NOTICE AS OF 5/1/2020: This is a revised edition of the Apple September 2016 Event Recap video that we did years ago. For the website, we decided to convert it into an article only, along with adding some tidbits here and there to make it a bit more of an interesting read. Hope you guys enjoy this as we continue to make more content for both our website and YouTube channel. 😉
Hey everybody, Sage here, and today we’re going to recap the Apple special event for September 2016!
As before, I took notes during the Keynote, so I can talk about it here, along with expressing my opinion on what I think of the new stuff. But before I get into the recap, I do want to point out that not everything that happened during the Keynote will be covered, so any minor stuff like financial updates, I won’t bother talking about. But if I missed something important, don’t jump on me; I’m only talking about the stuff that caught my eye, and possibly stuff that might catch your eye.
But anyways, why don’t we get started, shall we?
So the event starts off with a video, which had Tim Cook and James Corden (the latter from the Carpool Karaoke segment in The Late Late Show with James Corden) talking to each other, or something like that; it’s pretty much a video meant to promote the Apple Music original, Carpool Karaoke.
Afterwards, Tim Cook went on stage to talk about the 10th anniversary of the Apple Music Festival (formerly the iTunes Festival), which was made available for streaming 11 days after the Keynote. (For the record, the Keynote happened on September 7th, so do the math.)
Super Mario on iOS?!
Then, Apple announced that Mario is coming to iOS. Hurray! (sarcasm…sorta) They had Shigeru Miyamoto come on stage to talk about a new game called Super Mario Run. (That title alone made me kind of skeptical at first.)
They showed the gameplay footage of Super Mario Run; the concept of it is kind of similar to games like Temple Run or Minion Rush, but it’s in 2D, and has all the Mario elements from the games and stuff like that. It’s been done to death a bunch of times on mobile, but at least it does have a timer, so you don’t have unlimited time, and you can play the game one-handed. They also demoed a battle mode called Toad Rally.
The game is going to be a paid product (at least for the full experience), and not completely free-to-play, which kinda bummed me out initially.
According to Apple, the game comes out during the Holiday of 2016 (or to be more specific, December 2016, according to Nintendo UK).
So, Super Mario is coming to mobile. Cool. After Nintendo’s first mobile app, Miitomo, it makes sense for Mario to be the second mobile app from them.
Alongside that, Nintendo is also going to offer Super Mario stickers for the iOS 10 Messages app, which I’ve already covered during WWDC 2016.
The next thing Apple talked about was iWork. Now I use iWork quite a bit, particularly Keynote, which will come as a shocker to many, that I’ve used it for the website graphics, as well as animations. (I know, I’m crazy, right?)
Well, there’s going to be a major update to the suite, with the major addition being real-time collaborative editing…and that’s pretty much all they announced for iWork.
Apple Watch Series 2
Next up is the Apple Watch. First off, Apple recapped watchOS 3, which I’ve already talked about briefly during WWDC 2016, and then they proceeded to announce Pokémon GO coming to the Apple Watch later in September! (sigh)
But then comes the main attraction: Apple Watch Series 2.
One of the new features of the Apple Watch Series 2 is that it’s swim proof. The original was splash proof, but now it’s swim proof, making it pretty much water resistant up to 50 meters.
It also has a new SiP (System-in-Package): the Apple S2, which is a dual-core SiP, and according to Apple, is up to 50% faster than the Apple S1 in the original Watch. Series 2 also has a 2x brighter display than the original, and it has a built-in GPS, useful if you’re doing fitness and stuff like that. Speaking of which, there’s also a new hiking app that was announced for the Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch Series 2 is going to come in the same materials that the original had: Aluminum and Stainless Steel, as well as a new Ceramic material. It was also available in a Hermès edition. Apple also announced a new Apple Watch Nike+ edition, a special edition of the Watch made for those who work out often, and is a collaborative effort between Apple and Nike.
