Dr. Mac says: 'The Coolest Thing Apple Announced Last Week Was...'

Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #141


The theme for Apple’s event in San Francisco last week was, “The only thing that has changed is everything.” It sounds like marketing hype, but by the end of the event most of the audience (including me) seemed to agree.

You’ve surely heard about the announcements: a collection of Apple Watches from Hermés; new Apple Watch bands and case colors (gold and rose gold aluminum); Apple TV; iPad Pro with optional accessories Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard; and iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

I’ve now had a few days to mull things over and I give the show an 85 (out of 100) overall. It wasn’t the best Apple event I’ve ever seen, but it was solid and far from the worst. If you’ve got two hours and twenty minutes to spare, the complete video — including the three songs performed by One Republic at the end — is available at http://www.apple.com/apple-events/september-2015/.

For me, the most significant and compelling thing I saw in those 2 hours was 3D Touch, the new technology that, for the first time, allows an iPhone (specifically, an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus) to sense how hard you’re pressing. (That “new” part came from Apple; it sounds like Force Touch on the Apple Watch to me. But I digress...) It not only enables new ways to access shortcuts and app features, it also introduces new ways to interact with content.  

It’s very cool and you can use it almost everywhere — on your Home screens and within many apps. In many apps, 3D Touch lets you peek at content by pressing lightly, or interact further — by launching the app or filling the screen with content — if you press harder.

One of my favorite examples involves the Camera app. Before the new iPhones, if you wanted to take a selfie, you’d tap the Camera app and wait for it to open, then tap the Switch to QuickTime Camera icon and wait for it to switch. I can’t tell you how many great shots I’ve missed while waiting and switching.

With 3D Touch, you can choose what the Camera will do when it opens — Take a Selfie, Record Video, Record Slo-Mo, or Take a Photo — before it opens. Just press on the Camera icon and select from the pop-up menu:

Choose a shortcut and the Camera app launches in that mode for immediate shooting.

Speaking of the Camera app, the ones in the new iPhones are better, but we expected that. What was totally unexpected, at least for me, was Live Photos. When you press on a Live Photo you’ve shot, it plays back a few seconds immediately before and after the shot, giving you a brief video-like memory instead of a single moment frozen in time. As you might expect, Apple’s examples of Live Photos during the event were stunning.

Tune in next week for my impressions of the new Apple TV, iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and Smart Keyboard, and what (if anything) about them is cool.  

And that’s all he wrote…