Apple TV coming next week, Apple Music has 6.5M subscribers, says Tim Cook

Reuters / Robert Galbraith

Apple Music now has 6.5 million paying customers, with 8.5 million users on a trial period, according to Apple chief executive Tim Cook, speaking from the WSJDLive technology conference late Monday.

The last number we heard was 11 million users shortly after the launch. (We shared our thoughts after three months with Apple Music here.)

Cook also confirmed that pre-orders for the new Apple TVs will be available from next Monday, with the devices shipping by the end of next week. He also hinted at more to come on the Apple TV front, calling it just the foundation of an entirely new TV experience.

“The first thing that has to be done when you buy a house is lay the foundation,” Cook said, adding that the current experience of TV for most people is “terrible, broken.”

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Couch commerce and micro moments: Apple opens up 2 new marketing channels

The current generation Apple TV remote

Here’s what I’ll say about Apple’s latest announcements: The hype wasn’t without cause. Wednesday’s event signaled some of the biggest movements towards a true proliferation of omnichannel media. They had cool changes to their already cool phone, some jaw-dropping upgrades to the Apple TV, and more implications and applications for the Apple Watch. If that’s not the definition of the hyper-connected consumer — and the always-on company — then I don’t know what is.

So what does all of this mean for marketers? Like it or not, when Apple reinvents and reimagines, marketers have to be in lock-step — or, minimally, understand where the industry is heading. We have to understand how our brands can align and excel in a way that’s authentic, organic, and customer-centric. Here are a few things for marketers to keep in mind as they work to leverage and implement Apple’s recent changes.

Leverage Couch Commerce with Apple TV

I, admittedly, was holding my breath for TV news. Just ahead of the announcement, Adobe released its Q2 digital video benchmark report, which called out TV Everywhere (TVE) as a platform in need of a serious boost. Despite growing 63 percent year-over-year with close to 13 percent of paid viewers watching on devices, the lack of a simple, all-in-one solution” could be limiting the full potential of TVE. This was the moment for Apple to strike with something truly innovative — authenticated views on TV-connected devices like Apple TV and Roku up 110 percent since this time last year.

And strike it did. The Apple TV announcements include iOS9 integration, a built-in Siri, and a new universal search that displays every option you’ve got for watching a show, providing a much more streamlined experience for consumers. For marketers, the biggest piece of the Apple TV news was the dedicated app store. An all-new app SDK designed just for the set-top box will enable your brand to develop Apple TV-specific apps. You could order takeout on your TV between shows. Siri could share real-time updates to your social platforms. You could text a friend to turn on their TV.

Beyond that, think about couch commerce in general. Last year, during the finale of popular British reality show Strictly Come Dancing, online searches for ballroom shoes spiked 163 percent. The Great British Bake Off, another U.K. reality competition show, heavily featured Kitchen Aid appliances in its final episode. The result? A 36 percent increase in searches for “Kitchen Aid” during that nail-biting hour. Apple has, effectively, taken the middleman out of the equation — even if that middleman was its own iPad or iPhone. Now consumers will be able to stay on platform — and engaged on platform — and find what they want right now with a few voice commands or clicks. How’s that for a simplified experience?

Your next step? Think about couch commerce and your brand, even if you aren’t selling dancing shoes or kitchen appliances. How is — or how could — your multi-tasking audience engaging with your brand while consuming TV or video content? Think about the shopping, sharing, socializing, secondary content consumption — and think about how those experiences could be enhanced and streamlined for the Apple TV.

Capture Micro Moments with a Bigger, Better Apple Watch … if it Makes Sense

During its event, Apple touted the enhanced Apple Watch, complete with OS 2 that allows for watch-specific apps, which means increased functionality for wearers and seemingly infinite potential for marketers to get up close and personal with their core audience.

Like the Apple TV announcements, these sweeping changes couldn’t come at a better time for the Watch. Forrester recently highlighted, “Mobile moments will shrink to micro moments … those mobile moments that require only a glance to identify and deliver quick information that customers can either consume or act upon immediately.” The Apple Watch is the epitome of the micro moment and with these upgrades, brands will be able to better respond to their needs and wants in real time. “Consumers will still look to apps for complex tasks, but increasingly, they expect brands to anticipate their needs with micro moments,” explains Forrester, “powered by contextual data and executed with push notifications in the form of text messages, audio, or haptic signals to spur them into action.” Check and check.

Again, the million dollar question for marketers: now what? Despite the excitement surrounding Apple’s announcements, this isn’t the time to “leap into an ‘I need a smartwatch strategy’ mindset reminiscent of 2008, when everyone needed an iPhone app without much of a strategy behind it,” says Forrester. Think about what’s right for your brand, your consumers, and this specific moment in time and go from there. To be successful on this platform you’ll need some serious ideation, testing, and a razor-sharp focus on delivering a powerful, unparalleled consumer experience. And that doesn’t just happen.

Ready to Roll Up Your Sleeves?

Like all Apple news these roll outs come with massive opportunities for optimizationally-focused marketers and brands. Take this as your signal to dig in and see where your organization sits within this hyper-connected landscape. See where the potential lies to capture greater market share and deliver spot-on relevant experiences for consumers everywhere. And, equally importantly, see what makes sense for your brand at this moment in time. Not every brand should be plastered across a TV screen or developing watch-friendly apps, but all brands need to quickly figure out what strategy makes the most sense for them because, before you know it, these potential holiday must-haves will be lining shelves everywhere, packed with massive opportunity for brands across all verticals.

Kevin Lindsay heads up product marketing for Adobe Target. He was with Omniture prior to its acquisition by Adobe and previously held product and strategic marketing positions at search software companies Mercado and Verity.


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Forget the remote: These controllers should work with the Apple TV

Not Apple TV remote

During Apple’s event Wednesday, a video presentation showed actors using a wide variety of Apple products. In a brief few seconds, one was waving the new Apple TV remote, which magically loaded a racing game, in the middle of a race (what a horrible feature!), on his high-definition TV screen. The actor quickly spun the remote control horizontally, grabbed it with both hands like a gamepad, and did his best body language impression of “Whoa, bro!”

And I groaned.

Look, the cheesiness of the presentation aside, I don’t want to revisit the Wii controller experience. It’s a safe bet that a lot of fans of play don’t want motion control as their primary input device either.

Given that Apple TV has a Bluetooth sensor, however, it may have more gamepad options than you may think. Given that Apple is Apple, however, I can’t claim that all of these will work nicely with the new Apple TV until I have a unit in hand. On paper, however, some of these controllers may be able to talk to the system.

