Apple clued the world in to a tremendous number of updates today during its iPhone 7 launch. Presenters Phil Schiller and Tim Cook covered a wide range of topics and advancements, including updates to Apple Watch, basic improvements and, of course, the unveiling of the iPhone 7/ iPhone 7 Plus. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights.
Apple Watch Series 2
The newest version of the Apple Watch is no longer just splash-proof, but swim-proof. It is water resistant up to 50 meters, which is ideal for a swimmer looking to track their time or calories burned. Apple wasn’t just thinking about swimmers, though; it was also disclosed that there will be a GPS radio in the watch, making it the perfect fit for runners.
There are a lot of new features coming to the watch, including an entirely new GPU that offers two times the graphics performance. Now you can play games in great quality…which is convenient considering that the Apple Watch will now support a new Mario game, along with Pokémon Go.
There will be two Apple editions of the watch, along with a special Nike edition that has its own design. The two Apple watches will be available on September 16, and the Nike watch will be launched in October.
We discussed the updates available in iOS 10 back in July when the list of features became available. As a quick recap, one of the major updates is that there will be support for Siri in third party apps. Put simply, she’ll be able to help you do even more than she already does. In fact, third party apps seem to be the theme of this update, as they become more prevalent in apps like Maps, which is being completely redesigned. HomeKit is also going to be introduced with this update, which will allow you to control all of your smart devices from one convenient location. Finally, the Messages app is getting an overhaul that makes it competitive with the Android version. Fun features that have evaded Apple loyalists— like animations and being able to write on pictures— will now be available to iPhone users.
iOS 10 will launch on September 13, so get excited for a whole new group of features in a few day’s time.
iPhone 7/ iPhone 7 Plus
The moment we’ve all been waiting for: the iPhones 7 and 7 Plus have finally arrived. Before diving into the controversial choices Apple has made regarding headphone jacks and earbuds, let’s look at some of the basic changes being made first.
There’s a new “jet black” color option that is supposedly fantastic and “glossy.” The new phones are water and dust resistant—finally—and the display is 25 percent brighter with a “wide” color gamut. The home button is also seeing a redesign, making it customizable. Now, you will be able to use the home button for Quick Actions—messages, notifications, ringtones and more. Per usual, there’s also supposed to be better battery life with this version.
Now for the exciting, yet slightly confusing, update. This iPhone will have no traditional headphone jack. Instead, the phone will utilize lightning headphones. According to the presenter, there are already 900 million lightning-connected devices out there, so why not add iPhones to the list? When put that way, the decision doesn’t seem quite as odd. Before naysayers start talking about how this is just a ploy by Apple to get more money, keep in mind that the new iPhones will be coming with new lightning-connected headphones, along with an adapter for the older 3.5mm headphones.
Schiller discussed the new AirPods, which look like amputated EarPods. They’re white buds with a bit of a nub that have built-in sensors to detect when a pod is in your ear. If the pod isn’t in place, music won’t play. You also have other capabilities with the pods, like the ability to access Siri by double tapping the bud. The idea of wireless audio is appealing, especially since each pod is expected to last for five hours at a time. We’ll see if they turn out to be as great as Apple says, though. Sometimes you need to leave things alone if they work well, and I have a feeling traditional headphones are going to be sorely missed in a few months.
Now that we’ve covered the topic that’s been leaving everyone guessing for a year now, we can move on to what is arguably the most exciting update available on iPhone 7: the camera. I thought the iPhone 6 had an outstanding camera but, from the looks of it, iPhones 7 and 7 Plus are going to blow it away.
The only major difference between the two versions is that the Plus has a dual rear camera. This offers a zoom feature that allows you to go from 1x to optical zoom at 2x. Anything beyond 2x has you using digital zoom, which goes up to 10x—pretty impressive.
The new camera offers optical image stabilization and boasts a six-element lens with f/1.8 aperture. The sensor is also reportedly 60 percent faster and more energy efficient. Plus, arguably the best update, there is a new flash that uses 50 percent more light. There weren’t a ton of details given, but the name “True Tone flash” leads me to believe that this could help with the wash-out situation that occurs way too often. Selfie fanatics will also be happy with the new camera, given that there is a 7MP FaceTime HD camera, which is up from 5MP, along with a main camera that has 12MP.
The new iPhones are available for preorder on September 9, and available for purchase on September 16. Meanwhile, AirPods are set to ship in late October for $159 (so, yeah, maybe they are still trying to take as much of your money as they can).
Overall, there were a ton of new features unveiled today during Apple’s presentation. Some, like the camera, are going to be welcomed with open arms while others have people remaining skeptical. I’m looking at you, AirPods. I’m sure there will be people lining up at the door to get their hands on an iPhone 7 as soon as possible, so we’ll have to wait and see how the smartphone makes out when used in real life situations.
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