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What Marketers Need to Know From Today's Apple Event

Changes afoot for the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Apple Watch

Apple CEO Tim Cook shows off the larger iPad Pro, which should appeal to video editors and designers. Photo: Getty Images

Apple held its annual developers event today in San Francisco, where it debuted a bevy of product upgrades for the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Apple Watch. 

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple's new iOS 9 operating system was part of the show, but purely on a technical level. Apple's execs didn't go over how the upgraded system will let iPhone and iPad users download third-party software that eliminates ads on the mobile devices, an issue that marketers will certainly continue to keep an eye on.

So in case you missed all the live-tweeting (or just hard trouble finding the news amid all the snark), here's a handy breakdown of what marketers should know about from this year's Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC): 

1. The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus

  • It comes at the same price as the last one, starting at $200 with a two-year contract. The phone will be available for purchase on Sept. 25.
  • It is made from a different alloy of aluminum than past iPhones, and Apple says it's stronger. It offers a new rose-gold color, too. 
  • It offers 4K video resolution, which should make clips more attractive. 
  • It entails "3D touch" capabilities that should interest email marketers. Craig Federighi, Apple's vp of software engineering, showcased how the phone's mail app worked by tapping his finger down on a message, which caused a preview window to bubble to the screen that gives the viewer a peek at the content. 
  • The phone's camera, which now has 12 megapixels (the iPhone 5s and 6 offered 8 megapixels), includes a feature called Live Photos that lets you turn your photos into GIFs while adding sound. 

Conclusion: The changes to the iPhone 6s are fairly incremental, but they should make the brand only more popular with consumers. So marketers should take the new functionalities seriously in terms of how they prepare campaigns for the mobile audience. 

2. The iPad Pro

  • Apple's latest tablet should entice people who want either a bigger screen—12.9 inches, in this case—or a more work-friendly device. Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president for marketing, told the audience that it would attract video editors and designers. 
  • It's not inexpensive, starting at $799.
  • For an extra $100, it comes with a stylus called Apple Pencil for more detailed work.
  • There's also a $170 smart keyboard available. 

Conclusion: Expect to see far more tablets being used for work at ad agencies in the near future. 

3. Apple TV

  • "We believe the future of television is apps," Apple CEO Tim Cook proclaimed, when he introduced an app store for the platform. "Our vision for TV is simple and perhaps a little provocative."
  • The list of apps available on the newest edition of Apple TV includes MLB, Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Gilt and Guitar Hero. 
  • It will be live in 80 countries in October and in more than 100 by the end of the year. 
  • It will have a Siri-like search function. 
  • The pricing: 32GB for $149 or 64GB for $199.

Conclusion: Live sports are the linchpin to DirecTV, Time Warner and Comcast's ability to sell TV packages. Therefore, it will be interesting to see if the MLB app generates buzz with baseball fans. What if you could get all of your live sports via Apple? Those aforementioned service providers would rather that we never know the answer to that question. 

4. Apple Watch

  • Developers can now create apps that use more of the watch's native features (such as the accelerometer and heart rate monitor), which should open the door for more (and more useful) branded appearances on wrists. 
  • There are new, fancy leather brands from Hermès that caught Twitter's attention. 
  • An executive from AirStrip showed how doctors are utilizing Apple Watch to monitor patients' heartrates and other conditions. 

Conclusion: It will be interesting to see what kinds of apps developers think up. How popular Apple Watch becomes may depend on the apps that arise for the device in the coming months.

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