SteelSeries Nimbus

SteelSeries Nimbus

SteelSeries spent a year collaborating with Apple trying to design the best gamepad solution for the Apple TV. What they wound up producing is the Nimbus, a wireless iOS-friendly controller that is also attempting to be an esports level gamepad. Seeing as I haven’t actually tried a Nimbus to test the esport claim, I wouldn’t start tossing away my wired controllers just yet.

The Nimbus has a modern boomerang mold with four face buttons, two sticks, a D-pad, a Menu button, and set of bumper/trigger buttons on the top. SteelSeries is touting that the product has a “Lightning Connector,” which is a piece of quick-charging technology. Whether it is actually fast enough to be called Lightning, we’ll have to see.

Availability: Although the Nimbus is not an official pack-in for the Apple TV, it will be available for purchase from Apple store locations at the same time as the Apple TV launch, which is late October. Expect to drop about $50.

SteelSeries Stratus

SteelSeries Stratus

Before SteelSeries worked out the technology for the Nimbus, it was busy with its Stratus line of wireless Bluetooth controllers. The Stratus comes in two flavors: the regular and the XL. Both versions have the same button layout as the Nimbus, but the mold between the regular and XL Stratus are different. The regular is shaped more like a rectangular block of plastic, with no opening on the bottom center. The XL adopts the boomerang shape that is popular for most modern gamepads.

Availability: The regular SteelSeries Stratus is $50, and the Stratus XL is $60. Although, these prices may change when the Nimbus hits the streets.

PlayStation 4 Wireless Controller

PlayStation 4 Controller in space

Now, this is what I am talking about. You can’t beat the tried-and-true design of a solid Sony controller: two grippy nubs to wrest in my wrist, two sticks sitting just center, the classic face buttons, and the slightly elongated trigger buttons. It’s lightweight and familiar. Hopefully, its Bluetooth functionality can penetrate the fortified walls of the Apple-sphere.

Availability: Retail and online for $60.

Wii Remote

Wii Remote Again

You know, why not? It’s Bluetooth, after all. I’m not a fan of motion control wand-waving, but at least Nintendo designed the Wii Remote to be swung around while playing games (especially when Nintendo introduced the wrist strap and protectors). It also has the added benefit of the Nunchuk attachment for two-fisted hand waving.

Availability: The Wii Remote is at some retailers for between $35-$60 and online as well.

MadCatz C.T.R.L.i

MadCatz C.T.R.L.i

The MadCatz C.T.R.L.i is almost an exact replica of the Xbox 360 controller, right down to the alignment of the dual sticks and the shape of the trigger button. The MadCatz C.T.R.L.i Mini is essentially the same thing, just 20 percent smaller. Why would anyone want a smaller controller? My guess, other than having small hands, is the fact that the C.T.R.L.i series of products is specifically designed for the portability of mobile gaming. These controllers contain a special attachment that allows a mobile device to sit just above the gamepad. The fact that the C.T.R.L.i is already compatible with iOS devices makes it an ideal gamepad candidate to run on the Apple TV.

Availability: Both are available through MadCatz store. The standard-size C.T.R.L.i is $60. The Micro C.T.R.L.i is $50.

8Bitdo’s entire product line

8BitDo NES Controller

Outside of work, I have almost no interest in adopting wireless controllers into my gaming routine. The thing is, as much as I am a wired-gaming snob, I am an even larger retro snob. So 8Bitdo’s entire line of Bluetooth, iOS ready products definitely has my attention. The molds are based off of Nintendo’s classic 8- and 16-bit era gamepads. Of particular interest are the Super NES/Super Famicom dog bone controllers and the NES/Famicom rectangle pads.

Availability: Mostly available online through sources like Amazon, ranging from $35 to $50.

All sorts of mysterious ‘X’ brand stuff

Batman villians

While browsing Amazon, I ran into a couple of mysterious Bluetooth enabled controllers — such as the Sminiker Bluetooth Gamepad and a line of E&A wireless Bluetooth controllers. I can’t find information on the manufacturers, and in general, their designs look a bit sharp and uncomfortable. That’s besides the overall shady vibes of the product titles and in some cases, a lack of customer reviews. I wouldn’t go this route. At least not until someone trustworthy has tested the waters first.

Availability: If you’re brave, you can find these things all over Amazon for about $15.


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The DeanBeat: Apple TV fails to kill off the video game consoles

Apple TV

Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo can all breathe a sigh of relief. Apple had the living room video game console makers in its gun sights, but it didn’t pull the trigger. True to Steve Jobs’ legendary disdain for games, Apple stopped short of fully endorsing games on its new Apple TV product, and it didn’t load the machine up with features that would have disrupted the business of the game consoles.

Apple has typically reached for broader audiences with its living-room device, rather than target gamers. But for the first time, Apple is making a full app store easily accessible on the new Apple TV, which will start selling in October. The company highlighted its ability to display photos, run videos, play music, execute apps, and play games. The Wii-like motion-sensing Siri Remote just might enable new casual game experiences on Apple TV. But I don’t see hardcore gamers using it, and they’re the ones who spend money on hardware.

For sure, Apple TV will play cool games like the exclusives announced on Wednesday at Apple’s press event, such as a multiplayer version of Crossy Road, and Harmonix’s BeatSports. And the price will be right, with lots of free-to-play content available on the Apple TV compared to $60 console games. But this machine could have been so much more. I suspect this is why Electronic Arts didn’t get up on stage with Apple, and it’s why Activision Blizzard only made mention of a few games on the platform.

Apple TV with Siri Remote

Above: Apple TV with Siri Remote

Image Credit: Apple

Admittedly, I didn’t have the best view of the proceedings, nor did I get a hands-on look at Apple TV. I was sitting on the grass outside the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, and then watching the webcast at a nearby Starbucks. VentureBeat’s Mark Sullivan was inside, and after a wait he got a little hands-on time with the devices. I begged to get in and even drove 50 miles to ask in person. They turned me down. Based on my opinion in this column, they were probably right to do so. But I’ll try not to hold this against them.

First, I’ll note that mobile gaming is progressing faster than I’ve ever expected, with advances in everything from high-end graphics to multiplayer. That’s inspiring console game developers to dive into mobile. Mobile games like nWay’s upcoming ChronoBlade could look outstanding on a TV.


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Greg Goodrich, head of game studio Pound Sand and former head of EA’s Danger Close studio, has started showing off his Apple TV exclusive game, Fantastic Plastic Squad. The third-person shooter game is in test markets now on iOS, but it will take advantage of the new hardware in Apple TV. You can use your thumb and fingers with the Apple TV’s remote to control your forces and maneuver.

