Get a unique point of view with Yuneec drones

Get a unique point of view with Yuneec drones

It seems these days that drones are popping up in every aspect of our lives, whether we’re exploring abandoned theme parks or simply ordering our online grocery shopping. Now, with Yuneec’s range of clever drones, they’re even following us as we carve out wicked downhill bike trails.

Or so the Yuneec Typhoon H’s unveiling at CES 2016 showed, as a mountain biker careered around an on-stage course followed and filmed agonisingly closely by the drone, at one point even dodging a falling tree. Crazy stuff. You see, Yuneec’s Typhoon H has Intel’s RealSense technology integrated into its brains, which helps it sense and avoid obstacles while in flight.

Just check out the CES launch video below and then try and tell us you don’t need this drone in your life…

And here’s the official product vid from Yuneec…

Yuneec Typhoon G

Admit it, you’re thinking about buying a drone, aren’t you? Luckily, we have the Yuneec Typhoon G is available for you to buy right now from Jigsaw24. For anyone into extreme sports, or looking to get a unique aerial shot in their photography, the Yuneec Typhoon G is ideal. It’s completely compatible with GoPro cameras, so if you’re already shooting with one, you’re ready to go – just hook up your GoPro to the Typhoon G using the clever gimbal for incredibly stable imaging from the skies. It gives you:

– Up to 25 minutes flight time.

– Personal Ground Station with built-in touchscreen.

– 3-axis precision gimbal for GoPro.

– Up to 400m direct digital video down link.

– Dedicated App compatible with GoPro.

– SteadyGrip for GoPro to capture stable footage on the ground.

Yuneec Drones on Jigsaw24

Want to know more about Yuneec drones? Give us a call on 03332 409 306, email sales@Jigsaw24.com or just pop your details in the form below and we’ll be in touch. For all the latest news and tips, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Finance your new tech with Jigsaw24 and Azule

Finance your new tech with Jigsaw24 and Azule

Any new tech upgrade comes with a price tag, and that can be particularly hefty if you’re looking at a new shared storage solution, or a full studio kit-out. But taking advantage of financing lets you soften the blow, and spread out the cost of your investment.

We’ve now teamed up with financing company Azule to offer financing options for any kit you order from Jigsaw24 over the value of £1000. Contracts can be from 12 to 60 months in length, allowing you to repay the cost in manageable monthly payments, rather than forking out upfront. They even offer instant credit decisions on any order up to £25,000.

Benefits of using finance

– Purchase equipment with minimal initial outlay – just an agreed monthly payment.

– Retain cash for working capital.

– Another source of credit.

– Spread the cost of the asset over the useful life of the equipment.

– Receive tax benefits on the payments.

– Get the chance to upgrade equipment during or at the end of the lease.

How to get finance

Financing through Jigsaw24 couldn’t be simpler, as you can see in the flow diagram below. First, apply for finance over at azule.co.uk. They’ll give you instant credit decisions on any deal under £25,000. Then, you just need to sign the agreement and pay your first instalment, and we’ll ship your  equipment out to you directly.

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Want to know more about financing through Jigsaw24 and Azule? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

What’s big in visuals for 2016? Adobe give their predictions…

What’s big in visuals for 2016? Adobe give their predictions…

Choosing the right stock imagery to make your marketing more engaging can sometimes be a challenge, especially with literally millions of assets available at the click of a mouse. Sure, everyone loves a good shot of a businessman pointing to a blank pie chart with a wide grin, but is that really the right image to inspire modern audiences?

To give you an idea of the kind of images that might do, the forward-thinking folk at Adobe have put together a guide to what they think will be visual trends in 2016, including new technologies, low poly style and hipster chic. With their Adobe Stock asset library constantly growing, they’re a fair bet to predict what’s going to be big. We’ve lovingly copied it below, but you can read the full article from Adobe Head of Content Scott Braut here.”

