Apple held their annual Fall event earlier this week. The event was filled with both the expected, and a couple of very unexpected items. We’ll go over each of the items announced.
Apple unveiled a slew of new features for their next iPhones, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The first thing that most people notice with any iPhone is the color. This year’s iPhones have two new colors, but one color is being retired. The new colors are Black and Jet Black. The remaining colors are Silver, Gold, and Rose Gold. This means that Space Grey is no longer in the line up. The Jet Black iPhone 7 is polished to a high gloss finish, and is very reflective. The standard Black iPhone 7 provides a more matte finish.
The next thing that many would like to know about is the storage sizes of the iPhone. This year Apple’s has doubled the storage sizes. They are now 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB. All iPhone 7 colors are available in these sizes, except the Jet Black. That is only available in 128GB and 256GB models. The pricing for the iPhone 7 is the same as the 6s and 6s Plus. They start at $649, if paying full price, or about $37 with Apple’s Upgrade Program.
One thing that most iPhone users have in common is that we have all dropped our iPhones at one point or another. Sometimes these drops are on a carpet and the dropped iPhone is no worse for wear. However, all to often the iPhone comes into contact with a water source. To help protect users, Apple has made the iPhone 7 water resistant. This has been done by re-engineering the seals that help protect the internals of the iPhone. This also comes from the design and being able to minimize the inputs on the iPhone 7.
The second new feature is the new processor, the A10 Fusion. This goes above and beyond what was already done with the A9 processor. The A10 combines four processors, two of these are high performance processors, while the other two are lower performance. Apple’s own processor engine determines which processor is needed for which tasks. Applications like games, 3D Rendering, or any intensive application will be able to use the high performance processors. At the same time, applications like email, and Siri can use the lower performing processors. This is all handled by Apple’s own performance controller which will determine whether the application needs performance or battery life.
Similar to the processing power is the graphical performance. The iPhone 7 has a six-core graphical processor that is capable of performing 50% faster than the A9, or even 3 times faster than the A8. One of the things that the graphics performance is needed for is the Camera. The iPhone 7 has a whole new set of cameras.
The iPhone 7 now has optical image stabilization on both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models. Besides this, there is a whole new camera assembly. The new camera uses an f/1.8 lens, that can take in even more light to create even better images. It is still a 12 Megapixel camera, however it is now 60% faster and consumes 30% less power. The two tone flash now has four LEDs to provide 50% more light. This is particularly useful in low light situations. The other new feature is a flicker sensor. The flicker sensor will be able to detect any errant light in the frame and will match that light so you will not end up with wavy lines in your photos. This is most useful if you try to capture an image off of your TV.
On the iPhone 7 Plus, there is now a dual camera system. The camera mentioned above is the first the second lens is for telephoto pictures. The second camera has a 56mm lens that will allow you to zoom in. This is very simple to do. On the iPhone 7, there will be a software button, just above the sensor that will allow you to zoom in to 2x. This button will use the second lens to optically zoom. There is also software zoom available. This is accessible by holding on the software button and sliding to the right. This will zoom up to 10x. Anything above 2x is software zoom.
One thing that many photographers want to be able to do with their iPhone is accurately capture and display the colors that are represented. The best way to be able to do this is to use the latest color display. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus do just this by utilizing a new display that will show the DCI-P3 color gamut. This color gamut I’d already present on the late 2015 iMac as well as the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. With the camera being able to take even more vivid colors, you will be able to get even better representations directly on your iPhone. These upgrades should also help if you are taking videos.
The rear cameras were not the only ones to get upgraded. The FaceTime HD Camera has also been upgraded. It now is a 7 megapixel sensor that supports the same color gamut as the rear cameras, DCI-P3. The FaceTime HD camera also supports Auto Image stabilization to make sure that you can take the best pictures. Along with the 7 megapixel upgrade, the camera is now capable of recording in 1080p. This is up from the 720p recording capabilities on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.
