Yesterday we saw Apple unbox a slew of new devices in its first event since WWDC in June. Alongside new iPhones and an updated iPad mini, we saw a dramatically redesigned Apple TV, the new iPad Pro and finally got release dates for iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan. Read more to find out how all of these can impact you and your customers.
After months of rumours and speculation, Apple finally showed us yesterday what they've been busy working on. Updated iPhones and iPad mini were joined by a dramatically redesigned Apple TV, the new iPad Pro, and the final details for iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan. hedgehog lab are incredibly excited about what some of these announcements mean for us, our projects, and you. Let's take a look!
iPhone 6s and 6s Plus
Let's start with Apple's most popular product line; the iPhone. As expected, Apple release two new handsets - the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus - in its "s" year release. Whilst most of the improvements came in the speed of the device and some nice hardware changes, one feature really stood out - 3D Touch.
3D Touch uses technology similar to that found in the Apple Watch to add an extra dimension of interaction to iOS. Instead of just being able to tap, you can press lightly or perform a firm press to do further actions with an application or from the home screen. The demos shown included being able to open a link in a preview before deciding to continue to the page in Safari, or using the variable pressure to do different controls within a game.
Of all the new features and enhancements shown - faster processor, always-on "Hey Siri!", improved iSight camera with 4K video, and much more, 3D Touch was the one we found more exciting and is a feature we believe can bring a whole new level of polish to iPhone applications going forward.
iPad Pro is the biggest and most powerful iOS post-PC device we've seen so far. With a 12.9-inch display and Apple's new A9X processor (which is up to twice as fast as the processor in the iPad Air 2), this thing is a monster in every sense of the word. This thing is designed for serious productivity and multitasking on the go, and it sure means business!
Some of the applications we saw demoed included Microsoft Office, which looked and worked brilliantly on the retina display, and Adobe's suite of mobile applications. Switching between applications and using two applications side-by-side looked extremely fast and incredibly easy; just as it should be.
Whilst apps designed for the iPad Air 2 will work for the iPad Pro - especially well in split-screen view - apps will need to be designed to take advantage of all that screen real-estate as well as be better optimised for keyboard and Apple Pencil input. It's going to take us a little bit of time to work out what works best on such a big and powerful iPad, but we're looking forward to the challenge and bringing what we learn to new applications.
It's not very often you get to say this, but we need to start making applications for the television. Apple finally announced a new Apple TV, starting at just $149, with support for games and applications on its new operating system - tvOS. Like watchOS, this operating system is based on and takes APIs from iOS, but is specifically designed to run on televisions and large displays.
The apps on show ranged from traditional app experiences - like searching airbnb for a holiday apartment or using Gilt to buy discounted fashion - to playing games such as Guitar Hero, Disney Infinity and Crossy Road. All through a new and unique controller with a glass touchpad and Siri built in.
This is the second time this year that Apple has presented us with a new and exciting opportunity to approach apps and games from a different angle. First of all with the smallest screen they've ever made - the Apple Watch - and now with the biggest - Apple TV. I wonder what new products and surprises they'll have for us next year...
Whilst much of what makes up the new versions of Apple's operating systems - iOS, OS X and watchOS - was showcased at WWDC back in June, we got a better look at some of the new features and finally got a release date for this much-anticipated updates.
Coming to the Apple Watch on the 16th of September, watchOS 2 is a major step forward for the device. Finally, well 5 months after launch, the Watch will be able to run applications natively. This means that even if your iPhone is not within wireless range, applications will be able to open, and they should be much quicker at opening.
Apps will also be able to take advantage of all the hardware features of the watch - Digital Crown, accelerometer and gyroscope, heart rate sensor and more. This opens whole new ways of interacting with applications. Whether that be with gaming, fitness, or using your heart rate to find matches on a dating app.
We've already written a few blog posts about some of the exciting new features coming with iOS 9. Features like app thinning, which will allow applications to take up less storage space on a device by only delivering the code and resources it needs for that device. This event didn't see many new announcements about features available to us through iOS 9, but it did give us a firm release date - September 16th.
With the quick adoption rate of new iOS versions, any apps we make from now on will have iOS 9 as their focus.
Now to work!
If nothing else, yesterday's event gave us a lot of inspiration on how to continue building better applications for the post-PC world. The iPhone 6s and iPad Pro showed us just how powerful these mobile devices are becoming, and some of the Apple Watch demos showed what can be done when apps go native. We're already scouring through the documentation and guides, working out how best to use the new technologies in these new products and operating systems to create better apps and deliver a great experience to you and those who use your apps.
We're incredibly excited, and this is just the beginning!