September 6, 2015
September can mean only one thing. An Apple event! Out gadget and tech expert, Brad, gives us an insight into what to expect from the event that many people are waiting for.
So, recently Apple sent out invitations to a media event which is happening this Wednesday, 9th September. Like most tech companies, Apple are always very cagey about new products but it’s a safe bet that we’re going to see the new versions of the iPhone revealed. So, what can we expect CEO Tim Cook and the rest of the crew to show us?
We won’t know for sure until Wednesday, but the rumors tell us that we’re looking at an “S” update; the same form factor as last year’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but with upgraded internals (better processor, better camera, more RAM) and possibly one or two new features such as Force Touch (the pressure sensitive screen technology from the Apple Watch) which might be used to incorporate shortcuts for common tasks in applications.
Typically Ireland is in the second round of international releases for new iPhones, so I would guess we’ll be able to buy them some time in October. We can’t be certain of that, though, as the Apple Watch is still not available here despite being made available in a number of other countries since it was launched earlier this year.
Along with a new iPhone, September always brings a new version of the operating system, and we got a look at iOS 9 back in June. There has been a public beta version available for you to test if you’re brave enough, so we know quite a lot about it already. Like the “S” hardware update, the focus is on improving what’s already there, offering things like better multitasking, search, performance and battery life. Nothing mind-blowing, but welcome improvements all the same.
The rumour sites are also reporting an updated version of the nifty Apple TV box (the current version has been pretty much unchanged since March 2012, which is like 15 years in the technology world) and there have been rumblings of an update with access to Apple’s App Store for a long time now.
In case you don’t already know, the Apple TV is a really handy way to get stuff off your iPhone or iPad onto the telly, either by logging into your iTunes account and playing stuff you’ve purchased, or even better just flinging whatever you have on your iDevice via AirPlay, which works like magic. Any app or game you can display on your iPhone can be streamed to your television in HD, and it works really well. Even without AirPlay there are some great streaming options in the USA, but here in Ireland we’re pretty much left with Netflix. If you don’t have another way to view Netflix on your TV and you have an iPhone, an Apple TV is a great little gadget. But don’t buy one just yet!
The updated version will apparently allow you to install Apps, which will bring a much bigger choice of content without having to have your iPad out of action while it’s playing something via AirPlay. Any content provider with an App for iPhone or iPad could make an Apple TV version available, so you won’t be stuck with the few channels available currently. The new version is also said to have a revamped controller with motion sensors for games and a microphone for voice search using Siri.
Industry sources say Apple are also working on a subscription TV service, a little like Netflix but for current TV shows rather than just box sets of old shows. Some of this content is already available to people in the USA via things like Hulu and HBO, but Apple will seek to bring their customary flair to the world of TV streaming. The rumours say that the necessary deals aren’t quite in place yet, so we won’t see this new service released with the new Apple TV box, and whether we ever see it here in Ireland is another matter entirely.
Another item that we might see unveiled is a larger iPad, which people are calling an “iPad Pro” – the same class-leading Tablet with a bigger touch screen to take advantage of things like split-screen multitasking (new for iPads in iOS 9) and provide more space for graphic design applications. Aimed squarely at high-flying professionals, this device will have an equally high price – indications are that the iPad’s big brother will start at over $800. We could also see an update of the popular iPad Mini, including a better processor.
Again, we can’t be sure what gadgetty goodies will be announced, but with the event scheduled for this Wednesday we won’t have long to wait. If you’re interested, you can live stream the event to find out all the news first hand.