 64-bit A9X chip (1.8 times faster than A8x)
- Four-speaker audio
- iMovie with ability to edit three streams of 4K video simultaneously
- 802.11ac with MIMO and up to 150 Mbps LTE
- 10-hour battery life
- 6.9mm thick and 1.57 pounds
The iPad Pro houses the Apple Dome Switch (MacBook), and Apple will launch a new Smart Cover with built-in Smart Keyboard ($169). iPad Pro uses new connector technology called Smart Connector, where power and data connects magnetically to the smart keyboard.
The iPad Pro also works with the new Apple Pencil (stylus for $99), which reportedly feels like a true writing or drawing instrument. The pencil detects position, force and tilt, with the ability to touch single pixels and calculate angle and orientation. It works with built-in apps and coming third party apps. Plus, full support with Microsoft Office and Adobe software make this a feature that will change the way most of us use the iPad.
Bonus iPad news: The iPad mini 2 now starts at $269. The iPad mini 4 launches today start at $399.
What Changes are Coming for Apple TV?
Siri is now “finally” optimized to help you rule your TV experience. Hold down the Siri button, make a command and it will search across multiple content apps, revealing all viewing options on a single screen. The information can be viewed without interrupting programs that are in progress, including current weather and sports score updates.
The new Apple TV will also feature a new power set top box and revolutionary remote that uses a glass touch-surface across the top that makes it fluid and precise to move around the screen. The touch remote is also interactive for gaming, including cooperative play, coming with control from multiple Apple devices.
Apps that will be available on the new Apple TV include iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Showtime, etc., and access to the App Store, which will be loaded with upcoming third party apps like Galaxy on Fire, Rayman Adventures, Disney Infiniti, Activision, Guitar Hero, Shadowmatic, PlayKids, AirBNB and Zillow. You can also access and show your photos, play your Apple music on command, go shopping or watch live sports with team/player stats and info. As new apps develop in 2016, the Apple TV experience should surpass expectations and help us all forget the pain of the last few “hockey puck” versions.
The new Apple TV comes with a 64-bit A8 chip and is 10mm taller than the original Apple TV. Shipping starts in October at $149 (32GB) and $199 (64GB), while current model will remain priced at $69.
Do More with Apple Watch
WatchOS 2 is coming September 16 and will feature Transit, Time Travel and more third-party applications (currently more than 10k), including Facebook Messenger and the ability to send text and audio messages and share your location from your wrist. The new iTranslate lets the user speak into the microphone to see and hear translations in more than 90 languages. You’ll also now be able to control GoPro and view live shots on your watch. Plus, new watch bands and Hermes digital watch faces are coming in October.
How the Apple Event Affects Prices
Consumers who buy a lot of tech products should rejoice with an Apple event: The effect on upcoming iPhone and iPad deals is powerful when a new iPhone comes out. Savings on all cell phones, tablet deals and even laptop deals will be affected because of this announcement. Cash Back rates should respond for loyal FatWallet members, as well as Black Friday deals when they start to pop up in early November.
Here’s what this means for those buying tech in September:
- Huge price drops on older iPhones and iPads ($100+ off retail)
- Up to $100 gift cards with upgrades to new models
- Ditto for competing brands’ older tablets and smartphones (possibly current models)
- Amazon just announced a $50 tablet, so expect a “FIRE” sale of the slow selling Fire HD tablets
- Amazon will also heavily promote Amazon Echo
- Considerable price drops on other streaming devices (current Chromecast $17), including the older Apple TV
- Accessories discounting will align with new and old product sales
- Laptop discounting will respond as well, especially continued price drops on 2-in-1 models