Apple had some big announcements today, made for the first time from the Steve Jobs Theater at their new headquarters. Here are the highlights.
The original space for the Apple Store 5th Avenue is reopening “late next year,” with the glass cube coming back, and glass skylights allowing natural light to filter down from the plaza into the store. (That store will still be packed full of tourists, though, so we’ll use the Upper East and West Side stores instead.)
The big news of the day was the introduction of The iPhone X (pronounced “Ten”). It has a display that goes edge to edge on all four sides, steel-reinforced glass on front and back, and stainless steel at the edges. The new “Super Retina” display is 5.8” diagonally, with OLED technology, so it is bright, has incredibly high resolution and color, and extremely high contrast. It has no home button, so you just swipe up from the bottom to get to the home screen. It uses Face ID to unlock using the front-facing camera, using a “flood illuminator” to light your face even in the dark. (Let’s hope you don’t feel like you’re under interrogation every time you unlock your phone.) Apple says Face ID is even more secure than Touch ID. The 12MP camera has a better camera with better image stabilization and better flash, and another 12MP camera facing forward for high-quality selfies. It also features wireless charging -- more on that below. It’s gonna be a whole new iPhone experience. The iPhone X comes in space grey and silver, with storage of 64GB for $999 or 256GB for $1149. Pre-order on October 27; it ships November 3.
If you’re a photographer, videographer, or you always want the newest thing, then the iPhone X is definitely up your alley. The price tag is hard to stomach though, not to mention the huge size (comparable to the 7 Plus), which may not be right for everybody.
If that’s too rich for your blood, or you’re just not gonna be comfy without the home button, the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus look a lot like the iPhone 7 (and 6s and 6), but have steel-reinforced glass on front and back (“the most durable glass ever in a smartphone”), which allows it to be charged wirelessly. It also has a better camera, a screen with richer color, better and louder speakers, and faster performance. The iPhone 8 comes in silver, space grey, and gold, with storage of 64GB or 256GB. Pricing starts at $699 and goes up to $949. Pre-order on September 15; it ships September 22.
The iPhone 7, 6S, and SE are still available as lower-cost options.
We’re all excited about not having to attach cables to our phone any more, ever. Wireless charging is now available on the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus, and you can buy third-party charging pads (from Mophie, Belkin, and other companies) for your home or car from various manufacturers. Plus various restaurants, hotels, and airport lounges will soon have charging pads too. However, you may not be able to do wireless charging if you have a case on your phone -- we assume case manufacturers will work on this.
Apple also announced AirPower, its own wireless charging pad -- put your iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus or iPhone X, your Apple Watch Series 3, and your new AirPods wireless charging case (which isn’t out yet), all on one pad for simultaneous charging. AirPower is coming next year.
It’s now the #1 watch in the world, ahead of Rolex. (I wonder if that’s by dollars spent, or by units sold?)
The new Apple Watch Series 3 has cellular service built in, so you don’t need to have your iPhone with you to get calls (and with AirPods you don't need to talk into your watch), and texts, see maps, and stream music. This is huge - just imagine not needing to take your phone with you everywhere, and yet not missing emails or calls! It’s 70% faster (thank goodness). And it’s the same size as the previous watch. The new Apple Watch starts at $399 for the cellular version, and $329 for the boring old non-cellular version. Pre-order on September 15; shipping September 22.
The new watchOS 4 software will be available for all Apple Watches on September 19, and some of the new things include smart activity coaching, a new workout app, and enhancements to the heart rate app including a notification that your heart rate has gone up when you’re not active. Last, the Apple Heart Study can notify you of an atrial fibrillation (you’ll need to enroll in this one). So it could actually save your life. Better keep it charged up!
New Apple TV 4K comes with 4K and HDR -- more pixels and better color for higher quality video. And it’s 4 times faster than the previous Apple TV. Lots of movies will be available in 4K through iTunes. Netflix and Amazon Prime will also have 4K video available through the Apple TV. Starts at $179. Pre-order on September 15; shipping September 22. I’m not sure if it makes sense to spend this kind of money when you can get a basic Roku for $40 or a Roku with 4K for $60.
The new iOS 11 software for iPhone and iPad is available September 19. We’ll write about that soon.
macOS High Sierra
The new macOS High Sierra software for Mac is available September 25. We’ll also write about that soon, but we will offer here the same advice that we always do: wait a month or so before installing it, to let the bugs shake out. We’ll mention when we think it’s a good idea to install it, and will write about its new features soon.