A new version of the Apple TV streaming device will be able to show video with sharper “4K” resolution and a color-improvement technology called high-dynamic range, or HDR.
The announcement took place at an event at the company’s Cupertino, California, headquarters, where it was also expected to unveil new iPhones.
You can stream the keynote event online (from an Apple mobile device with Safari on iOS 9.0 or later, a Mac with Safari on macOS v10.11 or later or a PC with Microsoft Edge on Windows 10, or an Apple TV with software 6.2 or later).
Many rival devices already offer 4K and HDR. But there’s not a lot of video in 4K and HDR yet, nor are there many TVs that can display it. Apple TV doesn’t have its own display and needs to be connected to a TV.
Apple said it’s been working with movie studios to bring titles with 4K and HDR to its iTunes store. They will be sold at the same prices as high-definition video, which tends to be a few dollars more than standard-definition versions. Apple said it’s working with Netflix and Amazon Prime to bring their 4K originals to Apple TV, too.
The new Apple TV device will cost $179 US and ships on Sept. 22. A version without 4K will cost less.
New Apple Watch
Apple is also coming out with a new smartwatch designed to be less dependent on the iPhone.
Apple Watch will still require a companion iPhone. However, a new model comes with cellular access, so it will be possible to do more — such as receiving messages — while the phone is at home. It will require a data plan.
”Now, you can go for a run with just your watch,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer and in charge of Watch development at the event Tuesday.
Since the original watch’s debut in April 2015, Apple has been trying to enable more stand-alone features. Last year’s model, for instance, introduced GPS capabilities, so that the watch can measure runs and bike rides more accurately without the iPhone nearby.
The new cellular model, called Series 3, will start at $399 US. One without cellular goes for $329 US, down from $369 US for the comparable model now. The original Series 1, without GPS, sells for $249 US, down from $269 US. The new watch comes out Sept. 22.
A rival smartwatch from Samsung already has cellular options.
Existing Apple Watches will get a software update next Tuesday.
Apple is also adding more fitness features to the Watch, and says it is now the most used heartrate monitor in the world. Now, Apple Watch will notify users when it detects an elevated heart rate when they don’t appear to be active. It’ll also detect abnormal heart rhythms.
This is the first product event Apple is holding at its new spaceship-like headquarters in Cupertino, California.
The event, opened in a darkened auditorium, with only the audience’s phones gleaming like stars, along with a sign that said “Welcome to Steve Jobs Theater.” A voiceover from Jobs opened the event before CEO Tim Cook took stage.
“Not a day that goes by that we don’t think about him,” Cook said. “Memories especially come rushing back as we prepared for today and this event. It’s taken some time but we can now reflect on him with joy instead of sadness.”
The souped-up “anniversary” iPhone, which would come a decade after Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs unveiled the first version, could also cost twice what the original iPhone did. It would set a new price threshold for any smartphone intended to appeal to a mass market.
Various leaks have indicated the new phone will feature a sharper display, a so-called OLED screen that will extend from edge to edge of the device, thus eliminating the exterior gap, or “bezel,” that currently surrounds most phone screens.
It may also boast facial recognition technology for unlocking the phone and wireless charging. A better camera is a safe bet, too.
All those features have been available on other smartphones that sold for less than $1,000, but Apple’s sense of design and marketing flair has a way of making them seem irresistible — and worth the extra expense.
“Apple always seems to take what others have done and do it even better,” said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst with Creative Strategies.