After what was possibly the strangest (though not as strange as Ubisoft presentations) introduction featuring James Cordyn and Tim Cook in a Carpool Karaoke skit, the Apple Chief Executive Officer dived straight into what Apple has in store.
Cook started the keynote off with a few updates including the fact that 140 billion apps have been downloaded through the App store. Interestingly gaming is the most popular category in the store.
Now, onto the good stuff.
Watch Series 2
The Watch Series 2 has been completely re-engineered to be “swim proof”. The Watch is resistant up to 50 metres thanks to a bit of clever engineering from Apple and new seals to prevent ingress. The speaker, which isn’t water resistant cleverly pushes water out using the speaker itself.
The user interface has been updated to include easier switching of faces and apps launch almost instantaneously. Users will also be able to long-press on the side of the wearable to call emergency services as well as send a message to an emergency contact.
Pokemon Go will be coming to the Apple Watch as well. Users will be able to see nearby Pokemon, distance traveled and they will receive notifications of nearby Pokemon. When an egg is hatched there will be a notification on the display.
The chip powering the wearable is the dual-core S2 chip which is 50% faster than the original Watch and provides two times the graphical compute power. Apple boasted that Night Sky, a new app that lets you track the night sky, runs at 60 frame per second.
On the topic of the display the brightness has been upped to be twice as bright.
When your phone isn’t with you, the watch has a native GPS tracker which can track your speed and distance accurately.
This feature allows users to grab predetermined cycling, walking and hiking trails and get directions and interesting tidbits of information throughout, without having to carry their handset with them.
The Watch will come in stainless steel, aluminium and ceramic with a host of different straps. The Series two will also include collaborations with Hermes and Nike.
The Nike+ introduces a number of runner friendly features including the Nike+ Run Club which seems to guilt trip you into running. The strap is also designed to be let air flow over the wrist so it doesn’t get ruined by sweat.
Interestingly there was no mention of battery life for any of the Series 2 wearables.
Retail in the US starts at $369 and will be available from September. The original watch is getting a CPU upgrade to the S2 and will start retail at $269 in September as well.
iPhone 7 – The best iPhone Apple has ever made
As we suspected the iPhone 7 has an all new 12MP camera. The snapper boasts new iPhone features like optical image stabilisation, a high speed sensor, and an f/1.8 aperture which lets in 50% more light. The ISP in the camera uses “machine learning” to read the display and adjust settings such as focus, aperture and colour of the image for better looking images.
With iOS 10 the camera will be able to take massive RAW images and, Live Photos can now be edited.
The iPhone 7 Plus will house two 12MP sensors. One will be a wideangle lens and one is a telephoto lens.
The dual-lens setup allows users to employ 2X optical zoom or 10X software zoom. The firm says that this will allow users to take better looking zoomed-in images from far away.
The new camera tech will allow users to take photos with a shallow depth of field and use a Bokeh effect. The phone creates a depth map which the user can then use to blur out the background, in real time.
“We are not saying to throw out your DSLRs, or that this will replace DSLRs. What we are saying is that this is the best camera ever on an iPhone. For many customers, this will be the best camera they ever own,” Apple’s Phil Schiller said during the keynote.
Sadly all this lovely camera tech will only be available on the iPhone 7 Plus later this year as part of a software update.
The Retina display is now 25% brighter with cinema standard colours, improved management of colours and of course, it will feature 3D Touch.
The home button has also been updated to be force sensitive. This is achieved with a new Taptic Engine which gives the user a physical alert when something has happened on screen such as a widget being moved or the camera being zoomed in.
Water and dust resistance is also new and according to Apple’s testing it has an IP67 rating.
Apple has also added a second speaker to the audio profile of the iPhone which now allows audio playback in stereo.
There is no 3.5mm jack, as the world knew a few months back. The new EarPods will connect to the iPhone 7 over a Lightning connectors.
For those that have “old” audio devices, Apple will include a 3.5mm to Lightning connector converter.
Why has Apple done this? “Courage, the courage to move on,” explained Schiller. The real reason it seems is so that Apple can cram more tech into the handset.
However, Apple is also introducing wireless audio in the form of AirPods. The in-ear buds house a new W1 chip which can detect your voice and touch. Battery life is expected to last through 5 hours of play-time and can be charged in the included housing.
The AirPods are setup up incredibly simply: by opening the storage case. The iPhone 7 will detect the case opening and ask the user to pair the phone and the earbuds.
AirPods will start at $159 and will start shipping in October.
Finally, Apple is debuting a new generation of processor called the A10 Fusion chip. Its a quad-core processor that is 40% faster than the A9 in last year’s iPhone and is 3X faster than Apple’s older A8 chip.
Apple is now using a big.LITTLE configuration which will allow the phone to switch to two “efficiency cores” while executing low impact tasks.
The GPU is also new and 50% faster than the A9. This will reportedly allow developers to create more advanced apps and games. Apple says that the new chip will deliver a console level gaming experience in your pocket.
Battery life is, according the apple, “the longest battery life in an iPhone”. In reality Apple says users can expect an extra 2 hours of battery life from the iPhone 7 compared to the iPhone 6s and 1 hour extra from the iPhone 7 Plus compared to the iPhone 6s Plus.
The iPhone launches at a starting price of $649 for the Silver, Gold, Rose Gold, Jet Black and Black in 32GB, 128GB and 256GB iterations.
The iPhone 7 Plus will start at $769 in 32GB, 128GB and 256GB iterations.
The phone will hit shelves from 16th September in the US and other nations, expect South Africa but rest assured we will let know when you can start pre-ordering the “best iPhone” Apple has ever made.