So Apple announced two new products - the Apple Watch Series 2 and the long-awaited iPhone 7. It’s fair to say that opinions are mixed…
In what was a rather by-the-numbers keynote that featured a great performance by Sia at the end (what a voice), I’m left equally excited and incredibly frustrated at the same time. Nothing was a surprise - both for good and bad from the new camera system to the scrapped headphone jack.
So let’s rattle through the 4 Ups and 5 Downs of these two new additions to Apple’s lineup.
Up 1: The New Apple Watch Is Finally Here
If anyone knows Apple, it’s a common rule to wait for the second generation of a product while they work out the kinks. We’ve waited 18 months and now it’s here - faster, brighter and completely swim proof.
And on the main hand, it answers a lot of the gripes we all had with the first gen watch! It’s got a dual core processor to actually load apps faster without spending 5-10 seconds retrieving data from your phone. With built-in GPS, you can take it for a run separate from your phone. At 1,000 nits, the display is 2x brighter and actually visible in sunlight. And watchOS 3 has significantly change the UI to make it actually usable.
But there’s one thing - one that we’ve all been asking for - that has not been improved.
Down 1: The Apple Watch Battery Life
More and more we watched the keynote cover the importance of running, the water resistance, the design and the capability. At no point was battery life even mentioned.
Plus, the abundance of any mention from the website makes me nervous the battery has not been upgraded. And no matter what power management is happening on that S2 dual-core processor, nothing detracts from the fact there is more technology sucking power.
The Apple Watch already JUST made it through the day, but what does all of this mean for the battery now? Have your charger cable ready, people.
Down 2: Apple Watch Nike+ - WHAT IS THAT!?
Now I’m not going to call myself an aficionado of design, nor do I have an eye for sports fashion. But dear God that thing is hideous.
If you’re planning to purchase this thing, buy another strap right away. The perforated band is disgusting.
As I said on Twitter, it looks like the kind of watch a man who says “bro” a lot would wear. Don’t be that guy (or girl).
But onto more positive things…
Up 2: Apple has not lost a beat design-wise
Yes, this is very much the words of an Apple fanboy, but by God the Jet Black iPhone 7 is beautiful.
The glossy back melts into the screen, forming one continuous design - it’s monolithic and, quite frankly, super impressive.
Shame everyone will cover it up with a case.
Up 3: That camera though
One thing I always look forward to in an iPhone is photography.
No, it will never beat my DSLR, but they’ve come mighty close…
With a 12-megapixel sensor, ƒ/1.8 aperture and 6-element lens, you’re getting better, brighter pictures.
Plus, the iPhone 7 Plus has a second telephoto lens for a 2x optical zoom.
And with a new software update later this year, that dual camera setup will even work to enable a new depth-of-field effect - bringing bokeh to the iPhone.
That’s a really impressive feat for the iPhone.
Down 3: RIP Headphone Jack
Surprising absolutely no-one, but bringing a sense of slight disappointment - Apple waved goodbye to the 3.5mm headphone jack.
Now I understand why, both what was and wasn’t announced. The lightning port is able to power noise cancellation in earphones, and Apple has the power control the copyrighted content you listen to through it also. Good for business, bad for us.
And the dongle is ridiculous… I’m glad they’ve packed every box with one so you can still use your standard earphones, but the protruding cable is wholly unnecessary and a bit garish.
To use Phil Schiller’s own words, this is not “the courage to move forward.” What you have here is another Apple move of shedding the skin of its former technology, but with a difference. Personal audio revolves and will continue to revolve around this important headphone jack.
Will scrapping it slow sales? Of course not - it’s Apple. But this sets us on course for a rather scary future of proprietary headphones and copyright-controlled listening.
Down 4: £159 for wireless earphones? No.
Apple’s reason for this direction was quickly unveiled with the release of AirPods - essentially their earphones without wires.
But the price is a real kick in the teeth. Not only are they extortionate for what they are (bluetooth earphones), but the UK bears the brunt of a higher price than the US’ $159.
It’s an insult to really think we would buy these, Apple.
Also, strong betting odds on you losing one within the first day of purchasing… Good luck.
Up 4: Goodbye 16GB
It’s two generations too late, but finally we can say that 16GB is no more.
No more storage warnings on your iPhone after downloading a few apps and taking pictures. With storage options up to 256GB, Apple have noted that while the cloud is cool, people don’t really want to use it all that much.
A win for the consumer right here.
Down 5: Pointless, thy name is iPhone 7
At the end of the day, the 10th anniversary of the iPhone is just around the corner.
Rumours are already rife with an all-glass body, an edge-to-edge display with the camera and Touch ID integrated right in, wireless charging, an iris scanner AND an OLED display.
While the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are both great pieces of kit, they are pointless pieces of kit.
Wait it out.