“It’s reimaginged for the device, with its own control scheme,” Goodrich said.

Developers like Goodrich are fascinated by the possibilities of Apple TV. And he’s not alone.

Jeff Smith, chief executive of music app maker Smule, was confident in his assessment that Apple TV will win. He figures the box is good enough, like a modern microconsole.

“With Apple TV, we feel like our addressable market just doubled in size,” Smith said in an interview with GamesBeat. “I think it is really bad news for the existing console makers. It’s good news for developers because it lowers the barrier to entry. We don’t have to play all these games to get onto the console platform, and get past curation and deal with their platforms. It’s more of an open platform, and that means there will be a lot more developers. I think it’s good news for the consumer.”

But I think it’s a stretch to argue that casual gamers alone will make gaming on Apple TV successful. And so far, Apple hasn’t shown off the quality that hardcore gamers expect.

The advantages of open development and self-publishing, as we’ve seen in the bloodbath in the mobile game market, are also disadvantages for developers trying to build sustainable businesses. It’s hard to get discovered in a free-to-play, self-published app store. And for anyone that complains about the console business model, Apple’s 30-percent royalty is also a pretty onerous burden on developers.

Apple left a lot of goodies out of the new Apple TV, presumably to hit its target of a $150 to $200 price. The box uses an older processor, the A8X, rather than the brand new Apple A9X processor. There’s no cloud gaming. There’s no persistent local storage for apps on Apple TV, and so apps are limited to 200 megabytes in size. By comparison, a Blu-ray disc for a console game has 25 gigabytes of storage, or 125 times more than an Apple TV app. Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, which takes up 1.6 gigabytes in its iOS version, won’t likely run on Apple TV. And yes, who would want to play the app on the TV, when you can play the console versions of Grand Theft Auto instead?

Nvidia Shield set-top box and Shield Controller

Above: Nvidia Shield set-top box and Shield Controller

Image Credit: Nvidia

By comparison, Nvidia’s Shield set-top box is an example of a flagship Android TV box that is loaded with gaming features. It has a Tegra X1 processor with triple the performance of Apple’s chip, according to Nvidia. It has the ability to stream high-end games such as Dying Light via the cloud-based Nvidia Grid, a full app store and a mini-store with curated games, and the ability to display 4K graphics. The Shield may also lose out to the game consoles, but it has a better chance of resonating with gamers than Apple TV does.

The Shield also has a better gamepad-style controller. It connects via WiFi networking, rather than Bluetooth 4.0, so it can support fast-action games such as the upcoming Street Fighter V. Matt Luebbling, general manager of Shield at Nvidia, thinks that is a big differentiator. Apple TV, by contrast, supports MFi (made for iPhone) controllers from third parties. Those controllers connect via Bluetooth, and Apple executives didn’t even bother to mention this fact during their press event. The point is there is so much competition for Apple TV, it doesn’t have much room to maneuver. It may not even win the set-top battle, let alone a battle with disc-based game consoles.

Apple TV’s different operating system and different control systems — such as Siri Remote or a Bluetooth controller or a touchscreen — will fragment the developer community. Some players will play games with some of these input systems, and developers will make games that take advantage of one of those input systems, but probably not all three. The Crossy Road game from Hipster Whale was modified to use the Siri Remote. But that fragmented effort will be costly for developers, and it will result in a lower install base for developers to target.

One of Apple’s big supporters identified this problem. Kristian Segerstrale, chief operating officer at Super Evil Megacorp, is one of the hardcore believers in mobile gaming. His company’s Vainglory multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game is one of the titles that pushes the limits of performance on iOS devices. But at the Esports Conference in San Francisco on Thursday, he didn’t say whether Vainglory would be altered to support play with Bluetooth controllers. Right now, it’s a touchscreen game, and, for esports, it wouldn’t make sense to enable players on Bluetooth controllers to battle against players with touchscreens.

SteelSeries Nimbus controller for Apple TV.

Above: SteelSeries Nimbus controller for Apple TV.

Image Credit: SteelSeries

“I’m super-excited about everything that Apple does,” he said. “That said, a living room experience on a large screen, controlled by an external controller, is fundamentally different from when you play away from your living room on a touchscreen. From our perspective, we are completely honed in on creating a mobile experience perfected by touch. There will be great experiences on an Apple TV with various kinds of controllers, as with other micro consoles, but very few gaming experiences will transcend that, where you can play a really awesome experience with a touchscreen or play the same experience with a controller.”

Apple, of course, has the marketing budget to spend against the game consoles, if it wishes. It may very well convince millions of people that it is good enough for games. But its closest cousin in game consoles is the Nintendo Wii U, and that system has lost the latest console war.

Some people will buy the Apple TV box and play games on it just because it carries the Apple brand. There are plenty of fans embedded deep inside the Apple ecosystem. This machine is also much more like a modern “microconsole” than past Apple TVs. But microconsoles — like Ouya to Bluestacks — have had a hard time getting traction. They’re in an in-between space where consumers don’t get very excited. On the high end are the game consoles and the PC, and on the low end are tablets and smartphones. Microconsoles that simply shift an experience to from mobile devices to the living room have failed.

If Apple improves Apple TV and comes out with another one next year that targets gamers, it might once again get Microsoft and Sony in its gun sights. But hopefully, the game console makers won’t be standing still like deer waiting to be slaughtered.


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Hands on with tvOS for the new Apple TV

tvOS running in the Apple TV Simulator with Xcode.

For the first time since Apple introduced the Apple TV in 2007, independent developers can now build applications for the hardware, thanks to Apple’s release yesterday of the tvOS software development kit (SDK).

The demo of the revamped Apple TV with tvOS flew by during Apple’s big Hey Siri event. But the tvOS code and documentation are out there now, so developers can take a look and see if they’d like to build for it. And non-technical types purely interested in the new Apple TV can also get a sense of its capabilities by taking a peek at the developers tools.

We checked it out, and so should you. To help you along, I’ve put together a brief overview of what’s out there and what developers can do right now. (Hat tip to developer Rick Walter over at Made Up By People for making a great tutorial video on tvOS, which inspired this article.)

Getting the tvOS SDK

Apple's Eddy Cue announces the availability of tvOS for the new Apple TV at Apple's "Hey Siri" event in San Francisco on Sept. 9.

Above: Apple’s Eddy Cue announces the availability of tvOS for the new Apple TV at Apple’s “Hey Siri” event in San Francisco on Sept. 9.

