Tag: Event

Apple Announces its September Event

As has been the case since 2012 Apple has been holding its iPhone event in September. This year is no exception. Today Apple has sent out invitations for their September Event. This year’s event is on September 12th. It will be held at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Campus 2. As with most Apple events, this one is at 10 a.m. Pacific Time. It will be streamed, so you can watch it live.

I will be posting my predictions for what we might see sometime closer to the event date, so stay tuned.

Apple’s Let’s Take a Field Trip Event

Apple has a part of the education market from the early days of Apple. All the way back to 1978 to be exact. Today Apple has reinforced their education commitment. Apple held their education event at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago, Illinois. The event is focused on education and they have delivered in a big way.

Being in Chicago, Apple provided a couple of tidbits about Chicago Public Schools. The Chicago Public Schools is working with Apple to teach more than 370,000 students how to code. Alongside this, the venue for the event, Lane Tech College Prep, has had more PhD graduate from there than any other school in the country.

Many questions why Apple would hold an education event at the end of the school year, but this is the perfect time because now is when schools start buying for next year. So this is the perfect time to hold an event.

Tools for Educators

Apple has released some new tools specifically for the K-12 market. These include Shared iPad Support, Classroom app, and Schoolwork.

Shared iPads

Shared iPads is not a new feature, it has actually been around for a couple of years, but it is worth reiterating because it can be an invaluable feature for classrooms so that every student does not necessarily need their own dedicated iPad but can indeed share amongst many students. Students can login to any iPad and get all of their data within minutes.

Classroom

The “Classroom” app was introduced in 2017 with iOS 11. Classroom allows teachers to keep an eye on what their students are doing. If a student is not following along, they can get the student back on track by bringing up the necessary application or website. Similarly, if a student needs some assistance, the teacher can help the student and guide them to where they need to be. There is a new feature for Classroom, Classroom is coming to the Mac.

All of the same features that are available on iPad will be available on the Classroom app for Mac. This will be available as a beta in June.

Schoolwork

Schoolwork is a free web-based app, that allows you to give handouts, provide progress, These handouts can include web links, PDFS, and other documents. Additionally, educators can not only send students a link to an application, but they can now send a link to a specific activity within an application. The ability to send a specific activity will help teachers be able to direct students to exactly what the teacher hopes to be able to assign.

Assigning is not enough though, Schoolwork will also allow teachers to check on the progress of students. At a single glance a teacher can get a quick overview of how all of the students are doing. If they tap on any student, they can then get a detailed view of how the student performed on that activity.

With students using technology for an ever increasing percentage of their work, an area for concern is how to keep that information safe. As one can guess, Apple takes privacy very seriously, and the privacy of student data even more seriously than most. Teachers are the only ones that can see how a student is performing. Apple cannot, nor can anyone else.

These activities are not just going to magically appear, they will require developer support and developers have a new framework to help create these activities, it is

Schoolwork will be available in June.

Apple Teacher

Apple has also introduced a new resource specifically aimed at teachers themselves, it is called Apple Teacher. Apple Teacher is a free web-based tool to help teachers build their skills as a teacher.

Apple Teacher Learning Center is where you can get learn to get the most out of Apple’s technologies as well as providing new ideas to bring creative ideas to the classroom. Apple Teacher is available at https://appleteacher.apple.com/

Everyone Can

One of Apple’s core beliefs is that having everyone learn to code is an important part of today’s education. This is not only to provide a path for future developers, but also because it can teach other skills like critical thinking and problem solving. This is a great idea for those interested in coding.

Everyone can code has guides for teachers, including rubrics, keynote presentations and more. Everyone can code is not new, but it is a resource that is available on apple.com. Apple is also working with ConnectEd and 40 STEM organizations, including App Camp for Girls.

Create

Apple has ideas that go beyond coding. Apple is building a new curriculum to augment the coding, this one is based around any subject. This is focused on four skills areas. These areas are: music, video, photography, and drawing. There will be student guide as well as teacher guides available. It is available for <a href=”https://www.apple.com/education/everyone-can-create/’>preview now. With more coming in the summer to be prepared for the fall semester.

While many of these resources are not new, they are resources that many, including myself, may not have known about. It is imperative to allow teachers help students learn and develop new skills that will benefit them beyond the classroom.

iCloud Storage

Every Apple ID gets 5GB of storage for free, this includes education accounts. This 5GB limit is quite restrictive for everyone, but is particularly hard on schools particularly if students want to be able to store a video. Apple has increased the storage limit on all accounts that managed through the Apple School Manager software. Instead of only having 5GB of storage, each account gets 200GB of storage.

iPad

Besides the new tools that Apple has provided for educators they have released the sixth generation 9.7-inch iPad. The 9.7-inch iPad has some new internals, specifically the A10 processor, and Apple Pencil support. The support for Apple Pencil is the same as the iPad Pro.

The A10 Processor allows users to use Augmented reality applications, just like the other iOS devices. The price remains the same at $329 and is available to order now and arrives later this week.

iWork

Apple has updated their iWork suite to support the Apple Pencil.

There is an additional set of features for Pages. A new feature called “Smart Annotations”. Instead of needing to manually print out and mark up a student’s homework, a teacher can now add note for the student to adjust. These notes are not just standard annotations, but will remain with the text.

