Apple didn't disappoint with its Sept. 9 product announcements, unveiling a largest-ever 12.9-inch iPad Pro table for the enterprise, revamped and updated iPhone 6s models, intriguing updates for Apple Watch, the new version of Apple TV and a long-rumored iPad Mini 4.
The new devices were announced during a two-hour media event in San Francisco where Apple CEO Tim Cook and a who's-who list of Apple executives paraded out new features and improved capabilities for the company's products.
"Huge morning for us," said Cook in a presentation that was also streamed live on the Internet.
The updates to the iPhone 6 line are impressive, but probably the biggest news of the day is the big-screen, business-aimed iPad Pro, which has been rumored for some time as a device that could help the company capture a larger foothold in business computing.
To add emphasis to this point, Cook said that Apple is "partnering with IBM and Cisco to redefine how people work in the enterprise" with the new iPad Pro. "We asked ourselves, how can we take iPad even further? Today, we have the biggest news in iPads since the iPad. It's the most capable and powerful iPad we've ever created."
Instead of just making the iPad with a bigger display, Apple has given the new business-targeted machine more power and performance than any iOS device the company has ever made, said Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for Apple.
Running the new iOS 9 operating system, the iPad Pro has a 12.9-inch diagonal display made up of 5.6M pixels, which is more pixels than a 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display, he said. "It's an amazing experience. This is the most advanced display we've ever built."
The latest iPad includes Apple's new third-generation 64-bit A9X chip, which has two times the memory bandwidth of previous versions, helping to make the machine faster than 80 percent of the portable PCs shipped in the past year, he said.
The iPad Pro also includes 10-hour battery life, Apple's first-time-ever four-speaker audio system and a weight of 1.57 pounds. It also features an 8 megapixel iSight rear-facing camera, a 5MP FaceTime HD camera, Touch ID and superfast 802.11ac WiFi.
Also available are two optional accessories–a snap-on physical "Smart Keyboard" for users who desire the feel of real keys and the new Apple Pencil, which allows users to "draw" on the iPad with a stylus for accurate inputs.
When they become available in November, the iPad Pro will come in silver, gold or space gray and will be priced at $799 for 32GB with WiFi, $949 for a 128GB version, or $1,079 for a 128GB model with both WiFi and LTE cellular. The accessory keyboard is priced at $169, while the Pencil is $99.
Meanwhile, the new iPad Mini 4 is priced at $399.
Big Updates in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus
The big-screen iPad Pro wasn't the only important news from the event. Just as important are the long lists of updates and improvements being made to the company's iPhones, which include higher performance, better cameras and a new feature called 3D Touch that adds new input capabilities for users to help them get the most out of the devices.
3D Touch is the latest generation of Apple's established multi-touch input system, said Schiller. It not only recognizes familiar gestures, but also the amount of force being provided by a user on the screen.
"3D Touch works on the home screen, giving you shortcuts to the things you do frequently," he said. "Press lightly and it gives you a peek of the content. Keep pressing and it pops you into the content itself."
The new iPhone 6s includes a 4.7-inch display, while the 6s Plus includes a 5.5-inch display, both of which are wrapped in a new stronger cover glass. Both new phones are built around Apple's fastest smartphone chip, the A9, which is a third generation 64-bit chip.
Meanwhile, the cameras on the latest devices also got a major upgrade, through the addition of an all-new 12MP iSight camera that has 50 percent more pixels than earlier devices. Both phones are also now capable of 4K video, run on iOS 9 and include new 5MP FaceTime HD front cameras.