Today, Apple hosted their “Let Us Loop You In” event where they presented all of the exciting things they’ve been working on since their last event in Fall 2015. Since we don’t all have time to watch Tim Cook and his pals talk to us about Apple’s latest and greatest in the middle of the day, we’ve got you covered.
FBI vs. Apple
Tim Cook started the event by assuring many Apple users and the media that Apple has an innate responsibility to its users to protect their data and they, “…will not shrink from that responsibility.” As the ongoing battle between the FBI and Apple unfolds, Tim Cook wanted us to all know, he won’t back down. Apple will always do its best to keep user data private.
Two years ago Apple set out to make all of their operations run on 100% renewable energy, a very lofty endeavor. Today the company unveiled that they are at 93% – meaning that they use 93% renewable energy in all of their facilities worldwide – you’re welcome, Mother Nature.
Apple also unveiled a program and innovation that will allow iPhones to be recycled more easily. Calling it “Liam”, they have created a robot which can easily and seamlessly take apart your old iPhone, scavenge for reusable materials, and sort all of the parts. Basically, Apple is creating an army of Wall-E’s.
Have an old iPhone stashed that you think should be recycled? Send it in to Liam for free with the Apple Recycling Program, or take it to any Apple Store.
In their quest to improve modern medicine, Apple showed the amazing innovations and benefits made possibly with ResearchKit – a framework which allows researchers to collect data on studies being conducted by thousands of participants. ResearchKit has allowed studies to include more participants, and collect more data for better findings. So today, Apple also unveiled CareKit, which helps caregivers provide real-time, customized health information to their patients. It also empowers patients by helping them collect and view data – allowing them and doctors alike to track their conditions and better understand them. CareKit will be available open source this spring, in April.
The New Apple TV & tvOS
If you’ve got the new Apple TV, starting today you can update your tvOS and get some new features:
- Folders: Organize your apps just like you do on your iPhone.
- Dictation: You can now dictate to your Apple TV instead of using the remote to enter your obnoxiously long and complex password.
- Live Photos: Now available on your Apple TV device.
The Apple Watch didn’t get much of an update, but they did come out with new woven nylon bands, and the watch will now be available starting at $299 – who’s ready to snag some fancy wrist-wear?
The rumors were real – a super iPhone 5S has been revealed in the form of the iPhone SE! This is the same size and design as the iPhone 5S, but with much better features. So if your hands are small but your smartphone usage isn’t, this is calling your name. Features include:
- 64-bit A9 chip and M9 processor (which is the same as what’s found in the iPhone 6S)
- Faster LTE
- Always-on “Hey Siri”
- Bluetooth 4.2
- iOS 9.3 (We’ll talk about that in a bit)
- 12MP iSight camera
- Focus Pixels
- Retina Flash
- 4K Video
- Apple Pay
The iPhone SE will start at $399, but with a 2-year contract it’ll be available for free. Pre-orders start March 24 and the iPhone SE be in stores on March 31. By the end of May Apple says it will be in 110 countries.
Apple didn’t reveal a totally different iOS today, but they did talk about a lot of improvements to iOS 9, available in the newest update 9.3 which you can download starting today. Here are a few of the most important highlights.
- Night Shift: Exposure to blue light (basically the light from TVs, computers, or iPhones) in the dark and evening hours can actually prevent you from being able to fall asleep, so Apple created Night Shift. Basically this will allow the screen to adjust in dark environments and also takes into account your location. It uses location to understand how dark it is outside and adjust your screen according to the time of day. Better sleep for all iPhone users – zzZZzZZzz.
- Notes: Ever written down a note on your iPhone you didn’t want anyone to see? Well now iOS 9.3 will allow you to lock a note using Touch ID. Notes are also now viewable in landscape mode.
- News: If you get your news from your iPhone, News will now help by displaying top stories as well as editor’s picks.
- Health: Not much has changed with Health, but now the app will recommend more health apps based on popularity and will show you goals from your Apple Watch in graphs.
- Carplay: More features and better integration with Apple Music have been added.
A Newer, Smaller, iPad Pro
If you’re looking for the robust features of the iPad Pro, but don’t need all that screen size, the newer, smaller, 9.7″ iPad might be just what you’re looking for. Labeled as the ultimate PC replacement, the iPad Pro has some awesome features.
- True Tone: Meant to help the display imitate good ol’ fashioned paper, true tone changes the temperature and tones of the display to match the ambient light of the environment you’re in.
- A9X & M9 coprocessor and a graphics drive as powerful as an Xbox 360 – for gamers
- Always-on “Hey Siri”
- 12MP Camera
- 63MP Panorama Photos
- 4K Video
- Live Photos
- Lightning SD Card Reader
- USB Camera Adapter
- Apple Pencil Support
- 4 Speakers on each side
Available for pre-order starting March 24 and shipping March 31, the smaller, newer iPad Pro starts at $599.
Whether it was advancements to modern medicine, or a smaller iPhone, Apple delivered some pretty cool stuff today. What was your favorite new product or feature?