On September 12th at 1 P.M., the Apple Special Event, more commonly known as the iPhone release, began. I don’t know about you guys, but I was watching it in my biology class. It was the first press conference to ever take place in the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park, Apple’s new headquarters, in Cupertino, California. An array of new products were released, as well as the unveiling of watchOS 4 and iOS 11. The most talked about aspect of the event was certainly the iPhone X, but we will get to that in a bit.
To start off, the tech giant discussed the additions in large Apple Stores. This store design concept includes 5 sections: The Avenue, Genius Grove, The Forum, The Plaza, and The Boardroom. The Avenue is the typical showcase area for Apple products, showcasing their available products and services. The Genius Bar will be renamed “Genius Grove”, and it will still be the Apple in-store tech support. Plans for this new section include more space to accommodate more customers and a redesign of the area complete with a canopy of trees. The Forum is a gathering place that will be hosting events next to a large video wall. Apple stores hopes to host events related to education, art, music, games, and more. To help connect with the community, Apple imagines the Plaza complete with seating, sculptures, greenery, fountains, and acoustic performances. Finally, the Boardroom is for the Apple Business Team to assist entrepreneurs, developers, and other business customers.
After describing the future of their retail stores, they talked about the advancements to the Apple Watch. They began presenting the features of watchOS 4, the Apple Watch’s newest operating system. This new system has improvements with Apple Music and oddly enough, enables calling. Calling… on a watch. Additionally, workout tracking improvements were added within Apple’s Health app, and user heart rate data can now be collected (with permission), allowing Apple to pass it along to heart researchers. From there, they released the Apple Watch Series 3, which introduces LTE, calling, GPS, and waterproofing. On a watch. It was obvious they were trying to appeal to athletes with the Series 3, because they advertised exercise alongside every single new feature. The watch reportedly maintains a similar battery life while boosting performance by 70%. I don’t know how that works. Outside of that, they introduced far too many options for watch bands, once again.
Next, Apple released the 4K Apple TV. Still very similar to its predecessors, now it has the ability to stream 4K! Amazing! They also introduced tvOS 11, which allows for incremental improvements in the operating system. Other than that, there was not that much new for Apple TV this year.
Now, the iPhone 7s 8! The most hyped part of the event, until it got outshined by the iPhone X. Still keeping with the iPhone design we know and love, the front of the phone looks the same as previous years. But now, the backs are glass! That means that you can wirelessly charge your phone! Just put it on a wireless charger and boom, you’re charging. There is an upgraded camera too! Apple is beta testing a feature called “Portrait Lighting”, which changes the lighting of the photo based on your face and preference. The screen implemented a technology that Apple calls “TrueTone display”; it changes the tone of the display based on the lighting of your environment. The phone can also use fast charging, which will allow for—well, fast charging. Finally, Apple upgraded the processor on the device. The Apple A11 Bionic chip is the fastest processor on any phone in the world right now and will likely remain that way for quite some time.
Lastly, the iPhone X. Make sure you call it the iPhone 10, though. Apple is weird like that. It has quite a few similarities to the iPhone 8: the same glass back, same wireless charging technology, same fast charging port, same camera, and same processor. So what’s new? Well, as everyone who has seen it will tell you, THAT SCREEN! The bezel-less OLED display is one of the nicest in the smartphone world. OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) displays have more vibrant colors and blacker blacks than a regular screen. However, Apple is late to the game on this one, but I still give props to them. The A11 processor is put to better use in the iPhone X and its Face ID: Apple’s attempt at a facial password. While showing off the feature, the phone wouldn’t recognize software engineer Craig Federighi’s face, so he quickly swapped to a backup phone that worked. As a result, Apple’s stock dropped right after the Face ID demonstration. Albeit, the iPhone X is still a great phone, but rings to the tune of $999 for the most basic model.
The Apple Event showcased the company’s newest innovations as a result of months of experimenting, testing, and researching. Sure, some of their product upgrades may have been incremental, such as the Apple TV and Apple Watch updates, but changes such as the removal of Touch ID show that Apple is willing to take risks with their products. It will be interesting to see Apple’s future given their small issues with Face ID and their most inventive product lineup to date.