This Wednesday, Apple held its special September keynote in the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. As expected, the company announced new iterations of the iPhone, Apple TV and iPad platforms.
By far Apple’s most popular product, the new version of the iPhone is something that many people await with bated breath. However, the new iPhone 6S is really just more of the same. The most notable new feature is 3D touch, which adds dimensionality to the screen by detecting how hard you press it. This is either the next step in touch-screen technology or a potential headache. The cameras also received an upgrade, capping at 12MP for pictures and 4K for video. In the end, it’s nothing really worth upgrading for.
What has often seemed to be the underdog at these events — Apple TV — is a product worth noting this time around. For those who already own an Apple TV, the new version probably isn’t different enough to warrant an upgrade. Having said that, with the new Siri Remote, navigating the system has never been easier. It might be pricey, but Apple TV is a nice addition to anyone’s dorm or living room. It’s convenient to have an entertainment center that has music, movies and every television app that you can think of, from Hulu to Crunchyroll, especially in college. Apple also announced that the new system would run the App Store, in the hopes of bringing gaming to Apple TV.
Surprisingly, the most impressive product at the event had to be the iPad Pro. For the first time since the launch of the original iPad back in 2010, Apple has finally brought a tablet to the table that’s worth buying. While the older iPads lack sophistication for typing-intensive projects, Apple has taken a page out of Microsoft’s handbook and created the Smart Keyboard, a keyboard case that connects directly to the device, and the Apple Pencil, a custom stylus. For students who might prefer the ease of a tablet over the conventional laptop, the iPad Pro takes the style and flair of the iPad and mixes it with the functional elements of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3.
The instant appeal of the iPad Pro has got to be its size. Coming in at 12.9 inches, the iPad Pro is roughly the same size as most laptop screens. The upgrade in screen size adds to the utility of the tablet, meaning productive and creative suites can utilize more space and create applications that are actually viable. Plus, for those who still covet the iPad as an entertainment center, the Pro packs a new speaker system developed to deliver a 61 percent increase in sound. The older iPads were always a secondary device, but with the new Pro, the iPad might just become the only device you need.
Also unveiled at the event was a new OS for the Apple Watch. Now, the Apple Watch is probably the last thing that a college student needs. Not only is it expensive, it’s also not very useful. Apple loves talking about how it’s changing people’s lives, but I’m pretty skeptical about just how much change a watch can make. That’s not to say that it’s a bad product, but wearables are still in their awkward puberty phase, and the acne hasn’t really cleared up yet regarding how these devices are going to make a meaningful difference in everybody’s lives.
Apple’s annual conferences always bring a crop of new innovations to their well-established platforms. While some of the improvements are definitely more impressive than others, the overall trend in the product design is moving in the right direction to solidify Apple as the maker of both functional and fashionable devices that college students love to buy.