While the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were the main event of Apple's latest presentation, the company also discussed new updates to its other products. Five months after the Apple Watch's release (and exactly one year after its initial announcement), work is wrapping on the latest version of WatchOS. In the living room scene, there's a new iteration of AppleTV.
Apple Watch Updates
WatchOS 2 was initially unveiled at WWDC earlier this year, featuring a whole list of features such as additional customization to the watch face, the ability to reply to email, and the Time Travel ability, which allowed users to see upcoming appointments in the schedule or the predicted weather later in the day. Now, a release date is set for September 16.
With those features introduced and out of the way, the WatchOS 2 presentation highlighted a few apps that benefited from the new operating system. On the medical front was Airstrip, which can be used by physicians. With Time Travel, doctors can glance at their schedule for the day. However, Airstrip is also another way to communicate with nurses, who can send the doctor lab results, medical data and even the patient's vitals in real time. Time Travel is also used to look at the vitals history to see if the patient had any abnormalities in their system in the past few hours.
The app also includes Sense4Baby, which is meant for expecting mothers. Instead of visiting the doctor, the mother can stay at home and perform home tests with the watch app. Placing it on the stomach records valuable data and can even differentiate between the mother's heartbeat and the fetal heartbeat. With the watch, the data is then sent to the doctor, who can review the findings.
Airstrip is just one of the 10,000 apps already available on the App Store for the watch, and WatchOS 2 improves its functionality. But there are also new apps coming to the Apple Watch, including Facebook Messenger, allowing social media chatting with friends; iTranslate can easily bridge language barriers during travel; and the new GoPro app can be used as a viewfinder for the popular camera.
To keep the Apple Watch stylish, the company also plans to release new color finishes and bands. It also partnered with the French fashion company Hermes for a series of leather bands, which will arrive in October.
Apple Back In The Living Room
The current version of the Apple TV was the third iteration in the company's attempt to dominate the living room. In the past few months, Netflix, Hulu, HBO and Showtime claimed a large viewership on the mobile platform thanks to their apps; CEO Tim Cook said that the future of TV lies in apps, and so a new Apple TV was introduced. (Well, reiterated.)
Similar to previous models, it still sports the same black box, but it contains the 64-bit A8 processor, Bluetooth 4.0 capabilities and has inputs for Ethernet and HDMI. Additionally, it has a new remote connected via Bluetooth. Instead of buttons for navigation and input, it has a touch surface so you can swipe to browse content and tap to confirm your selection, or easily scrub through certain scenes in movies or shows.
It also includes a mic so you can use voice commands for Siri, such as finding a list of action movies and filtering them to a specific series or actor. If you miss a certain portion of a movie, you can tell Siri to rewind back a few seconds and temporarily turn captions on so you can hear what the character said. Additional information, such as the list of actors in the movies, sports scores, or even the weather can be pulled up from the bottom of the screen while the movie is playing. Pulling it up to full-screen pauses the movie.
Aside from watching movies and TV, the box also includes access to photos and iTunes. There's even a few lifestyle apps such as Gilt, which allows you to shop for clothes, and specialty apps for sports such as the MLB app. Fans can watch one game in the full-screen or with stats, or even watch two games at the same time.
It also includes support for games. With the remote as the main controller, players can use the touch surface to swipe and move characters in Hipster Whale's Crossy Road or use it as a bat to swat incoming balls in the musical game Beat Sports, from Rockband developer Harmonix. There's even multiplayer support in certain games if the other players have an iPhone or an iPod Touch. The remote has a battery life of three months, with regular use, and is charged with its Lightning connector.
The entire suite of apps and services are all controlled by a new operating system, which Apple calls TVOS. Based on the iOS software, it has a few similar building blocks to the mobile platform including Xcode and the Metal API. To give customers enough content at launch, the company released a beta version of TVOS to developers after its presentation.
Coming Soon To A Living Room Near You
If you don't want to wait for the new Apple TV, the current version is still available for $69. When the new version comes out in late October for U.S. customers, it will be slightly more expensive at $149. The rest of the world will have to wait until the end of the year to get the new device.
With this latest Apple TV, the race for the best standalone living room devices is renewed. Nvidia, among other companies, recently came out with its answer the Nvidia Shield, but with cord-cutting apps becoming more frequent, Apple's latest device comes at a perfect time to capitalize on the TV app wave while also continuing to support games on the App Store and its iTunes music service, all from the living room.