#AppleEvent: iPhone 6S with 3D Touch and iPad Pro to combat flagging tablet sales,

Apple, Smartphones

Apple has unveiled a larger iPad tablet for professional use, a TV box with its own app store and new generation of iPhones, dubbed 6S, that can detect how firmly their screens are being pressed.

The firm suggested the iPad Pro was suited to work tasks, video games and both editing and watching movies. Sales of the company’s earlier iPads have been on the decline.

Also announced were the newest smartphones, the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, complete with a new pressure-sensitive display, improved processor and more powerful camera.

“What we have to show you today is really awesome,” CEO Tim Cook said onstage at Apple’s presentation, held at the Bill Graham Auditorium in downtown San Francisco. “While they may look familiar, we have changed everything about these new iPhones.”

Apple said the “3D touch” feature of its new phones “transformed” the experience of using them by making it easier to switch between apps. Huawei demonstrated its own version of the feature – called “force touch” – at its own launch event last week.

The new 4.7-inch 6S and 5.5-inch 6S Plus are the same size as last year’s models. They’ll also include Apple’s new A9 chip, which the company claims is 70 percent faster at computing tasks than last year’s A8 chip in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. “It delivers a big jump in performance,” Apple executive Phil Schiller said onstage. “It’s going to make using our phone faster and a lot more fun.”

The new phones come boast a new 12-megapixel iSight back-facing camera, an improvement on the 8-megapixel cameras in last year’s phones, and are available in four finishes: silver, gold, space gray and a new rose gold finish (pictured above).

Also announced at the Apple event was the iPad Pro tablet. This has a 12.9in (32.8cm) display, making its shortest edge the length of its earlier models’ height. Apple sold 19% fewer web tablets over its last three quarters than over the same nine months a year earlier.

In addition, the US firm announced a stylus called the Apple Pencil, which has sensors in its tip to help it mimic the effect of using a real pencil on paper. Some may remember that Apple’s former boss, the late Steve Jobs had said: “If you see a stylus, they blew it”, when he announced the original iPad.

Apple said the iPad Pro should run for 10 hours of use between charges and will be available in November, ranging in price from $799 to $1,079 (£520 to £702) depending on its level of storage and 4G connectivity. The Pencil costs $99 and the keyboard $169.

While Apple was one of the first tech companies to offer an internet-connected TV box, Amazon, Roku and several smart TV-makers are already offering an app-focused experience. Mr Cook acknowledged it had taken his company several years to introduce a TV app store but said it had huge success with video game sales on its iPhones.

But will the TV app store succeed? Abby Francis at Mobiles.co.uk thinks so: “The living room as a gaming space is a competitive place. Ouya tried and failed, Nintendo are having trouble and Steam is getting in on an already crowded market.

“While iPhones and iPads have changed modern mobile gaming, the living room opens up new ways to interact with the App Store.  With leading titles such as Guitar Hero and Disney Infinity already on board, we can see games developers of all sizes eager to bring their titles onto the larger screen.”

“A game you were playing on your iPhone on the bus can now be picked back up where you left off when you get home, with the ability to control it smoothly and intuitively by controlling the TV with your iPhone.”

The TV box will cost either $149 or $199 depending on how much storage the user wants.

Chris Price
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