Apple unveils the iPhone 7 and the Apple Watch 2
So now we know. There’s no earphone jack in the new iPhone 7 devices. (RIP, earphone jack.) Aside from the lamenting, there are serious questions. No. 1 among them: Can I still charge my iPhone while I’m listening to music?
The short answer: If you’re using wired headphones, no.
So you’ll just have to make sure to charge up really well before you start that never-ending conference call or international flight.
Another option, of course, is to use the wireless AirPods. But that takes us to reader question No. 2: Can I use AirPods on an airplane?
Short answer: Yes, but not until after takeoff.
The AirPods connect via Bluetooth. According to FAA regulations on the use of portable electronic devices, “you can also continue to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards.” (But your phone should be in airplane mode for the duration of the flight.)
The AirPods are said to get about five hours on a single charge, which might keep you entertained on a cross-country flight, but it won’t do for a flight, say, to Mumbai.
The AirPod case, however, has 25 hours of juice. That should take you there – from Los Angeles, anyway. But you’ll need to take them off to charge them.
Some readers have asked whether AirPods can be used with non-Apple devices.
Short answer: Yes.
Remember, the base technology is Bluetooth, and that isn’t proprietary to Apple. AirPods pair seamlessly with iPhones and other Apple devices, but on non-Apple devices, you’d just have to do manual pairing.
And, lastly, how do they fit?
My colleague Tracey Lien, who has had a chance to try out the the wireless earphones, reports the fit is the same as Apple’s EarPods.
Singer songwriter Sia helped conclude Apple’s product launch with a two-song performance. It was theatrical, with plenty of dancing and eye-catching costumes -- including an enormous bow.
Choosing Sia -- who became a pop music headliner this decade -- marks a cultural shift for Apple. Two years ago, Apple notoriously gifted the entire iOS-using world a difficult-to-delete U2 album, like it or not.
Thanks for tuning in.
Both versions of the iPhone 7 come in 32GB, 128GB and 256GB models. The iPhone 7 starts at $649; the iPhone 7 Plus at $769.
Pre-ordering for the iPhone 7 line starts Friday. Shipping begins Sept. 16.
Airpods, priced at $159, will ship in late October.
The new iOS10 comes out Sept 13.
The outside of the iPhone 7 looks a lot like its predecessor -- it even comes in the exact same sizes. But there are some changes under the hood.
It features an A10 Fusion chip, a four-core processor and two high-performance cores that are 40% faster than the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. Two high-efficiency cores run at 1/5 the power to prolong battery life.
Battery is said to last on average two hours longer than the iPhone 6S.
Graphics processing will be 50% faster than the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, and 240 times faster than the original iPhone.
Now that the 3.5-millimeter headphone jack is dead and gone, meet the technology that killed it: AirPods.
These white wireless earbuds interact with the iPhone and the Apple Watch. Wear them both to watch movies or listen to music, or just pop in a single one for a phone call (kinda like those Bluetooth earpieces people used to wear).
Each includes a mic, chip, sensors and batteries, which last five hours. They charge in their case, and you can charge the case itself through the lightning port.
Here’s what to expect from the iPhone 7
- It comes in a few finishes: high-gloss jet black, matte black, gold, silver and rose gold.
- It has a new home button that is force-sensitive.
- It is water and dust resistant.
- It features an optical image stabilizer to reduce the blur from shaky hands.
- There’s a new six-element, f/1.8 aperture lens and a 12 megapixel high-speed sensor.
- Apple has overhauled the flash, adding four LED lights and the ability to compensate for the flickering of artificial light.
- The big change comes to those who shell out for the iPhone 7 Plus. It features two 12 megapixel cameras -- one with a wide-angle lens, another with a telephoto lens for better zooming. It also allows for bokeh, those artful blurry circles you’ll see in photos with lots of depth of field. It achieves this using machine learning to apply a depth map to an image and blur the background.
- The iPhone 7 comes with a Retina HD display that’s 25% brighter than the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus.
- Farewell headphone jack. Apple nixed the industury standard 3.5-millimeter headphone jack and replaced it with speakers -- one at the top and one at the bottom. This gives the iPhone 7 stereo sound that’s twice as loud.
- Apple will use its proprietary lightning port as its a digital audio connection.
- Every iPhone 7 will ship with a pair of earbuds that connect through the lightning port, and an adapter that works with wired headphones.
- Apple defends getting rid of the headphone jack as a sign of the company’s courage, a shift that will help the company make phones smaller -- and a step toward a wireless future.
No change in naming conventions this time, folks.
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook kicks off the most-anticipated segment of the event: the iPhone.
He begins by declaring that Apple has sold over 1 billion iPhones.
“This makes it the best-selling product of its kind in the history of the world,” Cook says.
Though critics have said the Apple Watch wasn’t quite the game-changer that Apple might have hoped for, it was No. 2 in worldwide watch sales in 2015, behind only Rolex. It was also the top-selling smart watch.
Here’s what’s new for watch owners:
- Pokémon Go is coming to the watch.
- A new operating system, WatchOS3, lets users hold a button on the side to call 911.
And here’s what’s new for the upcoming Apple Watch Series 2.
