Apple Inc unveiled a new TV set top box that responds to voice commands and fresh iPhones that sense the pressure of a finger tap, changes which underwhelmed many social media commenters and investors.
The new 6S and 6S Plus versions of the iPhone, Apple’s biggest money maker, are the same size as the previous versions but come with a better camera, faster chips, new colours and the force-sensitive “3D Touch”.
Speaking before thousands of analysts, journalists and frequently cheering Apple employees, Chief Executive Tim Cook also brought on stage an executive from onetime archrival Microsoft Corp to illustrate the business-friendly credentials of a big new iPad, the Pro.
Apple shares fell 1.9% to $110.15 by the close, replicating the recent history of such rollouts but also reflecting the lack of any transformative products that could jumpstart the company’s sales ahead of the crucial holiday season.
Apple shares have lost an average of 0.4% on the day of iPhone announcements over the past three years, according to BTIG Research data.
“People love to hate Apple announcements because the expectations are so high and they can never clear that bar,” said Kevin Landis, portfolio manager of the $111m Firsthand Technology Opportunities fund, which has Apple as its second-largest position.
Twitter users seemed most impressed by the revamped Apple TV. The product, which the company long called a ‘hobby’ gets its own app store and will work with Siri, Apple’s digital assistant.
Fewer celebrated the iPad, which some saw as too big and similar to Microsoft’s Surface tablet, and new iPhones, which are outwardly identical to the enlarged smartphones which made their debut about a year ago.
“3D Touch not good enough reason to upgrade so far,” Ikechukwu Nwanze wrote of the new phones, which start at $199 with a two-year contract.
Apple TV demonstrations showed tricks to make viewing easier: digital assistant Siri, which is behind the voice control, can rewind a video for 15 seconds and turn on subtitles, when a viewer asks something like “What did she say”?
“We’ve been working really hard, and really long,” on TV, Cook said, emphasizing the word ‘long’ in a nod to the time it has taken the company to produce an ambitious TV product.
The new set-top box will include an app store and let developers create new software for Apple TV, including video games.
“I’m all about this new #AppleTV. Shut up and take my money,” wrote Twitter user Ethan Anderton. Others joked that they would have to buy a TV for the first time to use the Siri remote and app store.