The third new feature is actually the Home button. The Home button has been present since the original iPhone, but the Touch ID sensors within the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus now features a new taptic feature, similar to the Apple Watch. The new taptic feature allows feedback to be given for different actions. In conjunction with this, developers now have a new API for customizing the feedback given.
One aspect to the iPhone that many take for granted is the audio. Many users end up having to use the speaker in their iPhones There have been two significant changes to audio. The first revolves around the speaker. The iPhone 7 now encompasses two speakers. One on the bottom and a second one on the top. This is the first time that an iPhone has had stereo speakers. The dual speaker setup means that users will now be able to hear even more from their iPhone. This is primarily due to the speakers also being twice as loud. The new speakers also have improved dynamic range which should improve the audio output of the iPhone 7.
Many users use the EarPods that are bundled in with their iPhone. Apple is making a slight change to the EarPods. They will now have a lightning connector. With this change, the 3.5mm headphone connection has been removed. Do not fret too much though, included in the box is a lightning to 3.5mm adapter for those who will continue to need the connection. With the headphones now being lightning, the quality of the output should be even better. However, this setup still requires wires. Apple is bullish on a wireless future. To help usher in this new era they have created a new type of headphone, the AirPods.
The Apple AirPods take Apple’s work with the EarPods and brings them forward. The AirPods look just like EarPods sans the wires. The AirPods are able to hold a five hour charge. This may not seem like much, and it may not be. But, the AirPods come with a charging case that can charge the AirPods for up to 24 hours. The AirPods can be charged in the charging case via a lightning cable. A fifteen minute charge will give you three hours of battery life with the AirPods.
The AirPods have a brand new chip inside of them, the Wireless1, or W1. The W1 chip has some features that many users will find compelling. The W1 chip contains an accelerometer so it can sense when it is being used and only play sound when it detects it is in use. Alongside this, there is also a voice accelerometer to be able to recognize voice as well as beam forming microphones to be able to reduce outside noise so if you are on a call, you will sound clearer.
The last piece to the W1 chip, and the AirPods, is pairing. If you have tried to use Bluetooth with multiple devices, you know that switching between the two devices can be a painful process. Apple has decided to take this method and make it easier. When you place the AirPods near your iPhone 7, and open the top to the AirPods you will be presented with a dialog asking if you want to pair. You simply tap “Pair” and the two items are paired. That is it. The AirPods will also be paired with your Apple Watch, if one is paired with your iPhone. That s not all, all of your pairing information will be synchronized over iCloud to your Macs as well, meaning that you will be able to seamlessly switch between your Macs, iPhone and Apple Watch.
The AirPods are not the only headphones to get this technology. The new Beats Solo 3 Wireless, Powerbeats 3, and the new Beats X lines will all have the W1 chip built right in. This means that you will be able to seamlessly pair and switch your Beats between your iPhone, Apple Watch, and Macs.
Apple is keeping the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus in the iPhone lineup as well. These prices are now $549 for the iPhone 6s and $649 for the iPhone 6s Plus. The storage for these starts at 32GB, this is double the previous base of 16GB. There is only one other storage option for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, that is 128GB. These cost $649 and $749 respectively. This means that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are no longer in the lineup.
The iPhone 7 will be a fantastic upgrade for all users. That is not the only new product announced by the Apple. The next product is the Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch was introduced 18 months ago. In that time it has become the number one selling smart watch and the second best selling watch by revenue. Apple has improved the Apple Watch, with the new Apple Watch Series 2.
The Series 2 includes a brand new processor, the S2. The S2 chip is now dual-core and allows for even faster processing. Besides being dual-core, the S2 now also includes a GPS. The GPS will be very beneficial for users who want to track their exercises. The GPS can be used without an iPhone accompanying it. The Apple Watch Series 2 also has a brighter screen. In fact, it is twice as bright as the previous Series 1 screen. The brighter screen will make it even easier to see in a brightly lit area. This was not the only change to the Apple Watch Series 2.
