At Apple’s annual fall unveiling session in San Francisco today, it took CEO Tim Cook and his team 2.5 hours to unveil all Apple’s new products: its watches, its tablets, its phones, and its TV boxes. (Apple didn’t say a word about its Macs or OS X.)
You can watch a video of the whole shebang here. But on the premise that maybe you have a life, here, for your entertainment, is a handy cheat sheet on everything you would have learned if you’d been there.
The announcement: The jumbo iPad Pro, with a 12.9-inch screen.
Goodies: Faster chip, 4 speakers, 10 hour battery life, fractionally thicker than before.
For $100, you can add a battery-powered stylus (the Apple Pencil) that’s both pressure sensitive and angle-sensitive. In iOS 9’s Notes app, for example, you can sketch with a pencil tool that draws darker if you bear down, and fills in swaths of “graphite” when you rub back and forth with the pen’s tip on its side.
The cap pops off, revealing a Lightning connector, so you can charge the pen right from the iPad. (You can also plug it into a regular USB charger.) There’s nowhere to carry the Pencil, though, except loose in your bag.
There’s even a “straightedge” tool that you can move by twisting two fingers on the glass.
For $170, you can get an iPad Pro cover that folds out into a stand with a very flat, fabric-covered keyboard. Attaches magnetically, needs no battery or Bluetooth pairing. (Very Microsoft Surfacey, actually.)
Fun fact: Screen has 5.6 million pixels—more pixels than on the MacBook Pro with Retina screen.
When you can get it: November.
Prices: $800, $950, or $1080 (for the 32 GB, 128 GB, and 128 GB + cellular Internet models).
Upshot: This is Apple’s convertible tablet/laptop—its Microsoft Surface. It’s big enough that you can type on its on-screen keyboard (or play full-sized piano-app keys).
Watch OS 2
The announcement: A new software version for the Apple Watch. Also new watchbands and metal finishes.
Goodies: Software companies can now design their own watch faces, and write apps that live on the watch (instead of the iPhone). Lots of miscellaneous tweaks, like: Turn the knob to scroll through upcoming appointments. Nightstand mode when charging. Reply to email. Multiple Friends screens.
Fun fact: For the very rich, there are new Apple Watch Hermés editions, with fancy bands and watch faces.
When you can get it: September 16, 2015.
Prices: Free for the OS update.
Upshot: The new features fill in holes. If you weren’t interested in an Apple Watch before, you still won’t want one now.
The announcement: A new Apple TV with a new remote.
Goodies: The remote has a trackpad. You can move the “cursor” on your TV, and click to select things. The remote contains a gyroscope and accelerometer, so you can swing it through the air, like a Wii, when playing games involving bats and racquets. You can associate multiple remotes with the same Apple TV, for use with multiplayer games.
It also has a microphone, so you can speak commands to Siri like: “Show me Jennifer Lawence movies”… (and then) “…only the comedies.” “Find family movies from the 80s.” “Skip ahead two minutes.” “Who’s in this movie?”
Also Siri-type commands: “What’s the weather tomorrow?” “Who won the Browns game yesterday?” “How’s Google stock doing?”
When you ask for information like that, it appears in a strip below the movie you’re watching.
Searches for shows and movies draw from all apps at once: at the outset, iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and Showtime.
There’s also an app store now, which bodes well for the likelihood that Amazon Video will finally come to the Apple TV. The apps can be anything: shopping, games, services.
Fun fact: The new Apple TV still doesn’t play 4K video.
When you can get it: End of October.
Prices: $150 and $200 (for the 32GB and 64GB models).
Upshot: The Apple TV just went from being a portal for Apple’s video store to being a sort of laptop attached to your TV. Could be really powerful.
iPhone 6s and 6s Plus
The announcement: The annual fall release of new iPhones.
Goodies: Faster chip, 2x faster fingerprint recognition, faster WiFi and cellular data, improved camera (12 megapixels on the back), 4K video recording (but not playback), more rugged glass for the screen, new “rose gold” (pinkish metallic) body option.
Photos you take can record 1.5 seconds of video on either side of your finger tap. At your option, therefore each “still” photo can play back three seconds of video, with sound.
New interface element, called 3D Touch. The screen detects three degrees of finger pressure. There’s the normal tap. There’s a hard press, which opens up a preview bubble (below, right) of whatever picture, map, Web link, email, photo, or text message you’re touching in a list (below, left).
And there’s a harder press, which opens the thing you’re actually previewing.
Hard presses also make shortcut menus pop out of Home-screen icons, with frequently used commands—like people you’ve recently dialed or texted.
Fun fact: There’s a “flash” for selfies now: the screen momentarily glows 3 times brighter, in a shade meant to flatter your skin.
When you can get it: September 25, 2015.
Prices: No change from last year: $200, $300, and $400 (for 16, 64, and 128 GB models, with 2-year carrier contract). The 6s Plus models cost $100 more.
You can also rent an iPhone 6s for $32 a month (AppleCare insurance included, service not included) from an Apple store, freeing you to get the newest model every year.
Upshot: A lot of small, nice changes—the usual odd-numbered-year, “s”-model iPhone updates. Not compelling enough to justify selling your iPhone 6, but a really juicy leap forward if you’re using something older.
About the “hands on” session
So far, nobody’s had any real testing time with any of these products—only a carefully supervised hands-on session in San Francisco. In the coming weeks, return to YahooTech.com for full reviews of everything you’ve seen on this cheat sheet.
David Pogue is the founder of Yahoo Tech. On the Web, he’s davidpogue.com. On Twitter, he’s @pogue. On email, he’s firstname.lastname@example.org. He welcomes non-toxic comments in the Comments below.