Image Credit: Screenshot

The brand new Xcode 7.1 beta integrated development environment (IDE) comes with tvOS and its SDK, so you’ll want to start by downloading that. You’ll need the latest edition of OS X Yosemite, version 10.10.5. Fair warning: updating your Mac could take 15 minutes or longer, and downloading the 4.57GB Xcode beta file won’t happen instantly, either.

Once you have the new Xcode running, select “Create a new Xcode project” in the pop-up window, “tvOS,” and then “Single View Application.” Give your app a product name and an organization identifier. Choose either Objective-C or Apple’s Swift programming language. Set it up with Core Data and unit tests if you want, hit Next, and then save the app to your desktop.

Hit the play button at the top left corner of the window. At this point you may have to enable developer mode on your Mac and type in your computer account’s password. Go ahead and do that.


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A Simulator application will pop up. You can make the window smaller by going to the Window dropdown menu, selecting Scale, and selecting, for instance, the 75 percent option.

To use a simulator for the remote, go to the Hardware dropdown menu and click Show Apple TV Remote. Hold down the option key and use your trackpad or mouse in the black square on the Apple TV Remote in order to simulate using your finger to swipe on the real remote. A long press on the remote simulator, achieved by holding option and holding your mouse down on the black square) will allow you to drag and drop an app to different positions in this menu.

You can alternatively use the arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate. You may have to hit the Menu button on the remote simulator a couple of times to get that to work.

Settings

The new Apple TV's settings, as depicted in the Apple TV simulator in Xcode.

Above: The new Apple TV’s settings, as depicted in the Apple TV simulator in Xcode.

Image Credit: Screenshot

First, get a feel for the settings of the Apple TV.

Use the arrow keys or the remote simulator to select Settings and hit Enter. Note that the Menu button on the Remote brings you back a screen. Unlike many iOS apps, Apple TV apps will not generally include back buttons.

You can do a lot with Settings. You can control screensaver options, sleep options, the style of closed captions, screen contrast, motion, parental controls, iTunes Store purchasing capabilities, multiplayer support, and location services. You can limit ad tracking, too.

Users can sign in to iTunes to use apps and iCloud for storing app data. Users can sign in to Game Center here as well. Users can also configure AirPlay in Settings.

You can connect remotes other than the official one for the new Apple TV, and you can turn high-definition previews of video content in iTunes depending on the speed of your Internet connection. You can also decide if you want Apple TV to automatically or manually update its software.

Now you can go and try building an app for the new Apple TV. So go back to the Xcode application.

Building a test app

An Apple TV app I built to release new music playlists each month.

Above: An Apple TV app I built to release new music playlists each month.

Image Credit: Screenshot

In the project navigator — the left column of the window — you’ll find components typical of apps for iOS, like AppDelegate, ViewController, and Main.storyboard. Go to Main.storyboard. In the second column, click the triangle to expand the View Control Scene section, and then click the triangle to expand the View Controller section.

With View Controller selected, click on the little square wedged between the curly braces and the rectangle near the bottom side of the right column of Xcode — it represents the object library — and in the text box at the very bottom, type in “button”, and drag a few of them into the big blurry box just to the left, which is the View Controller. Hit the play button at the top left again to see how it looks in the simulator. (You may need to set the active scheme again as “Apple TV 1080p” under the tvOS Simulator bar to the right of the stop button.)

Navigate around using either the arrow keys or the remote simulator. (Apple has best practices for app design in pre-release documentation for tvOS here.) Go back to Xcode’s object library and look around for other things you can add, including an Activity Indicator View, a Progress View, and a Navigation Bar.

If you wish, you can add content for your app when it’s in the Top Shelf, which is located at the top of the main menu. The Top Shelf is a place where Apple TV users can glance at featured content from their five favorite apps. Go to the File dropdown menu, select New, and select Target, click Application Extension under tvOS, and hit Next. Give it a product name and hit Finish. Xcode will ask if you want to activate this scheme, and you should click Activate. Then it will show up in the left column. Click the triangle to expand that section. The ServiceProvider.swift file is the important one for adding content like images to the Top Shelf.

Inside the ViewController.Swift section in the left column in Xcode, you can use the new Tap Gesture Recognizer, the Swipe Gesture Recognizer, and other user-experience inventions for the new Apple TV.

Sample code

Part of the UIKit Catalog tvOS sample code.

Above: Part of the UIKit Catalog tvOS sample code.

Image Credit: Screenshot

To explore a bunch of buttons, photo views, and other user interface options for tvOS, download the new UIKit Catalog sample code. Unzip the file and run the project “UIKitCatalog.xcodeproj”. Then hit the play button.

Apple has also prepared sample code for client-server apps, which display content in the new Apple TV markup language, or TVML. After you download and unzip the file, open the TVMLCatalog folder, run the “TVMLCatalog.xcodeproj” file, and hit the play button. In case you run into errors here, follow the instructions at the bottom of the project’s README.md file in Xcode.

Parallax Previewer app

An animated GIF of a photo in the Parallax Previewer beta.

Above: An animated GIF of a photo in the Parallax Previewer beta.

Image Credit: Jordan Novet/VentureBeat

You can install and run the Parallax Previewer beta app to see how certain images will look with Apple’s nifty Parallax effect, which happens when you hover over an app and gently move your finger around it with the remote.

Using the app is as easy as hitting the plus sign on the bottom left, uploading an image (choose a photo for example), and then clicking the play button in the center at the bottom of the application.

You can get slightly different effects if you turn the image into an “Apple TV icon,” and you can change the background as well. If you want to have some fun, try just moving your mouse around the box in the middle of the application. You can export customized parallax images in .LSR format.

DemoBots game

DemoBots in the Apple TV simulator in Xcode.

Above: DemoBots in the Apple TV simulator in Xcode.

Image Credit: Screenshot

The sample game Apple showed developers to demonstrate iOS 9 earlier this year is also available for developers trying to understand tvOS.

You can find it online. Unzip the file, select Swift, and open “DemoBots.xcodeproj”. Make sure to select “DemoBots (tvOS)” from the Active Scheme menu near the top left in Xcode. Then press play. This one will take a minute or so to load. Hit the play-pause button on the remote simulator to get started. So there’s that, too.

Looking at all this stuff, it’s hard to predict how much Apple will be able to increase the popularity of Apple TVs and make them as common as Macs or iPhones, both of which have long had their own app stores. But you can predict that because Apple is releasing this technology, there will at least be a whole lot more Apple TV applications for consumers to choose from.


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How the new Apple TV compares to the competition

Apple TV

Seeing as you’re reading this on the Internet, you likely already know about Apple’s new tvOS-powered Apple TV.

