From the announcements made last week at IFA, to Apple’s event this week and anticipated events or announcements from Google later in the month, September is all about hardware. Unlike previous years, where Apple had two separate iPhone and Mac/iPad events, Apple bundled everything together into a single, humongous event – one where they even bought in their own seats for the audience.

watchOS 2
We have written extensively about Apple Watch here on the Mubaloo blog. It’s a device that we see quite a lot of potential for and last night’s event helped to further reinforce that. The much anticipated watchOS 2 software is due to launch next week on the 16th September, bringing native apps and other enhancements.

If anything helps to showcase why we expect the impact of watchOS 2 be so significant, take a look at the extract from the keynote from AirStrip. By being able to utilise native apps on the Watch, doctors don’t need to have their phone on them, instead the Watch simply needs to be on a known Wi-Fi network. This means that they can be sent an alert from a nurse or colleague about a patient, enabling them to see lab results or other data in real-time.

The doctor is able to remotely view patient information from a selection of patients they are caring for, looking at live vitals or even digging deeper to gain further insights. They can take the data and send to the care team securely, all from the Watch, all without their phone being anywhere near them. What’s more, 3.5 million pregnant women in the US are covered by hospitals that use AirStripe systems. Using the Apple Watch, if the expectant mother has one, the doctor can request to monitor the mother at home and even allow the mother to hear their baby’s heartbeat. This is a next generation of mobility for the next generation.

As with Apple Pay, the second the Watch leaves the doctor or patient’s wrist, everything becomes locked down until it is put on again and re-authenticated.

“Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s the iPad Pro”

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple, he famously drew a four box chart on a white board saying ’consumer’, ’professions’ and ’desktop’, ’portable’. Anything that didn’t fit within that chart was killed off. Over the past 8 years, Apple has increasingly seen how its mobile devices, powered by iOS and the millions of apps that have been created for it, have changed business operations for the better. The iPad became a surprise hit within business, largely with field and sales teams.

As good as the iPad Air is, there are times when you still need to use a dedicated computer for particular tasks. This appears to be where the iPad Pro is targeted; at people who still need desktop level productivity, but only some of the time. To really push just how suited the Pro is for enterprise, Apple brought Microsoft out on stage – the first time that had happened since Bill Gates famously joined by Video link – to showcase Office. The iPad Pro is, in many ways, Apple’s answer to the SurfacePro. With Microsoft joining Apple on stage, the company was given the ultimate level of support to say that this is a business tool, that families, teachers and students will likely love.

Measuring at 12.9″, with 5.6 million pixels (more than any iOS device), the iPad Pro is faster than 80% of the portable PCs that shipped in the last 12 months, with 90% faster at graphics too. To put that into some perspective, iMovie on the iPad Pro can edit three streams of 4K video side by side.

App developers will be able to go to town to create powerful apps that really help businesses do more on the move, using the new hardware and its super fast connectivity technology.

For designers, Apple Pencil is a highly advanced stylus for the new device. We’ll be sure to get our designers to review the new hardware and functionality when the device is released in November.

iPhone 6S

The only thing that’s changed is everything. As the video below demonstrates, despite the outside looking the same (other than a new Rose Gold option), everything about the iPhone 6S is different. The aluminium is stronger. The glass is stronger. The camera has gone from 8MP to 12MP. It can record in 4K. It is faster in every single conceivable way. Oh, and there is now a completely new way to interact with it.

When Apple introduced the iPhone, it also introduced multi-touch technology to touch screens. This forever changed the way people interact with technology and is now found on every smartphone, tablet and even laptops or desktops (even Apple’s Trackpad brings the concept to OSX). In the intervening eight years, people use their phones for much more than they did when the iPhone launched. As a result, a new method of interaction was needed, especially for power users.

Enter 3DTouch. 3DTouch uses a new screen technology that is able to sense how hard a user is pressing on the screen. On the homescreen, 3DTouch is essentially shortcuts for apps, helping users to get to what they need to do, easier. In apps, there are two actions:

Peek – this allows you to peek into content, such as an email so that you can quickly take a look and action it, by moving the content to reveal other menus. Stop pressing and you’ll go back to where you were.

Pop – If you’ve peeked at something, push a little harder on the screen and you will pop into it.

In apps, this can also be used to launch into the App Switcher, by holding down at the left side of the screen. There will be some who complain that Apple is adding extra complexity to the iPhone, and in a way, this is true, but it’s still the simple device it’s always been — just with additional features for ‘power’ users.

Apple TV

For years, Apple has been rumoured to be bringing out a new revolution for the TV. Apple TV has been classed as a ‘hobby’ device that has increasingly grown in popularity, as iOS has spread across the world. Due, in part to the popularity of iOS within enterprise today, Apple TV has become a popular device in boardrooms.

With the new Apple TV, Apple is opening it up to app developers with tvOS – a variant of iOS. This opens up the opportunity for companies to develop dashboards and other apps that can function in boardrooms or public spaces within offices. Furthermore, it also opens up the opportunity for business media organisations such as Bloomberg to develop AppleTV apps that are designed to be on in the background within organisations.

Will Apple’s new products be a success then?

Apple’s the most successful company in the world at the moment, with the most successful piece of consumer electronics that has ever existed in the iPhone. There is a lot riding on any new technology it brings out, and always questions as to whether the company can continue its success.

The new iPhone 6S will of course be a success. The iPhone 6 set an extremely high bar for Apple to try and meet, so it will be interesting to see whether there are enough people who need a new phone or are getting a smartphone over the coming year. We envisage the iPad Pro to find an audience, albeit a relatively niche one, but we look forward to working with companies to make the most out of it.

As for Apple TV, many people outside Apple are calling it a revolution in TV. Whether it lives up to the hype currently surrounding it remains to be seen. We’ll all just have to Watch to find out.

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