Today’s Apple event in San Francisco packed a punch with launches that stand to have an impact in the worlds of fashion, retail and media.
First, chief executive officer Tim Cook started by saying that Apple is “firing on all cylinders,” and despite having only launched the Apple Watch in April, the company was “on an incredible pace of innovation.” While many didn’t expect much news for Apple Watch, the company started by unveiling new Apple Watch colors and materials; perhaps most notably, Apple Watch has partnered with Hermes, which enhances Watch’s profile as a fashion item and tech accessory.
The Apple Watch Hermès comes in three styles, starting at $1,100, and will be available in Apple retail stores, some Hermès stores, specialty stores and departments stores starting Oct. 5. In a release, Apple chief design officer Jonathan Ive said, “Apple and Hermès make very different products, but they reflect the deep appreciation of quality design.”
Apple’s range of other styles allow for further customization and personalization of the watch, including a collection of bands in both bright colors and neutrals, and new metals (gold, rose gold and anodized aluminum) that will be the same price as the rest of the sport lineup ($349). Apple Watch also created a red band in partnership with Product Red to benefit AIDS research. New models of the Apple Watch are shipping today and Watch OS2 will launch Sept. 16.
The crowd then cheered with the announcement of the much-anticipated iPad Pro. Larger, at 12.9 inches on the diagonal, it stands to be more useful in the professional realm, and starts at $799. New accessories to the Pro are the Apple Pencil ($99), to allow for better writing and sketching, and the keyboard ($169), which allows for functionality that rivals a laptop. Apple introduced partnerships with Microsoft and Adobe, the latter offering apps for layout and photo editing. All will be available in November.
There was also a first look at Apple TV, and a remote that includes a Siri-powered touch remote. According to Cook, the future of TV is in apps. “As important as TV is, the TV experience itself hasn’t changed that much in decades. The TV experience has been standing still while innovation has been thriving in the mobile space.”
In addition to watching TV shows and movies, Apple demonstrated shopping on Apple TV through a Gilt app that allows for instant browsing and buying. In demonstrating the app, Gilt chief executive officer Michelle Peluso said that 80 percent of mobile sales are on iOS devices. “Apple’s innovation has always been great for Gilt,” Peluso said, “making shopping cooler, faster and more exciting.”
Today, Apple TV also revealed its first original, in-house content. If recent Apple fashion hires are any indication, it might not be a complete surprise that it’s an exclusive fashion-focused, on-demand channel. Set to launch in October after the ready-to-wear shows, Made 2 Measure, created by WME/IMG, will reportedly focus on the fashion industry, with behind-the-scenes, documentary-style coverage and fashion films.
Apple TV, available in October, will start at $149. Its operating system becomes available to developers today. This is crucial, as watching TV shows, movies or shopping on the Apple TV will be done through an app. “When you experience TV through an app,” Cook said, “you realize just how much better it can be. You can search for what you want to watch when and where you want, and you can interact in powerful new ways.” And this, hopefully for retailers, will include clicking the “buy” button.
Finally, Apple introduced the expected iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s+. In four colors, it also added 3D Touch. Like the Apple Watch, it detects finger pressure to allow for more shortcuts (called “peek” and “pop”). Among other camera improvements, it also includes a new FaceTime camera and flash (mostly useful in selfies) provided by the screen itself.
Perhaps most exciting, it includes something Apple is calling “Live Photos,” which means that photos show the moments before and after photos were taken, including sound. How those will manifest on social media remains to be seen. The phones will be available for pre-order on Saturday, starting at $199.
To close the presentation, Cook introduced a surprise performance from OneRepublic. While singing “Good Life,” singer Ryan Tedder posed for a selfie with Cook, and later posted the photo with, appropriately, no filter.