NEW YORK and SAN FRANCISCO -- Apple executives announced the latest generations of the iPhone and Apple Watch today in San Francisco, and both devices have a focus on fitness-minded consumers.
CEO Tim Cook announced that the body of the iPhone 7, which features a dual camera system, is made of aluminum and has a “mirrorlike surface.”
“It’s the best iPhone that we have ever created,” Cook said.
Apple executive Phil Schiller said the iPhone 7’s front camera is 7 megapixels and the back dual camera system is 12 megapixels.
The two-camera setup allows for greater ability to zoom and shallower depth of field — allowing subjects at only a certain distance to be in sharp focus. Shallow depth of field capability is typically the domain of expensive professional cameras. Schiller noted that the improved camera has four LEDs and provides 50 percent more light when the flash is employed.
The camera can capture large raw, or minimally processed, image files for editing.
But that’s not the only upgrade.
The new iPhone features stereo speakers at the top and bottom of the device, doubling the volume level of previous models.
The iPhone 7’s new waterproof design comes in gold, silver and rose, as well as two new options: black (matte) and jet black (glossy). Schiller also announced an update to the home button, which gives a tactile response to users, enabling new functionality.
What About Battery Life?
Schiller said the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus feature longer battery life than any previous iPhone models — one to two more hours, on average.
The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus start at $649 and $769, respectively, and are available in 32, 128, and 256 gigabytes, with the high-storage models costing more. The jet black version comes in 128 and 256 gigabyte models.
Preorders start on Friday, Sept. 9, and shipping will commence on Sept. 16.
Stepping into the traditionally troublesome wireless headphone space, Apple design chief Jonathan Ive announced new AirPods.
He played up the wireless earbuds’ W1 chip, which he said enable “intelligent, high-efficiency playback.”
The AirPods seamlessly connect with the new iPhones and Apple Watches, allaying concerns about connectivity that have plagued earlier wireless headphones.
The AirPods feature up to five hours of battery life with each charge.
Apple’s premium headphone brand, Beats, will launch three products, including a more affordable line called BeatsX.
Headphone Jack Gets the Ax
The rumors proved true: Apple has dropped the traditional headphone jack from the iPhone 7.
“We’re taking the headphones in iPhone 7 and 7 Plus to Lightning, and we’re including them in the box,” Schiller said, referring to Apple’s proprietary connection port, which is most often used for charging.
He said that an adapter allowing headphones to connect to the Lightning port will be included in each box.
Apple Watch Updates
Apple’s smartwatch offering — updated for the first time since its 2014 inception — now is “swimproof” and comes equipped with GPS.
Apple will offer two versions of its smartwatch: Series One, which is similar to the original but with a faster processor for $269, and Series Two, which has GPS and other new features for $369 and will be available in a special Nike-branded version. Preorders also begin Sept. 9.
Cook noted that in terms of sales revenue, Apple is the No. 2 watch brand in the world, after Rolex.
Updates With Fitness Focus
The new hardware allows for apps to keep track of fitness metrics like laps swum, calories burned and miles run.
“The watch will learn about you over time,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer.
“You’ll get GPS-accurate pace and distance,” he said, adding that programmers will be able to take advantage of the GPS feature.
Williams also announced a special Nike Plus–branded Apple Watch, targeted at runners.
Nike President Trevor Edwards joined Williams onstage. “Today, sports and fitness are a bigger part of people’s lives,” Edwards said, calling the watch “your perfect running partner.”
‘Pokemon Go’ Coming to the Wrist
Williams surprised the packed audience of tech journalists when he announced, “‘Pokemon Go’ is coming to the watch.” He then invited to the stage John Hanke, the CEO of Niantic, the developer of “Pokemon Go.”
Hanke said “Pokemon Go” has been downloaded more than 500 million times.