Journal #160 – New Apple Products

On 12 September 2017 (13 September @ 0100hrs, Singapore time), Apple hosted a keynote event at the Steve Jobs Theater in the Apple Park Campus.

I actually stayed up from 0100hrs to 0330hrs Singapore to watch the whole event live on my MacBook Pro.

At that event, they announced new products spanning four product categories: Apple Retail Store, Apple TV, iPhone and Apple Watch.

For Apple retail store, SVP for retail, Angela, announced that many stores will be upgraded to become lifestyle centers or town plazas in various part of the world for people to gather. New concept designs will also be introduced and implemented at the stores with around 100 planned by the end of the year. She also promoted the Today at Apple events, and the stores will be increasing number of seats, improving the audio, and 50,000 beacons will be installed at 400 stores across 30 countries. If you are wondering about what I mean by beacons, you can read more here.

WatchOS 4 was next to be announced and it features new watch faces, and existing functionalities are expanded. One such functionality is the heart rate monitor. It will be better at detecting issues such as atrial filtration, a potential deadly condition. Activity tracking is also improved to allow better switching of workouts, can download gym equipment data. Apple Music on the watch is also getting an upgrade, featuring automatic recommendations, multiple playlists, and a better UI.

Remember the rumor about LTE-enabled Watch? Turns out it’s true. Apple announced Watch series 3. The LTE-enabled watch is now able to handle phone calls, and stream music without the need for the iPhone. Other upgrades include ability to connect to the AirPods to listen to music. Instead of using an actual SIM card, the Watch uses e-SIM.

I am personally very excited about the LTE-version because it will allow me to go for workouts and listen to music without bringing my iPhone 7 plus out.

Apple TV now finally supports both HDR and 4K with its A10X processor. As part of the announcement, Apple also announced the expansion of the TV app for countries like Canada and Australia to include local television programs. Last but not least, 4K Contents from Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix will be included.

The biggest announcement was actually about the iPhones. Apple first announced iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 plus that use glass for phones’ bodies with color-matched, aerospace-grade aluminum band, featured True Tone display, and HDR. The cameras are also specially calibrated for augmented reality. The portrait mode is also upgraded with new lighting capabilities. The phones also come with better stereo speakers, and wireless charging. To power these phones, they use the new A11 Bionic processor with Apple designed 3-core GPU, Neural Engine for machine learning purpose and the M11 motion co-processor. These phones will be available for pre-order on 15 September at 1501pm GMT8 with iPhone 8 starting at SG$1148 and iPhone 8 Plus starting at SG$1308.

After that, Apple also announced the more “advanced”, more expensive iPhone X to mark the 10 year anniversary of the iPhone. As the rumors indicated, home button has been removed, uses Face ID instead of Touch ID, and rely more on 3D touch and gestures for most of the interaction with the phone. iPhone X also featured Super Retina display with HDR using OLED screen. The iPhone X also featured a wider display at 5.8 inches. SVP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, demoed how easy it is to use the iPhone X with iOS 11. Face ID is also demonstrated to be very fast. The phone will be available for pre-order from 1501hrs GMT8 with the phone starting at SG$1648.

Personally, I don’t see the need for me to buy the new iPhones because my current ones can serve me rather well for a foreseeable future. That’s the minimalist me talking and a part of me however desire to own the iPhone x.