Tech Turns Cool

“The appearance of young, tech persona in imagery is on the rise. With the popularity of tech culture (HBO’s successful “Silicon Valley” TV show as a prime example) and gadgets like virtual reality headsets and hoverboards in the mainstream, the tech industry and those in it are becoming more sought after. The next generation is learning to code and jobs in the tech landscape are desirable, replacing previous connotations that the industry is filled with hooded hackers hunching over laptops.”

Rise of New Aesthetics

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen an affinity for all things “hipster” – cappuccino art, bowties and suspenders, handlebar mustaches, 1950s tea dresses, black and white filters. Hipster aesthetic has been a mecca for brands and still remains popular, but new ones are on the rise. Brands should keep their eye out for new aesthetics representing the aspirations of the young urban creative.”

New Perspective Portrait

“The smartphone profoundly transformed not only the way people interact with cameras but the way we photograph ourselves. A new visual language arose with the “selfie” though we may be seeing a shift towards perspective portraits. Perspective portraits offer a more intricate take on a subject than the standard selfie, giving the impression that you are not looking at a photo, but are instead alongside the subject and part of the scene itself.”

Colour Consistency

“Ever year brings predictions for what will be the most popular colour. Pantone released two colours of the year – Rose Quartz and Serenity – and many trend reporters are heralding white as ‘the’ colour for 2016 (a sharp contrast from Behance’s announcement that red was their most popular hue of 2015).”

“In stock imagery, brands generally have a consolidated color scheme that already exists. Therefore, our outlook for color in 2016 is envisioned around how we will use colour instead. Consistent, bold, colour saturated images ensure an image will stand out amongst others, increasing a brand’s positioning whether that be white for calmness, pink for youthful appeal or green for sustainability.”

High-Impact Aerial

“As technological innovations increase our ability to explore more of Earth and afar, so too does the technology to photograph in stunning detail previously unchartered sights. Whereas drones were previously costly, high-tech photographic equipment, they’re now readily available for all photographers to take to the skies and capture bird’s eye view panoramas.

“Additionally, scenic backgrounds have always been a popular search result for users; they can be applied toward a multitude of projects, appealing to a wide range of people. What we will see more of in 2016, however, is the geographical locations captured.

Current Affairs

“We devour news and content on an hourly basis thanks to social media’s hold on our lives, and companies therefore need to stay on top of current affairs. As the world changes, audiences want brands to share similar values and expect companies to take stances and demonstrate support for causes. For example, in June 2015, when same-sex marriage was legalised in the United States, we saw an increase of rainbow filters and rainbow flags on social media.”

Low Poly Style

“Minimalism will remain a trend year after year, but in variations. This year’s minimalism will be low poly style. The simplicity and cut of this graphic style will increase to become a winning formula in 2016. When used in backgrounds, the style makes for a voguish, cutting edge aesthetic particularly when composed with strong, offset colours.”

Want to know more about Adobe Stock? Give us a call on 03332 409 251 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Massive thanks to all who made our Digital Creatives event!

Massive thanks to all who made our Digital Creatives event!

On Thursday 21st January, we held our first ‘Creativity in the digital world’ event, a forum for digital creatives to hear from experts on the challenges facing the digital media industry, and learn how to better service clients and take advantage of new revenue streams (as well as indulge in a spot of beer and pizza, naturally).

So we just wanted to say a massive thank you to all the awesome attendees and superb speakers who made it down on the night. Here’s how it went down…

The speakers

We had a whole host of fantastic speakers, all touching on the topic of creativity in the digital world from a different angle. First of all, we had Iain Seers from Watershed Consulting (who spearheaded the move to digital media for Redworks WPP and Ogilvy & Mather) discussing how the creative landscape is evolving in the face of new technologies. From old radio ads to examples from his previous companies, Iain talked about how marketing and advertising agencies are using these changes to their advantage.

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Next, we had the privilege of hearing from Katy Starling, Head of Communications at DHL. Talking from a brand viewpoint, she touched on her background at DHL, and carried on to talk about how they’ve come to incorporate digital methods into their marketing strategy, working across different platforms. Katy also spoke about social media as a growing part of their marketing, particularly Twitter, and how it allows them to connect with their audience.

