- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Apple announced Wednesday a new line of models for its most popular mobile platforms, unveiling an updated version of its iPhone 6 only a year after introducing its best-selling smartphone yet.

CEO Tim Cook hosted the product launch from a 7,000-seat auditorium in San Francisco early Wednesday and was joined intermittently throughout the two-hour-plus presentation by the designers and developers behind the company’s latest endeavors: new versions of the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Apple TV that sport new hardware specs said to be more powerful than most anything on the market today.

Twelve months after introducing the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus — and subsequently breaking sales records by moving more than 100 million devices in the year since — Cook announced that new 6s and 6s Plus models will be available in two weeks, each sporting faster processors, enhanced cameras and “3D Touch,” a pressure-sensitive feature that allows the user the ability to conduct different operations depending on how hard or soft they press on the device’s glass screen.

Cook called the new touch feature a “tremendous breakthrough” in mobile tech — big words from the head of a corporation that has put roughly a half-billion smartphones into hands around the world since unveiling its first iPhone in 2007.

“We are driven to innovate at Apple — you’ve seen that all morning — and no product is more about innovation than the iPhone,” Mr. Cook said, adding that the now ubiquitous iPhone has already “changed the world” through intuitive applications that have opened the door for advancements in digital photography and gaming, to name a few, as well as apps relied on by cab drivers and doctors alike.

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s Plus will be available in over 130 countries and across more than 400 carriers by the end of the year, Mr. Cook said. Apple fanatics across the globe won’t have to wait months to end up with its latest offerings, however, as the CEO said a revamped version of the Apple Watch, the high-tech wearable unveiled six months earlier, was being shipped to 24 different countries starting today.

As with the iPhone, the Apple Watch is also being given an internal makeover so that it can run new apps that weren’t available when the first generation device was rolled out earlier this year. The outside of the wearable will be given a facelift as well, though, in the form of not just fresh specs, but a leather-bound wristband and a sturdy new faceplate that Apple hopes will soon have millions of people communicating digitally without digging into their pockets.

Wednesday’s event also served as a launch pad for the company’s new stylus, the Apple Pencil, an updated version of its Apple TV digital media machine and the iPad Pro, a new 12.9 inch tablet that boasts four internal speakers, accelerated processing speed and picture resolution that rivals that of the MacBook.

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