The 2017 Apple Event is a go! We will have the major items recapped for you and then some rapid reaction – first thought kind of stuff as the event unfolds. Make sure you are checking back regularly, as we will update the post as more items are launched, announced, and unveiled. No one knows for sure what Apple will have up their sleeves, but you can be sure that we will cover all of it!
Before the actual news begins, there is a pretty neat presentation to honor Steve Jobs, and discuss the new Apple Campus that is powered by 100% renewable energy, and is “kicked off” by the opening of this new Steve Jobs Theatre. There is also a Visitors Centre that will open a little later on this year, along with a retail store. Apple Campus as a tourist destination!
They also make official the “Today at Apple” concept, which will reshape how the Retail Stores look and function – they are moving towards a “town square” environment, with open forums for learning and doing all kinds of business level activities. They are going to be spending a LOT of money to restore places all over the world, and make them more open and customer centric.
- There will be 2 new devices called the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. It will feature a new glass front and back, and the aluminum frame will match the color of the glass back. There will be 3 colors – a new gold, silver, and gray. It will feature water resistance, and have a new “Retina HD” display as well as stereo speakers. The new A11 Bionic chip will power it all, and feature a custom CPU and GPU for the first time.
- The cameras will also feature a custom ISP (image signal processor), which should allow Apple to produce even higher quality images than ever before. This should mean: better low light performance, enhanced portrait mode, and a new feature called “portrait lighting” which Apple is claiming will allow you to improve or enhance the lighting on a subject in different conditions. The portrait lighting feature will launch in beta with the phones, much the way the portrait mode did with the iPhone 7 Plus. The iPhone 8 Plus will feature a whole new dual camera setup, built for AR as well. It will come in 64GB and 256GB storage options, will start at $699/$799 for the 8 and 8 Plus, and will be avaialble to pre-order on 09/15 and will ship on 09/22.
- There will also be the all new iPhone X (or iPhone 10) that will feature a 5.8″ Super Retina Display, with a resolution of 2436×1125 (458ppi) featuring a new OLED display and an all new camera setup. Its going to support HDR in the display, as well as the HDR 10 and Dolby Vision standard used in the Apple TV 4k. It will use a new tech called Face ID to unlock the phone, since there is no home button, and will have dual OIS on the cameras. The Face ID is supported by a machine learning algorithm, which is designed to keep learning your face as it changes over time. It also will work in light or dark conditions, although take that with a grain of salt.
- Wireless charging, using the Qi charging standard, is also supported and it will have a “tap to wake” display in addition to the Face ID unlock technology. Portrait mode will also now be avaialble for both the front and rear facing cameras on the iPhone X. It will come in the same 64/256GB storage options, but will start at $999. It won’t be available for pre-order until 10/27, and won’t ship until 11/03.
My first thought was…iPhone X – its cool but too expensive! Some of the features they showed off (like animated emojis) are just trash. Will some of the hype fade because of how long it will take to ship? This is counter to Apple’s usual strategy of “its here tomorrow and you can buy it in a week” kind of thing. The device in performance on stage appeared incredibly fluid and smooth. It’s going to take people a while to get used to the new UI and actions though I think.
Sean P says…the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are nice updates from a technical standpoint, but the design is way tired at this point. It’s been 4 years of the same thing. I’m sure they’ll still sell like crazy, but compared to the new phones from Samsung, Essential and LG, they just look old. The iPhone X is the most bleeding edge iPhone from a design standpoint since the iPhone 4. I don’t like the camera bump and I’m not a huge fan of the elongated notch at the top, but otherwise it’s really, really nice. Technologically it’s without peer, although FaceID at best looks like a sidestep versus TouchID. I generally think it won’t be as convenient. If Apple manages to get the under screen fingerprint scanner working next year, it’ll be interesting to see how they spin it. I think it’s going to be very difficult to get and obviously is very expensive. It’s the most interesting phone Apple has made in years.
Apple TV news:
- The new Apple TV will have both 4k and HDR support, which will include the HDR 10 and Dolby Vision standards (for those of you who are AV nerds and know what all of that is) – basically, the new Apple TV will be Ultra High Def if you have a Ultra HD televsion. The tvOS app and UI have been redesigned in 4k to make them sharper and easier to use. Its powered by the same processor that runs the iPad Pro, so it should be plenty fast and powerful. The Apple TV service will now have live sports and news coming as well, with some other great features. And if you’ve already made some HD content purchases via the iTunes store, you’ll get some of them updated to 4k automatically. This may vary depending on the movie, but the studios that Apple has agreements with will honor this upgrade. It costs $179, will be up for pre-order on 09/15 and will ship a week later on 09/22.
My first thought was…this is nice, but I’m not sure Apple has the chops to get into the game when Roku and Amazon are still smoking them in the “TV stick or appliance” arena. Remains to be seen – but I do like the option to watch live sports and news.
Sean P says…the AppleTV 4K is pretty slick. The game demo was cool looking, but I doubt people will use the AppleTV for gaming very often.
Apple Watch news:
- The new Apple Watch series 3 will feature a dual core processor, a custom wireless W2 chip to handle Bluetooth and WiFi, and a barometric altimeter. It will also feature an upgraded heart rate sensor that will be able to evaluate both resting and recovering heart rates, for you fitness enthusiasts out there. There will be a big push from Apple in the health area as well, as they are looking into monitoring folks at risk of an elevated heart rate without any activity being registered, with the hope of detecting AFIB ahead of time. There will also be an Apple Heart Study, ongoing after the device launches. It will also launch with watchOS 4.
- There will also be a version with cellular connectivity that will allow you to take and make phone calls right from the watch. There will be 3 colors at launch, a rose gold, silver, and space gray, and the version w/out cellular will start at $329, and the version with cellular will start at $399 – pre-orders start on 09/15, and it will be available on 09/22. *There is info that even the Apple Watch with cellular will still need to be paired with an iPhone of some kind, running iOS 11.
My first thought was…they lead with the Apple Watch? I get that you want to save the big stuff for the end, but just because sales are up 50% year over year and its the #1 watch in the world doesn’t mean its a growth product. Meh. Maybe they are saving lives with a watch but I’m a bit more skeptical than that.
Sean P says…the Apple Watch is the best smart watch from a functionality and features standpoint, but still doesn’t look that good.
Other Apple News:
- A new Air Power wireless charging mat! Looks like Apple is getting into the wireless charging game, punching out this new wireless mat and a bunch of other wireless accessories to go along with it (like a wireless case for Airpods) – more on this to come, all we got was a “sneak peak.”
My first thought was…more stuff to buy on top of the expensive stuff Apple already wants me to buy!
Sean P says…whatever. LOL.