#TechThursday: The lowdown on the new iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2
Reporting live from San Francisco
It's nothing short of a pilgrimage. A thousand journalists and guests from around the world, packing their iPhones and MacBooks, strapping on their Apple Watches, and all gathering in San Francisco to hear chief executive Tim Cook deliver the word at the Apple Keynote. And on 7 September 2016, the word became flesh (or hardware, in this case), manifesting itself in three key product launches for the tech giant: The highly-anticipated iPhone 7; Apple Watch Series 2; and wireless AirPods.
To kick things off, it all started with a Carpool Karaoke with James Corden and Pharrell Williams — the trio singing Sweet Home Alabama — helping Tim Cook get to the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco (see video above). Reporting live from the venue, here's what you need to know...
iPHONE 7 AND AIRPODS
The new iPhone 7 launched on 7 September — we see what you did there Mr Cook.
With the new iOS 10, the new iPhone 7 wakes by just lifting it up, and there are new features to iMessage including stickers and animations. Powered by a new A10 Fusion chip — a 64 bit four-core CPU — the iPhone 7 is now 240 times faster than the orginal iPhone and, on average, lasts two hours longer than the iPhone 6S. In short, it delives the longest battery life ever in an iPhone.
Photographers, Snapchatters, and Instagram lovers — you'll be pleased to know that the iPhone 7 comes with a 12 megapixel camera, an optical image stabilizer, a large f/1.8 aperture lens, and a high-speed sensor; all in all, it is 60% faster and 30% more efficient than the iPhone 6S.
What about the new iPhone 7 Plus? The same specs as the iPhone 7, but it also comes with another 12 megapixel camera. That's right, two 12 megapixel cameras on the back of the iPhone 7 Plus — a wide-angle lens and a telephoto lens. Why? For enhanced optical zoom (up to 10 times) and super legit depth of field on your pictures. In addition, the iPhone 7 Plus sports a larger 5.5" HD retina display, compared to the 4.7" HD retina display on the iPhone 7.
The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are both available in gold, silver, rose-gold, a new matte black, plus a super sexy jet-black with a high gloss finish. Home button? Force sensitive with haptic feedback. And for added protection against life's thrills and spills, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are both water and dust resistant. Impressively, both come in 32GB, 128GB and 256GB models. However, the new jet-black finish is offered exclusively in 128GB and 256GB iterations.
Favourite features: Apple has removed the headphone jack from the iPhone. Courageous. Not only does this save precious hardware space, but it necessitates the introduction of their new wireless audio system — Apple AirPods. Enabled by a ultra-low power Apple W1 chip, simply flip open the charging case to sync the AirPods with your iPhone and Apple Watch. Genius. No more fiddling with messy and tangled cables. Also, love the new stereo speakers built into the iPhone 7 for greater audio when listening to music or watching videos sans AirPods.
What this means for you: With a 7 megapixel front camera (up from 5 MP) for better #selfies, and great depth of field from the two 12 megapixel cameras on the new iPhone 7 Plus, you can now capture pro images without having to lug around a chunky DSLR. Score.
APPLE WATCH SERIES 2
The world's top-selling smartwatch is now swim-proof. Dope. Water resistant to 50 metres, and with Pokemon Go coming to the Apple Watch, you can now catch those rare water Pokemon and get an aquatic workout, all at the same time. The second-generation display is two times brighter compared to the first Apple Watch, and finally, there is built-in GPS to help you calculate pace and distance for your walks, runs, and swims.
The Apple Watch Series 2 will be available in aluminum, stainless steel and, in a new addition to the family, white ceramic. Wait, there's more: New Hermès leather straps and a sporty new Apple Watch Nike Plus timepiece.
Favourite features: In-built GPS and a speaker system that ejects water from your Apple Watch Series 2, allowing you to swim all day, every day. And, of course, those new Hermès leather straps — especially the double buckle strap (see above).
What this means for you: You can now catch Pokemon without staring Zombie-like into your iPhone; and for water babies, you can now live life large — swim, surf or kayak, the waterproof feature opens up a whole new world.
SUPER MARIO RUN
The popular Nintendo game, Super Mario, will now be available for download from the App Store. Say what? You can now help Mario collect coins and jump into pipes with one hand, whilst downing a hot Starbucks with the other. Super Mario Run will be released in time for the holidays.
Latest features: There's a new battle mode called 'Toad Rally' and Super Mario stickers just for iMessage.
What this means for you: What's old is new again. Further proof that vintage is cool. The iPhone 7 is the new Game Boy.
The iPhone 7 (starting price at S$1,048) and Apple Watch Series 2 (starting price at S$548) will be available in Singapore from 16 September.
For more information, visit Apple.
@MusingMutley: Am I going to be Barb from Stranger Things?