â¢ If you have questions about the new models, send them our way. Brian X. Chen will be answering some of the most notable entries.
Apple revamps the set-top box.
Apple unveiled an upgrade for Apple TV, its set-top box. While Mr. Jobs referred to Apple TV as a âhobbyâ because it was not a hot seller compared to the companyâs smartphones, computers and tablets, the product is becoming increasingly important to Apple as it, along with other tech giants like Facebook and Google, moves into creating original video content.
The new Apple TV, called Apple TV 4K, it is an iteration of the last model, which introduced a touchpad remote control. The new box will now be able to stream so-called 4K resolution, which refers to screens with two times the vertical resolution and twice the horizontal resolution of older high-definition TVs. Eddy Cue, Appleâs head of internet software and services, added that 4K titles would cost the same to rent as traditional high-definition titles. The set-top box will cost $179.
Apple said the new Apple TV 4K is also two times faster than the last one and includes support for a new color technology called H.D.R., or high dynamic range. This software feature enhances the contrast and color profile of a picture. In bright colors, you will see brighter highlights; in dark colors, you will see more details.
â Brian X. Chen
Apple Watch can now work without an iPhone.
The Apple Watch has been a sleeper hit for the company. Though early reviews were mixed, Apple has steadily improved the device, and now the smartwatch is the best-selling watch in the world, according to Apple.
Today, Apple unveiled the third version of the device. It looks identical to the old version, but the new one carries a much-requested feature for the first time: It will come with a cellular chip, meaning it can access the internet even if it isnât connected to your phone. Among other capabilities, the cellular version can make calls, send texts and stream music when youâre on the go.
âNow you have the freedom to go anywhere with just the Apple Watch,â said Jeff Williams, Appleâs chief operating officer.
The cellular version completes a long-term vision for the Watch â to liberate you, in some small way, from Appleâs best-selling phone. In a demo, an Apple employee made a live call to the keynote address from a paddle board in the middle of a lake.
This is a slightly risky strategy, of course; Apple doesnât want to kill its golden iPhone goose. But the new cellular watch is unlikely to be a replacement for the phone, just a high-priced complement.
The new cellular version sells for $399; a WiFi-only version of the new version sells for $329, and you can still buy the older version for $249. The new watch will begin shipping on Sept. 22.
â Farhad Manjoo
Appleâs new corporate campus is a sight to behold.
Apple is set to unveil several new gadgets later this morning, but the highlight of todayâs event isnât something you can buy. Itâs Apple Park, the companyâs new $5 billion spaceship-shaped campus, which the company is showing off to the media for the first time.
The press were penned off just out of range of the main building, at the Steve Jobs Theater, the 1,000-seat venue with a commanding view of the spaceship. A quick review: This place is just what youâd imagine an Apple-designed campus would look like. Think of the aesthetics of an Apple Store â lots of wood and glass, everything in muted tans and greys, all signage in white-on-black Apple Sans type â set on an otherwise barren landscape.
It is, unsurprisingly, very pretty, but its beauty comes with a deliberate touch of fright. Nothing here is to human scale, and the overall impression is one of being overwhelmed by Appleâs sheer might.
â Farhad Manjoo
The iPhone still dominates after 10 years.
Since Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007, the company has sold more than 1.2 billion of the devices, making it one of the best-selling gadgets of all time. And sales show no real signs of slowing. How has it managed that?
Several factors have played major roles. The iPhones have strong security, for example, and Apple offers a strong technical support system, including the Genius Bar at Apple retail stores. But there is also Appleâs tight ecosystem â the iPhone works well with other Apple products â and, over time, Apple has gained peopleâs trust.
The device has also changed how we live, cementing an always-connected way of life. It certainly wasnât perfect from the start, he says, but over time âthe iPhone wasnât just a shiny bauble. It was useful. It could mimic just about any other gadget you had, from your Game Boy to your flashlight. And apps could do things no other gadgets could do.â
â Joseph Plambeck
Whatâs the future of the smartphone?
For the last decade, smartphones have gotten thinner and faster. But the gadgets are still evolving in more interesting ways. As we wrote two weeks ago, some of the latest new tricks involve the cameras and sensors.
New cameras are starting to enable face scanning, allowing people to unlock their phone just by looking at it. There remain sizable limitations to some of this technology, but some aspects seem primed to enter the mainstream.
In addition, the new hardware will enhance augmented reality, in which digital objects can be placed on real-life objects. Apple, among other technology giants, have been bullish on augmented reality â which relies on advanced camera technology and is aided by motion sensors.
â Joseph Plambeck