It’s too early to do a full-on review of this product, since only a handful of developers have spent a good amount of time with the hardware. But that won’t stop us from comparing the Apple TV with other streaming boxes on the market.

After going hands-on, here’s what we know so far.

The hardware

New Apple TV

The next-generation Apple TV is a little black box with an HDMI and a power cord connection. The digital audio output seems to have pulled a disappearing act. The product comes with a special remote equipped with a swipe sensor, accelerometer, and gyroscope (perfect for swiping, swinging, and flinging). Ignoring gaming consoles, it’s the most involved remote on this list.Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 8.31.11 PM

Apple TV Third Generation

The third-generation Apple TV features a smaller, sleek black box with an HDMI and digital audio input. A basic remote control is included. Apple also offers an app for controlling the box via an iOS device.

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 8.28.36 PM

Fire TV

The Fire TV ships in two forms. The flagship product is a full-fledged box featuring HDMI, digital audio, and a RJ45 port. It also comes bundled with a remote and game controller. Or maybe I should be talking in past tense, because this bundle is no longer available, even though there doesn’t seem to have been an announcement to that effect.353580-amazon-fire-tv

The other option is the cheaper Fire TV stick, which is simply an HDMI dongle and a remote control.

Roku

The Roku comes in four different packages: Roku 1, Roku 2, Roku 3, and the Roku Streaming Stick. The Roku 1 provides composite output for older television sets and HDMI. Roku 2 is the mid-range product, built for HD television sets, but missing the bells n whistles, such as voice command, that can be found on Roku 3. The Roku Streaming Stick is the company’s solution for minimalists rocking wall-mount displays. All Roku devices come with their own basic remote control.

The Roku 3

Above: The Roku 3

Chromecast

Google’s Chromecast is the simplest unit on this list, comprising a simple HDMI dongle — no remote control included. Users must sync their phone to Chromecast and use that as the system’s control device.

Chromecast

PlayStation 4/Xbox One/Wii U

Just about every modern gaming console offers some entertainment features, but sometimes they feel like an afterthought. Setting up these advanced machines is also a bit more time- and space-intensive than the solutions listed above. An HDMI display is definitely a requirement. A game controller is going to be your default mode of interaction, with classic remote controls an additional accessory.

Services

New Apple TV

Apple handed tvOS over to a number of the big content providers before making its big announcement, so all the major television and movie services such as Netflix, HBO GO, and Showtime Anytime will be available at launch.

Apple is making a big push to make this version of Apple TV app-friendly, especially in the games department. The pack-in remote is essentially a motion controller, similar to the original Wii remote. It’ll be interesting to see if Apple also designs and packs in a wrist strap, so no one flings the remote control into their television set.

apple-tv-OS

Apple TV Third Generation

All of the major streaming services, like Netflix and Hulu, are available through the third-generation Apple TV. There’s also a large gathering of specialty content and cable streams such as HBO GO, Showtime Anytime, and WWE Network. Users can stream content from their iTunes account, too.

appletv-netflix-100012966-orig

Fire TV

Aside from Amazon’s own services, users can access popular streaming providers, such as Netflix, Hulu, and Vimeo. There’s also access to all the cable-based services as well, including HBO, ESPN, and Showtime Anytime.

Amazon's Fire TV's Freetime feature

Roku

All four Roku devices claim to offer 1,500 to 2,000 channels, but that number includes the usual streaming-content suspects like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Crackle, and YouTube. Major cable content, such as HBO GO and Showtime Anytime, is also available if you have a subscription. Only the Roku 3 seems to offer gaming features.

Roku-3-movies-coming-soon

Chromecast

All of the major streaming-content providers are available on the Chromecast, along with the streaming services of most cable companies.

Chromecast lets you use your Android phone as a controller for games on your TV.

Above: Chromecast lets you use your Android phone as a controller for games on your TV.

Image Credit: Google

PlayStation 4/Xbox One/Wii U

All of the cornerstone streaming content-providers can be found on most major gaming systems, including the streaming services offered by major television providers. Xbox One flaunts live TV abilities, but it semi-fakes it by requiring a separate set-top box device daisy chaining into it. With that said, these machines come damned close to offering an all-in-one solution. When it comes to high quality gaming in the living room, however, it’s going to be incredibly difficult for these other streaming boxes to beat.

Pricing and Availability

New Apple TV

Apple is shooting for a late October launch date, but there’s no word on the gadget’s specific availability, outside of a projected release in 80 countries worldwide. The unit will ship with two versions: a 32GB model for $149, and a 64GB version at $199.

Apple TV Third Generation

Apple’s third generation Apple TV now sells for $69, following its price cut in March.

Fire TV Stick

The Fire TV stick is widely available at most commercial retailers and in online stores for $40. As it’s an Amazon product, you can also order it directly from their site. The larger box version of the Fire TV isn’t available for purchase anywhere, unless you want to go used. Even Amazon’s site is reporting the product unavailable. Is this a sign that another version is coming out? Or is Amazon dropping the box concept altogether in favor of the smaller dongle product?

Roku

All versions of the Roku can be found in various locations and from online retailers. As for price, the Roku 1 and Roku Streaming Stick each go for $50, the Roku 2 for $70, and the Roku 3 for $100.

Chromecast

The Chromecast is probably the easiest to find and cheapest to buy on this list. The HDMI dongle can be found at most gadget stores and from online retailers for around $35.

PlayStation 4/Xbox One/Wii U

Are we talking holidays, or just about any other time of the year? The average price for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One is $400, while the Wii U sits at $300. As of right now, all three machines can be found at most major big-box chains and from most big online retailers. Come November 1st, all bets are off. Potential price drops to drive year-end numbers — and the general consumer insanity of Christmas — can suddenly turn a video game console into a unicorn until February.

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Check out all of our coverage from Apple's big Hey Siri event right here.









Hands-on with Apple’s new Apple TV, iPhone 6s, supersized iPad Pro, and more

IMG_8799

Apple announced an array of new products at its big show at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco today.

These included a couple of new iPads (one very small and one very big), some cool new tablet accessories, a couple of new phones, and a new Apple TV streaming device.

Of course the new devices all looked dead sexy in the on-stage demos. The real story often comes during the hands-on time after the event. I touched all the new products today, and found a lot to like.


From VentureBeat
VB just released The State of Marketing Analytics: Insights in the age of the customer. $499 on VB Insight, or free with your martech subscription.

It was not a day for blockbusters, however.

iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus

The new iPhone 6s looks identical to the iPhone 6, but brings new cameras and a new feature called 3D Touch. 3D Touch is the same as Force Touch on the Apple Watch, but for some reason, it’s called 3D Touch on the phone.

