Sci & Tech

Apple Launches New Products, Program

Apple Launches  New Products, ProgramApple Launches  New Products, Program

Apple has unveiled a host of new products at an event in San Francisco, including new iPhone models and a new Apple TV.

The company launched two new iPhones, the 6s and 6s Plus, which are the same size as last year's 6 and 6 Plus. They look largely similar, although they do come in a new "rose gold" color. What's under the hood is more interesting.

According to The Telegraph, new "3D Touch" technology lets you apply different levels of pressure to the iPhone's touchscreen to provide different options, for example accessing a sub-menu or "peeking" at a photo or web page.

Meanwhile, there's an upgraded camera that records 4K video and snaps 12-megapixel photos. The new iPhones' camera also takes a series of pictures, instead of one, enabling a new feature called "live photos".

These are short animations that incorporate the images taken before and after the "actual" picture.

The new iPhones also have an upgraded "A9" processor, which the company said made them up to twice as fast. They go on sale on September 25, priced from £539, and can be pre-ordered from September 12.

  Apple TV

Apple TV, the company's set-top box, has received a major upgrade that Apple hopes will make it the center of the living room.

The device has a new operating system, tvOS, which will allow developers to create apps for it, with a heavy focus on gaming.

It has deep integration with Siri, the voice-controlled personal assistant of the iPhone. Apple TV also has an impressive, touch sensitive remote that is used to select programs and is motion sensitive for use in gaming.

The Apple TV goes on sale in October. It will cost $149 for the 32 GB model and $199 for the 64 GB version.

  iPad Pro

For those of you who find their iPad too small, Apple has unveiled a 12.9-inch version of the tablet, compared to the 9.7 inches of the iPad Air.

The iPad Pro is a major upgrade in processing power, has a bigger screen and is almost as thin as the iPad Air, but perhaps most exciting are its accessories.

Apple unveiled the "Apple Pencil", a sort-of stylus that responds to how hard it is being pressed on the iPad's screen, and showed off a range of applications such as handwriting and drawing. It also showed off the "Smart Keyboard", a case that includes physical keys, in a clear sign that it is further targeting laptop users.

  Everything Else

The second version of the Apple Watch software, watchOS2, got a release date: September 16.

Fashion house Hermès is also teaming up with Apple to launch an Apple Watch, which has a custom strap and some new watch faces. That'll set you back £1,000 or more.

Also, iOS 9 got a release date. It'll be out on September 16.

  Upgrade Program

Perhaps the most important announcement from the company—and definitely the most intriguing one—was nothing more than a new business arrangement.

The iPhone Upgrade Program will let people pay a monthly fee and receive, in exchange, a new iPhone every year. They’ll also gain access to AppleCare+, the company’s extra-special extended warranty program. AppleCare+, unlike normal AppleCare, fixes "incidental" damage and, for a fee, will replace a cracked screen, The Atlantic reported.

The new program mimics other subscription-style programs from cell carriers that let users “upgrade” to a new phone once (or more) per year. As with those programs, subscribers won’t be able to back out of Apple’s plan whenever: They’ll be bound to their iPhone Upgrade Program contracts for 24 months. But they can receive a new phone—and lock back into another two-year contract—after 12 months of payments.

For the least expensive iPhone, the 16-GB iPhone 6S, the monthly fee is $32.61. Sixteen gigabytes of internal storage is not enough for most users—especially on a phone that shoots hi-def video—so let’s look at the next step: the 64-gigabyte model.

Under Apple’s program, a 64-GB iPhone 6S will cost $36.58 per month, $438.96 per year, and $877.92 over the term of its contract. (An unlocked 64-GB iPhone 6, by comparison, goes for around $782 on Amazon.)

. The luxury of knowing you’ll always have the newest iPhone now has a price, and it is a little more than $1.20 per day.

For comparison, the most expensive iPhone available—the 128-gig iPhone 6S Plus—costs $44.91 per month. That comes to $1,077.84 over two years, or almost $1.50 per day.

The company’s iPhone Upgrade Program appeals to people because iPhones, despite their ubiquity, remain status symbols and cultural signifiers.