This is not just for the device versions of iWork, but these features also work on the iCloud.com version of the iWork applications as well.

Digital Book Creation

One of the strategies for Apple is the creation of digital books. Apple has built-in some new features to Pages that will help with the creation. These features include:

  • Image Galleries
  • The ability to have video with sound, and can even record directly on an iPad
  • Drawing support built-in

Books created with Pages meet ePub standards for books. While some of these features are similar to Apple’s iBooks Author application, it does not negate the interactivity and features of an iBooks Author.

Even though they are not the same, the ability to create ebooks directly on the iPad is a huge benefit, not just for writers, but also for educators and students to be able to create books that they want.

Final Thoughts

I think Apple’s focus on education is an important one, not only because education is a huge part of the overall market, but because it is the foundation that will help students of all ages. This is valuable because they will be the ones who help move society forward, they are the ones who will be the next astronauts, teachers, and scientists. Without education, and in particular teachers, we would not be able to move forward.

Providing the resources for teachers is what Apple is all about when it comes to education. Whether it is using the Classroom app, the Schoolwork app, and even the iPad with Pencil support will all allow the next generation to keep everything going and moving the world forward.

Apple Education Event Announced

Apple has invited some journalists to an event that they are holding on March 27th at 10:00 am. This event is not being held at Apple Park nor at 1 Infinite Loop. Instead, this event is being held at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago, Illinois. This is the first event that Apple has held for the press in Chicago.

This is not the first press event that Apple has held outside of California. In January of 2012, Apple held an education event in New York City. The invite states “Join us to hear creative new ideas for teachers and students.”

It is nice to have Apple hold an event close to where I live, it is just too bad that I did not get invited (nor did I really every expect to be invited, but it would have been nice.)

I will try to follow what is announced at the event and will let everybody know what Apple says.

Apple’s Fall 2017 Event Round Up: iPhone X

Apple has held their annual Fall Event. The biggest aspect to any Fall event is the unveiling of new iPhones. This event does indeed include new iPhones. Apple’s fall event is the one that receives the most attention from not just technology media, but, more importantly, from those outside of the technology sphere. With that fact in mind Apple chose to hold this year’s event at the new Steve Jobs Theater on the new Apple Park campus. To me, it seems quite befitting to have the first event at the new Steve Jobs Theater be the unveiling of iPhones. This is because back in January of 2007, Steve Jobs stood on stage at the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco and unveiled the first iPhone, one that would revolutionize not just only the mobile phone industry, but also the technology sphere in general. The mobile phone revolution has ushered in one of the greatest technology shifts of the last few centuries. While Today’s iPhone announcements may, to some, seem evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, the march of progress continues. This article focuses solely on the iPhone X. I have all of the information about the Apple TV, Apple Watch, and iPhone 8 in a separate article.

iPhone X

Apple announced the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. There is just “one more thing” that Apple announced, a third new phone. That model is the future of smartphones, and is the iPhone X. The iPhone X is an all new design for the iPhone. Before we dive into the features of the iPhone X, let us talk about colors, which many may think are not important, but are often used to help personalize an iPhone.

Colors

The original iPhone in 2007 came in just one color, aluminum. The iPhone 3G introduced a second color, white. These two colors remained the only options until 2013 when Gold was introduced with the iPhone 5s. Unless you were willing to purchase a Space Gray, or Black, iPhone, all other faces on the iPhone line are white. This changes with the iPhone X. Now, all fronts of the iPhone X are black. This means that for those who only wanted a black bezel to their iPhones can now get something besides Black or Space Gray.

The back of the iPhone is where people really select their colors. iPhones since the iPhone 6s, meaning the 6s and 7, have had four options. Silver, Gold, Rose Gold, and Space Gray. The iPhone X has a slightly different set of colors as options. There are only two options available, Silver and Space Gray. There is no option for the front face, as it barely there. The selection of Silver and Space Gray should come as no surprise, as these are likely the most popular colors purchased. It is not easy to determine which model will be the most popular, and with such a revolutionary phone, it may be prudent to stick with just a couple of colors to gauge interest before expanding the color choice. Let us dive into the internals of the iPhone X.

Internals

One change that occurs with each new iPhone is the interior components. The new iPhone X contains the new A11 Bionic processor along with its M11 motion co-processor. The A11 Bionic This brings even better battery efficiency and processing to the phone. The A11 Bionic is a six core processor that consists of four high efficiency cores that are up to 70 percent faster than A10 Fusion. It also has two high performance cores that are up to 25 percent faster than the A10 Fusion. To go with the processor, Apple has included a new Apple-designed graphics processor as well. This will get 30% faster performance over the graphics in the A10 Fusion.

There is an all new item incorporated with the A11 Bionic, a neural engine. The neural engine will allow even faster processing of Augmented Reality and Machine Learning than the A10 Fusion. The neural engine is designed not only for Augmented Reality and Machine Learning, but can be used for many other things like processing of items within photos and much much more. The neural engine will work very well with a new feature, one that replaces the home button.

