Apple September Event 2016
Video provided by Apple Inc. © Apple Inc
After giving us a very poor resolution teaser image, Apple today at their September Event presented what we all expected, the iPhone 7, but also a few extras along the way, which we’ll cover as we get to them.
Apps… a lot of Nintendo
We knew it was coming, but probably weren’t expecting it quite now, Nintendo have finally put one of their main series titles on to a mobile device and it’s none other than Super Mario.
Now, before you get too excited, this isn’t true Super Mario, or at least as it is on Nintendo’s consoles, but Super Mario Run is fully fledged Mario though at the same time it is just an endless runner.
Whilst it’s not out just yet, Super Mario Run will be free to download from the iOS App Store to try, but will have a one-time purchase available to get the full App. Though pricing is coming later, but the App is visible from the App Store now.
Yes, Pokémon GO is coming to the Apple Watch …take that Android Wear. Niantic took the stage at the Apple Event to talk about their Pokémon GO Plus Accessory, which will be coming out by the end of the month, but of course the big focus is the Apple Watch app.
We’ve been saying how good it would be to utilise the Apple Watch with Pokémon GO since it’s original inception, just a bit of a shame that it’s happened just as the Apps use has more than declined, but personally we’re very excited though very curious about how the App actually works, mainly the following;
- Does the iPhone app have to be open
- Is the Watch app always on, and if so how will it affect Watch battery life
- Notification and Item collecting from PokeStops
- Wild encounter notifications, naturally no Catching
- Egg hatching notifications “Oh”, including live hatching of Eggs
- Watch complication to show Egg steps required.
Pokémon GO is set to be updated with Apple Watch support very soon, interestingly it said Nearby on Apple Watch …does that mean they’ve fixed Nearby?!
Apple Watch Series 2
If you were expecting much in terms of design changes with the Apple Watch 2 … we know it’s Series 2 but that’s such a dumb name we’re defining it as 2, but as we were saying if you’re waiting for a new design on this years Apple Watch, expect to be disappointed.
Dimension, size options and practically all styles look identical on the new Apple Watch from the last, that’s not to say the last one was bad, but if you weren’t a fan of the design of Apple Watch that naturally ain’t gonna change this year.
But improvements internally is something Apple have done to the Apple Watch 2 in the following ways;
- Apple S2 Processor is Dual Core and includes twice as powerful GPU
- Apple Watch display can get very bright, up to 1,000 nits
- GPS built in
- Truly water resistant
To touch more heavily on one of those points, the Apple Watch 2 is now what Apple are defining as “Swim proof”, whereas the original Apple Watch was “Splash proof”. Considering the IP65 rating of the original Apple Watch, the Apple Watch 2 is now truly Water resistant, meaning you can submerge an Apple Watch in water up to 50 meters, and based on Apple’s very vigorous testing, it’s nearest as can be (for electronics) to waterproof.
Apple even have a rather ingenious way to get rid of water which gets in to the Speaker holes, to use the speaker vibration to eject any left-in water, that’s pretty cool.
Featuring a GPS, the Apple Watch can now be used separate from an iPhone for much more fitness and use more than ever, naturally no Cellular option will limit you to literally just that, but for that you likely have your iPhone with you anyway.
Two new Apple Watch options
First up is Ceramic, this Apple Watch Edition features a ceramic finish, offering a glossy pearl white design all around and really stands out, maybe a bit too much for us, but we’re still a big fan of what they’ve done with this design.
The Apple Watch Edition however, being Edition, won’t be cheap and will cost you a nice £1,249 (38mm) or £1,299 (42mm) … ouch.
Apple have had a partnership with Nike since forever, and this was the first real time they brought that to the Apple Watch, with the Apple Watch Nike+ … nice name. Whilst we’re not personally a fan of the customisations Nike have brought to watchOS, such as telling you to go for a run because you either haven’t yet, or it’s been a day, but we do love the look of the bands with the combination of black (or shades of grey) and a lime green just look awesome.
The Apple Watch Nike+ will be priced the same as all Apple Watch Series 2 Sport, but more on pricing now;
What’s with the price bump?! + Apple Watch Series 1
The original Apple Watch debuted with a starting price for the 38mm Apple Watch Sport, of £299. However, the Apple Watch Series 2 starts at £369 … why!? Theres literally no reason to bump up the default price of the Apple Watch like that! Sure, we know it’s better, but it’s still a bit pathetic, especially for something which hasn’t visually changed at all. Disappointed us there Apple!
Also, whilst we’re talking negative, the second Apple Watch doesn’t improve in battery life AT ALL, the same estimation 18 hours stands … great.
Apple Watch Series 1 ….the first one with slightly changed internals
The original Apple Watch has been slightly tweaked … and we mean slightly, the processor S1 is now Dual Core, but that doesn’t mean the Watch has the Series 2 CPU oh no, it’s the S1p, but will continue to start at the recently standard price of £269.
