New hardware and software previewed at Apple event.
Apple’s (NASDAQ: APPL) highly anticipated “Let us loop you in” event is behind us, and it’s now safe to say that most speculations floating around the Internet were, indeed true, including the release of a new, four-inch iPhone, a smaller version of the iPad Pro, and the introduction of iOS 9.3.
This event was significant for Apple because it’s probably the last introduction in the Town Hall Theater, since the company is moving to their new campus in 2017. It was also significant for customers who are looking forward to replacing their aging computers and laptops with updated models. It’s customary for Apple to release new laptops at this time of year, and it has already been a year since the last refresh of their laptop line. Unfortunately, no laptop-related announcements were made, which means that we have to wait until WWDC in June before the next generation of MacBooks with Skylake processors is released.
However, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, didn’t hesitate to mention their ongoing negotiations with the US government and the FBI, over access to user encrypted data, which given the recent developments in the saga, is now pretty much a moot point. However, he opened up the event by saying that Apple did not expect to be at odds with its own government, but that they strongly believe the company has a responsibility to help users protect their data and privacy.
The first hardware announcement of the event concerned the Apple Watch, originally launched in 2015 and ranging in price from $349 to $17,000. It has since “become the top selling smartwatch in the world,” according to Cook, who added “about a third of our Apple Watch wearers regularly change their bands.”
To give customers even more customization options for the watches, Apple has introduced a new band made out of woven nylon, which will be available in a variety of colors and feature a unique four-layer construction. The spring lineup will also include sport and leather bands, with the Space Black Milanese Loop band currently garnering the most attention.
Those interested in purchasing an Apple Watch will be pleased to know that the price has been reduced to $299. It would appear Apple is trying to compensate for the fact that the smartwatch hasn’t significantly changed since it was first released despite many innovations seen in competitive Android Wear watches.
Cook, while saying “apps are the future of television,” remarked the new Apple TV led to the “largest sales ever.” His presentation included some interesting statistics, showing there are currently around 5,000 apps available on the App Store for the device.
Apple clearly wants to stick with the current formula, but with some improvements. The company has announced the release of the tvOS 9.2 update, which introduces a bundle of new features. Attendees cheered loudly when Cook announced that Siri voice dictation now includes usernames and passwords, and Siri can now be used to search the App Store for films and TV shows. The company demonstrated how Siri can understand even relatively complex commands, such as “Show me movies directed by the Coen brothers.”