Home Button

The new iPhone X an edge to edge screen. The thing that is most conspicuously missing is the home button. The home button no longer has a place on the iPhone X. With the home button gone, there have been some other changes. One of the primary functions of the home button is to get you back to the home screen. This is still accessible, however there is a new way of doing so. The home screen is now accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. Doing this will actually bring up the app switcher, which is very similar to the function within the iPad. To actually get to the home screen just tap on an empty area of the app switcher and the home screen will appear. Again, this is exactly how it works on an iPad under iOS 11. The second primary function of the home button to both unlock the phone as well as to use Apple Pay, and finally to force a refresh should something cause your iPhone to freeze. How are these to be done with the iPhone X? There are new methods for accomplishing all of these tasks.

Biometrics

Apple Pay is a core part of Apple’s strategy for iOS and macOS and it makes up a good part of their services revenue. To that end, Apple would not remove Apple Pay from its products; particularly when they announced the Person-to-Person Apple Pay within iMessage on iOS 11. Without a home button with integrated Touch ID to place your finger on to authenticate Touch ID, you can now use the new Face ID technology.

At the top of the iPhone X there is a notch that contains a number of sensors. These include the front camera as well as the new infrared sensors for the new Face ID. Face ID is the replacement for TouchID on the iPhone X. If you have used Touch ID, and a vast majority of users have, you are accustomed to placing your finger on the Touch ID sensor. Face ID is similar, but instead of your finger, the new infrared sensors scan your face to determine that it is indeed you. The setup for Face ID is similar to Touch ID. When you setup Face ID, you move the camera around your face a bit. This is done to be able to get different angles of your face. This is exactly like setting up Touch ID where you place your finger in different spots to make sure that Touch ID works as often as possible.

Face ID will only unlock your iPhone X if you are actively looking at it. This means that the iPhone X will not unlock if you are looking away, or have your eyes closed. Unlike a fingerprint, people’s faces do not stay the same over time. Hair styles change, men grow mustaches or beards, and people wear hats, add glasses, or many other alterations. As time progresses, Face ID will learn about all of these changes and continue to unlock your phone, just like it did when you initially set up Face ID. What powers all of Face ID is powered by the all new TrueDepth Camera sensor.

TrueDepth Camera

There is an area at the at the top of the screen of the iPhone X. This notch houses a number of the camera sensors for the iPhone. It also requires some accommodations within iOS. The adjustments that are needed revolve around the status bar. The status bar has been a staple of iOS since the beginning. iOS has always shown the time, carrier information, wireless status, and battery. This is still the case with the iPhone X, but the information is now displayed around the notch. On the left is the cellular and wireless information. While on the right is the time, Do not Disturb, Bluetooth, battery, and the current time.

One of the features introduced under iOS 9, is the “back” button to go back to where you were. This is still present. When you follow a deep link that allows you to go back to the previous app, this information will be shown on the left, however instead of being in the left of the status bar, it will be directly below the items on the left side of the status bar. This should actually make it easier for users to go back to the previous app. There is a lot sensors packed within the TrueDepth Camera, let us turn to that now.

There are eight different sensors in the top. These are:

  • Infrared Camera
  • Flood Illuminator
  • Proximity Sensor
  • Ambient Light Sensor
  • Speaker
  • Microphone
  • Front Camera
  • Dot Projector

The Infrared Camera, Flood illuminator, and Dot Projector are all parts that work together to be sure that it is truly your face that is being shown on the screen. These three sensors, combined with the Neural Engine of the A11 Bionic, is able to quickly and seamlessly detect that you are who are you. The Dot Projector will project and detect 30,000 different invisible dots to be able to look at each feature of your face. The there are three items that occur nearly simultaneously. These items are:

  1. Your Face is detected with the flood illuminator.
  2. The infrared camera takes an infrared picture.
  3. The Dot projector detects 30,000 invisible dots.

The infrared image and dot project are mathematically calculated using the Neural Engine within the A11 Bionic, and a calculation occurs. This is done through specialized hardware and machine learning algorithms that are within the neural engine. The neural engine is capable of handling 600 billion operations per second on a dual-core processor. All of this results in nearly instantaneous calculations. This new calculation is compared to the stored calculation within the secure enclave and if it matches, your phone is unlocked.

Security with Face ID is important, just as it is with Touch ID. Face ID will not allow pictures of you to be able to be used to unlock your iPhone X. Apple states that with Touch ID, the likelihood of someone being able to randomly come up and unlock your iPhone with their fingerprint is 1 in 50,000. With Face ID, this is reduced to 1 in a million. The chances for Face ID are reduced if someone closely related to you tries to unlock your iPhone X with Face ID. That is Face ID in a nutshell, let us move to the thing that you look at the most, the screen.

The Screen

The new iPhone X has a completely new edge-to-edge screen. This screen Optical Light Emitting Diode, or OLED, screen. OLED is a bit different from the traditional Liquid Crystal Display, or LCD, screens that have appeared on the previous iPhone models. There are two big benefits with OLED. The first is that OLED allows for darker blacks and brighter whites. This ultimately means that the picture that is shown will be even better than on LCDs. The second benefit is that OLED uses less electricity, which improves battery life. And who does not like better battery life?

