Following several big announcements from its competitors, all eyes were on Apple to deliver some groundbreaking reveals during its September 2017 keynote address. A new hardware showcase and software update details were expected, with rumors and leaks pouring in about what could be next from the tech titan.
Apple spent a total of two hours detailing its plans for iPhone, Apple Watch, Apple TV, iOS 11 and MacOS. Two hours is a lot of time, and so I’m here to trim the “iFat” and give you the info that matters most. Here we go!
iPhone 8 and 8 Plus – An Evolution
The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus were revealed together, and rock a similar aesthetic to last year’s models. The biggest external change is the new glass material covering the rear of the phones. This allows them to finally support wireless charging. Display size remains unchanged (4.7” and 5.5”), and color options have been refined to a choice between black, silver, and a new (non-rose) gold.
Internally, things get a little more interesting, with Apple’s new A11 Bionic processor powering the full range of 2017 iPhones. I’ll skip the technical mumbo-jumbo and just state that it’s supposed to be an absolute beast, and should ensure any lag or slowdown is kept at bay.
Then there’s the camera (iPhone 8) and cameras (iPhone 8 Plus), which are tuned to allow for better performance in darker conditions. Apple is claiming it will let in 83% more light than the iPhone 7’s shooter. That’s cool, but what’s even cooler, is “Portrait Lighting.” This uses machine learning to analyze the light on a person’s face, and alter it to look more flattering, without resorting to the blurry effects of those horrid “beauty modes.”
The iPhone 8 will be available for $699, while the iPhone 8 Plus will cost $799. Both will be made available on September 22, with pre-orders being taken from September 15.
iPhone X – The Revolution
We were then introduced to the iPhone X (pronounced “iPhone ten”). This device is all screen, save for a tiny fringe at the top, which contains a bunch of sensors. The iPhone X boasts a 5.8” edge-to-edge “Super Retina” display, which is bigger than the iPhone 8 Plus’, despite the smaller form factor of the phone. It’s OLED, too, which should look more impressive than the other models’ IPS LCDs. Though all three new iPhones will support HDR content, it’ll be the iPhone X which showcases it the best.
The iPhone X also wins the camera game, with a slightly more impressive telephoto lens and optical image stabilization for both rear cameras. The iPhone X’s front-facing camera is also superior, with “TrueDepth” technology enabling the phone’s selfie cam to use Portrait Lighting.
Speaking of cameras, let’s quickly talk about the iPhone X-exclusive “FaceID” and “Animojis.” The former is a new way of unlocking your phone with your face, as the Home button is now gone! While the latter is the abomination that results from combining “animated” and “emojis”…
The iPhone X will be priced at $999, and will launch later than the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus on November 3. (Pre-orders will open up on October 27.)
Apple Supports Augmented Reality
If you’re big into games, you may have already heard about Apple’s new ARKit platform, which provides developers with the tools needed to create augmented reality experiences. Well, we finally got to see a game in action! Directive Games took to the stage with The Machines, a strategy title that has players physically moving around the battlefield.
What’s cool about augmented reality apps and games, is that you won’t be needing the latest iPhone to experience them. AR content is coming to the iPhone 6S and all later models.
Apple Watch Series 3 Can Go It Alone
The Apple Watch Series 3 was also announced, with its standout feature being cellular support. This means that it’ll work alone, without an iPhone. For example, if you wanted to go for a jog, and make a call during your cooldown, you can now do that. Also, during that same hypothetical jog, if you want to stream music without a phone, the new Series 3 will let you.
The watch’s processor and wireless chips have also been given an upgrade, making them more powerful, but also more power efficient. Oh, and Siri can now be heard through the watch’s speaker, meaning you won’t have to look at your wrist for information.
You can drop $399 (or $329 without cellular) right now on a pre-order, with the device set to launch on September 22.
Apple TV 4K With HDR Support
Apple TV 4K with HDR support also got a big reveal. The name is a pretty big giveaway, but yeah, it’s a new Apple TV box that supports 4K and HDR streaming.
4K HDR content has become easy to find, with Netflix and Amazon Video hosting a variety of high-res, high dynamic range shows and movies, and now Apple’s own iTunes has started to host 4K HDR content.
The 32GB variant is priced at $179, while doubling up on memory with the 64GB model will set you back $199. You can pre-order Apple TV 4K now, with orders shipping September 22.
AirPower Pad Lets You Charge It All, Cable-Free!
So you’ve got your new iPhone, your Apple Watch, and your AirPods, and you need to charge them all at once. Three cables is messy, but that’s the only way to do it, right? Well, maybe right now, but when AirPower releases in 2018, you’ll be able to use a more elegant solution.
AirPower is a pad that can charge multiple devices at the same time. Apple showed off an iPhone, an Apple Watch, and AirPods all sat on the pad, charging simultaneously and wirelessly.
iOS 11 Is Right Around the Corner
Earlier this year, Apple listed the improvements featured in iOS 11. These include upgrades to Siri, the App Store, Live Photos, Messages, Maps, and notifications. Users will also be able to customize the settings found in the Control Center.
The true news here is the launch date: iOS 11 is coming to iPhones and iPads on September 19.
MacOS High Sierra Release Date Confirmed
We were also given a release date for MacOS “High Sierra.” Mac users will find that they can download and install the software update on September 25.
Prepare for the Safari browser to get a buff with the ability to block auto-playing videos and cross-site tracking, an improved photo app to make it easier to search through a collection and edit images with new advanced features, a new file system and video codec support, as well as virtual reality compatibility.
Those are just a fraction of the improvements MacOS users can look forward to. Consider this a pretty huge overhaul across the board!