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We also welcomed our friend Neil Rostance, Managing Director of Fat Free Media, who discussed how agencies should remain aware that they are targeting actual people, using emotion to capture an audience, and how this is increasingly important in the digital age where social media campaigns often place emphasis on figures and data when considering their demographic. His witty Q&A about user-generated content on some of his previous campaigns was a particular highlight!

Our Creativity in the digital world event

Our partners

As well as the above speakers, we also had event sponsors Adobe, ThinkingPhones, axle, Extensis and Blackmagic Design on hand to answer any questions or queries attendees may have had. Plus, Jigsaw24 Solutions Architect Jamie Allan presented a talk on working with creatives to manage workflow and increase productivity, while Client Director Vince Pittman discussed the great solutions Jigsaw24 offer to help creatives maximise digital media.

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What you lot said

We had a great night, and were very glad to hear that everyone who came along found the event both engaging and useful. Here’s what a few of our attendees had to say…

“We found the evening to be most informative, with a genuine desire to bring creatives together to share and discuss the current challenges we are all facing. I found the presenters engaging and overall the night was thought provoking and light on selling, high on concept. Great venue and the speakers and the attendees were not too London-centric either. I would heartily recommend to anyone in the marketing/creative industries.” – Neil Cleverley, TTS Group

– “Thought Neil was great, and that his talk on digital was spot on. Great location.” – Dominique Devoucoux, Founder/Managing Director, Tate Post

– “Enjoyed the event, and learnt lots of new things from the speakers to take away. Would like to attend future similar events.” – Keith Pang, Pipeline Developer, Hibbert Ralph Animation 

– “Really good talks, thought the time was good. Would like to see similar events during the day, more video featured.” – Byron Wijayawardena, Creative Director, Blackmagic Design

– “Super.” – Doug Griffiths, EMEA Director, Angels Den

So, once again, to everyone who made our ‘Creativity in the digital world’ event such a success, a heartfelt thanks. If you didn’t make it down, or would like to relive the whole thing again (even if just for the free beer and pizza), you’re in luck – we’re going to be running a series of events for digital creatives, so keep an eye on www.jigsaw24.com/digital-creatives for all the details!

Want to find out more about our upcoming events? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email events@Jigsaw24.comFor all the latest news and tips, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

Adobe Stock review: Our design team give their verdict

Adobe Stock review: Our design team give their verdict

It’s been just over half a year since Adobe announced their very own stock image service, Adobe Stock. And in that time, there have been significant updates, plus a load of new images added to their library.

Just after its release, our design team made the move over to Adobe Stock from the service they were previously using. While changing the tools you use day-in, day-out, is never without its wobbles, they managed to transition from Adobe Creative Suite to Creative Cloud and remain relatively unscathed, so as Adobe Stock plugs directly into CC apps, and uses a familiar Adobe interface, it was a doddle. Now they’ve had a while to get to grips with all the functionality and features, we thought we’d ask for their verdict on Adobe Stock, how it ties into their daily design workflow and whether they’d recommend making the move from any other stock service. Take a look at how they’re using it in the video below, and read on to find out their thoughts.

What’s new in Adobe Stock?

First of all, it’s worth pointing out some of the new updates since Adobe Stock‘s release. The library of assets is constantly growing, with 5 million new images and videos being added already (taking the tally from 40 million to 45 million). Adobe have also introduced Pooled Images, whereby if any member in your team purchases an Adobe Stock licence, all the images that the user then buys will automatically be shared with your creative team.

Our design team’s verdict

So what do our delectable designers think of Adobe Stock, six months on? And would they suggest making the move from your current service? We collared a few to pick their brains on everything from the layout of preview images to search options and prices…

Xenia: “The first major bonus for me is that Adobe Stock makes it really easy and quick to search for images and add them to your library straight from Photoshop. The imagery is constantly being updated too. The difference is obvious from just a few months ago when I searched for “tablet device” to now – there are more of them, and the quality of the images, taking composition and content into consideration, has improved greatly (as opposed to the sometimes cheesy ones you can come across!).

