Say what you want about Apple but the Cupertino-based company certainly knows how to create an unprecedented amount of hype around, during and after its new product launches. You’ll probably have consumed dozens of articles regarding the iPhone 7 and its Plus variant as well as the removal of the headphone jack. The latter has generated a lot of furore and debate. Many speculate that it’s a play from Apple to generate more revenue for itself in an increasingly crowded market and have slammed the firm for trying to make more money. This puzzles me. Businesses are in this to make money and will create products (whether they add value or not is another matter altogether) that can help them generate revenue. To criticise a company for doing what it’s supposed to do boggles my mind.
At the end of the day, the collective market will decide with their money whether this is a good move or not.
Now, onto the 7 key takeaways from the Apple event.
1. Apple is daring to be different again
Let’s be honest. For a long time Apple has been playing it safe with its new products. The iPhone 4, 5 and to a certain extent 6, did not add anything new to the tech field. They were upgraded versions of their previous iterations but most of the new features in these smartphones could be found in older Android phones. Now, with the removal of the headphone jack, which I’m certain Apple knew would make a lot of people annoyed, the company is once again trying something totally new. The Macintosh was reviled by critics when it first came out but became a huge success. The first-generation iPhone did away with a physical keyboard. Now the iPhone 7 is removing the headphone jack. It might blow up in the company’s face or it might be seen as a masterstroke. Either way, I’m glad Apple is doing something unexpected. After all discomfort breeds innovation.
2. The wireless AirPods (S$238) will usher in new technological innovation
I’ve tried a lot of wireless earbuds and I can safely say that there are none available in the market that work seamlessly. There are always a lot of problems with each pair, from connectivity issues to one side not working because your skull is too dense. A tech company CEO recently told me it’s because the technology has not yet caught up to the vision. It seems Apple has finally found a way to solve the niggling problems that plague the current generation of wireless earbuds. Ming-chi Kuo, reputable tech analyst who has been dropping nuggets of Apple information over the years, revealed that Apple engineered “its own-designed Bluetooth-like communication chip, given its higher requirements for power-saving, communication specs, and potential rapid growth of Bluetooth headphone shipments”. If this is true, then this technology can be used on a lot more tech products.
3. There’s a 256GB option for iPhone 7s
The 64GB option that many people have been clamouring for Apple to bring back has not returned. Rather there’s a new 256GB options for those who really need the space. Now this I’m sure is really just a play to make more money. But hey, it’s water, dust and splash resistant now.
4. iOS 10 will be available on 13 September
True widgets (or at least Apple’s take on them) are finally available in iOS 10, many, many years after Android phones adopted them. Sure, there were those messages masquerading as widgets but Apple has decided to re-design and expand them to include more information. You can also hide the in-built apps that you never use and dump into a folder you’ve titled ‘Useless’. iOS 10 will be available on September 13th for free on the following devices: iPhone 5 and higher, iPod touch 6th gen, iPad mini 2 and higher, and iPad 4th generation and the subsequent iPad Air and iPad Pro models.
5. Lots and lots of collaborations
During the keynote event, Apple introduced in-depth partnerships with Niantic for a native Pokemon GO watch app, with Nike for its new Apple Watch Nike+ (below), and with Hermès for even more handcrafted leather bands, demonstrating the company’s commitment to make Apple Watch a truly successful product. The Watch hasn’t exactly set the world on fire, so seeing the company pour even more resources into this line means the company is in this for the long haul. And with the new features it has added into Apple Watch Series 2 such as actual waterproof and other life-enhancing capabilities, the market might just bite. Plus it’s actually rather affordable, starting at just S$398.
6. The Apple A10 chip is bloody powerful
No one’s talking a lot about the new A10 chip but this technological beast is something else. I dare say it’s actually the most powerful chip in the smartphone market once the iPhone 7 is launched. There are four cores – two high-performance and two made for efficiency – although in typical Apple fashion, it didn’t go in-depth into the performance capabilities of the new chip.
7. 9 September, 16 September and S$1,048
Pre-order date, availability date and starting price of the iPhone 7. Get yours here.