Like clockwork, Apple made a number of announcements at its annual event yesterday, introducing the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, the iPad Pro and the next generation of the Apple TV, which will include an OS called “tvOS” that will allow developers to create apps for the updated device. The company also announced launch dates for a number of OS updates, including iOS 9 and watchOS 2 next Wednesday on September 16. While some may have been underwhelmed by Apple’s latest news, many of the announcements mean big things for developers, who will be able to incorporate more powerful features into their iOS apps.
Here’s a roundup of key Apple announcements in case you missed it:
iOS 9 Will Launch on September 16
Apple announced that its latest operating system, iOS 9, will launch on September 16. The OS has been available as a public beta for a few months now, which means by now we have a good idea what to expect. Siri will be updated to offer up proactive and user specific information, navigation between apps will be easier with a new back button and more. The biggest innovation will be for iPad users, who will have access to multi-tasking functionality with a split-screen mode. (Note: our release candidate 5.0.0 SDK was also released Wednesday following Apple’s GM release)
Introducing the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus
Apple unveiled its next generation of iPhones, the 6S and 6S Plus, which will be available September 25. The new devices will come with a number of upgrades, including a higher-quality camera and the third generation of Apple’s 64-bit chip, which will speed up graphics performance by 90 percent.
Most notably, the new iPhones will use 3D Touch, a feature that is already available on the Apple Watch and on new MacBooks. The UI enhancement offers an exciting opportunity for developers to work with a new set of interactions that will make app navigation smoother and ultimately improve user experience by introducing more control over commands. 3D Touch allows Apple’s new devices to sense how much pressure a user applies to the screen. A tap, a light press and a deep press now act as three different navigation commands. How developers choose to use these commands is up to them. For example, Apple plans to use light taps to “peek” into apps and harder presses to “pop” apps open.
The iPad Pro, Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil Will be Available in November
In what CEO Tim Cook says is “the biggest news in iPad since the iPad,” Apple announced the iPad Pro, a bigger and more powerful version of the preceding model. The new device, boosting a 12.9-inch display, serves up a longer battery life, an improved audio system and a faster processing system to support apps with advanced functionality. Alongside the iPad Pro, Apple announced new accessories including the Smart Keyboard and the Apple Pencil. Both accessories aim to allow developers to incorporate more complex capabilities into apps and provide greater precision for users. The iPad Pro, Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil will be available in November.
New Apple TV to Feature Siri Integration and tvOS
Apple introduced the fourth-generation Apple TV, which will ship in October. The new device features an OS called “tvOS”, a new remote and navigation system, new developer tools and Siri support, which allows users to control their device with voice commands. tvOS will allow developers to create apps for the Apple TV, which will be housed in a brand new Apple TV App Store. And apps won’t be limited to typical TV fare. With a beta available and 11 million developers already registered, there are a variety of apps in the works for everything–from gaming to shopping. The creation of a new developer ecosystem has the potential to bring real innovation the television, which has largely been a walled garden until now.
New Apple Watch Models Shipping Immediately
The Apple Watch update, watchOS 2, which was announced at WWDC earlier this year, will be available for download on September 16. The update introduces several new features including native third-party apps, third-party complications, which will allow users to customize what information is automatically delivered to their watch face and overall system improvements. Apple will also offer up new watchbands and finishes.