- It’s “swim-proof,” rated water resistant to 50 meters. The speaker, previously a place where water could enter and damage the watch, was redesigned to use the speaker itself to eject water.
- It boasts a dual-core processor said to be up to 50% faster than its predecessor.
- The graphics processing unit will be twice as powerful, running 60 frames per second.
- The display will be twice as bright -- the brightest display Apple has ever shipped.
- Apple will ship a ceramic model.
- Built-in GPS for runners, walkers and cyclists who would prefer to log their workouts without bringing along a phone.
- There’s also a collaboration with Nike+ intended to court runners with a sports-specific watch model and an app.
Here’s the pricing:
- Apple Watch series 2: $369
- Apple Watch Nike Plus: $369
- Apple Watch (original but with the same dual-core processor): Starts at $269
Apple Watch OS3 launches Tuesday. Apple Watch Series 2 goes on sale the following week
Apple Music Update:
-- The service now has 17 million paid subscribers.
-- The 10th anniversary of the Apple Music Festival will feature Britney Spears, Elton John and One Republic.
-- 140 billion apps have been downloaded from the Apple App Store.
-- In the most recent quarter, the App Store grossed two times more revenue than its nearest competitor.
After stubbornly holding out on bringing Super Mario video games to mobile devices, Nintendo gave in on Wednesday, announcing at Apple’s product event in San Francisco that it will release “Super Mario Run” on iOS.
The game will be released sometime during the holidays at a yet-to-be-announced set price.
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook kicks off the event with a “Carpool Karaoke” skit filmed with “Late Late Show” host James Corden and musician Pharrell Williams. They cruise through downtown Los Angeles as Cook shows off one of his lesser known skills: singing.
Ten minutes to showtime and the auditorium is still getting seated. Apple execs have reserved seats near the front, the news media is sandwiched in the middle and other guests are seated right at the back.
Apple executive Craig Federighi remained tight-lipped when a reporter passing him asked, “So how do you feel about the new iPhone?”
New iPhones don’t just drive sales for Apple — they drive entire industries. For retailers that stock electronics, a new line of iPhones reels in new customers. For manufacturers of phone peripherals, such as headsets and cases, a new line of iPhones means a new suite of products.
It makes sense then that ecommerce giant Amazon and the companies that make phone accessories get details about Apple products before they come out.
But having all those people in the know can pose a bit of a problem for Apple.
A specialized Amazon page for the iPhone 7 went live an hour before Apple’s big announcement — revealing key details about the much anticipated gadget, Gizmodo reports.
According to the tech blog, pictures on the page seemed to confirm some longstanding iPhone 7 rumors including the removal of the headphone jack and dual back-facing cameras.
The rumor mill was in full swing ahead of Wednesday’s iPhone announcement by Apple.
Here’s what people were saying. We’ll soon see whether the speculation was on target or not.
The doors have not yet opened outside the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, where the tech media have gathered in anticipation of Apple’s newest suite of products.
Global media outlets, regional papers, bloggers and analysts are milling about, badges in hand, waiting to snag seats inside. TV news crews are lining the block near City Hall, preparing to provide hot commentary on the only gadget release that gets treated like international news.
With 34 minutes until kickoff, the mood, though, remains relaxed.
Apple isn’t exactly doing poorly. In the three months that ended in July, its revenue was $42.4 billion, of which $7.8 billion was profit. But analysts and investors will be watching today’s product unveiling with added scrutiny because 2016 was the first year since 2002 in which Apple’s sales slumped. And if there’s one thing the tech industry is scared of, it’s slowed growth. The company’s stock took a 5.4% hit in January after it first reported iPhone sales stagnating.
The iPhone is Apple’s marquee product and its biggest seller, but customers are choosing to hold onto their phones longer — slowing sales.
“Consumers used to upgrade their smartphones every 2.5 years, but now we’re seeing an elongated upgrade cycle,” said Daniel Ives, senior vice president of corporate development at mobile tech firm Synchronous Technologies.
“The big question for the industry is whether this upgrade cycle will offer enough features and functionality to get consumers to go to the next version of the iPhone.”
Ahead of Apple’s news conference, we spoke with analysts and industry insiders to get their predictions on what the tech giant will announce today.
- iPhone 7: Pundits expect the newest iPhone to look a lot like the iPhone 6 and 6S and be available in a 4.7-inch version and a 5.5-nch version.
- New iPhone 7 colors: Rose gold, gold and silver are now staples, but there’s also talk of a “dark black” and “piano black.”
- Farewell, audio jack: Perhaps the most controversial rumor is that Apple is doing away with the 3.5-millimeter audio jack in favor of wireless earphones. We’d be surprised if Beats, the headphone company Apple acquired for $3 billion, doesn’t make an appearance
- Hello, dual lenses: Apple all but decimated the point-and-shoot camera market with the iPhone 5. Analysts expect the company to now go after the high-end camera market with dual-lens cameras on the iPhone 7.
- Apple Watch 2: Remember the Apple Watch? Yeah, another one of those.
- OS update: Analysts are also betting that Apple will announce launch dates for its new operating systems for its phones, Apple Watch and Apple TV.
- One more thing: Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was famous for having a surprise or two up his sleeve. Although CEO Tim Cook has shown a preference for figurative vests, we’re not going to rule out an unexpected announcement.