“Another thing I like is the simple pricing. Other photo stock sites use credits, meaning you have to figure out how much a credit is worth and, as each photo can have different credit values, it can get confusing. But Adobe Stock just has a simple, flat price plan. For us the ten images a month plan is perfect – at £19.99 it works out at really good value, and you can even roll over unused images for up to a year. It’s easy to manage the subscription too, as it’s through the same Admin Console we use for our Creative Cloud for teams licences.”

Liana: “There are now more options on the search tools drop-down menu, which is great. I especially like the extra long landscape size option on the orientation search tools, which is very useful if you’re looking to use images as headers or backgrounds on websites, for example. The only drawback at the moment, and this really is a minor quibble, is that you can’t uncheck a box – you have to clear them all, which means having to enter all the options again.

“The way the images are laid out is great too, as you get larger thumbnails because of the way that they’re stacked. The hover options are intuitive and ‘Find Similar’ option is also really handy. I quite like how it expands on the page when you click on an image, rather than taking you to a new page, as I often end up with loads of windows open.”

Thierry: “I find Adobe Stock really useful for mocking up how a project (especially brochures or magazine layouts) can look by placing in preview images without having to leave the application. If an image is then going to be used for print, I can simply click to purchase and the image in my project is updated to the highest quality available.”

Simon: “I really like how I can access Adobe Stock in the same place as Typekit, up in the toolbar. And once you’re browsing, the interface feels cleaner and simpler than other libraries I’ve used. It’s actually really nice to just have assets in Libraries ready to drag into any of the apps.”

– So, are you using Adobe Stock? Let us know what you think of the stock image service in the comments below. If you’d like to know more about the service and pricing for licences, click the banner or get in touch with the team on the details below… 

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Want to know more about Adobe Stock? Give us a call on 03332 409 251 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

What is 12G-SDI? A guide to the standard

What is 12G-SDI? A guide to the standard

While the serial digital interface (SDI) has been the professional standard for AV interfaces since the 90s, with 4K and UHD becoming much more prevalent video formats for broadcasters (and requiring a massive four times the bandwidth of HD), moving it around isn’t as simple as pushing it through your beloved SDI cables. Step in 12G-SDI… 

What is 12G?

12G is an SDI standard developed to support greater resolution, frame rates and colour fidelity. It provides four times the bandwidth of HD, carrying 12Gbps, making it ideal for the 4Kp60 format. It’s not new as such, with 6G/12G being in development since 2012 for UHD, but has not yet been ratified by the SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers), the governing body of standards, with the draft name of SMPTE ST-2082.

For a bit of historical perspective, the original SDI standard 259M (introduced way back in 1989) could carry about 270Mbps of data. As broadcasters transitioned from 480i to 480p to 720p to 1080i to 1080P, and from copper to fibre, the SDI specification was updated, with 292 (for 1080i) carrying about 1.5Gbps and 424 upped this to about 3Gbps (for 1080p).

Who’s using it?

12G is available to any manufacturer but not many have stepped in yet to support the unratified SMTPE standard in their products. One manufacturer who has done so is Blackmagic Design. Their DeckLink 4K range of capture and playback cards all support 12G, as well as their Teranex Mini and Teranex Express (the world’s first broadcast convertor to include multi-rate 12G SDI connections).

Simon Westland, director of sales, Blackmagic Design EMEA, said that as a manufacturer they’ve always championed the use of common, open standards and non-proprietary connectivity and codecs. “What a customer wants to do is plug anything into anything and for it to work,” he said. “Fast action production has required the use of high frame rates for many years now, but while HD formats up to 1080p60 are very common, a lack of support for the same high frame rates in Ultra HD has hampered adoption of the format.

“With that in mind, we have been through nearly every aspect of our product range and added 12G-SDI, which supports single cable connectivity for the 2160p60 format. Customers can instantly see the benefits of not only the higher frame rates that 12G-SDI can offer in Ultra HD production, but also the simplicity that single cable connectivity offers. So while other technologies might be able to offer the necessary bandwidth, they will add unnecessary weight and cost, and will increase the overall risk of image degradation and signal dropout.”

