Apple's Fall 2017 Event Round Up: Apple Watch, Apple TV, and iPhone 8
Apple has held their annual Fall Event. The biggest aspect to any Fall event is the unveiling of new iPhones. This event does indeed include new iPhones. Apple's fall event is the one that receives the most attention from not just technology media, but, more importantly, from those outside of the technology sphere. With that fact in mind Apple chose to hold this year's event at the new Steve Jobs Theater on the new Apple Park campus. To me, it seems quite befitting to have the first event at the new Steve Jobs Theater be the unveiling of iPhones. This is because back in January of 2007, Steve Jobs stood on stage at the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco and unveiled the first iPhone, one that would revolutionize not just only the mobile phone industry, but also the technology sphere in general. The mobile phone revolution has ushered in one of the greatest technology shifts of the last few centuries. While Today's iPhone announcements may, to some, seem evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, the march of progress continues.
This article focuses on the Apple Watch, Apple TV, and iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. If you are looking for the iPhone X, that is in its own article.
The Apple Watch is one of Apple's newer product lines. When it was introduced three years ago at the September 2014 event, Apple positioned the Apple Watch as a smaller version of the iPhone. While this was a good premise to start a product, ultimately the market has steered the Apple Watch to primarily become a fitness and notification mechanism. While Apple has continued to improve the software, most notably with watch OS 3, and now with WatchOS 4, the hardware, besides internal changes, has remained unchanged. The hardware that was present on the original Apple Watch is the same that was on the Apple Watch Series 2. One of the downsides to the Apple Watch, up to now, has been the need for many to bring their iPhones with them when they go and exercise. The Apple Watch Series 2 obviated this, in someways, by providing a GPS radio in the watch. This is beneficial to those who wanted to plot a route foe their outdoor workouts, but it did not completely reduce the need for bringing an iPhone along.
The new Apple Watch Series 3 has made a big leap forward, in this regard. The Apple Watch Series 3 now includes an LTE radio. The inclusion of an LTE radio opens up many more opportunities for fitness. The biggest, and most obvious, is that the Series 3 you can now leave your iPhone at home. To complement this new capability, watchOS 4 includes a new feature that will allow you to automatically sync some of your favorite music to the Apple Watch. This is quite useful if you want to exercise and only bring your bluetooth headphones and your Apple Watch. Combining this with the new watchOS 4 feature that allows you to pair your Apple Watch with gym equipment, and the other new feature to quickly add a new exercise to your current session directly on the watch, one can quickly see that it becomes even easier to switch your current exercise,or music, without needing to fumble with your watch.
There are both upsides and downsides to the inclusion of LTE on the Apple Watch. The upside is that Apple has worked with the carriers to be able to receive phone calls on your Apple Watch. This is not only a convenient feature when around the house, but it will be super helpful should you need to call emergency services. The addition of LTE also means that you will be able to receive iMessages, phone calls, and perform many of the same tasks you would on an iPhone, but with your Apple Watch. Starting in October, you will even be able to stream your Apple Music right from you watch, over LTE.
The processor in the Apple Watch Series 3 has been upgrade to a faster dual-core model, named the S3. Along with this there is a new Apple Wireless chip, the W2. The W2 make some enhancements over the W1, but what those are is not known.
There is an additional hardware change. The Apple Watch Series 3 includes a new barometric altimeter. The barometric altimeter will allow you to more accurately track flights walked up as well as differences in elevation when you are exercising outdoors.
The Apple Watch Series 3, with Cellular has 16GB of storage available on it, this is up from 8GB on the non-cellular models and the older Apple Watches. The last tweak is that the back of the Apple Watch Series 3, with cellular is ceramic and no longer composite. This is due to the nature of radio and the need to be able to send signals through the back of the watch. The advance in processing power has allowed Apple to let Siri actually respond with voice instead of just text.
The last change regarding cellular is the location of the wireless radio for cellular. It is actually embedded within the screen which leaves even more room for the other internals that are needed. Let us turn to some accessories for the Apple Watch, most notably the bands.
One of the ways that individuals customize their Apple Watch is through bands. Apple has unveiled a new style of band, the Sport Loop. The Sport Loop combines the best of the Sport band with the best of the Milanese Loop. The Sport Loop functions like the Milanese in that you can precisely position it how you need. At the same time though, it is able to breathe like the sport band so that you can use it while exercising.
