Apple Event- What Happened Last Week...

The Apple press event last week brought in new products, a new version of iOS and watchOS, plus some interesting headphone news...

iPhone 7:
The new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were announced:

- iPhone 7 (smaller 4.7” screen)
- iPhone 7 Plus (larger 5.5” screen)
Photos: The iPhone 7 comes with a new A10 chip for faster speed and graphics but the big news is the new internal cameras. The standard 7 comes with a new camera capable of capturing a wider range of colours, plus a new LED flash, meaning that low-light photos are much clearer than in previous iPhones. The new 7 Plus (big iPhone) comes with a zoom lens. Although a small zoom amount compared to pro-cameras (2x optical or 10x digital), it is the first iPhone to come with any real zoom feature. Even the front camera, used mostly for FaceTime (and selfies!!), goes up to a 7 megapixel resolution (previously 5).

Storage: Apple also increased capacity (finally!) and there is no low end 16GB model (which was always too small and I always advised people away from!). The range now stands at 32, 128 and a huge 256GB.
Water-proof (sort-of): the new iPhone 7 is "splash, water and dust resistant". OK, so don’t go swimming with it, but it should help if you spill a glass of water over it.
Colours: new selection of colours, including two blacks. Might seem a bit odd, but the new jet-black is a precision anodisation and polishing process which is (apparently!) hard to do! From what I have been able to find out, it is a sleek glossy design and quite impressive. However It is only available for the higher-end 128 and 256GB versions.
The other colours are (normal) black, silver, gold and rose gold.
For comparison details of all iPhone models, including the smaller iPhone SE and last year's iPhone 6s (both of which are still being sold), check out this page:

Oh yes, and no headphone socket. Apple ships a free adapter in the box with the iPhone 7 so if you wish to plug in your old headphones they will still work fine. The new headphones which come with the 7 have a lightening port plug which goes into the main port at the bottom of the device (same socket for charging).
Also, Apple launched new wireless headphones which you can buy to go with the iPhone 7. The AirPods come in a charging case which can hold, pair and charge the AirPods. First you charge the case (gives 24hr of battery charge) and the AirPods will last 5hrs. Then pop them back into the case again to recharge them. Anyone who has used normal Bluetooth headphones will know how annoying the connection and pairing process can be- but the new AirPods require one touch to connect to your iPhone or other device. Plus they pair with ALL of your iCloud linked devices when paired with one device, so you can use them with your Watch, iPad or Mac too.

Siri is built-in to the AirPods. You tap the side of an AirPod and speak- you can ask Siri to play a song or call a person.
The AirPods come out at the end of October and will cost €179/$159.
Prices for the iPhone 7 will vary depending on your carrier- but if you go for an unlocked phone from Apple, the prices start at €779/$649 for the 7 and €919/$769 for the Plus.

Apple Watch:
The second version of the Apple Watch was also announced, called “Series 2”. Series 2 brings...
- brighter screen
- water-proof (yes you can swim with this one; designed for all sports including swimming!)
- speed- the new chip inside is twice as fast as the original Watch; something that original Watch owners will appreciate…
- GPS chip- so you have better Maps and tracking for runs, hikes, walks

At times the Watch range can seem very confusing as there are so many options. This is a fashion brand and so the choice comes down to 4 parts:

1/ Which family of Watch?
- Apple Watch (Series 1 or Series 2)
- Apple Watch Nike Plus (bye, bye Nike FuelBands, hello Apple Nike partnership...)
- Apple Watch Edition (pricey...)

2/ Which Band?
Lots and lots of bands are available for your Watch- nylon, rubber, link-bracelet, Milanese Loop etc.

3/ Which “Series"?
Series 1 or Series 2?
Series 1 Watch is the same design as the original Watch but has the newer, faster chip in it.
Series 2 is the new design with the features listed above.

4/ Size?
Comes in 38mm or 42mm face sizes. Stereotypically this would have been ladies vs mens, but the choice is yours.
So here is one popular example:
Apple Watch Series 2, 42mm Space Grey Aluminium Case with Black Sport Band: €479.00
Note- there is no real functional difference between say the cheapest Series 2 Watch and the most expensive Series 2 Watch- it is all about preferred style, colours, materials and bands.
iOS 10:
Some of the new features:
- new Messages app- lots of goodies here if you like to send emojis, videos, animations etc. No longer is this about plain texts!
- Apple Music- newly designed app which aims to address some of the shortcomings of the current version. Easier to find your music with the new design, plus you can bring up the lyrics of songs to sing-along!
- pro-active Maps! If you park your car it will remember where you left it, plus you get recommendations on routes to destinations
- new notifications screen- wakes when you lift the phone to show your messages and missed calls
- widgets- customise your “widgets” screen to see news headlines, travel messages, weather, emails etc
Plus the design has changed a good bit- iOS 10 is brighter and more colourful than say iOS 7 which introduced the flat and minimalist design.
Having used iOS 10 now for a few days now, I find it certainly feels like a good, rich update, with lots of small but useful changes.
It will be available as a free download on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. But if you do decide to jump in early when it is released, please make sure of 4 things:
- you have updated all of your apps in the App Store
- you have backed up your phone
- you have approx 5GB of free space on your device before you begin
- go to Settings -> General -> Software Update to check you are on 9.3.5 today, ready for iOS 10

watchOS 3.0:
The new watchOS software for the Apple Watch is a free upgrade next Tuesday.
Big changes for Watch users- the new watchOS is far faster, more streamlined and overall what the original watchOS maybe should have been.

Gone is the Friends button and instead, pressing the button on the side of the Watch brings up a new “Dock”, which shows your favourite apps (max 10) and keeps them always refreshed and up-to-date. When you open the Dock and tap on an app it opens instantly- no more irritating delays which we saw with the first Watch software.

Other nice changes:
- build and customise your Watch faces on your iPhone and then zap the changes to your Watch (in the past you did this on the small Watch face). Lots of nice new face designs too
- new Breathe app which gets you to stop and take deep breathes at certain points during the day- a way to relax and relieve stress!!
- for sporty-types, you can now share your activity status with other Watch users
- as in the new iOS 10, Messages has had an overhaul and you can send animations, drawings, heartbeats in texts
- when macOS Sierra comes out for the Mac later this month, you will be able to unlock your Mac with your Watch when you return to your desk- no more typing in your Mac password each time you come back
- SOS call: pressing and holding the side button will start an emergency SOS call to 999/911 and send a text to your designated contact - slightly more serious, but could be very useful

Almost no Mac news...
Except that macOS Sierra, the new Mac operating system, is coming on September 20th.
Sierra brings Siri to the Mac, allows copy and paste between ALL of your devices, syncing of your documents between different Macs through iCloud and unlocking your Mac with your Apple Watch.
Plus changes to Messages, Photos and iTunes apps.
Further details are here:
But no new Macs were announced- I expect new Mac hardware to be launched before Christmas, most likely in late-October. Apple will want this to be out before Christmas and so we might see new MacBook Pros, possibly revised iMacs and MacBook Airs, and (hopefully) new Mac minis. No dates or details have been announced just yet.