Welcome to “The Week in Tech,” where we recap some of the most interesting technology and mobile stories from the past week.
This week we cover new product announcements from Apple and Verizon, Google testing fresh food delivery, and Amazon launching a $50 tablet.
Apple launches new iPhones, Apple TV, and more
Apple unveiled a bevy of updated products at its launch event on Wednesday.
First, the company revealed the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. While the new phones look pretty much the same as their predecessors, the big upgrade is in the 3D touch feature, where users can access different options by applying more or less pressure on the touchscreen. Pretty sweet.
The new phones also have fasters processors and upgraded cameras that records 4K video and takes 12-megapixel photos.
Apple also upgraded Apple TV with a number of new features.
The set-top box has a new operating system called tvOS that allows developers to create apps for it, similar to iOS. Apple also deeply integrated Siri and created a touch- and motion-sensitive remote used to switch channels and control gaming.
The iPad Pro, a monstrous 12.9 inch tablet, was announced as well. Not only is it bigger and faster than its brethren, it also has some cool accessories. The Smart Keyboard is a case that has physical keys, and the Apple Pencil is a stylus that allows users to write and draw on the screen (which Steve Jobs would have never approved). Apple is clearly taking aim at the Microsoft Surface.
Other announcements include release dates for new Apple Watch software and iOS9 (both September 16) and a Hermes Apple Watch.
Read more on The Next Web.
Verizon to offer free mobile TV and test 5G technology
Verizon certainly had a busy week, as they announced a free mobile TV service called Go90 and the testing of 5G technology next year.
Go90 is a free mobile TV service available to anyone, not just Verizon customers, and will be available on mobile only – no viewing on tablets or desktops. Go90 will be ad-supported and is targeted at millennials, who are much more likely to view content from internet services like Netflix, and on their mobile devices instead of TVs.
The service will include a mix of shows on demand, some live-streamed events, and a bit of original content, but real-time TV won’t be available.
Verizon has secured content from Food Network, Comedy Central, ESPN, NFL Network, and more.
The company also announced that it will be the first wireless provider to test ultra-fast 5G technology next year, with a limited commercial rollout planned for 2017.
But what does 5G even mean? Verizon claims that 5G will provide about “50 times the throughput of 4G,” which essentially means it should be much, much faster, and you really shouldn’t see that spinny thing on your phone.
Verizon’s initial tests will take place in the company’s innovation centers in Waltham, MA and San Francisco, and they’ll work with Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm and Samsung in development.
Google to test same-day fresh food delivery
Google announced that it will partner with Whole Foods and Costco to provide delivery of fresh food and groceries this year. The company will roll out test programs in San Francisco and another yet-to-be-named city.
You can already order non-perishable goods from Costco, Target, and other retailers and get them delivered by Google Express, but the Mountain View company will now deliver fresh fruit and veggies to you as well.
Google’s new service will compete head-to-head against Instacart and AmazonFresh with hopes of dominating the huge and growing grocery delivery market.
Amazon to sell a $50 tablet
Amazon is reportedly going to sell a super-cheap 6-inch tablet for $50, half the price of its least-expensive 6-inch device, the Fire HD 6. Just in time for the holidays, too.
Amazon seems to be retreating from selling high-end devices, as the tremendous flop of the Fire phone may have scared the company off. Meanwhile, as mentioned before, Apple launched the high end iPad Pro, which could retail at more than $1,000. So the two companies are clearly going in different directions with their tablets.
While the tablet market is shrinking and losing out to larger smartphones (or “phablets”), over 45 million units were sold in the second quarter, so it’s still worth the effort to target. Amazon’s Kindle Fire line once owned 1/3 of the market, but that number has eroded all the way down to 2.3% due to the proliferation of cheap Android tablets.
Will a ultra-cheap tablet launched before the holidays change the game for Amazon? We’ll see.
What do you think of these stories? Have you read other interesting mobile and technology stories this week that are worth mentioning? Feel free to add your thoughts to the comments.