The Apple Watch Series 2 (excluding Hermés) and the Nike+ edition were both priced at $369 USD.
But wait, what about the original Apple Watch? Well, it’s getting sort of an upgrade with a dual-core SiP, and it’s being rebranded to the Series 1, priced at $269 USD, cheaper than what the original Apple Watch went for.
Both of them were made available for pre-order on September 9th. It was also announced that watchOS 3 would be available on September 13th, with both the Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2 made available 3 days later, on September 16th. The Nike+ edition didn’t come until later in October.
iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
Now let’s move onto the big news regarding the iPhone.
But first, some updates: Apple had announced it had sold a billion iPhones. Now that’s a lotta iPhones. (I’m not sure if they beat Android though.) They also recapped iOS 10, which again was showcased at WWDC 2016.
And then they proceeded to announce the new iPhones for 2016: the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.
The iPhone 7 introduces an all-new design, and comes in the usual iPhone colors: Black, Gold, Silver, Rose Gold, and a new color called Jet Black, which has a black gloss finish and looks absolutely beautiful.
The second big feature of the iPhone 7 is a Force Sensitive Home Button, which basically replaces the physical push-button, with a capacitive mechanism, which means direct skin contact is pretty much required to use the device.
The iPhone 7 is also water and dust resistant; we’ve seen those times where people accidentally dump their iPhones in water or dust collects in there (with or without a case), and it either gets damaged or it pretty much dies. Well, now the iPhone 7 is water and dust resistant, so that makes damaging it through those methods far less common.
On the back, the iPhone 7 has a 12 megapixel camera with optical image stabilization. It uses a 6 element lens, which provides for a sharper image, and it also has a Quad LED True Tone Flash. Along with that, the camera has an Apple-designed image signal processor, which does over 100 billion image processing tasks in 25 milliseconds, according to Apple, giving you the perfect image when taken. Live photos are also getting enhanced on the iPhone 7: It now has stabilization, and you can now edit them.
The iPhone 7 also has a 7 megapixel front-facing camera, with similar technologies that the back camera has. It also can record video up to 1080p.
Now of course, we already saw this coming in rumors: the iPhone 7 Plus on the back has a second 12 megapixel camera, alongside the first: The first camera is the “wide-angle” lens, while the second camera is a telephoto lens. What is that, you may ask? Well, it kinda acts like a DSLR: In the Camera app, you can zoom in up to 2x using the telephoto optical lens, still giving you a clear image without sacrificing quality when zoomed in. However, it still has a digital zoom, up to 10x.
It’s also gonna have a new portrait mode, which basically blurs the background and sharpens the person, so you get a better picture of that person. The telephoto lens focuses on the background, blurs it, and sharpens the person, while the wide-angle lens focuses on the person. However, this new feature won’t be available from the get-go; it would be implemented in a future software update to all iPhone 7 Plus users, which would come later in 2016.
The iPhone 7 also uses a Retina HD display with a cinema standard wide color gamut; according to Apple, it is 25% brighter than its predecessor, and has 3D Touch much like the 6S.
In terms of audio, the iPhone 7 is going to have stereo speakers, and are claimed to be 2x louder than its predecessor.
And while we’re on the topic of audio, we sadly saw this coming: there is no headphone jack in the iPhone 7; instead you’re gonna have to deal with the Lightning connector, which is also the same connector used to charge your device. As a result, there’s a new set of EarPods with a Lightning connector, which is bundled with every iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. But if you still want to use ordinary headphones, there is a Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter, which is also bundled with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.
The final major change in the iPhone 7 is performance. Both the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are going to have a 64-bit quad-core Apple A10 Fusion processor, which according to Apple, provides 40% faster performance and 50% faster graphics performance than the A9 in the iPhone 6S. It’s also going to have an Apple-designed performance controller, that I won’t bother going into the technical details of. Apple also claims the new chip provides “console level gaming”, and to demonstrate it, they showed off gameplay footage of what looks like an Oz game.
