Apple's most important announcements at its iPhone 6s, iPad Pro event

From iPhone 6s and iPad Pro to Apple TV and Apple Watch, here are the most important announcements at Apple's big event today.

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Credit: Reuters/Beck Diefenbach
New iPad, iPhones, Apple TV, and more

As expected, today's Apple event was chock-full of new products and interesting surprises. From brand new iPhones to a potentially game-changing Apple TV, there's no question that Apple is still operating at full throttle. Here is a rundown of Apple's most important announcements from the company's special event.

iphones
Credit: Reuters/Beck Diefenbach
iPhone

As anticipated, Apple on Wednesday unveiled the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. One of the device’s more compelling features is something Apple is calling 3D Touch, in essence the ability for the OS to detect the pressure of touch on the display. Consequently, Apple showed off completely new UI gestures that are now possible with the new iPhones. Other new features include a blazing fast A9 processor, a 12-megapixel camera, and the ability to record video in 4K resolution. In something of a bummer, the new iPhones will still have an entry level model with 16GB of storage. Typical iPhone pricing, however, will remain the same. The new iPhones will launch on September 25.

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Live Photos

One interesting new feature for iPhone 6s is Live Photos, which gives photos a small bit of action. The feature, set as a default setting for the iPhone 6s Camera app, records 1.5 seconds before and after the image is taken. When users view that image, using the also newly announced 3D Touch to press onto the image on the screen, the brief video will play, making the image appear to briefly come to life. This CNET video taken at the event gives a good example.

ipad pro
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iPad Pro

In an effort to boost slumping iPad sales, Apple today unveiled a monster of an iPad it’s calling the iPad Pro. With a display of 12.9 inches, the iPad Pro packs in an incredible 5.6 million pixels. Running underneath the hood is an A9x processor which is 1.8 times faster than the A8x processor on the iPad Air 2.

Weighing in at just 1.57 pounds, the iPad Pro certainly is rather light given its size, and it boasts an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and an HD camera in the front. The base model has 32GB of storage and starts at $799, while a 128GB, Wi-Fi-only model is $949, and a 128GB model with LTE connectivity is $1,079.

pencil and keyboard
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Apple Pencil and iPad keyboard

The most intriguing new feature of the iPad Pro is that it comes with support for a stylus, a device Apple has taken to naming the Apple Pencil. Positioned as a $99 add-on, the Apple Pencil is laden with sensitivity sensors so that the app you’re making markings in will know if you want to make wide or thin pencil strokes based on how hard you press down on the screen with it. Apple also introduced a smart keyboard to go along with the new iPad Pro. That accessory will sell for $169.

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iPad Pro apps

To show off the capability of its new iPad Pro and Pencil stylus, Apple, in a perhaps unexpected move, invited a Microsoft developer on-stage to showcase its integration with Microsoft Office. The iPad Pro will be able to use different productivity apps side-by-side – the demo showed Word and Excel used side-by-side – and allows users to mark up documents with the stylus. Other examples Adobe’s Photoshop Sketch, which used both touch and stylus, and a medical app that allowed doctors to share detailed images of patients’ injuries and recovery.

apple tv remote
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Apple TV as a TV guide

With faster hardware and a revamped UI, the new Apple TV provides a fresh take on how we watch Television, with Apple CEO Tim Cook noting that the “future of Television is apps.”

The new Apple TV can be activated via Siri. Some of the interesting, specific commands Apple demoed included “Show me the episode of Modern Family featuring Edward Norton.” Like clockwork, the appropriate selection of content was called to the screen. Users can even command Siri to fast forward 7 minutes into a show if they so choose. Also of note is that the new Apple TV remote is touch-sensitive, thereby enabling users to scrub both forward and backwards easily.

apple tv apps
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Apple TV as an entertainment system, complete with an app store

Though not quite ready to take on the Xbox One or PS4, Apple’s new Apple TV may be an attractive set-top box for casual gamers and families. The new Apple TV will have its own SDK, offering developers the opportunities to develop some really interesting new apps for the living room. Some of the apps Apple demoed during its presentation had a very distinct Wii-like quality to them, with the the Apple TV remote itself used as a makeshift videogame controller. Other apps demoed were MLB.TV live baseball streaming and Gilt shopping, all integrated with Siri and native apps like Weather. 

watch os 2
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WatchOS 2

Not only will the next-gen Apple Watch OS bring new watch faces and third-party complications, it will finally allow apps to run on the device natively. What’s more, developers will finally have access to some key Apple Watch sensors, likely resulting in an influx of much more useful apps. Some examples demoed at the event were Go Pro for Apple Watch, which acts as a view finder for a Go Pro camera, and AirStrip, which can collect and share users' health data.

apple watch bands
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New Apple Watch bands

One of the things Apple got right with the Apple Watch is that it offered a wide variety of different bands, an important option given that the wearable is as much about fashion as it is about technology. That said, Apple on Wednesday unveiled new Apple Watch Sport bands in different colors, including pink, brown, a number of variations of blue, and even a Product (RED) band. Additionally, Apple will be partnering up with Hermes on a collection of completely new watch bands featuring more high-end materials like leather. Also of note is that the Apple Watch Sport now comes in a gold and rose gold finish.