I'm not an Apple fanboy. I don't wait in line for a chance to see their products. And I certainly don't sleep out the night before they're even announced. I'm just your average well-seasoned tech journalist who happens to own a first-gen iPad and a 4-year old MacBook Air (and an Android phone). That is all to say, today's "Hey Siri" announcement, over-hyped as it is, still manages to draw a crowd of tech-hungry viewers. Here's the skinny on what I saw...
Watch Is Getting Cooler
Apple's wrist candy will soon be sweeter. If you're into the bands and colors and watch faces, you'll see more of that kind of stuff. More importantly, the next operating system (OS2, shipping 9/16) will make your life a happier place by letting you:
- Use your voice to find stuff (a la Siri) and respond on Facebook
- Pay for things and relay rewards card info at retail shops
- Get public transportation schedules and directions around the world
- Control your GoPro and see what it sees
- Communicate secure, important and timely patient info with your doctor
iPad's Getting Bigger
With a 12.9-inch screen and the most pixels of any i-device, the upcoming iPad Pro (available starting in November) looks pretty amazing. Compared to the original iPad, it's a mere 0.03 lb heavier, but 360 times faster. It's as wide as the iPad Air 2 is tall, giving it 78 percent more display area. (Compared to the Air 2, it's also 0.8 mm thicker and its audio can get up to three times louder.) Yet it still promises that all-important 10-hour battery life. Innovation-wise, the Pro debuts three new technologies:
- Smart Connector is three magnetic domes to charge and send data to/from the iPad, such as through the new...
- Optional full-size physical keyboard
- Speaking of things we never thought we'd see from Apple, Pencil is a rechargeable writing implement (don't call it a stylus) with the precision to touch a single pixel. More impressive, the Pro's special screen can detect not only the position, force and tilt of Pencil, but differentiate it from your finger, making for interesting multi-touch scenarios.
TV's Getting More Futurier
According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, 60 percent of everything everybody in the universe does is on an Apple device. So he just assumes we'll make Apple TV our center for home entertainment . That's why the new and improved version of their set top box (coming in late October) will feature:
- Gaming, apps and Siri. Although the Roku 3's remote offers voice interaction, Siri appears to take it a step further, not just speaking to search but actually refine results. ("Show me action movies...just from the 80s...starring Jackie Chan.")
- Even better, it can help you navigate the current show ("What did she say?" skips back 15 seconds) or give you information — not just about the current show, but pull up a shade with sports scores, weather, whatever...without interrupting what you're watching.
iPhone's Getting Touchier
The most beloved smartphone humans have ever known will surely be more loved, because it's changing "everything." Wait, what? Even though it appears very similar (other than the new rose gold colored one you're sure to want), it's got a ton of new tech under its familiar-looking hood:
- Series 7000 aluminum alloy and screen glass with dual ion exchange process will make it stronger.
- 3D Touch will make everything cooler — seriously, that wasn't sarcastic. Applying pressure while touching the screen will let you pop into stuff without opening it. For instance, peeking into email, seeing flight times, and getting a quick view of Web links.
- A much-improved 12MP iSight camera (50 percent more pixels than in the 6 and 6 Plus) and 5MP FaceTime camera. It'll be able to capture 4K videos, use the screen itself as a flash for the forward-facing camera and take "Live Photos." These innovative images will automatically capture movement one and a half seconds before and after the shot's taken. In other words, your still images will have a sense of animation to them. (You have to see it to appreciate it, but it's cool.)
This technological marvel will be available for pre-order 9/12 and available supposedly two weeks after that — during which time, iOS 9.0 will be released.