On a day when Apple showed off lots of new devices, the iPhone was still the star of the show.
Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, presented the latest version of the company’s iPhone on Wednesday, along with several revamped devices. Cook called the new phones “the most advanced smartphones in the world.”
Apple executives demonstrated most of the anticipated new features of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, including an upgraded 12-megapixel camera and a new capability called 3D Touch. It can sense how hard a user is pressing a button, allowing for easier access to different menus and information. It also gives users “tactile feedback” when they touch their screens. Pressure-sensitive touch screens are already available on the Apple Watch and the new MacBook.
The new iPhones will also come in a new rose gold finish, with a new glass that the company describes as the strongest in the industry. The touch ID sensor has been upgraded and the phone will feature iOS 9, the newest version of Apple’s mobile operating system.
The new iPhone 6S will cost $199 and the iPhone 6S Plus will cost $299 with a phone contract. Prices for previous versions of the iPhone will drop by $100.
Apple introduced its own payment plan called Apple Care Plus. Starting at $32 a month, customers can upgrade their phones every year if they buy them through Apple. The new phones will be available in 12 countries, including the United States, on Sept. 25. They will be available for pre-order starting Saturday.
When Apple unveils its latest iPhones each September, investors closely watch changes to the device in the hope that they will be enough to draw in new or repeat buyers. The iPhone, which was first sold in 2007, accounted for 56 percent of the company’s sales in fiscal 2014, making it far and away Apple’s most important product.
Thanks to the first iteration of the larger-screen iPhone 6 that hit shelves last year, Apple’s fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, when the company had an $18 billion profit, was the most profitable quarter ever for a publicly traded company.
But meeting expectations is becoming a bigger challenge. In its most recent quarter, Apple posted quarterly revenue of $49.6 billion and a $10.7 billion profit, and iPhone revenue was up 59 percent from the previous year. But those results still fell short of Wall Street estimates.
Cook also presented a new, beefed-up Apple TV, which represents the company’s most ambitious effort yet to become the focal point of home entertainment systems. Apple TV already streams videos and music. Now it is set to offer up video games, shopping and travel tools, and user-generated content like live streaming through an expanded array of apps.
“Our vision for TV is simple,” Cook said. “We believe the future of television is apps.”
The new version of Apple TV also includes a remote control that could be used as a video game controller. The product now comes with a higher price that starts at $149, up from $69, indicating that the company is betting that consumers will think all of the new bells and whistles are worth the higher price.
Apple also introduced a new iPad Pro tablet device, which Cook called “the most capable” tablet the company has ever created. With a larger screen and optional keyboard (a feature already found in other tablet devices, like the Microsoft Surface), it becomes a device that’s more useful for the creation of content rather than simply the consumption of content.
One other star of Wednesday’s show was Apple’s new $99 Pencil, which is actually just the company’s name for the spiffy new stylus that comes with the iPad Pro.
Apple’s senior vice president of operations, Jeff Williams, also talked about improvements to the Apple Watch, including a spate of new apps including Facebook Messenger and Airstrip, a health care app that lets doctors coordinate patient care and monitor health data.
The latest upgrades
Apple iPhone: Includes an upgraded 12-megapixel camera and a new capability called 3D Touch.
Apple TV: Includes a remote control that doubles as a video game controller.
Apple Pencil: A $99 stylus for the iPad Pro.
Apple Watch: Loads of new apps.