Within broadcast and production, facilities are still built on 3G SDI standards, as 6G and 12G will not work over long distances and not many ‘end points’ have 6G or 12G inputs yet. We’ll probably see more 12G-enabled products at the next NAB show, but the more interesting development will be 12G over fibre, as this gives both the distance and the bandwidth to provide 4K and UHD signals around facilities.

Want to know more about 12G and Blackmagic Design video products? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Sony PXW-FS5 gets v1.1 firmware update

Sony PXW-FS5 gets v1.1 firmware update

The Sony PXW-FS5 has only been around for a couple of months (check out our first-look review here), and has already received its first firmware update, v1.1. This new release adds both 4K QHD output to the HDMI port, and face detection too.

The first of these updates is big news to those shooting 4K on the Sony PXW-FS5. On arrival, the FS5 was unable to record 4K internally at the same time as outputting an image externally via the HDMI port (so you couldn’t record internally and use an external monitor or recorder at the same time).

Responding to popular demand, Sony have now made HDMI output with QFHD resolution available at the same time as the camcorder is recording QFHD XAVC-L internally. This means the FS5 can record internally in QFHD resolution while being either monitored or recorded externally in QFHD resolution. Great for anyone using an Atomos Shogun, Ninja Assassin or the like.

This is at the expense of losing the video image on the FS5’s built-in display though – LCD and VF signals are lost, and only parameters are screened, but with no live signal.

The second feature in the new v1.1 update is face detection. This will help users easily focus on a selected face, and even follow that person while moving. On the LCD, each face is framed, and the camera operator can select which one is the ‘priority’ face, that can be followed automatically by focus (if the lens allows it).

– You can download the new Sony PXW-FS5 v1.1 firmware update here.

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Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Avid Artist | DNxIO now supported with Pro Tools

Avid Artist | DNxIO now supported with Pro Tools

If you missed it over the Christmas break, Avid gifted media professionals the news that the Avid Artist | DNxIO video interface is now supported with Pro Tools. It’s another step towards their streamlined, integrated Avid Everywhere vision (and a great reason to upgrade to Pro Tools 12 and or Media Composer 8). 

Official word from Avid below:

Avid Artist | DNxIO

“The Avid Artist | DNxIO is a powerful, professional video I/O interface designed to simplify and accelerate your entire HD, Ultra HD*, 2K*, and 4K* workflow. Available as standalone hardware or bundled with industry-standard Media Composer software, Artist | DNxIO enables you to capture**, monitor, and output media quickly – in the highest quality possible. And because the interface is designed to be open and flexible, you can use it with Avid and other creative tools too – like Pro Tools.

– For Pro Tools support with DNxIO, Desktop Video for Artist DNxIO version 10.5.1 is required.

– Pro Tools 12.3 and higher qualified with DNxIO.

– For more detailed information click here.

*Pro Tools does not yet support video playback of any rates and resolutions larger than HD. However, 2K/4K/UHD playback may be achieved using DNxIO with Media Composer 8.4.2 or higher as a Video Satellite.

**Capture is only supported in Media Composer.”

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Want to know more about the Avid Artist | DNxIO? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

iOS 9: Our team look back at their favourite features

iOS 9: Our team look back at their favourite features

Apple launched the latest version of their mobile operating system back in September, iOS 9. As always, the new OS promised heaps of new features and adjustments, including updates to headline apps and services like Maps, Apple Music, Spotlight and more.

While all great improvements from Apple, inevitably some of the new features are more immediately useful than others, while some little tweaks might become more apparent through extended use. (Not all iPhone or iPad users use their device in exactly the same way, after all.) So now that we’re a few months down the line from iOS 9, we asked our creative team to pick out which new features have actually made the most marked improvement on their workflow and general iOS usage.

Back to app

The one feature that I think I have enjoyed in iOS 9 more than any other is ridiculously simple – but then, aren’t all the best ideas? While using one app and switching to another by tapping a new notification, iOS 9 now gives you the option to quickly go back to the original app.