I was skeptical that this feature would make a big difference, but after I began using it in different scenarios, I saw that it could save lots of time and clicks.

IMG_8753

Case in point: I’m often bugged by having to open emails to see what they’re about, only to find out they’re not important and having to close out of them again. 3D Touch lets you press and hold on an email in your list and “peek” at its contents. After you remove your finger from the screen you’re still looking at your main inbox view.

You can also press and hold on a flight number listed in a message to drill down to more information on the flight. Press down on a date listed in a text message and a view of your calendar pops up, then disappears after you lift your finger again.

IMG_8748

You can also use 3D Touch to view options under an app icon on the front screen. For example, pressing and holding on the Mail app will show you how many new emails you have without making you launch the app itself. You also see quick links to oft-used mail functions like Search or Compose.

IMG_8750

I wanted to try shooting pictures with the new camera, but for some reason Apple PR would not allow that. The photos that were already on the phone looked noticeably sharper than the ones shot on my iPhone 6, though. When I zoomed in on the shots, the grainy, washed-out look didn’t appear as quickly as it does on mine.

IMG_8760

The iPhone 6s — with its new A9 chip — seemed to have a lot of horsepower. It was very responsive to commands, and game graphics rendered very smoothly and quickly. Incidentally, you can use Touch to zoom in and out on some game scenes. This also worked well during the hands-on demo.

iPad Pro

It’s big. It’s really big. That was my first reaction to the thing. The new iPad Pro is impressive for its size, and for some types of users the 12.9-inch screen will be very useful. During the on-stage demonstrations today, Adobe showed how designers might be able to create and collaborate on the iPad Pro. That makes sense. Apple was also demonstrating how an auto-CAD app could be used on the iPad to create more complex engineering designs. The iPad Pro screen has 5.6 million pixels — more than enough to get down to the fine details of a schematic, say.

IMG_8765

Apple says it redesigned its iMovie app for the new tablet. As I swiped to scroll through the frames of a movie, the smoothness and responsiveness was noticeable. The internal clock that tells pixels when to light up is borrowed from the iMac, an Apple rep told me.

IMG_8774

And of course the iPad Pro is the perfect vehicle for the new multi-function features in iOS 9. It was easy to split the screen and run two apps side-by-side, and there was ample room to have a natural (not cramped) experience inside either of the apps.

Here I am watching Mad Max on one side of the screen and studying dinosaurs on the other.

IMG_8770

 

The utility of the iPad Pro comes through even more when using the accessories Apple announced today.

The Apple Pencil is a simple stylus that can be used to draw in graphics apps, or annotate in collaboration apps. The pen has a force sensor and two resistors in the tip to detect both the pressure being applied by the user and the angle of the pen in relation to the screen. The more pressure I applied to the pen on the screen the darker the line that appeared below the tip. The stylus uses the same logic you would expect if you were using a paintbrush tool.

IMG_8780

The $99 Apple Pencil is a simple device. There are no buttons on the side. It doesn’t remember your strokes. But what it does, it does well. The Apple Pencil has some weight to it — it’s not just a piece of plastic. This is important for creating a natural feeling while drawing.

IMG_8789

Next, I checked out the new keyboard accessory for the iPad Pro. The thing also acts as a tablet propper-upper and protective case for the iPad Pro. It’s made out of a “custom-woven fabric,” as an Apple rep called it, and the material had a latex quality to it. The keys are made of the same stuff, and are raised on the surface of the keyboard by perhaps an eighth of an inch. The keyboard connects to the iPad though three contact points that themselves connect with three small metal contacts on the side of the iPad. The keyboard gets all of its power through that connection.

IMG_8797

I have never been very impressed with the actual typing performance of most add-on keyboards, and I wasn’t overly impressed with this one. Typing on those keys would take some getting used to — I made lots of typos while I was testing it out.

IMG_8798

 

Apple TV

Last, but certainly not least, is the Apple TV. Apple was allowing media people like me far less contact with the new streaming device than with the other devices. I wasn’t allowed to get within three feet of it,  nor was I allowed to take pictures of the back.

I was permitted some hands-on time with the new remote control, which is more compact than I expected. The whole top-third of the device is covered by a black glass touchpad. This is the primary means of navigating the Apple TV user interface and making selections. The whole touchscreen is actually a big black button that you can press down on to make selections.

The remote is also used to control volume and activate the Siri personal assistant.

IMG_8804

I played the Apple rep a game of Crossy Road (which I thought was kinda like Frogger, but with chickens). I was impressed with how easy it was to control the movements of the game using the touchscreen at the top of the remote. I used side-side movements with my thumb over the touchscreen to move the chicken, then pressed the screen to make the chicken jump. It worked well, and I caught a hint of how addictive that game could be when played from the couch. Whole days could go by unnoticed.

The remote runs on an internal battery. It can be recharged via a Thunderbolt port at the bottom edge, just like a phone.

IMG_8805

 

I found the set up of the user interface to be logical, even simple. The main sections are Movies, TV, Apps, Photos, and Music. The first three are, to me, the meat and potatoes of Apple TV, while I think I might view photos and listen to music on the device only occasionally.

I was impressed with how well Siri was able to search for content. She can do “nested” searches for video content –in other words you can ask her to find something like “all Crispin Glover movies from the 80s,” and then do a second search to narrow the results down to just the movies in which Glover starred.

I didn’t ask Siri any terribly hard questions, but basic content searches seemed to work well. We will have a full review of Apple TV, in which we will put Siri through her paces.

IMG_8806

The Apple TV device itself is thicker and wider than its predecessor. It needed a bigger form factor to accommodate the larger video storage requirements, and a bigger A9 chip to run apps, especially games.

IMG_8808


VB's research team is studying web-personalization... Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.









Hands-on with Apple’s new Apple TV, iPhone 6s, supersized iPad Pro, and more

IMG_8799

Apple announced an array of new products at its big show at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco today.

These included a couple of new iPads (one very small and one very big), some cool new tablet accessories, a couple of new phones, and a new Apple TV streaming device.

Of course the new devices all looked dead sexy in the on-stage demos. The real story often comes during the hands-on time after the event. I touched all the new products today, and found a lot to like.


From VentureBeat
VB just released The State of Marketing Analytics: Insights in the age of the customer. $499 on VB Insight, or free with your martech subscription.

It was not a day for blockbusters, however.

iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus

The new iPhone 6s looks identical to the iPhone 6, but brings new cameras and a new feature called 3D Touch. 3D Touch is the same as Force Touch on the Apple Watch, but for some reason, it’s called 3D Touch on the phone.

