Business Users Eye New Giant iPad, iPhone 6S Releases

Craig GalbraithA company you’ve probably heard of at least once – Apple – used much of Wednesday to unveil a handful of new products and updates that it expects will take both the average consumer and business user by storm.

As expected, the Silicon Valley giant introduced the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus at a media event in San Francisco. The new phones feature 3D Touch, which senses the amount of force a user puts on the screen – this enables new ways to access features and interact with content.

Also new is Live Photos, a photography feature designed to bring still images to life by capturing a moment in motion. All of the new features are powered by Apple’s A9 chip, its most powerful ever in a smartphone. As for recording HD video, the new phones support 4K technology and optical image stabilization has been expanded from photos to video on the larger model.

Apple has been criticized in odd years for a lack of innovation – 2011 is the year it started the “S” trend (think iPhone 4s, 5s, etc.) – but the company says this year is different.

“The only thing that has changed with iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus is everything — 3D Touch lets users interact with iPhone in entirely new and fun ways, and the innovative Live Photos brings your pictures to life,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “These are the most advanced iPhones ever, with 7000 series aluminum, ion-strengthened glass, the new 64-bit A9 chip, 12-megapixel iSight and 5-megapixel FaceTime HD cameras, faster Touch ID, LTE and Wi-Fi.”

The new smartphones are available in gold, silver, space gray and the new rose gold metallic finish. Pre-orders start Saturday, with general availability on Sept. 25. The 6s model retails for $648, while the 6s Plus goes for $744. Twenty-four-month pricing plans are available from Apple and from most major carriers.

Of equal or perhaps more importance to business users, is the debut of the iPad Pro. It’s a 12.9-inch tablet with the company’s patented Retina display.

A key accessory (sold separately) for the new tablet is the new Apple Pencil, which is designed to make drawing and sketching fluid and natural. Advanced sensors measure both pressure and tilt. The Pencil works with apps such as Mail, Notes, Procreate and Office 365 for iPad.

Also of note is Apple’s new …

… Smart Keyboard, which the company says further extends the device’s utility. It’s a full-size keyboard with a thin, durable design. It, too, is sold separately. The Smart Keyboard attaches to a Smart Connector port, eliminating the need for a separate battery or Bluetooth pairing.

The iPad Pro starts at $799 for the 32GB Wi-Fi model and $1,079 for the Wi-Fi + cellular 128GB model. Apple Pencil sells for $99 and Smart Keyboard for $169. They all go on sale in November.

But Apple wasn’t even close to being done with its new product announcements. While aimed more at consumers, the all-new Apple TV includes Siri, so you can search for programs with your voice. There’s a new tvOS operating system, based on Apple’s iOS, enabling millions of developers to create new apps and games specifically for Apple TV.

The new Apple TV will set you back $149 for the 32GB model and $199 for the 64GB version.

If you’re into wearables, the latest software for the Apple Watch is available on Sept. 16. It’s a free update that delivers new features and native third-party apps. watchOS 2 aims to make apps more fluid and includes new communication features such as the ability to respond quickly to Mail with dictation, Smart Replies or emojis. New cases and bands are available starting today.

Last but not least, Apple device owners of all kinds will get iOS 9 as a free update next Wednesday as well. The latest version of the company’s mobile operating system includes new multitasking features that let users view and interact with two apps at once, side by side. Picture-in-Picture allows users to play video while browsing the Web, composing email or using other apps.

“iOS 9 is packed with intelligence that makes every experience with iPhone and iPad even more powerful — Siri can do more than ever and new proactive assistance helps you get more done before you ask, all while protecting users’ privacy,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “With iOS 9 we focused on strengthening the foundation of iOS with a deep focus on quality, and with the help of more than 1 million users who participated in our first ever public beta program, we’re excited to release the best version of iOS yet.”

Follow senior online managing editor Craig Galbraith on Twitter.

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