Full UK Apple Watch Price
SERIES ONE – slightly tweaked first one
- Sport: from £269 (38mm) or £299 (42mm)
- Sport: from £369 (38mm) or £399 (42mm)
- Stainless Steel: from £549 (38mm) or £599 (42mm)
- Edition (Ceramic): from £1,249 (38mm) or £1,299 (42mm)
- Nike+: from £369 (38mm) or £399 (42mm)
- Hermés: from £1,149 all the way to near £1,600
Apple Watch Series 2 and Series 1 will be available for pre-order Friday September 9th.
Summary of Apple Watch Series 2
It goes without saying we’re a bit disappointed with the Apple Watch Series 2 … and it’s not just in the name. We’ve love our Apple Watch since we got ours back in May 2015, hasn’t left our wrist and it’s on it now as I write this, but the improvements are just not there to justify what is the Series 2.
Now, we understand GPS alone will be enough to sell anyone to the Apple Watch Series 2, and we admit we wouldn’t mind one of those Nike+ Straps, but for everything else, watchOS 3 is coming to the original Apple Watch so we’d say for that reason, upgrading is far from necessary.
This is the iPhone 7, that’s right, after years of getting whiter and whiter, the iPhone has gone back to black … ok the usual white face options are available like Silver, Gold and Rose Gold, but for lovers of dark the iPhone 7 could be just what you’ve been waiting for in terms of design.
New Colours – Jet Black (Glossy) and …Black (Matte)
This is the new colour option you’ll be seeing on all the billboards, the Jet Black version of the iPhone 7, shown on the 7 Plus above. Leaks suggested a Piano black, and we can kind of see where they were coming from, though based on it’s construction all we’re going to say is, expect the finger print magnets usually attributed to devices like the Galaxy S6 and S7.
Not a fan of glossy and prefer a more matte feel, well thankfully there’s a new ‘Black’ iPhone, shown off above on the iPhone 7 above. This is the colour option replacing Space Grey and we think it’s a decent replacement, though despite the solid black Apple logo, we’d hardly call it Black and think it’d probably look better with a Silver or White Apple logo ourselves.
But, let’s get to the iPhones themselves;
As is the case of iPhones of late, there’s a base model then a Plus model which is more or less the same minus a few changes exclusive to the more expensive Plus, so needless to say, unless specified otherwise, everything on the iPhone 7, is on the iPhone 7 Plus.
But before we get to what’s changed, let’s briefly go over what’s NOT changed since the 6S;
- Screen options remain 4.7 and 5.5
- Displays whilst brighter and with more colour gamut are the SAME resolution (also no Night Shift display like on iPad Pro 9.7)
But, what are the big features of the new iPhone 7;
Whilst the resolution of the Camera on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus remains at 12MP things have made a very big change, the Camera (rumoured to be the same Sony sensor on the S7) now features quite a bunch of features to get you excited;
- Quad LED Flash – True Tone X2, two white LEDs and two coloured LEDs to make the perfect flash
- New Image Signal Processor allowing 2X throughput, essentially takes better pictures
- RAW Capture available natively
- Optical Image Stabilisation on ALL iPhone 7 models
Apple also didn’t forget about the front of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, as their you’ll find a pretty beefy 7 MegaPixel HD Camera up front with software stabilisation and wide angle photography.
7 Plus Camera
Like the iPhone 7, the iPhone 7 Plus also has a new 12MP Camera, however the iPhone 7 Plus has two of them, but not all is how it may seem. Whilst the Camera on the left of the iPhone 7 Plus is the same as the primary iPhone 7 Camera in every way, the one on the right is where things start getting interesting as that Camera has a much wider and further depth of field than the one on the left, essentially allowing you to affectively Optically Zoom.
Now before the Camera freaks hit at us for saying that, it affectively is to the user, as the iPhone 7 Plus zooms, it switches from the first Camera to the second losing none of the 12MP resolution, you can also do this simply within the Camera app using a 1x and 2x controller at the bottom.
Also, thanks to the iPhone 7 Plus having two Cameras, the iPhone captures much more information when taking a picture allowing more depth of field to be taken, and Apple are taking advantage of this with a new Camera option ‘Portrait’. Whilst on any device today you can take a picture of something close up, and the Camera will zoom the surroundings, Apple seemingly wants to give you the option to do that everywhere and that’s what Portrait will allow. BUT IT’S NOT READY YET…..yeah oddly this isn’t ready yet and will be coming in a future update … great?!
Regardless though the iPhone 7 Camera was already a world of improvement over the iPhone 6S and now the iPhone 7 Plus takes that a step further.
2. Dual Speakers
Here’s a surprise, SOMETHING WHICH DIDN’T LEAK! Whilst everyone knew the 3.5mm headphone jack wouldn’t be in the iPhone, the world originally thought the bottom would house two bottom firing speakers, which was later turned to being the one mono and that was that … well both were wrong, the iPhone 7 has dual *almost front-firing* speakers, which is awesome as even today a ton of Smartphones seem to have stopped adding that over the last generations.
Ironically, where the top speaker is was never clarified but hands on will confirm as there’s no visible grills on the top of the iPhones, though we’re a big fan of dual speakers.
3. Performance of the A10…Fusion
As much as I’m ready to hype about how powerful the A10 is, why did Apple feel they had to add a pointless word like Fusion after it?! Regardless, the A10 is powerful and it without a shadow of a doubt will outperform what’s available today and that’s saying something by how powerful Android phones with the Snapdragon 820 are.