There are eight colors for the Sport Loop. These colors are:
- Spicy Orange
- Electric Pink
- Midnight Blue
- Black Sport
- Dark Olive
- Pink Sand
Just like traditional sport bands, these cost $49 and are available to order today for delivery on September 22nd. The Sport Loop is not the only update, there are two new Hermès bands as well. One for the 38mm, the Hermès Bordeaux Swift Leather Double Tour, and the corresponding Single Tour version available for both the 38mm and 42mm. The Double Tour is $489, and the Single Tour is $339. There are still more bands available.
There is a whole new line of Nylon Colors. The available colors for Nylon are:
- Dark Olive Woven Nylon
- Midnight Blue Woven Nylon
- White Woven Nylon
- Spicy Orange Woven Nylon
- Berry Woven Nylon
- Black Woven Nylon
- White Woven Nylon
- Midnight Blue Woven Nylon
- Black Woven Nylon
Just like the Sport Loop, these are available for delivery starting September 22nd. There is a single new Nike Sport Band, the Pure Platinum/Black band. It is available for $49. The last new set of bands available are the Leather ones, with buckles. The new options are:
- Cosmos Blue Classic Buckle
- Pink Fuchsia Classic Buckle
- Dark Aubergine Classic Buckle
- Ruby (PRODUCT)RED Classic Buckle
- Cosmos Blue Leather Loop (42mm only)
- Charcoal Gray Leather Loop (42mm only)
Just like the other bands, these are available for order today and delivery of September 22nd. These bands cost $149 each.
Apple Watch Colors
Outside of the addition of LTE, there have been a couple of other hardware changes. The Apple Watch initially came in two colors, Silver and Space Gray. There were three different possible materials choices for the case; aluminum, stainless steel, and also solid gold, but that was for the high-end “edition” model. The Apple Watch Series 2 expanded the colors to include Rose Gold and Gold for the aluminum in addition to a new white ceramic as the "Apple Watch Edition" model. This year there are a couple new colors. There is a new "Blush Gold" aluminum color and a new "Gray" for the ceramic edition of the Apple Watch. While these may be modest changes, these will definitely help attract more users, and provide a few more options in the product line.
The Apple Watch Series 3 comes in the same color choices. For the Sport model the options are Silver, Space Gray, and Gold. Pricing for the 38MM aluminum starts at $329. The Cellular option is $70 more at $399. The 42MM is $359 for the non-cellular model and $429 for the cellular model. The Apple Watch Edition is only available in a cellular model. The 38MM is $1299, and the 42MM is $1349.
The Stainless Steel and Hermes models are available in the same colors as before. The Stainless Steel model only comes in two colors, Silver and Space Gray, and just like the Apple Watch Edition, the Stainless Steel model is only available in a cellular configuration. The 38mm is available for $599, and the 42mm is $649. The Hermes is only available in Stainless Steel and only comes in cellular models.
Pre-orders for all of the Apple Watch Series 3 starts on September 15th with deliveries beginning on September 22nd.
The Apple TV began life in 2007 as a modified version of a Mac Mini. This was replaced with a small "puck" like device in the 2nd and 3rd Generation Apple TVs. In 2015, Apple unveiled their all new 4th Generation Apple TV. This Apple TV changed the paradigm for the Apple TV to one that was based upon applications and not based upon whom Apple was willing to partner with. The Apple TV has seen a modicum of success in the last two years. Today, Apple announced an all new Apple TV 4K. The changes that have been brought with the Apple TV 4K bring capabilities to the Apple TV that allow it to take advantage of today's television technology.
The most notable upgrade to the Apple TV 4K is the fact that it can do 4K. 4K television have been around for almost a decade and it is very likely that any TV that you purchase will be a 4K Television. 4K offers twice the number of vertical pixels, 2160, as well as twice the number of horizontal pixels, 3840 pixels over traditional HD TVs, which have a resolution of 1920 pixels wide by 1080 Pixels high. This means that there are four times the number of pixels on the same size screen. This should allow for better clarity and smoother action scenes.
The second, and possibly more noticeable feature, is the addition of High Dynamic Range, or HDR. You may already be familiar with HDR if you use your iPhone to take pictures. HDR on an iPhone will take three pictures and take the best features of each and combine them into a single picture. Ultimately, this results in better colors and more contrast within a picture. The same general thing occurs with HDR on TVs. HDR on a TV will allow for even blacker blacks and even brighter whites. This means that all of the colors on a screen will be even brighter and clearer, which will see the picture even more life-like.