Say you’re having a quick browse of the News app, then you receive an important iMessage. When you tap the banner notification and open up Messages, you’ll see ‘Back to News’ and an arrow in the top left hand corner of the screen, which will send you back to where you were in News once you’re finished in Messages. No more double tapping the home button and selecting the original app from the launcher – a small touch, but one that’s made multitasking just that bit easier.

Keyboard caps

For copywriter Becky, her favourite update has been the keyboard makeover, Apple shifting from the all caps format of iOS 8 to an upper and lowercase convention in iOS 9.

Said Becky: “A simple one, but the introduction of the lowercase keyboard in iOS 9 has made it far easier to tell when caps lock is on. It makes complete sense that when you’re typing in lowercase the keyboard is in lowercase and when you want to type in uppercase the keyboard switches to capitals.”

Better battery

We all sometimes get caught out by low battery, so Apple’s new Low Power Mode was a very welcome addition to iOS 9. This mode limits the activity of background apps and other power-eating processes (including disabling mail fetching, reducing screen brightness and turning off your screen more quickly), and kicks in when your battery falls below 20%, or you can turn it on manually under Battery in Settings.

Designer Simon Curd earmarked this as his top pick from the new features in iOS 9: “I’d have to say Low Power Mode. I don’t know how it’s supposed to work but I find the name reassuring when battery’s low, and I also happen to think the battery icon looks best in yellow.” Typical designer.

Apple Music

Apple originally launched their own music streaming service, Apple Music, in June 2015. With a three month free trial available, millions of Apple users signed up for the new service. Those sticking around to the end of the subscription saw iOS 9 tinkering with the interface to really up the user experience, according to design manager Vic.

“The whole app seems a lot snappier since iOS 9,” she said. “Menus are easier to navigate than before – especially on an iPhone screen – adding songs to a playlist is a breeze, and songs play quicker one after another. It’s certainly made me keep up my Apple Music subscription.”

Emojis

At the end of October 2015, Apple released the first small ‘point’ update for iOS 9. Perhaps the headline feature of iOS 9.1 was its Unicode support, meaning 150 new emojis and even more ways of expressing yourself without having to use real words.

Marketing coordinator Madison was particularly taken with the new emoji: “I really like the variety of emojis on offer in the latest iOS 9 update – I think it has a nicer representation, particularly across the food and animal categories. I know the unicorn and taco emojis went down well with the public, but my favourite has to be the lion. Sometimes you just really need to show your fierce lion side in a group message.”

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Apple annual roundup 2015: All the news and highlights from Cupertino

Apple annual roundup 2015: All the news and highlights from Cupertino

Apple’s hardware and OS refreshes for Mac, iPad and iPhone have become highly-anticipated annual events. You could say this was an even more landmark year than usual though, with the 12″ MacBook, iPad Pro, a long-awaited new Apple TV, plus brand new ventures into the world of wearables and music streaming in the form of Apple Watch and Apple Music.

MacBook and more

While it was all quiet on the Mac Pro front this year, all eyes were on new Mac on the block, the 12″ MacBook, in March 2015. Thinner and lighter than MacBook Air, it features a brand new faster Intel Core M processor, up to 8GB of RAM, up to 512GB of flash storage and a swanky 2304×1440 resolution Retina display. It also features a new edge-to-edge keyboard design, a Force Touch trackpad and sports just one USB type-C port and a headphone jack. Oh, and it was also the first MacBook model to be available in gold, which is great if you need your notebook to match your neckwear.

As well as the new 12″ MacBook, the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro also got a refresh at the Spring Forward event. With new fifth-gen Intel processors giving a significant speed boost, a Retina display, and more efficient storage architecture, the 13″ MacBook Pro now also features Apple’s latest Force Touch TrackPad too, as announced on the 12″ MacBook.

There was good news for iMac users in 2015 too. As well as getting bumped up to Retina 4K display with 4096 x 2304 resolution, the new 21.5″ models also feature new colour display technology that widens their colour gamut by 25% and include Intel’s Broadwell processors.

