Apple's shown its hand in more ways than one
The completely overhauled Apple TV was unveiled today, too. Apple CEO Tim Cook said on stage that he thinks "the future of the television is apps," and that's what Apple's new set-top box is all about.
And, of course, we can't forget the iPad Pro, Apple's "WTF?" announcement for this year, and a worthy one at that. It's unabashedly a Surface Pro 3 killer, and that shows with a Jobs-defying stylus and a rivaling keyboard cover, the Smart Keyboard.
But we all know the highlights, and I'll get into those momentarily, so what about the less … bombastic takeaways? You know, the things that Apple executives said (or didn't say) in between those sizzle reels.
These are the moments from Apple's September 9 event worth hanging onto just as much as Apple's shiny new pieces of gadgetry.
The almighty iPhone is reborn (again)
"The iPhones that you are about to see are the most advanced iPhones ever," Cook said on stage. "And, in fact, they are the most advanced smartphones in the world."
For the first time since Apple launched the iPhone back in 2007, Apple's hyperbole just might be right. The firm's force-sensitive 3D Touch display technology just introduced smartphones to the right-click that took computing to a whole new level some 40 years ago.
Plus, there's the sharper cameras, 4K video recording, those weird Live Photos that turn stills into GIFs automagically and the newer, stronger 7000 Series aluminum construction. But why go on when all the info is right here?
Apple quietly avoided the battery life question
Sometimes, Apple's events are as much about what is said as what isn't said. The number one offender in this case? Battery life for the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus - not a peep was made about how long each of these phones will last.
Surely, I don't have to explain why this is worrisome. Why, of all the cool points to make and iThings to show, was one of the most chief concerns of phone buyers not addressed? (For Pete's sake, even the Siri Remote's 3-month battery life was given mention.)
Is it because Apple simply ran out of time? Doubtful, considering it had time to address everything else regarding its new products. It's more likely that the numbers are less than what Apple would want to publicize in the phones' debut event.
Likely culprits include that Siri in iOS 9 is always listening for "Hey, Siri?" and the new Taptic Engine within the phones. Of course, we'll have to save full judgment there for the full reviews.
Hey, remember when Apple invited Microsoft?
As Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller strapped the audience in for a few demos of its iPad Pro in action, he said, "It would be great to have a developer come and show us what's possible with professional productivity, and who to know better about productivity than Microsoft?"
The words were met with stunned silence, broken only with a nervous "yeah" from Schiller that brought the audience into seemingly awkward laughter and applause as he finished with, "these guys know productivity."
What ensued was a normal, seamless Apple event demo like any other, only what was being demoed was software from one of Apple's fiercest rivals on its flashy new device. It was … weird.
Clearly, the animosity between the two companies has leveled out a bit, but what could it mean for the future? Is this simply Microsoft showing it knows that its best way into the BYOD (bring your own device) movement in enterprise is to join up? Only time will tell that one.
The fabled iPad Pro is fable no more
This thing has been rumored, reported on and leaked since late 2013, so it's about time that Apple came around and made good on the scuttlebutt. As expected, the iPad Pro is a 12.9-inch Apple tablet with a 2,732 x 2,048 resolution and the shiny new A9X processor.
What came as a true surprise was that Apple actually developed a stylus for it, the goofily-named Apple Pencil. (To which Jobs must be turning in his grave right about now.)
Then, if it wasn't clear already that Apple's taken copious notes from Microsoft's trajectory with its Surface Pro line of tablets, the company created the Smart Keyboard. This keyboard cover looks mighty similar to Microsoft's, and it even makes up for the iPad Pro's lack of a kickstand.
We'll see whether Apple's bullish attempt to push Microsoft out of the enterprise, BYOD hardware scene pays off. But probably not before the Redmond, Wash. firm responds in kind - rumor has it Microsoft has a fall hardware event in store.
'The future of television ... is apps'
In an attempt to rile up the audience before he unveiled the new Apple TV, Tim Cook took public issue with a stagnation in innovation he's noticed in the television space for decades. Meanwhile, phones flew past the TV in this regard, namely thanks to Apple's pioneering App Store. And so…
"The future of television is apps," Cook said.
But wait, hasn't that future been happening for the past decade, right under Apple's nose? (In fact, Apple's been right there in the thick of it the whole time.) Almost every major TV network has a set-top box app, not to mention the countless independent streaming apps, like Netflix and Hulu.
The future that Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue depicted during an exhaustive breakdown certainly looked better, but not at all different from how any cord cutter experiences TV today or has so for the past five years.
Where was Apple's long-rumored, supposedly revolutionary take on live broadcast television? Nowhere to be found. All I'm seeing is a seemingly far better box than any of its rivals, which is nothing to scoff at, but let's not call this "the future." This is the present - a better present, but still just that.
Apple TV has its second coming
As expected by everyone, Apple announced its latest crack at the set-top box, a new Apple TV. This time, the device comes with improved hardware on the inside - namely the iPhone 6's A8 chip and AC Wi-Fi - and outside, with a new Siri Remote with voice control and a touch surface for navigation.
The number one super cool feature? Siri can respond when you utter something like, "What did she say?" by rewinding the playback by 15 seconds and briefly activating captions. Brilliant.
But Apple also detailed a new operating system exclusive to its new puck: tvOS. It's based on iOS, with largely all the same protocols and tools, but has been tailored for this new interface and brings the App Store to Apple TV. Developers are already working on the beta version of the software, so the new Apple TV's release in late October.
Apple took a piece of the carriers' pie
Inspired by the countless installment plans - or contract-free leases, really - that carriers have put forth for new phones in the past few years, Apple came up with its very own. It's dead simple, too, something the carriers can't exactly say.
Starting in the US and later expanding worldwide, Apple will allow customers to enter its iPhone Upgrade Program. This allows you to get the latest iPhone every year, unlocked, with the firm's AppleCare+ protection plan starting at $32 per month.
After 12 monthly payments, you'll be eligible to trade in your current iPhone for the latest model right from within an Apple Store. The AppleCare inclusion here is key, as no carrier can currently compete with that. Take that, Uncarrier!
Finally, we plebs get the rose gold Apple Watch
That's about it, really. Apple announced a rose gold version of the aluminum (i.e. remotely affordable) Apple Watch Sport, much to everyone's delight. Now, you don't have to drop 10 grand on a watch in your favorite color - just 350 bucks. Thanks, Papa Apple.