New iPhones, iPads, and TV device likely launching next week
A new iPhone, new iPads, and a new set top box for TVs are likely to be released at an Apple media event this Thursday.
While no official information other than a characteristically cryptic press invite is available, a raft of leaks and analysis of the company's usual rhythms paint a clear picture of what is to come.
The technological giant were once known for their ruthless corporate secrecy, famously sending police after a blogger who obtained a prototype of their iPhone 4, but as their market cap has shot up, so too have the leaks from the company. While nothing can be certain ahead of the event, every year the pre-show rumours get more reliable.
iPHONE 6S BEEFS UP CAMERA, ADDS 'FORCE TOUCH'
The main event at the September keynote is always the new iPhone, which is far and away Apple's most popular product. The iPhone runs on a 'tick tock' annual update cycle, where a new phone design is followed by an internal specs/feature upgrade the following year. Last year the redesigned iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+ phones were released, so this year we can expect the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S+, which should look almost identical to their predecessors.
What will change? An internal upgrade to an A9 processor and 2GB of RAM is near certain, giving the phone some more power to play with. Leaks to 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman indicate the camera should also see an upgrade to 12MP, with an option to shoot ultra-HD 4K video, and a slight boost to the front-camera.
"Force Touch" on the Apple Watch.
Common sense and a few leaks indicate that the Apple Watch's pressure sensitive 'Force Touch' technology will also find its way into the new iPhones. 'Force touch' sensitive screens require a harder than regular press to perform different functions - for example, on the Apple Watch it lets users clear all notifications at once, and on the Macbook it allows one to fast forward through a movie at variable speeds.
What else? Mark Gurman also reported that a rose gold option will be available. Price conscious consumers will still have the iPhone 5S as an option, but the plastic iPhone 5C will be discontinued. A smaller iPhone 6C is reportedly in the works, but may not be available in time to launch next week.
Split screening on the iPad with iOS9.
THE iPAD GOES PRO?
After a few years of flagging sales and new editions that were basically just thinner and faster, the iPad seems in for a serious upgrade this year. Apple have already introduced their biggest change to the operating system of the iPad in years with iOS9, allowing split screen multitasking and picture-in-picture video. Those changes should come to users of the latest iPads when iOS9 properly launches soon after the conference, but they will likely work best on a brand new 'iPad Pro', as well as an iPad Mini 4. Details are scarce, but once again, well connected journalist Mark Gurman reports the pro will be slightly larger, and may feature better stylus support via 'force touch'.
APPLE TV GETS FIRST BIG UPGRADE IN YEARS
Apple TV, a media box to plug into TVs which you may not have even heard of, has long been seen as a 'hobby' for the company, not a serious product branch. This week's keynote looks set to change that. A brand new motion sensitive, microphone enabled, touch screen remote, is on the way Matthew Panzarino at TechCrunch reports, along with a significant upgrade to the hardware of the box itself. This remote will allow the box to be used as a game console a la the Xbox Kinect, as well as an input for Apple's AI assistant Siri.
Netflix have had a lot of success with original programming like Bojack Horseman, above. Could Apple do the same?
But this new hardware is just the start - Apple are looking to create a whole ecosystem here. There's rumours they will get into their own original content, as Netflix and Hulu do, and clearly the integration with their other services like Apple Music will be important. Perhaps most exciting for the couchbound is the rumoured 'universal search', which will allow users to easily search all available streaming services for one bit of content at once. Buzzfeed's John Paczkowski reports that this new search will work through Siri, and is seen internally as one of the most impressive features of the new device.
It is unclear whether 4K playback will be supported on the Apple TV.
With all these new products launching, the keynote will easily reach two hours. What won't make the cut?
A new Apple Watch isn't likely to launch, although the new operating system should launch this month, and a range of new straps will probably be released. Macs and Macbooks are on a completely different release schedule, as are any and all software launches - this is a hardware keynote, and we can expect to see a lot of it.
Actual release dates for the products in New Zealand are likely to remain hidden for a few weeks to come. The iPhone will likely make it here first in late September, with everything else arriving well before Christmas.
The event will begin at around 5am New Zealand time on Thursday the 10th of September. A livestream will be available, and Stuff will run a liveblog.
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