Apple announce new 12″ MacBook

– Apple Spring Forward with newly refreshed 2015 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air

– Apple announce new 21.5″ 4K iMac and boost all 27″ models to 5K

Buyers’ Guide 2015: Mac for Business

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iPad updates

On to September’s Hey Siri event, which focuses on mobile devices, and there was a whole raft of new iOS goodness. Analysts and Apple fans had been predicting this was the event that Tim Cook would unveil a new, bigger iPad Pro, and they weren’t disappointed. The largest iPad to date, iPad Pro features a stunning 12.9″ Retina display, 5.6 million pixels, the latest iOS and new 64-bit A9X chip, giving it enough power to rival most portable PCs.

iPad mini also got a face lift, with a new 18% thinner (at just 6.1mm) profile, and slightly lighter, and is powered by a new A8 processor chip, finally bringing it in line with the power of iPad Air.

What’s the verdict on iPad Pro?

– Apple announce new iPad Pro and iPad mini 4

Buyers Guide 2015: iPad for Business

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iPhone 6s and 6s Plus

It didn’t take Nostradamus to predict that Apple may continue their run of annual iPhone refreshes at the Hey Siri event in September and, true to form, they unveiled iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, while discontinuing the colourful iPhone 5c. As Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, said at the time:

“The only thing that has changed with iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus is everything – 3D Touch lets users interact with iPhone in entirely new and fun ways, and the innovative Live Photos brings your pictures to life. These are the most advanced iPhones ever, with 7000 series aluminum, ion-strengthened glass, the new 64-bit A9 chip, 12 megapixel iSight and 5 megapixel FaceTime HD cameras, faster Touch ID, LTE and Wi-Fi. Customers are going to love them.”

– iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are in; iPhone 5c is out

Buyers’ Guide 2015: iPhone for Business

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OS X El Capitan and iOS 9

Back at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June 2015, the assembled crowds of devs were treated to first glimpses of both the new Mac operating system, OS X 10.11 El Capitan, and Apple’s mobile OS for iPad and iPhone, iOS 9.

The focus of OS X 10.11 El Capitan was really on user experience, with new gestures, improvements to Safari and a new, more powerful Spotlight. A few of the new features we’ve found most useful in El Capitan have been: being able to shake your mouse or a finger on the trackpad to locate your cursor; Split View in full-screen mode; being able to pin tabs in Safari; swiping to delete messages in Mail and muting individual tabs in Safari.

iOS 9 meanwhile, saw Siri become 40% more accurate and 40% faster, with new additions like starting your music player when you plug in your headphones, adding invitations to your calendar automatically, and advising you on the time it will take to get to a meeting based on realtime traffic info. She can even suggest who a caller might be by trawling your email for phone numbers hidden in email signatures. Other highlights included Apple Pay, meaning you can now pay for a coffee with your iPhone, better battery life, the News app replacing Newsstand, and more.

– Apple’s WWDC releases: An over-excited guide

Our top five new features in OS X El Capitan

Apple TV

It had been three years since Apple updated their standalone set-top box, so Apple TV was well due an upgrade when the all new model was announced in November 2015. Apple TV now has its very own App Store (which, as of December 2015, features BBC iPlayer, which is very welcome news for anyone in the UK), plus a brand new touchpad remote with Siri integration. There’s now support for games too, using the touchpad remote as a game controller. You can also pick up a very fetching Wii-style optional strap for more active gaming, or serious gamers can opt for a third-party MFi game controller.

Apple launch next generation Apple TV

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And the rest…

Earlier in the year, health, fitness and fashion freaks welcomed Apple Watch with open arms. Apple’s first wearable let users track fitness, receive notifications, messages and mail directly from their wrist, and came with a number of different options (we’re still holding out for an Apple Watch Edition from a very loving relative this Christmas). It then got an update to its operating system at WWDC, watchOS 2, which was paired with WatchKit, a set of tools allowing developers access to hardware and software to create native Apple Watch apps.

The same conference also saw Apple unveil a new music streaming service, Apple Music. As well as listening to your own iTunes library, you can stream any of the 30 million songs Apple has access to, or listen to carefully curated playlists based on your tastes.

Anything we missed that was top of your Apple list in 2015? Anything you’d like to see from Apple in 2016? Let us know in the comments below… 

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