A parade of men in blue shirts, joined by a couple of men wearing different-colored shirts and even by the occasional woman, took the stage today at San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium to unveil an assortment of new Apple gadgets. Advance rumors predicted most of the major announcements, which included a big-screen iPad Pro; a vastly upgraded Apple TV; and this year’s new iPhones, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.
The new phones were billed by blue-shirt-wearing Apple CEO Tim Cook as “the most advanced iPhones we’ve ever created,” which came as a surprise to industry observers who expected Apple to release less-advanced phones this year, just to mess with people. But no, the 2015 iPhones include enhancements like 3D Touch, a pressure-sensitive input system that lets users, for instance, quickly access camera features from the home screen or glance at an email by pressing lightly on the display. (At one point, Apple executive Craig Federighi referred to the feature as “Force Touch,” which is what the company has called it until now on the Apple Watch, but he immediately corrected himself with the new, marketing-approved “3D” terminology—thereby saving himself from costly and painful re-education sessions.)
Another highly touted feature was Live Photos, which are essentially brief video snippets that are saved every time you take a photo to give each shot a couple seconds of full-motion context. It’s a neat trick, but it could fill up space fast, especially if you buy the entry-level tier of either new phone—Apple still hasn’t raised the base storage capacity of iPhones beyond the long-standard and increasingly inadequate 16 gigabytes.
The iPhone 6s models do have improved cameras and graphics chips, however, and a man in a blue shirt took the stage to talk about how the latter enhancement will improve the experience of playing video games.
While the one man in a blue shirt spoke, another man in a blue shirt played the game. All in attendance were wowed by the detail of the graphics and the blueness of the shirts. Available September 25, the iPhone 6s will be sold contract-free at prices starting at $650, and the iPhone 6s Plus starts at $750, with the usual carrier discounts and installment plans available.
Today’s media event also brought the long-anticipated debut of the new Apple TV set-top box, which comes with a touch-sensitive remote, an App Store (which, to the certain alarm of console makers, includes games), and Siri voice search. A demo video showed off Siri’s new moves—she can search across multiple apps to find the content you want, as long as it features somebody named “Jason.”
A minor stir was caused when Apple’s senior vice president of internet services, Eddy Cue, appeared on stage in a red shirt to plug the Apple TV. Cue later drew attention to the embarrassingly nonconformist top after a demo of the new Gilt shopping app for Apple TV: Cue gestured at his apparel as he remarked that the app was clearly “going to be a big hit in my house.” Right, Eddy, how about you tuck that shit in first, and then we can talk about your dazzling fashion sense.
During a demo of the new touch-enabled remote, Apple’s Jen Folds shared her musical tastes with the audience, but they didn’t care, so she vacated the stage to die of awkwardness. The new Apple TV will be available in October with $150 with 32 gigabytes of storage and $200 with 64 gigs.
Because bigger iPhones worked out pretty well for Apple, the company’s design geniuses had the genius idea to make a bigger iPad, too, ingeniously. It was an announcement so important to the future of the iPad platform that at one point three men in blue shirts took the stage at once.
Apple claims that the expanded display and beefed-up multitasking capabilities of the jumbo iPad will enable heretofore unimagined creative possibilities. To hit that point home, Adobe supplied the event with a man in a blue shirt who assembled a magazine layout on the iPad Pro. During a demonstration of a new product called Adobe Photoshop Fixer, the Adobe man showed the audience how a model’s flat expression could be quickly adjusted into a smile, thus making her less intimidating to anyone who might want to make sexual advances toward her. Smile, sweetheart! Adobe thinks you look nicer that way.
A Smart Keyboard accessory connects to the iPad Pro via a set of magnetic contacts known as a Smart Connector (really), and there’s also a pressure- and angle-sensing input device called the Apple Pencil. Just don’t call it a stylus, or you’ll make the ghost of Steve Jobs angry. The iPad Pro starts at $800 for a Wi-Fi-only model with 32 gigabytes of storage; added capacity and cellular capability will cost you more.
On the Apple Watch front, Cook quickly rehashed the watchOS 2.0 details revealed earlier this year. Then he brought out another man in a blue shirt to introduce a “fall collection” of interchangeable bands for the Watch, along with new finishes of the aluminum Sport models: gold and rose gold. So if the reason you haven’t bought an Apple Watch yet is “I’m waiting for them to come out with a pink one,” today was a big day for you.
And those are all the new Apple things you will be forced to buy in the coming months.