To complement the new OLED screen, the iPhone X incorporates True Tone. True Tone is the same technology that is within the 10.5-inch iPad Pro and second generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro. True Tone utilizes a light sensor to be able to automatically adjust the colors on the screen. Combining True Tone with the OLED screen means that the display should be able to produce even better colors; particularly within sunlight.

The edge-to-edge form-factor means more than just less bezel space. It also means that the iPhone X has a distinct resolution. The resolution of the iPhone X is 2436 pixels tall by 1125 pixels wide. This is not a screen resolution that has been on an iPhone before. The biggest change occurred in 2014 with the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus when developing on the iPhone required supporting two more screen sizes. This was in addition to the already known, at the time, 320 pixels by 480 pixels, the retina size of this, 640 pixels by 960 pixels. The first significant change was with the iPhone 5 and its screen resolution of 640 pixels by 1136 pixels. It was was only a difference of 176 pixels in height, and usually meant that you were able to show more items vertically.

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus introduced the two new screen sizes of 750 pixels wide by 1334 pixels high. The iPhone 6 Plus introduced a screen resolution of 1080 pixels wide by 1920 pixels high. The way that developers can make sure that they work with any screen size is through the use of size classes. The addition of this new screen resolution shows that Apple is not afraid to branch out and create a screen resolution that does not fit what developers, as well as users, have become accustom to. If you are a developer, it is becoming increasingly difficult to not use size classes within your applications. Any applications that do not conform to size class will quickly become apparent to users of the iPhone X.

One of the complaints, by some, is that the Plus-sized phones are not comfortable in the hand. The screen resolution of the iPhone X is, of course, due to the physical screen size; which is 5.15 inches. With the edge-to-edge nature of the screen, all of this fits within approximately the same size as the 4.7-inch iPhone 8. This screen size is not as large as the screen on the iPhone 8 Plus, which is 5.5-inches. Even with the physical screen being smaller, the screen resolution is still larger than the Plus-sized phones. This is a nice size between the two, which should help appease some of those who find the Plus-sized phone to be too large and having a larger area is just an added bonus.

Camera

The biggest digital camera on the market right now is the iPhone. The iPhone, along with other mobile phones, has replaced the use of traditional cameras for many people, including myself. This trend is why Apple has paid significant attention to the camera in recent releases of the iPhone. The camera in the iPhone X has some new capabilities that were not available previously. The camera is now capable of recording 1080p HD at 240 frames per second, 4K at 24 frames per second , and even 4K at 60 frames per second. The 1080p at 240fps, and 4K at 60fps are double what the previous iPhones were capable of handling. The new 4K at 24 fps is possible through the use of HEVC. HEVC is capable of handling many different frame rates. The use of 24 frames per second is standard within the movie world and will allow you to take film style video.

The addition of new video filming options will absolutely help drive even more video and photos being shot on iPhone, which is an ad campaign that they have been running, and this should allow even better submissions.

The new Front Camera, within the TrueDepth Camera system, is upgraded over the FaceTime HD camera on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. The front camera is also capable of taking Portrait Mode photos. Combining this with Portrait Lighting on the front camera, means that you can take some fantastic selfies. The front facing camera is great for selfies, but there is a new feature specifically on the iPhone X, that can be used with the front camera.

The first is Portrait Mode on the front facing camera. It is nice to be able to take Portrait photos with the rear facing camera, but being able to get a portrait mode selfie will allow you to up your selfie game against others. Another adjacent feature is Portrait Lighting. Portrait Lighting will let you adjust not only the lighting on your face, but also the lighting of the background. The best part is that this can be done after the fact. So if you take a selfie but think it could be a bit better with some more light, you can make the adjustments afterwards to get an even better picture.

There are some other enhancements with the rear-facing camera. You can now record video in 4K at 60 frames per second, this is double the speed on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. The telephoto lens on the iPhone X now includes optical image stabilization, which was not present on any previous iPhone, but is present on the iPhone 8 Plus.

The last new feature with the front camera is one that may be quite popular with kids.

Animoji

Apple unveiled a lot of information its World Wide Developer Conference event in June, but they left out a couple of new features that are present in iOS 11. The biggest, and one that will appeal to many users, is the inclusion of some enhancements to emoji. Emoji are a progression in communication mechanisms by many across the world. Emoji can add additional expression that could be conveyed via the written word, but are vastly more succinct through the use of an emoji character. One of the benefits of emoji is that they can be used for both their intended purpose, as well as ironically, or with an alternate meaning.

Take, for instance, the use of the eggplant, 🍆 emoji. It can be used to indicate that you want to eat some eggplant; however it can also be used as a phallic symbol. Similarly, you can send someone a peach, 🍑, emoji. Again, to signify that you want to eat a peach, or tell someone that you think they are a peach, or even that you are peachy keen. It also has been used as replacement for one backside. The last example that I will use is the infamous poop emoji, 💩. If you are of a certain age, you may also refer to him as “Mr. Hanky”. Just like the 🍆 and 🍑, 💩 can also be used in a variety of situations. One situation would allow you to indicate that you are not feeling well. Whereas another would be that you might be indicating to someone that they are being a pile of poop. All of these examples above are just a few of the various ways that emoji can be used to signal meaning. These are all just static two dimensional representations.

