The annual Apple Keynote that everyone has been waiting for has just begun. Coldplay’s music drifted off as a tour of Apple’s new headquarters began. Sleek, modern, full of glass, wooden floors and staircases, Apple’s new place to innovate certainly doesn’t disappoint. Today’s new products are unveiled in Steve Jobs Theater, an homage to the man who changed the road of Apple. Tim Cook opened its presentation with candid words for its friend and the company’s visionary. #mobilemagic
“Open, transparent, it lets the outside in”, describes it Cook fondly. Apple Park is powered by renewable energy and has a visitor center where tourists can explore the place in AR. There is also a new focus on retail stores, now called town squares. There are new corners where customers can connect and shelves with curated Apple products. Apple has also brought forward sessions, focused on music, photography and gaming.
Apple Watch Series 3
Tim Cook has started the introduction of their new products with Apple Watch. Specifically, customers’ testimonials on how it changed their lives and how it has become the first smartwatch in the world. Of course, many of the letters read by them sound like a broken record, more of an ad than anything else, but no one can contest the fact that the Apple Watch has certainly all the capabilites to make those changes happen.
But the juicy stuff is yet to come. Before introducing the new Watch Series 3, it’s important to note that Apple has been pulling new capabilities from the heart sensor. Athletes will see their resting heart rate and recovery heart rate but most importantly, thanks to a collaboration with Stanford, the Watch will be able to notify users if they’re at risk for atrial fibrillation, a main cause of stroke. OS 4 will come to Apple Watch this September 19, in US.
Back to the new smartwatch from Apple. It’s definitely keeping the same design we’ve come accustomed too, down to the size. So, what’s new about it? First of all, cellular connectivity built-in. Then, the ability to stream 40 million songs on your wrist with Apple Music help. The new Series 3 has a dual core processor that delivers 70% more performance and a W2 chip which guarantees 85% faster wi-fi. Oh, and Siri can talk this time. Plus, it’s swim-proof so you can take it to the pool.
There are two versions of the Series 3 Watch. The LTE version will cost you $399, while the Wi-Fi only one is $329. Apple will also be selling Series 1 at $249.
You can expect Apple Watch Series 3 to hit stores this September 22.
Apple TV 4K
We knew about this and Apple didn’t disappoint – Apple TV now supports 4K. “While 4K is about the number of pixels, HDR is about the quality of the pixels”, Apple argues, and so, the new system supports the industry standard HDR 10. The vibrant colors and rich details Apple TV now offers are undeniable, as the team shows on stage with shots from Dubai’s nightlife and the latest Spiderman movie.
But not all is about display. Performance is crucial and for that reason, Apple has equipped it with the A10X Fusion chip that offers, according to the company, 2xCPU performance and 4X faster graphics than the previous system.
So, what can you see via Apple TV? Well, movies from the most important Hollywood studios, Netflix titles for 4K as well as Amazon Prime content that is meant for this resolution. Plus, all the existing titles will be upgraded automatically at 4K HDR. That doesn’t mean live sport events are out of the equation; on the contrary, the system will notify you when your favorite team plays. And if you’re more into games than anything else, then get excited: this winter, an exclusive title will arrive for Apple TV – Sky.
Apple TV 4K will cost $179 and will be available to order from September 15.
iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus
The best moment of the evening just arrived. Before introducing the long-awaited iPhone X, Tim Cook went back in time, recalling multitouch and AppStore, two of the things that changed the way we work and play. But a decade past and now the iPhone 3 is just a memory. Technology has evolved so much since then and iPhone 8 is a statement of that.
iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have, this time, a glass front and back with an aluminum frame. They come in silver, space grey and gold. Apple says they have used the most durable glass in a smartphone, so hopefully we’ll see less shattered screens. iPhone 8 is sealed for water and dust and has 3D touch embedded into the display.
As far as hardware is concerned, iPhone 8 and 8Plus have a brand new chip: A11 Bionic. This is a processor with a 6 core CPU and 4.3 billion transistors. It’s said to be 70% faster than A10 and 25% faster than A10. It also has an Apple-designed GPU that was made special for 3D games and machine learning apps. Plus, you can count on an Apple-designed ISP for hardware-enabled multiband noise reduction, among others.
For those of you who are reading desperately to find out how the camera module has been upgraded, you’re in luck. We’ve now reached that point. iPhone 8 has a 12MP all new sensor with OIS, while the iPhone 8 Plus is equipped with 12MP dual cameras. For this model, there’s a new camera feature called Portrait Lighting. This means the dual cameras can sense the scenes and with the help of machine learning, the software can change the lightning on the subject’s face, while the user is composing the shot.
When it comes to video, Apple says you can rely on their new Apple-designed video encoder. You can record in 4K at 60fps or 1080p at 240fps for slo-mo clips. What else? Oh, AR. Apple has definitely paid attention this subject by including hardware and software for AR. Cameras, for example, are calibrated for AR, while there’s a new gyro and accelerometer on the device. So, the new iPhones will definitely encourage the use of apps created with AR Kit, including a great new multiplayer competitive game, that you can play exclusively in augmented reality.
The cherry on the cake? Finally, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus support Qi wireless charging! If you’re convinced, check iPhone 8 and 8 Plus this September 15. Both will come in two models, with 64GB and 256GB memory. But the iPhone 8 will cost $699, while the Plus will set you back $799.
… and iPhone X (10)
Before you go… one more thing, courtesy of Apple. The highly-anticipated iPhone X. Oh, no, they didn’t forget about it. The best part? It confirms most of the rumors you’ve heard about. So, it’s an “edge to edge, top to bottom” smartphone, with curved edges and glass front and back (the same super strong display on iPhone 8). The frame is made from stainless steel, though. iPhone X has a Super Retina display with 458 ppi with an OLED screen, of course. This one is also HDR-ready and features True Tone.
The new display, though, made several big changes necessary. There is no home button on the iPhone X. Instead you can tap on the screen to wake up your device and swipe up to go to home. For multitasking, you swipe up and pause until all the apps opened appear. Siri can be called using vocal commands, sure, but this time around, it can also be triggered by a press to the side button.
But how do you unlock? Using Face ID. Apple has combined several technologies (IR camera, flood illuminator, dot projector and more) to make a TrueDepth camera system. It can detect faces even in the dark with a flood illuminator and then maps the faces so that neural networks can check it to the ones stored before. This is possible thanks to A11 Bionic which holds a neural engine for real time processing.
Face ID works even when the user is wearing glasses or a hat or sports a different haircut. Apple says it adapts as you grow old and very important, it has liveliness detection, so no picture or mask can trick it. The biometric system is not only appropriate for unlocking the iPhone X, but also for Apple Pay. Face tracking comes in handy in AR apps as well as Animojis. What are those? Emojis that react as you do, as if you were wearing them as a mask by mapping more than 50 facial muscles.
Okay, okay… but how about the cameras? Well, like the iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X comes with 12MP rear dual cameras, one wide-angle and one telephoto. The Portrait Lighting feature can also be found here. The difference is… this smartphone has dual OIS. Also, the front camera brings for the first time Portrait Mode and Portrait Lighting for selfies.
So, will all this features drain your battery? Well, not exactly. In fact, Apple says that you can expect 2 hours extra of juice on iPhone X versus iPhone 7. It’s also capable of Qi wireless charging. With iPhone X though, you have the chance of using AirPower. What’s that? Apple’s new wireless dock that charge up to 3 device simultaneously. Nice addition, right?
Finally, iPhone X can be ordered in two colors – space grey and silver – starting with October 27. It will sell for $999 and ship on November 3rd.
That’s a wrap!