The internals of the Apple TV 4K have been significantly improved. It now sports an A10X Fusion processor in it. This is the same as the 10.5-inch iPad Pro and 2nd Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The Apple TV 4K also has Bluetooth 5.0 for connectivity to the latest peripherals. Alongside this comes HDMI 2.0a and Gigabit Ethernet. This is up from Bluetooth 4.2, HDMI 1.4, and 10/100 ethernet. The wireless has also been improved to support the 5GHz band
Apple would not introduce a 4K Apple TV without having some 4K content to go with it. iTunes now has 4K content within the store. 4K movies will cost the same as HD movies. So around $20 for new releases. Rentals will cost the same around $6 for new releases. With having four times as many pixels being shown within a 4K movie, you might think that the size of the file would be significantly higher. In reality, they are not. With the new High Efficiency Video Codec (HEVC) in tvOS 11, and iOS 11, 4K movies will be able to be better compressed all while maintaining their quality. This means that 4K movies should come in around 4GB for a 90 minute movie. This is approximately the same size as a 1080p movie that is not encoded with HEVC.
If you already have HD Movies, they will automatically be upgraded to 4K versions. This is a great perk for those who already have large iTunes collections.
The addition of 4K and HDR to the Apple TV will make it a worthy upgrade for anyone who has an Apple TV and a 4K TV. The Apple TV 4K is available for pre-order on September 15th, for $179 for the 32GB model and $199 for the 64GB model. The 32GB 4th Generation Apple TV is still around for $149.
With the iPhone being the biggest consumer item for Apple, making up 60% of all of Apple's profits, and with selling millions of phones every quarter, it is hard to keep a lid on all of the changes that are to come with a new iPhone. This year presents a big change for iPhones. The biggest being that there are three different models being introduced. From 2007 through 2013, there was only one model introduced. It may have come in some colors, but there was only one size. From 2007 to 2011, this was a 3.5-inch sized iPhone. For 2012 and 2013, this was 4-inch screen. Since 2014, there have been two sizes, 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens, starting with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. These two sizes continue with the 8 and 8 Plus. Let us look at the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.
iPhone 8 and 8 Plus
The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus continue on the tradition of their predecessors. The general form factor of the phone has remained unchanged since the introduction of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in 2014. There have been some interior structural changes, like with the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6 Plus becoming a bit more rigid to combat any inadvertent bending. Many people may complain that the outside of the iPhone has remained unchanged for four releases now, however this does come with some benefits. For instance, it means that Apple has gotten really good at making the exterior cases for the phone. Along side this, many of your peripherals will continue to work with a new phone, just like they did on the old phone. However, that is not always the case.
The biggest change with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models were that he headphone jack was removed. The removal of the headphone jack allowed Apple to make the iPhone something that it was not previously capable of being; water resistant. One of the quickest ways to kill any electronic device is to expose it to water. The change to the water resistant case, which required removal of the headphone jack, has lead to fewer iPhones being destroyed by being put into water; whether willingly or unwillingly.
One change that occurs every year is the interior components. The new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus contains the new A11 Bionic processor along with its M11 motion co-processor. The A11 Bionic This brings even better battery efficiency and processing to the phone. The A11 Bionic is a six core processor that consists of four high efficiency cores that are up to 70 percent faster than A10 Fusion. It also has two high performance cores that are up to 25 percent faster than the A10 Fusion. To go with the processor, Apple has included a new Apple-designed graphics processor as well. This will get 30% faster performance over the graphics in the A10 Fusion.
There is an all new item incorporated with the A11 Bionic, a neural engine. The neural engine will allow even faster processing of Augmented Reality and Machine Learning than the A10 Fusion. The neural engine is designed not only for Augmented Reality and Machine Learning, but can be used for many other things like processing of items within photos and much much more. The new items within the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus do not end there. Let us look now turn to the screen.
The screen on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are significantly better with an all new technology that Apple is calling Retina HD displays. Retina HD displays incorporate True Tone technology to adjust the screen to the right brightness, contrast, and color based upon the surroundings. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus also incorporate the Wide Color Gamut, which will be able to show the best colors possible.