Apple has expounded upon this concept by including a new feature for iMessage called Animoji. Animoji take the concept of a static emoji but it utilizes your face as well as your voice, to determine which emoji might represent your current expression. Besides just choosing an emoji, which is a feat in itself, the emoji that it chooses is three dimensional and animated. Some of the emoji that are represented by Animoji are the 🐵, 🤖, 🐱, 🐶, and yes even 💩. There are more, but these are just some of the one that are available.

When you begin to send an Animoji within iMessage, your head movements will be mimicked on screen in real time, at the same time you can be speaking and you voice will be recorded. You can then send the Animoji to someone via iMessage. It will then be played back to them. Animojis, while they may seem trivial or dumb, will add a bit of excitement and fun to the existing emoji. It will be interesting to see what faces people can make and what Animoji iOS 11 will show them.

Wireless Charging

The back of the iPhone X is glass. This allows for a new feature, wireless charging. The standard that Apple is using on the iPhone X is the Qi, pronounced “she”, standard. This means that if you have a Qi-compliant charging pad, it will work with the iPhone X. The inclusion of wireless charging will allow users to simply place their iPhone on a charging pad and it should begin charging. This means that you will not have to plug in your iPhone just to have it charge. This is convenient, not only for home, but also if you travel. This is because you can bring a charging mat that will allow your iPhone, Apple Watch Series 3, and even AirPods charge wirelessly.

There is a new product coming in 2018 called “AirPower”. AirPower is a mat designed by Apple that will allow you to charge all of your Apple devices at once. This is great not just for travelers, but also as a place to be able to set all of your items and know where they are located.

Pre-orders and Pricing

The iPhone X is the future of the smart phone, and with that it commands a futuristic price. The iPhone X comes in two configurations, 64GB and 256GB and as mentioned above, it comes in two colors, Silver and Space Gray. The 64GB model is $999 and the 256GB model is $1149. Apple Care on the iPhone X has also gone up to $199. This brings the total to somewhere between $1200 and $1349. It is available for pre-orders starting October 27th, with delivery starting on November 3rd. It is very possible that the iPhone X will be in short supply after launch.

Final Thoughts

The all new iPhone X, much like with the introduction of the MacBook in early 2015, is showing us the direction it is going to take not just the iPhone X, but phones in the future. The bezel-less display has some great upgrades, in particular the fact that a larger 5.8-inch screen fits into a form factor just slightly larger than the 4.7-inch screen. The new TrueDepth camera allows Face ID to exist. The addition of a neural engine within the A11 processor allows the computation that is necessary to make Face ID open quickly and seamlessly. The inclusion of wireless charging is a great step towards a completely wireless future. Even though it may seem trivial, the inclusion of the new Animoji will add a new dynamic to interactions amongst individuals. The new Animoji feature will be a great demo to show off just what the iPhone X is capable of doing. Even though the iPhone X is pricey at $999 for the 64GB model, it is the future, which means that the technology within the iPhone X will eventually trickle down to the lower end phones.

Apple’s Fall 2017 Event Round Up: Apple Watch, Apple TV, and iPhone 8

Apple has held their annual Fall Event. The biggest aspect to any Fall event is the unveiling of new iPhones. This event does indeed include new iPhones. Apple’s fall event is the one that receives the most attention from not just technology media, but, more importantly, from those outside of the technology sphere. With that fact in mind Apple chose to hold this year’s event at the new Steve Jobs Theater on the new Apple Park campus. To me, it seems quite befitting to have the first event at the new Steve Jobs Theater be the unveiling of iPhones. This is because back in January of 2007, Steve Jobs stood on stage at the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco and unveiled the first iPhone, one that would revolutionize not just only the mobile phone industry, but also the technology sphere in general. The mobile phone revolution has ushered in one of the greatest technology shifts of the last few centuries. While Today’s iPhone announcements may, to some, seem evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, the march of progress continues.

This article focuses on the Apple Watch, Apple TV, and iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. If you are looking for the iPhone X, that is in its own article.

Apple Watch

The Apple Watch is one of Apple’s newer product lines. When it was introduced three years ago at the September 2014 event, Apple positioned the Apple Watch as a smaller version of the iPhone. While this was a good premise to start a product, ultimately the market has steered the Apple Watch to primarily become a fitness and notification mechanism. While Apple has continued to improve the software, most notably with watch OS 3, and now with WatchOS 4, the hardware, besides internal changes, has remained unchanged. The hardware that was present on the original Apple Watch is the same that was on the Apple Watch Series 2. One of the downsides to the Apple Watch, up to now, has been the need for many to bring their iPhones with them when they go and exercise. The Apple Watch Series 2 obviated this, in someways, by providing a GPS radio in the watch. This is beneficial to those who wanted to plot a route foe their outdoor workouts, but it did not completely reduce the need for bringing an iPhone along.

