It’s that time of the year again. Earlier today Apple hosted an event to launch its latest devices, the iPhone 7 and second generation Apple Watch. While there were no new Macbooks or iPads at this event, we still got a lot of new stuff, so let’s go over everything you need to know.
The biggest announcement surrounding today’s event was the highly anticipated iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. These two new devices don’t look too different compared to the iPhone 6 family, but they do bring a lot of new changes both inside and out.
The first big note is the screen. Just like on the 6S the iPhone 7 has a 4.7″ display (5.5″ for the 7 Plus) but this time with a wider color gamut and higher brightness levels. Up front the home button has also been changed to a force touch button, meaning that it’s no longer an actual button but rather a touch sensor only, sort of like the Macbook. With that also comes an improved haptic engine to make it so it still feels like you’re pushing a button and Apple also says it will be “customizable” although they don’t say what that means.
As for the design, it’s basically the same. The antenna lines have been moved out of place a bit, the headphone jack is gone (more on that in a second), and the entire device is now water resistant. Apple hasn’t said if this is an IP68 or IP67 rating, but the device will be able to withstand a splash or drop into water.
For audio, we get a bit of good and a lot (depending on how you look at it) of bad. On the plus side, the iPhone now has stereo speakers! They aren’t front facing unfortunately, but both sides of the phone now house speakers, providing a much better listening experience. On the other hand, yes, the headphone jack is gone. In a move which Apple called “courageous”, the phone no longer uses the 3.5mm headphone jack and instead pushes customers to use the Lightning port with the included headphones or wireless options. With that, Apple is also offering a pair of $159 truly wireless earbuds called “AirPods”. Those have 5 hours of battery life on their own, extended to a full day with the charging case, and will be available in October. A Lightning to 3.5mm headphone jack will also be included in the box.
Under the hood the iPhone also now has the Apple A10 chipset, a 4-core processor which Apple says is 40% faster than the already super quick iPhone 6S’ A9 processor. Battery life should also benefit from this new chip.
As for cameras, the iPhone 7 now has a 12MP rear camera at f/1.8 for improved low light photography. The 7 Plus has this same sensor, but there is also a second sensor on that device to allow for better zoom that doesn’t sacrifice quality.
Pricing for the iPhone 7 once again starts at $649, but this time with 32GB of storage as the base model. From there you’ll move up to 128GB and 256GB for $749 and $849 respectively. The iPhone 7 Plus will start at $769. Both devices come in gold, rose gold, and silver, but this time around those colors are joined by black and jet black. Where black is simply a darker Space Grey, Jet Black brings a glossy finish which looks more like glass than it does aluminum. Both devices will be available for pre-order on September 9th and for sale next week. Oh, and they come with iOS 10 as well.
Apple Watch 2
Next let’s talk Apple Watch. For the second generation of Apple Watch, the company has used the exact same design, but made from internal upgrades. The first and biggest update is the improved water resistance. With a Series 2 Apple Watch, users will be able to swim with the watch on and track their swims with updates to the health apps.
The Apple Watch Series 2 also brings a new and improved processor and a display that measures in at 1000 nits in brightness, brighter than most smartphones.
GPS is also now built in and a ceramic white option is now available in addition to the aluminum and steel variants. A special Nike+ edition of the watch is also available with Nike branding and an admittedly sweet band along with it.
Apple Watch Series 2 starts at $369 with pre-orders kicking off September 9th with the full release coming September 16th. For those who can do without the GPS and swimproof design, the original Apple Watch will be gaining the same new processor with a new starting price of $269.