Technology

SAN FRANCISCO (Web Desk) – Apple has unveiled a larger iPad tablet, a TV box with its own app store and new iPhones that can detect how firmly their screens are being pressed.


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The firm suggested the iPad Pro was suited to work tasks, video games and both editing and watching movies.

Read more: What’s new in Apple’s iPhone 6s?

Sales of the company’s earlier iPads had been on the decline, the BBC reported.

Apple said the “3D touch” feature of its new phones “transformed” the experience of using them by making it easier to use and switch between apps.

Huawei demonstrated its own version of the feature – which it called “force touch” – at its own launch event last week.

iPad Pro

The iPad Pro has a 12.9in (32.8cm) display, making its shortest edge the length of its earlier iPad Air 2’s height.

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Apple sold 19% fewer iPads between the start of October and the end of June as it did during the same period a year earlier.

Apple said the new tablet offered similar processing power to 80% of the portable PCs that were sold over the past six months.

The iPad Pro will be launched alongside an optional magnetically-connected keyboard – which resembles a similar accessory for Microsoft’s Surface tablet.

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In addition, the firm announced a stylus called the Apple Pencil, which has sensors in its tip to help mimic the effect of using a real pencil on paper.

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The announcement is notable since the firm’s ex-chief executive Steve Jobs said in 2010: “If you see a stylus, they blew it.”

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Apple said the iPad Pro should run for 10 hours of use between charges and would be available in November and range from $799 to $1,079 (£520 to £702) depending on its level of storage and 4G connectivity.

The Pencil costs $99 and the keyboard $169.

Tablet computing is great, but it could be said that the iPad’s Achilles heel was that it was great as a consuming device, but if you wanted to really do something, get work done, it wasn’t ideal.

Apple is trying to address that with the iPad Pro. It’s enormous, but not bulky, even if it does come in heavier than the original iPad at 1.67lbs (0.76kg).

TV Box

Chief executive Tim Cook also unveiled a new set top TV box with its own app store and new operating system.

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The device uses a remote control that features a touch-sensitive panel and a microphone that allows it to be voice-operated.

It uses the firm’s Siri virtual assistant to let owners ask what shows or movies based on their desired themes or favourite actors are available, and can bring back results from a range of services.

In addition, it can play video games.

Apple was one of the first tech companies to offer an internet-connected TV box, but Amazon, Roku and several smart TV-makers beat it to offering an app-focused experience.

Much of the Apple TV presentation was dedicated to the video games it can play. The remote is motion sensitive, and works in a similar fashion to Nintendo’s Wii controllers.

The US firm has already had huge success with video game sales on its iPhones.

But one industry watcher questioned how disruptive the new box would be as a gaming device.

The TV box will cost either $149 or $199 depending on how much storage the user wants.

iPhone upgrade

The idea behind the new iPhone’s 3D Touch feature is that users can call up different functions by pressing the handsets’ screens firmly.

Examples of how it can be used include:

  • previewing an email or photo
  • swapping weapons in a video game
  • quickly switching into selfie photo mode

The handsets also gain the ability to shoot 4K videos – which means four times the amount of pixels of 1080p high definition video.

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In addition, their back cameras have been upgraded to offer 12 megapixels rather than eight – Apple said it had ensured the extra resolution had not come at the cost of more noise.

The iPhones also get a processor boost. They will go on sale in a fortnight’s time.

SmartWatch

Apple also announced an upgrade to its smartwatch operating system that will be released on 16 September.

A new Apple Watch is seen during an Apple event at the Flint Center in Cupertino, California, September 9, 2014. REUTERS/Stephen Lam  (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY)

Watch OS 2 will allow third-party apps to run natively on the device rather than relying on a linked smartphone’s processor.