Hardware Changes

The new Apple Watch Series 3 has made a big leap forward, in this regard. The Apple Watch Series 3 now includes an LTE radio. The inclusion of an LTE radio opens up many more opportunities for fitness. The biggest, and most obvious, is that the Series 3 you can now leave your iPhone at home. To complement this new capability, watchOS 4 includes a new feature that will allow you to automatically sync some of your favorite music to the Apple Watch. This is quite useful if you want to exercise and only bring your bluetooth headphones and your Apple Watch. Combining this with the new watchOS 4 feature that allows you to pair your Apple Watch with gym equipment, and the other new feature to quickly add a new exercise to your current session directly on the watch, one can quickly see that it becomes even easier to switch your current exercise,or music, without needing to fumble with your watch.

There are both upsides and downsides to the inclusion of LTE on the Apple Watch. The upside is that Apple has worked with the carriers to be able to receive phone calls on your Apple Watch. This is not only a convenient feature when around the house, but it will be super helpful should you need to call emergency services. The addition of LTE also means that you will be able to receive iMessages, phone calls, and perform many of the same tasks you would on an iPhone, but with your Apple Watch. Starting in October, you will even be able to stream your Apple Music right from you watch, over LTE.

The processor in the Apple Watch Series 3 has been upgrade to a faster dual-core model, named the S3. Along with this there is a new Apple Wireless chip, the W2. The W2 make some enhancements over the W1, but what those are is not known.

There is an additional hardware change. The Apple Watch Series 3 includes a new barometric altimeter. The barometric altimeter will allow you to more accurately track flights walked up as well as differences in elevation when you are exercising outdoors.

The Apple Watch Series 3, with Cellular has 16GB of storage available on it, this is up from 8GB on the non-cellular models and the older Apple Watches. The last tweak is that the back of the Apple Watch Series 3, with cellular is ceramic and no longer composite. This is due to the nature of radio and the need to be able to send signals through the back of the watch. The advance in processing power has allowed Apple to let Siri actually respond with voice instead of just text.

The last change regarding cellular is the location of the wireless radio for cellular. It is actually embedded within the screen which leaves even more room for the other internals that are needed. Let us turn to some accessories for the Apple Watch, most notably the bands.

Bands

One of the ways that individuals customize their Apple Watch is through bands. Apple has unveiled a new style of band, the Sport Loop. The Sport Loop combines the best of the Sport band with the best of the Milanese Loop. The Sport Loop functions like the Milanese in that you can precisely position it how you need. At the same time though, it is able to breathe like the sport band so that you can use it while exercising.

There are eight colors for the Sport Loop. These colors are:

  • Flash
  • Spicy Orange
  • Electric Pink
  • Midnight Blue
  • Black Sport
  • Seashell
  • Dark Olive
  • Pink Sand

Just like traditional sport bands, these cost $49 and are available to order today for delivery on September 22nd. The Sport Loop is not the only update, there are two new Hermès bands as well. One for the 38mm, the Hermès Bordeaux Swift Leather Double Tour, and the corresponding Single Tour version available for both the 38mm and 42mm. The Double Tour is $489, and the Single Tour is $339. There are still more bands available.

There is a whole new line of Nylon Colors. The available colors for Nylon are:

  • Dark Olive Woven Nylon
  • Midnight Blue Woven Nylon
  • White Woven Nylon
  • Spicy Orange Woven Nylon
  • Berry Woven Nylon
  • Black Woven Nylon
  • White Woven Nylon
  • Midnight Blue Woven Nylon
  • Black Woven Nylon

Just like the Sport Loop, these are available for delivery starting September 22nd. There is a single new Nike Sport Band, the Pure Platinum/Black band. It is available for $49. The last new set of bands available are the Leather ones, with buckles. The new options are:

  • Cosmos Blue Classic Buckle
  • Pink Fuchsia Classic Buckle
  • Dark Aubergine Classic Buckle
  • Ruby (PRODUCT)RED Classic Buckle
  • Cosmos Blue Leather Loop (42mm only)
  • Charcoal Gray Leather Loop (42mm only)

Just like the other bands, these are available for order today and delivery of September 22nd. These bands cost $149 each.

Apple Watch Colors

Outside of the addition of LTE, there have been a couple of other hardware changes. The Apple Watch initially came in two colors, Silver and Space Gray. There were three different possible materials choices for the case; aluminum, stainless steel, and also solid gold, but that was for the high-end “edition” model. The Apple Watch Series 2 expanded the colors to include Rose Gold and Gold for the aluminum in addition to a new white ceramic as the “Apple Watch Edition” model. This year there are a couple new colors. There is a new “Blush Gold” aluminum color and a new “Gray” for the ceramic edition of the Apple Watch. While these may be modest changes, these will definitely help attract more users, and provide a few more options in the product line.

The Apple Watch Series 3 comes in the same color choices. For the Sport model the options are Silver, Space Gray, and Gold. Pricing for the 38MM aluminum starts at $329. The Cellular option is $70 more at $399. The 42MM is $359 for the non-cellular model and $429 for the cellular model. The Apple Watch Edition is only available in a cellular model. The 38MM is $1299, and the 42MM is $1349.

The Stainless Steel and Hermes models are available in the same colors as before. The Stainless Steel model only comes in two colors, Silver and Space Gray, and just like the Apple Watch Edition, the Stainless Steel model is only available in a cellular configuration. The 38mm is available for $599, and the 42mm is $649. The Hermes is only available in Stainless Steel and only comes in cellular models.

