Apple targets enterprise and living room with iPad Pro, Apple TV and iPhone upgrades


Consumer tech giant Apple focused on diversification in its big autumn launch event, with the introduction of a bigger iPad designed for the enterprise market and a more serious foray into TV.

The latest iPhone upgrades – the 6s and 6s Plus – were of the most immediate commercial significance, since Apple will sell tens of millions of them in the next few months at margins all other smartphone makers can only dream about. But as an indication of Apple’s evolving strategy the iPad and TV moves are more interesting.

The iPad Pro is a lot bigger (12.9-inch screen) than any current iPads, and $300 more expensive too. Apple has targeted enterprise with the iPad for a while now and seems to have decided it’s time for a dedicated device. Such it Apple’s focus on productivity that it even let long-time nemesis Microsoft into the Garden of Eden to talk about how keen it is for iPad Pro buyers to use Office. Further concessions to productivity are a smart stylus called the Apple Pencil and a keyboard which are purchased separately.

“iPad Pro is the most advanced and powerful iPad we have ever made,” said Apple marketing boss said Philip Schiller. “Its beautiful and large 12.9-inch Retina display has 5.6 million pixels and provides an immersive experience for content and apps. The innovative Apple Pencil and new Smart Keyboard enable users to customize their iPad Pro experience to the particular apps they use and the work they do, making iPad Pro ideal for everything from professional productivity to advanced 3D design.”

Apple is still staying away from TVs themselves, but seems to have evolved its set-top box strategy from a hobby to something a bit more serious. The big development with this latest iteration of Apple TV is the introduction of TV-specific apps running on a new tvOS. The most potentially exciting part of this will be the ability to buy games from the app store and play them on your TV, so watch out console makers.

“There has been so much innovation in entertainment and programming through iOS apps, we want to bring that same excitement to the television,” said Apple internet software boss Eddy Cue. “Apps make the TV experience even more compelling for viewers and we think apps represent the future of TV.”

As the ‘s’ implies, the phones are evolutionary tweaks to the 6 and 6+ launched a year ago. Apart from some improved specs – chip, camera, screen, etc – the big innovation is the introduction of force touch to the touch UI, which allows different results depending on how much pressure you apply. Of course the likes of Huawei and Sony pre-empted these moves, so they’re mainly defensive, but should be enough to justify an upgrade for many Apple loyalists.

“The only thing that has changed with iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus is everything,” said Shiller. “3D Touch lets users interact with iPhone in entirely new and fun ways, and the innovative Live Photos brings your pictures to life.

These are the most advanced iPhones ever, with 7000 series aluminium, ion-strengthened glass, the new 64-bit A9 chip, 12-megapixel iSight and 5-megapixel FaceTime HD cameras, faster Touch ID, LTE and wifi. Customers are going to love them.”

There was some mention of the watch, which was the highlight of this event a year ago, but nothing more exciting than a tweak to the OS and some new straps involving the designer Hermès.

There was a lot of stuff in this launch but when you strip it down it amounts to incremental tweaks to Apple’s ever-growing product portfolio. Apple must feel there is limited growth potential for the iPhone, if only because it’s already done so well, so a renewed push into enterprise and continued efforts to diversify its consumer offering make sense. This was a solid set of launches, but not as interesting as last year.

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