Alongside that, the iPhone 7 of course has longer battery life than its predecessor: You get 40 hours of audio playback on the 7, and 60 hours of audio playback on the 7 Plus. For Wi-Fi browsing, you get 14 hours on the 7, and on the 7 Plus you get 15 hours. And finally, for 3G talk time, you get 14 hours on the 7, and 21 hours on the 7 Plus.
The iPhone 7 started at $649 USD, and they actually doubled the storage for the first two configurations: 32 GB and 128 GB, and for the first time in an iPhone, there is a 256 GB configuration. Obviously, it’s going to come in the five colors I mentioned earlier: Black, Silver, Gold, Rose Gold, and Jet Black, the latter of which was only available on the 128 and 256 GB models.
As for the iPhone 7 Plus, it started at $769 USD, and has same configurations and colors as the iPhone 7.
As for the 6S and 6S Plus, they’ve updated them with double the storage from 16 and 64 GB, to 32 and 128 GB.
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were made available for pre-order on September 9th, and a week after was made available in stores on September 16th. iOS 10 would be available 3 days earlier, on September 13th.
AirPods and Other Stuff
Next up, we have a wireless set of EarPods, called AirPods, announced during the audio portion of the iPhone 7 presentation.
From what I can gather, it uses an Apple W1 chip, which supposedly controls some parts of the AirPods, and they’re most likely going to be transmitted through Bluetooth.
The nice things about them is that the AirPods will automatically start playing once they’re in your ear. They play in stereo when you put both of them in your ears, but you can also use just one AirPod, and it will automatically play in mono. The AirPods also have a built-in mic, and uses an optical sensor, so you can double tap for Siri.
It’s also going to have a charging case, which uses a Lightning connector.
In terms of battery life, the AirPods last up to 5 hours of constant music playback, and up to 2 hours of talk time. The charging case itself lasts up to 24 hours.
It’s also pretty easy to set up: You just open the case and the iDevice asks you if you want to connect to the AirPods. Tap connect, and you’re done.
The AirPods were made available in late October for $159 USD.
As well as that, Beats (which was acquired by Apple in 2014) are making headphones with the Apple W1 chip in it: the Beats Solo³ Wireless and the Powerbeats³ Wireless.
Oh, and totally unrelated, but Apple Pay is coming to Japan later in October of 2016, using Sony’s FeliCa technology.
On another side note: After the Keynote, macOS Sierra’s release date of September 20th was revealed on Apple’s website.
So that’s pretty much all that Apple announced during the Keynote; now I get to talk about my opinion on this stuff, which will mostly be about the iPhone, as the rest I couldn’t care less about. (Well, except for Super Mario Run.)
I’m gonna say this now: I’m not getting an iPhone 7. Yes, its water and dust resistant, has a new camera, and it’s faster, but there are two reasons why I’m not getting it.
The first reason is the price. It’s pretty expensive for an iPhone, if you wanted to buy one up-front.
But the second reason is the biggest one: The fact that it has no headphone jack.
Apple is betting on a wireless-only future, and that’s okay if you don’t want to deal with wires tangling and stuff, but there are some disadvantages with using wireless; sometimes they disconnect or break off, and I’ve actually experienced myself with my wireless keyboard and Magic Mouse when working with my Mac; sometimes they intermittently go off and reconnect, and it’s rather annoying.
But hey, look on the bright side: they are using a different connector for the included headphones, and you get an adapter included to make it compatible with existing headphones. But then that represents another problem: What if you want to charge your device while you listen to music with your headphones? You have no choice but to buy a splitter dongle to do just that. I guess it really did take Apple “courage” to ditch what ain’t broke.
So that’s pretty much it for the Apple event and my take on it, concluding this recap. Hope you guys enjoyed this read, and as always I will see you all next time. Peace. 😉