In late August, Apple sent out invitations for an event on September 7. That day arrived and executives from the Cupertino-based company took the stage to announce a slate of new things.
The event was an interesting one in terms of content and tone. It began with Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, driving along with James Corden, and the pair were joined with artist Pharrell for a quick Carpool Karaoke session. From there, everything felt a bit lighter, a bit more fun, especially as Apple went into its next announcement.
Cook went over the numbers for the App Store, and focused on gaming, saying that while games have obviously become a huge market for the App Store, there was one company that was still missing. Enter Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, who took the stage to talk about a brand new Mario game coming to iOS called Super Mario Run. It’s an endless runner that can be played with one hand, in portrait mode, and also includes a competitive game mode, called Battle Mode, as well. It’s a massive exclusive for Apple, and a big step for Nintendo, too.
Apple also confirmed that a big change is coming to its iWork suite of apps: Real-time collaboration.
Pokémon GO on your wrist
Immediately after that, it was back to gaming, at least as far as the Apple Watch goes. Before the company got around to announcing a second-generation wearable, they let Niantic Labs, the creators of the mega-hit title Pokémon GO take the stage and talk about how the popular game would bring the entertainment to watchOS this holiday season.
Introducing Apple Watch Series 2
And then it was time for one of the big reveals of the day. Apple officially introduced the second-generation Apple Watch, calling it the Apple Watch Series 2, and showed off a ton of new features. That includes a band new display capable of 1,000 nits, and built-in GPS.
There’s even a Watch built exclusively for runners, thanks to a partnership with Nike, and it’s called the Apple Watch Nike+. It boasts a unique design, color scheme, and custom watch faces and Complications, all built for runners.
As far as pricing goes, the Apple Watch Series 2 starts at $369, this time around, but there are still a variety of different options to choose from, just like the first generation product. There’s even a brand new Ceramic model, which actually replaces the Apple Watch Edition and its gold construction.
The Apple Watch Series 2 goes up for pre-order on September 9, with availability set for September 16. The Apple Watch Series 1 is still kicking, too, priced at $269, with a new dual-core processor inside.
It’s expected that the Apple Watch Series 2 battery life will last as long as the Apple Watch Series 1.
Welcome the waterproof iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
Finally, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus made their debut. Apple made it clear that the new flagship iPhones weren’t simply a rehash of the iPhone 6 and/or the iPhone 6s, but instead evoked a brand new level to attention to detail. There are two new colors: Black and Jet Black, with the latter more glossy than the former (which could lead to some scratches!).
The iPhone 7 has a ton of new features. That includes a better Retina HD display on both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, with Cinema Display and wide color gamut support. The front-facing camera has been upgraded to a 7-megapixel shooter, while the rear camera on the iPhone 7 has been upgraded as well. It’s still a 12MP unit, but the hardware inside has been tweaked and improved, making it possible for better low-light photography, catching more details, and improving snapping photos in any other situation as well.
The iPhone 7 Plus, however, features a dual-camera setup on the back, with both cameras being a 12MP shooter. This will allow for 2X optical zoom, and then up to 10X software zoom. And, one of the key features: bokeh. This will allow for depth-of-field portraits, making the face of a person, or person, look extra clear, and giving the background of the photo a blurred look. This feature will arrive in a later software update.
The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus also feature stereo speakers, and improved battery life when compared to last year’s models.
Pricing for the iPhone 7 starts at $649 for the 32GB model (with 128GB and 256GB variants also available), while the iPhone 7 Plus will retail starting at $769 for the 32GB model (with 128GB and 256GB models available as well). The new iPhones go up for pre-order beginning Friday, September 9, and go on sale Friday, September 16.
- iPhone 7 First Impressions Round-Up
- iPhone 7 Tech Specs
- iPhone 7 Plus Tech Specs
- iOS 10 Release Notes
- iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in Photos
- Apple’s September Intro Videos
- Apple Health Videos
- Best iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus Features
Truly wireless AirPods
One element of the new iPhone 7 is the missing headphone jack, with Apple deciding to focus on providing a physical connection to the new phones with Lightning EarPods. Apple is also including a Lightning-to-3.5mm-headphone jack in the box for good measure. But, Apple also wants users to adopt a wireless lifestyle, so they’ve introduced AirPods.
These truly wireless in-ear headphones offer noteworthy features, like the ability to know when you’re talking or listening to music, and will automatically pause music playback when you take the AirPods out of your ears. They’ll begin playing music again when you place them back in. There’s easy tap-to-access Siri feature, which allows the user to turn down the volume, select music to play, and make calls.
AirPods will be available in late October, and they’ll retail for $159.
New software availability
Apple officially announced the release date for iOS 10, macOS Sierra, and watchOS 3 while at the event as well. iOS 10 had its golden master release seeded today, and it will become available to the public beginning September 13. macOS Sierra and watchOS 3 also had their GM candidates seeded, with macOS Sierra primed to launch to the public on September 20, and watchOS 3 arriving on September 13.
Apple Pay expanding to Japan
Those were the major announcements. Apple also confirmed that Apple Pay would be arriving in Japan this October. On top of that, the company also confirmed that Apple Maps Transit information would arrive in Japan in the same month.
iPad Lineup Storage and Price Changes
The iPad lineup saw some storage option changes, with the family now starting at 32GB to match the iPhone lineup. That last meant the iPad Pro lineup saw some price changes for the better, while the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 now offer only two options: 32GB and 128GB. The iPad mini 2 is still around, too, priced at $269.
It was a busy day for Apple, to be sure. Which new products do you plan on buying?