Just like the iPhone, the Apple Watch Series 2 is also water resistant. The Apple Watch Series 2 is water resistant up to 50 meters. This makes it great for swimming, snorkeling, or even just tooling around the pool. Being water resistant meant that Apple had to redesign the seals and internals in order to protect the watch. The one area that had to remain opened is the speaker. Apple took a clever turn with this. the speaker itself is designed to the water out of the Apple Watch when you are done in the water.
With the water resistance of the Apple Watch, this also allows for two new exercises to be added. These do relate to the water. There are now two swimming related, one for pool swimming and one for open water swimming. The difference is that the pool exercise will take into account laps.
The Apple Watch Series 2 will cost $369 for the 38mm version and $399 for the 42mm version.
Apple has partnered with a couple of companies, Nike and Hermes to bring some new products. The Nike+ Apple Watch comes in four colors, and is designed for those who really want to exercise. The cases consist of an aluminum case and perforated bands and come in two colors, Space Grey and Silver. The Nike+ watches cost the same as the Apple Watch Series 2 watches, at $369 for the 38mm and $399 for the 42mm version. The Hermes partnership bring two new bands, a new Single Tour and Double Tour bands.
There is also Apple Watch Edition Series 2 watch. It is no longer the Yellow and Rose Gold. Instead it is made of White Ceramic. The Apple Watch Edition is only available in White, and will cost $1249 for the 38mm version and $1299 for the 42mm version.
The Apple Series 1 watch also received a slight upgrade, only to the processor. It now has the same dual-core processor that is present in the Apple Watch Series 2. The price for the Apple Series 1 is $269 for the 38mm and $299 for the 42mm watches.
The Apple Watch Series 2 is a solid upgrade, particularly for those that are focused on fitness. The addition of the GPS to the Apple Watch Series 2 will be much needed to alleviate the need to carry and iPhone while out exercising.
The biggest surprise of the event was that a Nintendo executive appeared on Stage. The executive that appeared on stage was not just ANY executive, Shigeru Miyamoto appeared on stage. Miyamoto is the brains behind iconic games like Donkey Kong, the Legend of Zelda, and Super Mario Brothers. At the event Miyamoto announced a new application coming to iOS that includes a Nintendo property. That application is Super Mario Run. Super Mario Run is a side-scroller, just like the Classic Mario games, except that it is an endless runner.
Super Mario Run is able to be played with one hand. The game play consists of tapping to make Mario jump, or tapping and holding to have Mario jump higher. The goal is to get to the flag before time runs out, just like in the classic Mario games.
This is not the only mode. There is also a battle mode, where you can face off against other players. You can try and beat their time, and there will be a ghost of their run to see how they completed the run. The coins that you collect will help you add items to your own Mushroom Kingdom.
Mario Super Run will be available in December. The game will be free with one in-app purchase to unlock all of the content. Once you buy the in-app purchase, you will have the entire game.
This was not the only announcement that was made that involved Nintendo. Niantic, the company behind the popular Pokemon Go application also had an announcement. Their announcement was that Pokemon Go was coming to the Apple Watch. This change means that those who are out hunting Pokemon no longer have to have their phone open all of the time. Users are now able to be notified on their watch that there are Pokemon to catch along side being notified that their eggs are hatched. This change should make it easier for people not only to pay attention to their surroundings, but also save some battery life.
Apple’s September 7th Event was one that provided a solid update with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The dual cameras on the iPhone 7 Plus will be a boon for those who enjoy using their iPhone as a camera. The increased battery life, while maintaining the same form factor will be great for all users.
The new AirPods are just the beginning of a new era in technology for Apple. The ability to charge the airPods quickly and provide an additional 3 hours of battery should help some get through an entire work day with their AirPods.
The surprise of having Nintendo and Niantic both appear on stage brought audible gasps and claps, and may just be the beginning of a very fruitful collaboration between Nintendo and Apple. Pre-orders are live now, but you will end up having to wait to get a device.