Pre-orders for all of the Apple Watch Series 3 starts on September 15th with deliveries beginning on September 22nd.

Apple TV

The Apple TV began life in 2007 as a modified version of a Mac Mini. This was replaced with a small “puck” like device in the 2nd and 3rd Generation Apple TVs. In 2015, Apple unveiled their all new 4th Generation Apple TV. This Apple TV changed the paradigm for the Apple TV to one that was based upon applications and not based upon whom Apple was willing to partner with. The Apple TV has seen a modicum of success in the last two years. Today, Apple announced an all new Apple TV 4K. The changes that have been brought with the Apple TV 4K bring capabilities to the Apple TV that allow it to take advantage of today’s television technology.

The most notable upgrade to the Apple TV 4K is the fact that it can do 4K. 4K television have been around for almost a decade and it is very likely that any TV that you purchase will be a 4K Television. 4K offers twice the number of vertical pixels, 2160, as well as twice the number of horizontal pixels, 3840 pixels over traditional HD TVs, which have a resolution of 1920 pixels wide by 1080 Pixels high. This means that there are four times the number of pixels on the same size screen. This should allow for better clarity and smoother action scenes.

The second, and possibly more noticeable feature, is the addition of High Dynamic Range, or HDR. You may already be familiar with HDR if you use your iPhone to take pictures. HDR on an iPhone will take three pictures and take the best features of each and combine them into a single picture. Ultimately, this results in better colors and more contrast within a picture. The same general thing occurs with HDR on TVs. HDR on a TV will allow for even blacker blacks and even brighter whites. This means that all of the colors on a screen will be even brighter and clearer, which will see the picture even more life-like.

The internals of the Apple TV 4K have been significantly improved. It now sports an A10X Fusion processor in it. This is the same as the 10.5-inch iPad Pro and 2nd Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The Apple TV 4K also has Bluetooth 5.0 for connectivity to the latest peripherals. Alongside this comes HDMI 2.0a and Gigabit Ethernet. This is up from Bluetooth 4.2, HDMI 1.4, and 10/100 ethernet. The wireless has also been improved to support the 5GHz band

Apple would not introduce a 4K Apple TV without having some 4K content to go with it. iTunes now has 4K content within the store. 4K movies will cost the same as HD movies. So around $20 for new releases. Rentals will cost the same around $6 for new releases. With having four times as many pixels being shown within a 4K movie, you might think that the size of the file would be significantly higher. In reality, they are not. With the new High Efficiency Video Codec (HEVC) in tvOS 11, and iOS 11, 4K movies will be able to be better compressed all while maintaining their quality. This means that 4K movies should come in around 4GB for a 90 minute movie. This is approximately the same size as a 1080p movie that is not encoded with HEVC.

If you already have HD Movies, they will automatically be upgraded to 4K versions. This is a great perk for those who already have large iTunes collections.

The addition of 4K and HDR to the Apple TV will make it a worthy upgrade for anyone who has an Apple TV and a 4K TV. The Apple TV 4K is available for pre-order on September 15th, for $179 for the 32GB model and $199 for the 64GB model. The 32GB 4th Generation Apple TV is still around for $149.

iPhones

With the iPhone being the biggest consumer item for Apple, making up 60% of all of Apple’s profits, and with selling millions of phones every quarter, it is hard to keep a lid on all of the changes that are to come with a new iPhone. This year presents a big change for iPhones. The biggest being that there are three different models being introduced. From 2007 through 2013, there was only one model introduced. It may have come in some colors, but there was only one size. From 2007 to 2011, this was a 3.5-inch sized iPhone. For 2012 and 2013, this was 4-inch screen. Since 2014, there have been two sizes, 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens, starting with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. These two sizes continue with the 8 and 8 Plus. Let us look at the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

iPhone 8 and 8 Plus

The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus continue on the tradition of their predecessors. The general form factor of the phone has remained unchanged since the introduction of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in 2014. There have been some interior structural changes, like with the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6 Plus becoming a bit more rigid to combat any inadvertent bending. Many people may complain that the outside of the iPhone has remained unchanged for four releases now, however this does come with some benefits. For instance, it means that Apple has gotten really good at making the exterior cases for the phone. Along side this, many of your peripherals will continue to work with a new phone, just like they did on the old phone. However, that is not always the case.

The biggest change with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models were that he headphone jack was removed. The removal of the headphone jack allowed Apple to make the iPhone something that it was not previously capable of being; water resistant. One of the quickest ways to kill any electronic device is to expose it to water. The change to the water resistant case, which required removal of the headphone jack, has lead to fewer iPhones being destroyed by being put into water; whether willingly or unwillingly.

Processor

One change that occurs every year is the interior components. The new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus contains the new A11 Bionic processor along with its M11 motion co-processor. The A11 Bionic This brings even better battery efficiency and processing to the phone. The A11 Bionic is a six core processor that consists of four high efficiency cores that are up to 70 percent faster than A10 Fusion. It also has two high performance cores that are up to 25 percent faster than the A10 Fusion. To go with the processor, Apple has included a new Apple-designed graphics processor as well. This will get 30% faster performance over the graphics in the A10 Fusion.

