Blind Bargains

New Apple Software and Hardware Announced Monday: an Overview


Apple made several major and minor announcements Monday during their latest keynote address. To catch you up with the latest happenings, here's a brief overview.
It's important to note that this is just a brief summary of the software and hardware announced. There are links to each of the topics covered below where you will find more detailed information.

Smaller Hardware

Apple has announced a few new, and smaller, devices to add to its line of iOS devices. First was the announcement of the smaller iPad Pro, which doesn't have a different name. Apple s iPad Pro Page simply now advertises the iPad Pro as coming in 2 different sizes. The new smaller version has a 9.7 inch screen, 4 speakers like it's larger iPad Pro cousin, the same display specs as the iPad Pro, with a slightly lower price point. The 32GB Model will cost $599, while the 128GB model will cost $749, and 256GB of storage will cost $899 for wifi only. Cellular models are also available: 32GB ($729), 128GB ($879), and 256GB ($1,029)
See the above link for more details. It's also worth noting that there will be a 256GB storage option available for the larger iPad Pro. Pre-orders will begin on March 24, with shipping expected to begin on March 31.

The iPhone also saw the introduction of a smaller counterpart in the form of an iPhone SE which features many of the things you will find in the iPhone 6S, but in a similar form factor to what was present on the iPhone 5S and made of aluminum and with curved edges. Features include an A9 Processor, a 12 MP rear camera, Apple Pay, Touch ID, and "Hey Siri", just like it's bigger counterpart. What's missing is the larger screen, of course, along with 3D touch, a feature only found in the iPhone 6 Plus and 6S Plus. Pre-orders will begin March 24, with shipping expected to start on March 31. The 16GB version will cost $399, and the 64GB model will cost $499. 64 GB is the largest capacity available. Read more at the link above, or on [This Macrumors article.

We also saw the reduction in price for the Apple Watch, with prices starting at $299. There were also announcements of new bands made out of new material. Feel free to check those out in this article.

New operating System updates!

Along with a lot of new hardware, Apple released new software as well. New in TV OS 9.2 is the ability to create new folders, to use a bluetooth keyboard, and the enabling of dictation for the fourth generation Apple TV. While AppleVis does have a blog entry outlining the changes, no extensive accessibility testing was able to be carried out, according to the blog. However, Jonathan Mosen has done some podcasts outlining the new features from a VoiceOver user's perspective.

iOS 9.3 is now also available for all devices that are able to run iOS 9. Mainstream changes include the ability to password protect notes, new 3d touch quick actions for Apple apps, and enhancements to the News app. Of specific interest to blind and low vision users, there is a new Nightshift Mode which reduces the amount of blue light on the display and the implementation of 4 finger gestures on the iPhone and iPod to switch quickly between apps using VoiceOver. A number of minor bug fixes have also been implemented. See this blog article for more details.

We also have Watch OS 2.2. The highlight of this update appears to be the ability to connect multiple watches to one iPhone. This requires Watch OS 2.2 to be installed, and also iOS 9.3 on the iPhone. Additionally, the Apple Maps app on the watch has gained support for the Nearby feature which we first saw in iOS 9, and also now offers quicker access to directions to home and work.
According to this AppleVis blog entry, there were no major changes, bug or feature, in terms of accessibility.

Finally, we have Mac OSX El Capitan (10.11.4). According to this AppleVis blog the update includes Live Photos support in Messages, the ability to password protect notes in the Notes app, and an option to import notes from Evernote. There was one possible VoiceOver fix in the App Store, please see the blog entry above for details.

As is now the trend in tech, any device that supports the above mentioned updates is a free download. For iOS devices, Connect to iTunes to get your update, or download and install it over the air by going to Settings>General>Software Update and following the promtps. As for the Mac, head on over to the App Store and find this software update under the "updates" tab.

Category: News
Displaying 3 comments.
darknexus Tuesday, 22-Mar-2016 1:01 PM ET:

There is one accessibility which I do consider major. Whenever I'm reading an article in Apple News, after each and every paragraph, it now says use the rotor to access headings. It's irritating, especially since this is a hint and I have hints disabled. I've reported this one to Apple. I'd imagine it might be even more irritating for Braille users, as messages like these have a tendency to flash up on a connected Braille display, however I can't test this. Also, for anyone who hasn't updated yet, be aware that you may have to enter your Apple ID password up to five times afterward. In my case, on my devices, it was once when the update begins at the setup screen, once for iCloud, once for iTunes, and once for the App Store. I didn't notice a fifth one until I plugged my iPhone in, at which point it wanted the password again for iCloud backup. Seems a bit excessive and doesn't actually add any extra security.


darknexus Thursday, 24-Mar-2016 08:13 AM ET:

I don't know why I'd ever want to pair more than one Apple Watch to my iPhone. I'd actually like to have the reverse, i.e. to pair a watch with more than one iDevice and work with them all. I have an iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad and they fill different roles in my day to day routine. If the watch could handle them all at once, I might get very interested indeed.


MattFromFlorida Saturday, 26-Mar-2016 03:08 AM ET:

Well, I have been waiting for this with the iPhone from Apple! I think now Apple has all it bases covered on the major iPhone sizes! I myself have a iPhone 5s and did not upgrade to the IPhone 6 or iPhone 6s as the size was just too big for me! Now I have a choice and Yes I upgraded as soon as preorders took effect. I got the one unlock and the 64 GB model in Rose Gold ! Yes there is a few exceptions to the iPhone to the iPhone6s: (1) 3d touch , (not a big deal to me); the screen resolution is not as good I think that is the tern (not a big deal to me again); (3) the front facing camera is not as good as the iPhone 6s is, (it is a 1.5 mega pixel versa the 5 mega pixel on the 6s, it also has a 2.4 lens versa the 2.2 lens in the 6s) Hear again not a deal breaker as it is the front camera. So all in all I will be thrilled to get my iPhone SE in the first week of April if not before! Signed , MattFromFlorida


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