I was skeptical that this feature would make a big difference, but after I began using it in different scenarios, I saw that it could save lots of time and clicks.

IMG_8753

Case in point: I’m often bugged by having to open emails to see what they’re about, only to find out they’re not important and having to close out of them again. 3D Touch lets you press and hold on an email in your list and “peek” at its contents. After you remove your finger from the screen you’re still looking at your main inbox view.

You can also press and hold on a flight number listed in a message to drill down to more information on the flight. Press down on a date listed in a text message and a view of your calendar pops up, then disappears after you lift your finger again.

IMG_8748

You can also use 3D Touch to view options under an app icon on the front screen. For example, pressing and holding on the Mail app will show you how many new emails you have without making you launch the app itself. You also see quick links to oft-used mail functions like Search or Compose.

IMG_8750

I wanted to try shooting pictures with the new camera, but for some reason Apple PR would not allow that. The photos that were already on the phone looked noticeably sharper than the ones shot on my iPhone 6, though. When I zoomed in on the shots, the grainy, washed-out look didn’t appear as quickly as it does on mine.

IMG_8760

The iPhone 6s — with its new A9 chip — seemed to have a lot of horsepower. It was very responsive to commands, and game graphics rendered very smoothly and quickly. Incidentally, you can use Touch to zoom in and out on some game scenes. This also worked well during the hands-on demo.

iPad Pro

It’s big. It’s really big. That was my first reaction to the thing. The new iPad Pro is impressive for its size, and for some types of users the 12.9-inch screen will be very useful. During the on-stage demonstrations today, Adobe showed how designers might be able to create and collaborate on the iPad Pro. That makes sense. Apple was also demonstrating how an auto-CAD app could be used on the iPad to create more complex engineering designs. The iPad Pro screen has 5.6 million pixels — more than enough to get down to the fine details of a schematic, say.

IMG_8765

Apple says it redesigned its iMovie app for the new tablet. As I swiped to scroll through the frames of a movie, the smoothness and responsiveness was noticeable. The internal clock that tells pixels when to light up is borrowed from the iMac, an Apple rep told me.

IMG_8774

And of course the iPad Pro is the perfect vehicle for the new multi-function features in iOS 9. It was easy to split the screen and run two apps side-by-side, and there was ample room to have a natural (not cramped) experience inside either of the apps.

Here I am watching Mad Max on one side of the screen and studying dinosaurs on the other.

IMG_8770

 

The utility of the iPad Pro comes through even more when using the accessories Apple announced today.

The Apple Pencil is a simple stylus that can be used to draw in graphics apps, or annotate in collaboration apps. The pen has a force sensor and two resistors in the tip to detect both the pressure being applied by the user and the angle of the pen in relation to the screen. The more pressure I applied to the pen on the screen the darker the line that appeared below the tip. The stylus uses the same logic you would expect if you were using a paintbrush tool.

IMG_8780

The $99 Apple Pencil is a simple device. There are no buttons on the side. It doesn’t remember your strokes. But what it does, it does well. The Apple Pencil has some weight to it — it’s not just a piece of plastic. This is important for creating a natural feeling while drawing.

IMG_8789

Next, I checked out the new keyboard accessory for the iPad Pro. The thing also acts as a tablet propper-upper and protective case for the iPad Pro. It’s made out of a “custom-woven fabric,” as an Apple rep called it, and the material had a latex quality to it. The keys are made of the same stuff, and are raised on the surface of the keyboard by perhaps an eighth of an inch. The keyboard connects to the iPad though three contact points that themselves connect with three small metal contacts on the side of the iPad. The keyboard gets all of its power through that connection.

IMG_8797

I have never been very impressed with the actual typing performance of most add-on keyboards, and I wasn’t overly impressed with this one. Typing on those keys would take some getting used to — I made lots of typos while I was testing it out.

IMG_8798

 

Apple TV

Last, but certainly not least, is the Apple TV. Apple was allowing media people like me far less contact with the new streaming device than with the other devices. I wasn’t allowed to get within three feet of it,  nor was I allowed to take pictures of the back.

I was permitted some hands-on time with the new remote control, which is more compact than I expected. The whole top-third of the device is covered by a black glass touchpad. This is the primary means of navigating the Apple TV user interface and making selections. The whole touchscreen is actually a big black button that you can press down on to make selections.

The remote is also used to control volume and activate the Siri personal assistant.

IMG_8804

I played the Apple rep a game of Crossy Road (which I thought was kinda like Frogger, but with chickens). I was impressed with how easy it was to control the movements of the game using the touchscreen at the top of the remote. I used side-side movements with my thumb over the touchscreen to move the chicken, then pressed the screen to make the chicken jump. It worked well, and I caught a hint of how addictive that game could be when played from the couch. Whole days could go by unnoticed.

The remote runs on an internal battery. It can be recharged via a Thunderbolt port at the bottom edge, just like a phone.

IMG_8805

 

I found the set up of the user interface to be logical, even simple. The main sections are Movies, TV, Apps, Photos, and Music. The first three are, to me, the meat and potatoes of Apple TV, while I think I might view photos and listen to music on the device only occasionally.

I was impressed with how well Siri was able to search for content. She can do “nested” searches for video content –in other words you can ask her to find something like “all Crispin Glover movies from the 80s,” and then do a second search to narrow the results down to just the movies in which Glover starred.

I didn’t ask Siri any terribly hard questions, but basic content searches seemed to work well. We will have a full review of Apple TV, in which we will put Siri through her paces.

IMG_8806

The Apple TV device itself is thicker and wider than its predecessor. It needed a bigger form factor to accommodate the larger video storage requirements, and a bigger A9 chip to run apps, especially games.

IMG_8808


VB's research team is studying web-personalization... Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.









Siri-ously? A few oversights and oddities from today’s Apple keynote

IMG_8648

Lots of Apple news today!

Incremental iPhone improvements, a gigantic new iPad, a less-creepy name for a new feature, a top-to-bottom-wow-hell-yes Apple TV revamp, and a bland musical performance that nobody ever watches.

As always, it’s all faster, brighter, lighter, cooler, costlier, more colorful, and mostly leaked in advance.

While everyone waits in line to play with the Microsoft Surf–uh… iPad Pro — here are a few things that stuck out as strange.

No Touch ID for Apple TV purchases

This was a weird one. As part of the overhauled Apple TV that I absolutely cannot wait to purchase, Apple introduced a new remote that does almost everything. Almost.