There is an all new item incorporated with the A11 Bionic, a neural engine. The neural engine will allow even faster processing of Augmented Reality and Machine Learning than the A10 Fusion. The neural engine is designed not only for Augmented Reality and Machine Learning, but can be used for many other things like processing of items within photos and much much more. The new items within the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus do not end there. Let us look now turn to the screen.

Screen

The screen on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are significantly better with an all new technology that Apple is calling Retina HD displays. Retina HD displays incorporate True Tone technology to adjust the screen to the right brightness, contrast, and color based upon the surroundings. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus also incorporate the Wide Color Gamut, which will be able to show the best colors possible.

With the glass back on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, Apple has matched the aluminum band around the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus to be the exact same color as the back. Besides matching aesthetically, this also allows for more rigidity within the iPhone.

Camera

The biggest usage of any iPhone is the camera. The camera in the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus have been vastly improved. They now both feature Quad-LED True Tone flash with Slow Sync. They are also capable of recording 4K video at 60 frames per second, which will make your 4K video even more life-like. The cameras have otherwise remained largely the same.

The iPhone 8 Plus has seen a bit of an improvement on its own. It now has a new feature, Portrait Lighting. Similar to the way that Portrait photos were brought to the iPhone 7 Plus last year, Portrait Lighting is in beta, but it allows you to perform some interesting effects with a Portrait photo. Portrait Lighting will take the information from the surrounding light and apply a lighting effect to the photo. The biggest benefit is that you can do this retroactively and you can also change

Battery

One of the things you can always expect is that battery life on the iPhone will remain fairly consistent. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are no exception. They get the same battery life as their predecessors.

The iPhone 8 has a new set of materials on the outside. The front and back are now both glass. The glass is surrounded by a band of aluminum. The glass back allows for an all new feature to iPhones, wireless charging.

The wireless charging that is included with the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus is the Qi, pronounced “she”, standard. This means that if you have a Qi-compliant charging pad, it will work with the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. The inclusion of wireless charging will allow users to simply place their iPhone on a charging pad and it should begin charging. This means that you will not have to plug in your iPhone just to have it charge. This is convenient, not only for home, but also if you travel. This is because you can bring a charging mat that will allow your iPhone, Apple Watch Series 3, and even AirPods charge wirelessly.

There is a new product coming in 2018 called “AirPower”. AirPower is a mat designed by Apple that will allow you to charge all of your Apple devices at once.

Pricing

The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus come in two configurations. 64GB and 256GB and come in three colors; Silver, Space Gray, and Gold. The prices have gone up slightly to $699 and $799, respectively, for the 64GB models. The 256GB models are $849 and $949 respectively. Pre-orders for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 plus begin Friday September 15th, and delivery starts on September 22nd.

Other iPhones

When Apple introduces new iPhone models, they typically eliminate an older model, however that is not the case this year. The iPhone 6s/6s Plus and iPhone 7/7 Plus are still available, as is the iPhone SE. The pricing on these models has changed though.

The iPhone SE is now $50 cheaper, at $349 for 32GB and $449 for 128GB. The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus have dropped by $100. The iPhone 6s is $449 for the 32GB model, and $549 for the 128GB Model, while the iPhone 6s Plus is $549 for the 32GB model and $649 for the 128GB Model. The iPhone 7 is also $100 less at $549 for the 32GB model, and $649 for the 128GB model, where as the iPhone 7 Plus is $669 for the 32GB model, and $769 for the 128GB Model.

The decision to keep the iPhone 6s will allow even more devices to be purchased that support ARKit under iOS 11, which means that Apple’s current iPhone line supports ARKit.

Final Thoughts

The new LTE-enabled Apple Watch Series 3 will allow those who exercise to leave their phones somewhere safe and no use them and without having to sacrifice connectivity. The improved processor will make things even smoother than before. Even though the Apple Watch Serires 2 is no longer available for sale, the Series 1 is still available at a new lower price, of $249. The inclusion of cellular as a standard on the Hermes, Stainless Steel, and Ceramic Edition will provide even more benefit for users who purchase those versions.

The new Apple TV 4K is a great upgrade to bring the Apple TV up to date to be able to take advantage of the latest technologies, like 4K and High Dynamic Range. Keeping the old 4th Generation Apple TV around at a lower price point will allow more options for Apple TVs and will allow those who do not have a 4K TV to be able to take advantage of the capabilities of the Apple TV. The automatic upgrade of previously purchased content to 4K is a definite plus that will benefit everyone, not just those who have 4K now, but will end up buying a 4K TV in the future. The biggest benefit is that the pricing of the 4K movies will be the same price as HD movies, which is great for consumers and will ultimately benefit the movie companies as well.

The new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus bring some solid enhancements to the already future-looking iPhone lineup. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus add a couple of additional phones to the lineup and are ARKit compatible. The all new glass back will definitely allow the adoption of the Qi wireless charging standard to become the de facto standard. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are solid upgrades over the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The Retina HD with True Tone display will allow for better viewing all around. If you are in the market for an iPhone, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are solid upgrades. Just be sure to get your wallets ready for pre-orders of all of these starting on Friday.