More than just an iPhone event
While the iPhone 7 was Apple’s headliner, Tim Cook and friends had plenty of other announcements and news to share during the company’s annual fall event on Wednesday. From a waterproof Apple Watch to wireless earbuds with a sprinkle of Super Mario (yes, really!), this event was one for the books. Read on to see everything Apple announced.
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus
Our main event was the unveiling of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, which features a new A10 Fusion chip, new top-and-bottom stereo speakers, an overhauled Force Touch button (formerly the Home button) and a water-resistant coating. The phone’s body design is the same as the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus (4.7 inches and 5.5 inches, respectively), and comes in five finishes: silver, gold, rose gold, black (matte), and a new finish called jet black (glossy).
You can preorder the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus starting Friday, September 9, and you can find it in stores on Friday, September 16. The iPhone 7 costs $649 for the base 32GB model (bye-bye, 16GB!), $749 for 128GB, and $849 for 256GB. The iPhone 7 Plus starts at $769 for 32GB, $869 for 128GB, and $969 for 256GB.
Goodbye analog headphone jack, hello wireless EarPods and AirPods
The rumors were true: Apple ditched the analog headphone jack with the iPhone 7 and is instead switching to Lightning-based headphones and Bluetooth options. To get you started, every iPhone 7 or 7 Plus ships with a pair of new Lightning-enabled EarPods and an analog-to-Lightning adapter.
If you prefer the wireless route, Apple also debuted the AirPods, wireless Bluetooth-enabled ear buds that include a charging case. Those are sold separately from the iPhone, and will set you back $159.
If you’re sticking with your current iPhone model, but want to try out Apple’s new Lightning-based EarPods, you can find them in the Apple Store for $29 (and the Lightning to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter for $9)
Both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are getting major camera boosts from their predecessors. Both the 4.7-inch iPhone 7 and 5.5-inch 7 Plus have a wider f/1.8 aperture to capture more light, a 6-element lens, high-speed 12-megapixel sensors, quad-LED True Tone flash, a new sensor to compensate for flickering lights, wide color capture, and optical image stabilization. Both cameras have zoom.
The 7 Plus, as long rumored, has two cameras, both 12-megapixels, with two lenses. One is wide-angle, and the other is a 56mm telephoto lens. Shallow depth of field, called bokeh, is something you can usually only achieve with a DSLR’s full frame sensor or a giant lens. The 7 Plus camera accomplishes it easily—just tap the new Portrait option in the iOS Camera app coming in a free iOS update later this year to preview it automatically.
iOS 10 dropping September 13
We first got a glimpse of iOS 10 at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference in June, but now we have a launch date: Tuesday, September 13, which is just a few days ahead of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus’s September 16 ship date. Also going live on the 13th: watchOS 3.
Meet the Apple Watch Series 2
The dual-core Apple Watch Series 2 features a brighter display, swim-proof capabilities, and built-in GPS, and this new model has a redesigned speaker to make it water-resistant down to 50 meters. Other than that, this updated smartwatch looks near-identical to the first Apple Watch, now known as Apple Watch Series 1, which was only splash-proof. Apple also introduced a couple of new bands, including a few new luxury Hermés bands.
The Apple Watch Series 2 starts at $369, and the original Apple Watch Series 1 is now $269. Pre-orders start on September 9, with units available in stores on September 16. It’s available in the same four aluminum finishes (silver, gold, rose gold, and space gray) and two stainless steel finishes (regular and space black) as the Series 1, plus one new ceramic option that starts at $1,249.
An Apple Watch just for runners
Apple has partnered with Nike to create a special edition of the Apple Watch specifically for running enthusiasts: The Apple Watch Nike+. This watch is made from lightweight aluminum and features a perforated band, and also has some special features. For example, you can simply tell Siri to start a run, and she’ll launch the app. When you’re out on your run, you can get a distraction-free display with just your distance and pace, or you can enable an “advanced” mode with more details about your workout. The Apple Watch Nike+ comes in four colors and will be available in late October for $369.
iWork gets real-time collaboration
Apple devoted a few minutes to its productivity suite for iOS and macOS—iWork—which can now support real-time collaboration between users. Apple said that the real-time collaboration feature works across platforms on the Mac, iPad, and iPhone. This feature allows users to work on a Pages doc, Numbers spreadsheet, or Keynote presentation at the same time. Team work makes the dream work.
Our favorite Nintendo characters, now on the iPhone and Apple Watch
One thing we didn’t see coming: Tim Cook inviting special guests onstage to talk about mobile gaming. Since Pokémon Go became a global phenomenon this summer, developer Niantic Labs is bringing the game to the Apple Watch, with new features for tracking eggs and for encouraging players to stay active. Pokémon Go for Apple Watch will launch later this year.
Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto also took the stage to announce the upcoming launch of Super Mario Run, Nintendo’s first official mobile game for the iPhone. It’s an endless-runner game, placing Mario in a familiar-looking world with tap-to-jump obstacles. Super Mario Run will make its App Store debut on September 13—the same day iOS 10 launches.
Behind-the-scenes changes to the iPad
The iPad may not have gotten any stage time, but Apple quietly made revisions to the iPad lineup on Wednesday, including the iPad Pro. Apple ditched the 16GB-capacity for the iPad, and lowered the prices of the higher-capacity iPad Pro by $50 to $100.
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