To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to be impressed with Apple’s press conference yesterday. Instead, I was amazed. Here are the big announcements out of it that you need to know about.
Apple CEO Tim Cook opened the press conference with a dedication of the new Steve Jobs Theater. He also showed some views of the new Apple headquarters building., which the company will be moving into shortly. This circular building is enormous and 100% powered by solar energy. Bloody astonishing. Next was a quickie update on their new retail store revisions. Called Town Squares, the newer and larger stores should better serve new customers.
The first big announcement of the day was the introduction of the new Apple Watch Series 3. It follows a growth path of 50% over last year for smart watches. And the big deal is that the Apple Watch is now the No. 1 watch ahead of Rolex and all the others. Who would have thought? Anyway, the new watches have enhanced fitness features with an emphasis on heart monitoring, along with improved measurement and notification. A new Watch OS4 goes with the new models.
But the really big announcement was the Apple Watch with built-in cellular. Yes indeed, it includes a full blown LTE modem along with the usual Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios in a new W2 wireless chip. You can actually make and receive calls, text, and look at e-mail from your watch, without your iPhone nearby. That is an amazing accomplishment; just think of all the filters and other radio parts they had to cram in there. The hardest part is the antenna that they embedded in the touchscreen. Other features include GPS, an altimeter, and Siri.
Apple innovation continues, in my opinion. The new cellular watch is available for $399—an excellent accomplishment and price.
Apple also introduced its new Apple TV iteration, which now includes 4K high dynamic range (HDR) capability. It uses a new more powerful A10X processor and TV OS. It would appear Apple really is trying hard to be a bigger player in the TV industry.
Incredible New iPhone8s
The biggest announcements, of course, were the iPhones. And I don’t think anyone was disappointed. Apple introduced the iPhone8 in a base model with a 4.7-in. screen, along with the Plus model with a 5.5-in. screen. It has a new glass front and back package. The new cases are offered in silver, space gray, and gold.
The new iPhone8 comes with a hot new 6 core processor chip called the A11 Bionic. Among the key features are new 12 M pixel cameras with photo optimization capability and augmented reality, ready to use. The cellular technology is the latest LTE-Advanced for high speed connections. And as everyone expected, wireless charging is built in. It uses the Qi wireless charging standard and will work with third-party vendors like Belkin.
These new phones can be ordered on Sept. 15, with availability on Sept. 22. The basic iPhone8 retails for $699, and the iPhone8 Plus for $799. Both are excellent replacements for the previous iPhone7s.
One More Thing
That’s the expression used to wrap up the press conference. That one more thing was the really big announcement: the iPhoneX. Yes, an iPhone8 and an iPhoneX. They bill this new model as “the future of the smartphone.” I have to agree.
The features are so revolutionary I won’t try to delve into them here, but you will see what I mean from the summary below:
- Glass front and rear body. Water and dust resistant.
- Super retina display, 5.8 in. OLED technology with 2,436 × 1,125 pixels for amazing resolution.
- A11 Bionic processor.
- No home button. Just swipe up from the bottom to get the menu icons.
- Facial recognition to unlock using Face ID that uses special IR camera and multiple sensors, along with machine learning algorithms in a neural net engine in a special dual-core processor.
- Dual 12 M pixel cameras with image optimization and compensation.
- New augmented reality capability that hopefully will become standard platform for AR developers of games, etc.
- Apple Pay with FaceID authentication.
- Animated Emojis. A real gimmick but totally cool. Bound to be a huge hit.
- And I probably forgot something.
This is a huge step forward in the evolution of the smartphone, as Apple says. The iPhone8 is great by itself but the iPhoneX is even better. It is pricey, as expected: $999 for the 64GB model. You can order as of Oct. 27, with first deliveries expected by Nov. 3.
I still have an iPhone5 and it serves me well. I was not planning to get a replacement yet, but after these exceptional announcements I am re-evaluating.
Go to the Apple website for more details.