From inside the giant mothership ring of Apple Park, on the stage the freshly completed Steve Jobs theater, Tim Cook and friends unveiled a slew of upgraded Apple products. Here’s a quick rundown of the three main products and their upgrades in case you missed the annual event.
Apple TV 4K – $179, available September 22nd
This isn’t really a huge surprise, but Apple TV is working to keep up with the television brands and the 4K resolution that’s been on the market for the past few years. As 4K televisions become more affordable to the general public, Apple TV is diving in to get their share of cord cutters. In the streaming world, Apple has been behind the eight ball, and this time is no different. Roku, Amazon, and Chrome all have 4K-able devices. The bonus is Apple’s pull with major Hollywood studios will help make 4K movies available in the iTunes store. Apple added a nice touch and announced they will automatically upgrade purchased movies to 4K if the film is eligible.
The hardware itself boasts the A10X Fusion processor to allow smooth 4K sailing at around 60 frames per second. This boost also makes Apple TV a secondary gaming option, teasing Sky from ThatGameCompany available first on Apple TV.
Apple Watch Series 3 – $399 (with cellular), available September 22nd
The push for wearables didn’t take off quite like people may have expected. There’s a chance that changes. Apple’s newest induction into its watch line now allows users to make calls straight from the watch itself. Cellular service is something most people probably expected when Apple first launched its watch over two years ago, but now Apple boasts the technology for clear calls without the need to have your phone sitting nearby. Apple’s COO Jeff Williams showed off the new tech by making a call on the watch to a coworker out in the middle of a lake on a stand up paddleboard with nary a hint of interference. Aside from making calls, the LTE connectivity will also allow users to do things like text and stream music without the need of the phone itself.
The Series 3 is set with a dual-core processor that is, Apple claims, 70% faster, along with a W2 chip that boosts Wi-Fi while being more efficient. This is key because the LTE connectivity is bound to squeeze out battery life faster than usual. For what it’s worth, Apple is claiming the Series 3 should have 18 hours of life on a charge.
iPhone 8 and X
8 – Between $699 and $949, available September 22nd
X – Between $999 and $1,149, available November 3rd
The big leaked news came from the iPhone department, so there wasn’t much to be shocked and awed about during the event. First, the 8 is the upgrade to last year’s 7, marking the first time since 2009 where there’s no “S” version of a phone model. The 8 boasts a glass back as opposed to the previous aluminum, which now allows the wireless charging Apple fans have been asking about for a couple years. The wireless charging will now allow users to charge their phone while using the lightning port to listen to music without having to choose between one or the other, or having to pour out cash for wireless headphones.
Inside, the 8 shifts from the A10 Fusion to the A11 Bionic, a six-core chip with two performance cores that boast faster speeds by 25% and four cores that are 70% faster than the A10. The camera is often the focal point of any new iPhone, and the 8 is no different. The camera has a 12-megapixel sensor that allows for optical image stabilization, along with new sensors. For videos, the 8 doubles the 7’s slow motion, supporting 1080p at 240 frames per second. Videographers will also enjoy the regular motion video at 4K/60 fps.
Now for the X (aka the 10). This is the thousand dollar rumor we’ve been hearing about for the last month or so, and it’s 100% true. While Apple revolutionized phones ten years ago, they’ve found themselves a bit behind their competitors in some seemingly logical aspects. While the likes of Samsung have unveiled water resistent phones and wireless charging, before today, Apple chose to wait on the features that have become industry standards for other companies. With the X, Apple reveals its first screen that goes edge-to-edge, and they *gasp* got rid of the home button entirely. With no home button, the phone requires swiped-based motions to return to the home screen or navigate between apps.
Also introduced was the Face ID, which replaces those pesky passcodes or fingerprints to unlock the phone. All you have to do is look at the phone and it unlocks. Think about that for a second and let it sink in.
The X includes the same A11 Bionic as the 8 and supports Qi wireless charging. The Qi is a big deal because this is the industry standard for wireless charging, meaning iPhone 8 and X users don’t need to shell out cash for Apple specific charging pads and can use the same ones Samsung and LG have been using for the past year or two.
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