As usual, there was great anticipation before Apple’s latest announcements yesterday by Apple fans and developers alike. The keynote focused on updates on existing devices, as well as the launch of the new iPad Pro, with the new tvOS coming out later in the year.
iPhone 6S and 6S Plus
Aside from improved battery life and faster processors, the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus come with exciting new features which will improve the user experience, especially the 3DTouch gestures. The pressure-sensitive screens can detect various types of taps allowing for a single gesture to make several commands – a soft tap will provide a glimpse or preview of an email for example, only opening it fully when greater pressure is made. It works within apps and directly on the home screen, offering new ways to interact with apps.
The phone camera has also been improved, going from 8 to 12 megapixels, and allowing 4K video. The new iPhone also allows ‘Live Photos’ which are essentially GIFs of the photo you are taking to capture movement, automatically taking photos throughout 3 seconds to allow for animation.
The new Apple TV comes with Siri voice control and a remote control that can also be used as a game controller. You will be able to ask Siri to search for specific content, narrowing down categories, for example a movie with a specific actress or that was released in a specific year. You will also be able to replay with subtitles in case you missed what was said, or review player stats during sports on the screen.
The brand new operating system tvOS will allow developers to work on new games and apps made for the big screen and provide a new way to engage users, putting them squarely in control. We have no doubt that we will see all manner of really innovative new apps and games in this space, changing the TV experience forever.
And finally… the iPad Pro
Tim Cook stated that the iPad Pro “is the most powerful and capable iPad [Apple] ever created” and it is also the largest with a 12.9 inch screen, giving 76% more screen area than the current 9.7 inch.
It is being marketed to professionals, joining the MacBook Pro and Mac Pro line. It will run on Apple’s new AX9 processor where in terms of speed and graphics it is almost twice as effective as the AX8 used in the iPad Air 2. However, with such a powerful performer, Apple runs the risk of cannibalizing its laptop sales for enterprise users as they choose the tablet being cheaper, more secure and longer-lasting. The new magnetic keyboard as well as the pressure-sensitive stylus – the Apple Pencil – will make the latest iPad very attractive to business users indeed. But what other factors will impact whether or not the iPad Pro will be a success?
- Industry Demand – Just like big iMacs and other big screens have been popular for architects, design agencies, fashion companies, and in construction, healthcare and oil & gas companies, we think there is a big demand for a bigger flat device that we can easily carry around. However, Apple normally focuses on $5Bn+ opportunities and I’m not sure if these industries will be enough. It needs to become a popular consumer product as well.
- Desktop/Laptop/Tablet merger – Businesses, government organizations and consumers are all talking about how smartphones and tablets are replacing their existing desktop/laptop usage. Tablet accessories are now becoming so good that it’s difficult to tell the difference between a tablet and a laptop. Many companies have pilots in place to replace all desktops/laptops for staff that can perform their tasks on a tablet. This is a cost reduction as well as an opportunity to mobilise the workforce and consolidate applications.
- Phablets – Another driver is clearly that smartphone displays are getting much bigger replacing the need for the iPad mini and other smaller tablets.
- Apple Dominates the Enterprise – Last year Apple held a 87% market share of tablets in the enterprise in North America. Microsoft and Samsung already offer 12+ inch tablets which could potentially compete with Apple’s position.