Apple Unveils iPhone 6s Models, 12.9-Inch iPad Pro, Apple TV Upgrade
Preorders for the new iPhones will begin on Sept. 12 while the devices will go on sale on Sept. 25 in the U.S., China, France, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia and other nations. Prices for the iPhone 6s will start at $199 on a two-year contract for a 16GB model and range to $399 for a 128GB version. Prices for the iPhone 6s Plus will start at $299 for a 16GB model and range to $499 for a 128GB version. Apple is also introducing a new iPhone Upgrade Program that will allow customers to pay a monthly rate for their device, starting at $32 per month for 24 months, and allow them to get a new model each year. Apple Watch UpdatesStarting in October, some upcoming Apple Watch models will include designs and craftsmanship from fashion house Hermes, while new colors and models are on the way from Apple's own design team, including Sport models in rose gold and space black in anodized aluminum. The New Apple TV The new version of Apple TV includes an improved remote, Siri integration, new capabilities for Apple Music, a new operating system, improved gaming and multi-player options and more. Apple TV now includes a 64-bit A8 processor, fast 802.11ac WiFi and will come in two versions—a 32GB model for $149 of a 64GB model for $199. The earlier Apple TV version will continue to be sold for $69. The new devices will be available in late October. How Analysts See the New Devices Several IT analysts told eWEEK that they see the latest Apple devices as a mixed bag for the company. Charles King, principal analyst of Pund-IT, said the improved cameras and 3D Touch features in the new iPhones "are intriguing, but I have trouble seeing them driving significant upticks in sales. That's mainly because the new camera specs still lag some Android devices, but the success of 3D Touch could get a boost if developers run with it." The most significant news, he said, are the upgraded enterprise features in the new iPad Pro, including multi-tasking and side-by-side display capabilities that had previously been available on Windows devices. "The fact is that with these improvements, the iPad is finally becoming workable as an actual business computing endpoint," said King. "That's a big deal both for Apple and for partners like IBM and Cisco that are promoting and supporting Apple products among their respective customers." Avi Greengart, a mobile device analyst with Current Analysis, told eWEEK that "Apple TV is a terrific set top box with lots of potential, but presumes that consumers are willing to pay a premium for the experience and gaming. It does nothing to change the dynamics in the industry overall—Apple is not offering packages of content, or providing any way to watch and record live TV." Jan Dawson, chief analyst of Jackdaw Research, told eWEEK that the Sept. 16 release of the Watch OS 2 operating system will give the Apple Watch a needed lift, including apps and performance that "should be snappier, more functional, and far more varied in their capabilities. I believe this new phase of its history will change the Watch as much as iPhone OS 2 changed the iPhone, and make it a much more compelling device, while creating big new opportunities for developers." In addition, the new watch and band options should also help diversify the appeal of the Apple Watch in both the premium and low-end segments, with both the Hermes watches and the new colors for the Sport option, wrote Dawson. "This, coupled with the holiday season, should make for a really big calendar Q4 for Watch sales."
The company's smartwatch is getting new colors, models and new capabilities, including apps such as Facebook Messenger, iTranslate and one that works as a viewfinder for GoPro cameras. In addition, the latest Apple Watch OS 2 operating system will be released on Sept. 16, adding myriad new features and updates.