With the glass back on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, Apple has matched the aluminum band around the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus to be the exact same color as the back. Besides matching aesthetically, this also allows for more rigidity within the iPhone.
The biggest usage of any iPhone is the camera. The camera in the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus have been vastly improved. They now both feature Quad-LED True Tone flash with Slow Sync. They are also capable of recording 4K video at 60 frames per second, which will make your 4K video even more life-like. The cameras have otherwise remained largely the same.
The iPhone 8 Plus has seen a bit of an improvement on its own. It now has a new feature, Portrait Lighting. Similar to the way that Portrait photos were brought to the iPhone 7 Plus last year, Portrait Lighting is in beta, but it allows you to perform some interesting effects with a Portrait photo. Portrait Lighting will take the information from the surrounding light and apply a lighting effect to the photo. The biggest benefit is that you can do this retroactively and you can also change
One of the things you can always expect is that battery life on the iPhone will remain fairly consistent. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are no exception. They get the same battery life as their predecessors.
The iPhone 8 has a new set of materials on the outside. The front and back are now both glass. The glass is surrounded by a band of aluminum. The glass back allows for an all new feature to iPhones, wireless charging.
The wireless charging that is included with the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus is the Qi, pronounced "she", standard. This means that if you have a Qi-compliant charging pad, it will work with the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. The inclusion of wireless charging will allow users to simply place their iPhone on a charging pad and it should begin charging. This means that you will not have to plug in your iPhone just to have it charge. This is convenient, not only for home, but also if you travel. This is because you can bring a charging mat that will allow your iPhone, Apple Watch Series 3, and even AirPods charge wirelessly.
There is a new product coming in 2018 called "AirPower". AirPower is a mat designed by Apple that will allow you to charge all of your Apple devices at once.
The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus come in two configurations. 64GB and 256GB and come in three colors; Silver, Space Gray, and Gold. The prices have gone up slightly to $699 and $799, respectively, for the 64GB models. The 256GB models are $849 and $949 respectively. Pre-orders for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 plus begin Friday September 15th, and delivery starts on September 22nd.
When Apple introduces new iPhone models, they typically eliminate an older model, however that is not the case this year. The iPhone 6s/6s Plus and iPhone 7/7 Plus are still available, as is the iPhone SE. The pricing on these models has changed though.
The iPhone SE is now $50 cheaper, at $349 for 32GB and $449 for 128GB. The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus have dropped by $100. The iPhone 6s is $449 for the 32GB model, and $549 for the 128GB Model, while the iPhone 6s Plus is $549 for the 32GB model and $649 for the 128GB Model. The iPhone 7 is also $100 less at $549 for the 32GB model, and $649 for the 128GB model, where as the iPhone 7 Plus is $669 for the 32GB model, and $769 for the 128GB Model.
The decision to keep the iPhone 6s will allow even more devices to be purchased that support ARKit under iOS 11, which means that Apple's current iPhone line supports ARKit.
The new LTE-enabled Apple Watch Series 3 will allow those who exercise to leave their phones somewhere safe and no use them and without having to sacrifice connectivity. The improved processor will make things even smoother than before. Even though the Apple Watch Serires 2 is no longer available for sale, the Series 1 is still available at a new lower price, of $249. The inclusion of cellular as a standard on the Hermes, Stainless Steel, and Ceramic Edition will provide even more benefit for users who purchase those versions.
The new Apple TV 4K is a great upgrade to bring the Apple TV up to date to be able to take advantage of the latest technologies, like 4K and High Dynamic Range. Keeping the old 4th Generation Apple TV around at a lower price point will allow more options for Apple TVs and will allow those who do not have a 4K TV to be able to take advantage of the capabilities of the Apple TV. The automatic upgrade of previously purchased content to 4K is a definite plus that will benefit everyone, not just those who have 4K now, but will end up buying a 4K TV in the future. The biggest benefit is that the pricing of the 4K movies will be the same price as HD movies, which is great for consumers and will ultimately benefit the movie companies as well.
The new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus bring some solid enhancements to the already future-looking iPhone lineup. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus add a couple of additional phones to the lineup and are ARKit compatible. The all new glass back will definitely allow the adoption of the Qi wireless charging standard to become the de facto standard. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are solid upgrades over the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The Retina HD with True Tone display will allow for better viewing all around. If you are in the market for an iPhone, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are solid upgrades. Just be sure to get your wallets ready for pre-orders of all of these starting on Friday.