Apple September Event: Bigger is better

Written by Stuart Grey

Ever since “mobile” arrived, we’ve been amazed by smaller, lighter, thinner. It seems that changed somewhat yesterday with the new iPad Pro and upgraded Apple TV.

In what felt like a very rushed session, we saw Microsoft (yes, Microsoft!) come to the stage in what really should have been happening for them when iPad first hit the shelves. Despite various opportunities for some of the light humour that always helps us through, at times, pretty dry tech announcements,  we missed out to have more 3rd party demos than ever. The many, many times they cut to pre-made movies, for the iPhones in particular, felt overdone and a frustrating time waste. There was however, a lot to see.

Apple Remote (I mean TV…)

Apple TV definitely wasn’t the star of the show, with a basic hardware upgrade and nothing more than polish added to the existing software. Disappointingly, the ribbon of movies still takes up half the available screen space, despite the now supposedly much more diverse nature of tvOS. What was presented as a star product is a new remote. A very fancy remote, but one that essentially takes the features of the “Remote” app and brings them to a standalone device. It all felt a little flat.

Beam me up Scotty

Unusually, I’m going to be cautiously optimistic that Siri might take off here, where we can talk to our machines in the privacy of our own homes. Siri demos always look great on stage, and for the few test runs we all try it’s great. I’ve always been sceptical about the real world usage, and this is backed up by the low uptake in day-to-day life. I’m going to put it out there this time and say we could be about to see the beginning of us talking to our tech.

What has excited us about Apple TV here at shinobicontrols, is the new tvOS being based on iOS. We noted the OpenGL ES support on the main slide, and whilst tvOS does not contain all of the key libraries, there is a significant opportunity for us to see our native iOS charts and controls zipping across TV screens around the world, seamlessly flowing from device to TV and back again.

iPad Pro

Somewhat predictably, the comments sections on every blog are now alive with Surface comparisons and Microsoft anecdotes. However, this relationship will establish the kind of balance for consumers, both at home and at work, that it should have had years ago. Apple make amazing tech, Microsoft make Office. End of. The world is right again, and we may just see iPad Pro make some serious in-roads into Enterprise infrastructure. For me, the focus was correct – productivity. Yes, it’s an amazing hardware feat, but we’re most excited about the productivity of side-by-side apps and the extra screen real estate of 12.9 inches. Here in the office, we’re already enthusing about the new reach into the workplace the Pro will bring and we can’t wait to support that growth with our controls.

Call a Pencil a …. well, Pencil

Refreshing or overly simplistic? However you regard the way Apple name their tech, you can’t argue that it’s misleading. You can also be assured Apple will do as they see fit, regardless of previous stance and that sees a stylus hit the big screen.

For us here at shinobicontrols, the Apple Pencil is the key feature of the iPad Pro that can take it into Enterprise. We’ve already got a whiteboard full of ideas, not just for our existing charts and controls, but brand new native controls.

One question – where do you keep your pencil?

May the Force be with you

iPhone 6s blah, blah… force touch. Officially it might “3D Touch” but to us it’s force touch and it’s the key to how mobile is going to develop. Whilst we can evolve devices into smaller, faster, lighter we’ve been waiting for the next revolution, and we believe it’s here. Apple are subtly taking our device interactions to the next level. It’s the only way to deal with the explosion of apps, data and devices that sees us never without a small screen and connection to the internet. It’s now up to developers and teams like our  shinobicontrols developers to take the hardware they’re offering and turn it into amazing experiences for the user. This is a big opportunity, it’s the next opportunity.

Small is the new Big

In an announcement billed as “bigger” and “better” numerous times by the Apple top shelf, it was ironically the smallest items that ended up stealing the limelight and attention. A remote and a pencil, Apple’s most prominent contribution to tech in 2015.

This is the time of the gesture, whether it’s force or precision our interaction with our tech is about to blossom. Like a looming mountain casting an ever longer shadow, we’ve been making devices that can collect terabyte after terabyte of data for years now. What’s new, is Apple laying the foundations and tools for us to explore and utilise it. Big data, it’s here; now we’re getting the big tools to deal with it.