Though widely anticipated as a rather boring update to the iPhone, Apple's September 2016 announcement event actually revealed some nice, if not unexpected, products. It started with James Corden driving Tim Cook to the event as part of Carpool Karaoke. Turns out some episodes of the show will premiere on Apple Music next year. (Corden hosts "The Late Late Show" on CBS, which owns CNET.)
The new version of its mobile operating systems announced at WWDC in June will be gradually rolling out to devices. Its phone and tablet OS, iOS 10, will be available starting September 13, as will the new Apple watch operating system, WatchOS 3. Here's what we knew about both new Apple OSes before Tim Cook even took the stage on Tuesday.
iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
The ditching of the dedicated headphone jack in favor of a Lightning connection came as no surprise: here are our recommended wireless headphones and four ways to get your audio without the jack. Also no surprise: the elimination of the starter 16GB option, making the cheapest iPhone 7 a 32GB model. Even better, there's now an iPhone upgrade to a minimum of 32GB. However, Apple prematurely announced water resistance, stereo speakers and longer battery life on Twitter just as the event got underway. Oops.
Both phones have a new Retina HD display that supports cinema and wide color gamuts.
To take advantage of the new wireless W1 chip in the phones -- and the lack of a headphone jack -- Apple revealed new wireless AirPod earbuds that automatically connect to devices, as well as Beats Solo 3 Wireless and Powerbeats 3 wireless. Also cheaper Beats X.
Both new models also get a shiny black finish and other redesigns, including a new Home button with taptic feedback. There's also an upgrade to a 7MP Facetime camera. And Apple is incorporating Japan's version of NFC, Felica, and transit information for Japan in Apple Maps.
Meanwhile, under the hood there's a new generation chip, the A10 Fusion, a 64-bit quad-core that's faster than the previous A9 in each core. It has both high-power and low-power cores to manage battery life. Apple claims longest battery life ever in an iPhone.
Where they differ: The 4.7-inch iPhone 7 gets a new 12MP camera with optical stabilization and f1.8 lens, new supporting silicon for better performance, and a quad-tone LED flash. The 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus, as expected, gets dual cameras -- one with the same 28mm camera module as that of the iPhone 7, and the other with a 56mm lens, in addition to what's in the iPhone 7. It will receive a software update to enable the depth-of-field simulation Apple demonstrated.
But despite all the emphasis on external design, should you really care what the iPhone 7 looks like?
They'll start shipping on September 16, starting at $649.
We welcomed the next generation of the Apple Watch, the Apple Watch Series 2, which is all about activity (notably running and swimming). It's rugged, submersible to 50 meters (water is ejected via the speaker) and added calorie burn for swimming to fitness lab. On the inside, it's got a new dual-core system and graphics-acceleration chip, and on the outside it has a brighter, higher-resolution display for better visibility in sunlight. Also new: a built-in GPS, a ceramic version and new Hermes and Nike+ editions.
Apple recapped the wunnerful features WatchOS 3 is bringing to its smartwatch, as well as announcing Pokemon Go for the Apple Watch and a Pokemon Go Plus wearable band that allows heads-up playing in conjunction with your iPhone . It also showcased the Watch's ability to share data between the game and your fitness apps.
- Nintendo brings Super Mario to iOS/the App Store with Super Mario Run.
- 114 Apple-supported ConnectED schools will be up and running this fall, and the company's giving away iPads and Macs to them. Also, a bunch of schools plan to teach Swift programming and real-time collaboration across iOS and Mac is coming to iWork.