It features Bluetooth 4.0, a touchpad and slick glass; it allows clicks and gestures; it charges via Lightning port and lasts 3 months per charge; it has Wii-like motion sensors and supports multiplayer gaming; it has a built-in microphone and deep Siri integration.

That’s crazy. So why not authenticate movie, music and in-app purchases with Touch ID?

“Rose Gold” iPhone

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 4.48.02 PM

Big League Chew, Polly Pocket, Pink Power Ranger. Call it what you want. It surely isn’t rose gold.

Apple Pencil

“Yuck” – Steve Jobs, 2007

“That’ll be $99, please” – Apple, 2015

Live Photos

Apple “unveiled” a new photo trick today. These “Live Photos” are photographs, marked by a small three-circle icon, that come to life when the user presses and holds on the image.

They’re not really GIFs. Technically, they’re animations made up of separate 12 megapixel stills. When you take a photo, the camera extends the capture moment to just before and just after the photo, adding “contextual” frames to deepen the emotional experience.


From VentureBeat
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This is known to most of us as “video,” and it’s a feature either 18 months old or 126 years old depending on how you look at it.

Apple VP Phil Schiller’s insistence that these aren’t videos does not make him right. Neither do the insane Harry Potter references.

You still can’t have the best camera without buying the biggest phone

Want optical image stabilization for photos and video? You’ll have to shell out for the plus-sized phone. Apple shouldn’t constrain better features to a less-popular product.

The enduring idiocy of the 16GB option

16GB was a silly option for iPhone 6, and it’s not getting any less silly. Good luck shooting all that 4K video with no storage space.

Apple Pay stats

A total no-show. Apple made no mention of any revamped security measures and passed over an opportunity to rip on the competition.

Apple Music stats

Another oversight. Despite piping in its much-touted Beats 1 radio station at the top of the livestream, there wasn’t a peep about the nascent music streaming service.

Is nobody using it? Did it just get cut out of an already overlong presentation?

If anything else bugged you, holler at me. Otherwise, I’ll be counting the seconds until I can buy this new Apple TV.

Check out all of our coverage from Apple's big Hey Siri event right here.









Everything Apple announced today: New iPhones, iPads, Apple TV, and more

Apple Store

Today Apple wowed an auditorium packed with tech junkies, developers, and reporters with the announcement of its brand new freaking awesome Apple TV. And then it announced some other stuff. I don’t know. I blacked out after the TV.

Anyways, here’s what my colleagues say Apple announced today:

Apple unveils redesigned Apple TV

TV_AppleTV_Remote-Hand_MainMenu-Movies-PRINT

The biggest news of the day concerned the unveiling of Apple’s long awaited new Apple TV. The new device features more storage and puts an emphasis on apps and voice navigation. That’s right, you’ll be able to ask Siri to serve up movies and make suggestions for what you should watch. More on that here.

Jennifer Folds asks a question while watching video in the redesigned Apple TV.

Above: Jennifer Folds asks a question while watching video in the redesigned Apple TV.

Image Credit: Screenshot

If you don’t feel like talking to your television, the new Apple TV also comes with a brand new remote control with a touch pad for navigating the Apple TV as well as an accelerometer and gyroscope (likely for fitness based apps and games).

AppleTV-4G_Remote-PRINT

The new Apple TV comes in two sizes: 32 GB for $149 and 64 GB for $199. Based on demonstrations of the new device, it’s clear that Apple is appealing to gamers. Apple showed off the remote’s ability to perform well in motion-based games (like Beat Sports) as well other already popular mobile games that are being developed for Apple TV.

To bring in even more apps to the Apple TV network, Apple revealed tvOS — its operating system plus open SDK for developers. Early on during the event, Apple CEO Tim Cook postured that the future of television lies in apps.

“To deliver on this vision we need a new foundation for TV,” he said. That means more than just games. Users can access apps for iTunes Movies, iTunes Shows, and Apple Music in the latest Apple TV release. The existing device already features apps from the likes of Netflix, HBO, and Showtime, but the new Apple TV hopes to offer even more entertainment apps some of which will be unique to Apple. For instance, a New York Times article revealed that entertainment network WME/IMG is working on an exclusive fashion series for Apple TV that will air this fall.

iPad Pro

iPadPro_Pencil_Lifestyle2-PRINT

Moving on, Apple showed off new tablets today including a pro version of its signature tablet. At 12.9 inches, the new tablet is larger than the preceding iPad Air 2, though at 1.57 lbs it only weighs slightly more. The iPad Pro comes equipped with Apple’s next generation processor, the A9, which Apple claims is 1.8 times faster than its predecessor.

The iPad Pro comes in three sizes: 32GB with Wi-Fi for $799; 128GB with Wi-Fi for $949; and 128GB with LTE for $1,049. The new iPad also comes in a triad of colors: space grey, gold, and silver.

Of course a professional tablet needs pro accessories. To satisfy the demand for a stylus, Apple revealed a pressure sensitive stylus called the Apple Pencil. It also finally made an attachable keyboard for the iPad (one that looks a lot like the one on the Microsoft Surface). The pencil and keyboard will cost $79 and $169 respectively.

iPad Mini 4

iPadMini4-Hand_iOS9-Homescreen-PRINT

Apple also announced a smaller addition to its iPad family today with the iPad Mini 4. The Mini 4 is a smaller version of the iPad Air 2 and will cost $399.

iPhone 6s and 6s Plus

iPhone6s-4Color-RedFish-PR-PRINT

Unsurprisingly, Apple announced two new iPhones: the 6s and the 6s Plus. To the delight of many, the new phone comes in pink. That’s not what Apple calls it, of course. No, the rouge-hued iPhone is “rose gold.” It just doesn’t resemble any rose-gold I’ve ever seen. At least not according to the company’s official photos.

Moving on, the new phones ship with better cameras and a technology called 3D Touch. The devices also feature Apple’s new A9 chip processor. The 6s and 6s Plus will hit stores in October.

Watch OS2

AppleWatch-3-Up-PRINT

Apple says the next generation of its Apple Watch operating system will roll out on September 16. Since launching this year, the Apple Watch has accrued 10,000 apps on its network. For comparison sake, that’s 6,000 more apps than Google has on its Android Wear platform. At the event, Apple previewed new big-name apps coming to its Watch App Store, including Facebook Messenger, iTranslate, AirStrip, and GoPro.

In addition to the apps, Apple’s watch received some aesthetic improvements. Apple announced a “rose gold” (really pink) watch as well as several new bands, including one designed by Hermès.

Hermes DoubleTour 4-Up-PRINT

That’s all, folks. Stay tuned for more updates.

Check out all of our coverage from Apple's big Hey Siri event right here.