Even today, the Apple iPhone 6S is the fastest Smartphone you can buy in terms of overall benchmarks, app launch and ironically RAM management despite just having 2GB and more … so when we tell you that the iPhone 7 takes all that 6S performance and adding 40% improvements to that, the competition just disappears.
Some more stats include;
- 40% increase from 6S
- 64-bit Quad Core
- 6-core Graphics which are 50% faster than last years
It goes without saying that the A10 is easily the fastest chip in a Smartphone today, if there’s one thing Apple is more than ahead of the game on, it’s chipsets.
4. Storage Options
Whilst Apple will sell the iPhone 7 Plus and 7, alongside previous iPhone 6S, 6S Plus and SE, Apple haven’t left it there. FINALLY, the iPhone doesn’t start with 16GB out of the box … in fact ALL OVER 4 INCH iPhones you purchase from Apple won’t start from 16GB of storage that’s a big deal! (unfortunately SE, you’re still 16GB and 64GB, two configurations not even available at all on others)
7 AND 7 PLUS
On the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus you have a pretty incredible selection to choose from, essentially everything doubles whilst keeping the price more or less the same! Whilst the 4.7 inch iPhone sees a slight decrease, a minor increase on the 5.5, but still decent. But, let’s not forget, contracts are a thing.
- 32GB (7 = £599 or 7 Plus = £719)
- 128GB (7 = £699 or 7 Plus = £819)
- 256GB (7 = £799 or 7 Plus = £919)
NOTE: Whilst Black (matte) will be available on all configurations, Jet Black will only be available in 128GB or 256GB
6S AND 6S PLUS
But, Apple haven’t kept this to the latest, whilst keeping sales of iPhone 6S on sale at a reduced starting price of £499 or £599 for 6S or 6S Plus respectively, you can get;
- 32GB (6S = £499 or 6S Plus = £599)
- 128GB (6S = £599 or 6S Plus = £699)
5. Water Resistance
Call me that guy, but this is one area of the iPhone 7 that Apple cheaped out on and that’s water and dust protection. Whereas devices like the Samsung Galaxy S7 have IP68, the iPhone 7 is stuck at IP67 … now I know what you’re thinking, what’s a number? Well, quite a lot actually.
What this means is whilst the iPhone 7 isn’t now guaranteed to break after being exposed to some water, it by far isn’t water resistance, if it was IP68 we’d be claiming withstanding up to 50 meters of water, something IP67 cannot do. IP67 is the rating given to the original Apple Watch meaning the iPhone 7 can withstand water, but not be submerged, it’s also worth noting that even Apple’s media claim “Liquid damage not covered under warranty”, think that illustrates my point.
6. Home Button
One major feature of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus isn’t really that incredible, but does have the potential to be pretty incredible and that’s that the Home button found on the iPhone 7 … well ain’t really a button. Using the Haptic engine, Apple have done what they’ve done to their Trackpads and even the iPhone display and thats create essentially a virtual software button.
Now, we’re not sure if their is any physical travel on the iPhone 7 home buttons as pushing the Home and Lock together is required for Recovery, but as far as what Apple reports, the iPhone 7 home button does use the Haptic engine and does also feature pressure sensitivity allowing stock and 3rd party apps to have extra functionality, though time will tell on that.
7. That headphone jack
Yep, we knew it was coming and it happened. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus do not have a traditional analogue 3.5mm headphone jack, even the included Apple EarPods have a Lightning end, but surprisingly for Apple if you do have 3.5mm headphones you can use the included adapter in the box, so there’s that.
Look, we could go on about why Apple are doing this and try to uncover Phil Schiller’s almost theatrical attempt at an emotional excuse for it’s removal, it’s happened but the industry knew it was coming and thus the world will move on, it’s begun on Android and iPhone is only natural to go that way too.
8. AirPods …Air..noo
I’m sorry but what the heck are these meant to be?! They’re horrible. These are Apple’s AirPods and they will set you back £159, holy cow who thought that was a good idea!
Not only do AirPods look terrible, but if they’re based on Apple’s wired EarPods they will sound terrible too there’s literally no pros to these things, and with a 5 hour battery life, just no Apple, just no.
To make up for the AirPods laughable battery life, Apple even throughs in basically a Battery pack for them, this Container acts as a 24 hour battery for the AirPods to make them almost last. Honestly I’m finding it hard to even praise them slightly, so we’ll end it there.
Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be available for pre-order Friday September 9th 2016.
Summary of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
Despite ending on a bum-note, honestly those AirPods are terrible, it’s fair to say the iPhone 7 has been everything we expected it to be and it’s now up to you whether that’s what you want in your next Smartphone.
Whilst the new darker colour options are great, the lack of any dark UI in iOS 10 shadows that for us, plus with Apple still using IPS panels rather than OLED we can’t imagine anything that special from the Display, even if it is brighter and offers more accurate colours, Apple will spend another year with the lowest resolution high end Smartphones. Having said that, their are Pros to the iPhone 7 models and we’re likely to see those as the days and months go by.