Friday 28 October 2016

Apple launch 2015: Four things to expect including 'force touch' functionality

Published 08/09/2015 | 13:00

Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California
Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California

Tomorrow, Apple will unveil a plethora of new products at its main annual launch in San Francisco. Here are the four main things to expect from the launch.

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1. iPhone 6S

Apple will almost certainly launch upgraded iPhone 6 models, probably called the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus.

Using the same sized screens, leaks strongly suggest that the new models will have better cameras (12 megapixels rear and five megapixels selfie) than existing models. This makes sense: Apple is currently spending a fortune on billboard posters all around the world promoting photographs shot by ordinary people on their iPhones.

The new phone is also said to include ‘force touch’ functionality, currently used on the Apple Watch. This allows the phone to tell when you’re putting more pressure on the screen to control something: it could be used to make menus or options appear.

The new phones may have a slightly thicker frame, both to house beefed up features and put a definitive stop to any accusations of ‘bendgate’.

They’re also expected to come in at least one new colour, with ‘rose gold’ featuring prominently in most rumour blogs.

2. New large-screen iPad

It now looks very likely that a brand new iPad will be introduced, one with a much larger screen (13 inches) and more power. Dubbed by analysts and bloggers the ‘iPad Pro’, the machine is expected to be pitched more at business users than ordinary punters. To put the screen size into context, 13 inches is the same size as a large MacBook Air or a standard MacBook Pro.

The thinking here is that iPads — and all tablets — have fallen off significantly in sales as larger-screen phones steal much of their functionality. At the same time, Apple has been doing deals with companies like IBM and Cisco to try and embed the iPad deeper into corporate and enterprise computing.

3. Apple TV

What’s also likely is an updated Apple TV set-top box that may have a new focus on gaming and apps. The device's remote control is also expected get an upgrade, with a touch pad and motion sensors so it can double as a video-game controller, according to TechCrunch.

Apple’s long term ambition is to try and enter the TV streaming market in some way. However, film and television studios are very wary of loosening control on their content. Many say that they do not want TV to become commoditised in the same way music was 10 years ago. That means that Apple has struggled to strike deals with premium studios and TV companies like HBO.

4. Other things

There are some indications that Apple may be introducing a new phone, effectively replacing the iPhone 5C and 5S as the junior model in the range. We can also expect to hear more about iOS9 and new features such as ad-blocking. And there may be updates to Apple Watch accessories.

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