The most recent Apple keynote focused primarily on two things: firstly, the company’s impressive list of achievements in terms of consumer technology innovations over the past 10 years, and secondly, the launch of the much anticipated new Apple Watch, the iPhone 8 and iPhone X. Over the course of a two hour keynote, Apple once again successfully delivered on many of the rumours that had been circulating for several months. The launch event featured the announcement of three new iPhone models: the iPhone 8, the iPhone 8+ and the iPhone X (referred to by Apple CEO Tim Cook as the iPhone 10). The event also produced a long-awaited updated Apple Watch that will enable consumers to connect to the device directly through a cellular connection without having to connect the device to an existing smartphone. Today we’re exploring everything you need to know about the latest Apple keynote event, including a deep dive on each new announcement focusing on the unveiling of the Steve Jobs Theatre, the iPhone 8, the iPhone 8+, the iPhone X, Apple Watch and Apple TV.
Apple Park and the Steve Jobs Theatre
Apple CEO Tim Cook kick-started the keynote event with a fitting tribute to company co-founder Steve Jobs. Tim Cook also dedicated the new theatre located at the company’s Apple Park Campus in Cupertino, California to the memory of Steve Jobs, who passed away in 2011. An emotional Tim Cook also suggested that Steve Jobs would always be honoured and remembered for his contribution to the company’s stratospheric rise. Cook also focused on the new Apple Park offices, indicating that Apple employees would be moving into the facility later in 2017. Cook was accompanied by Apple’s chief of retail Angela Ahrendts who discussed the company’s new retail store designs which focus on providing a social destination for Apple customers, a forum in which they can collaborate and boardrooms in which business people can operate together. Apple has been secretly working on the new retail store format and experience over the past two years and all new stores will be opened with the new, enhanced design in the future.
All of the announcements from the event were conducted from inside the Steve Jobs theatre, which is approximately 500% larger than the company’s previous launch pad called ‘Town Hall’ and seats over 1000 people. Recent reports estimated that each leather seat within the Steve Jobs Theatre cost in excess of £10,000. Historically Apple would always hire larger venues to unveil new products but now all new announcements and product launches will be conducted in the Steve Jobs Theatre. The Apple Park concept was initially the brainchild of Steve Jobs as he began working on the conceptual elements of the project as far back as 2006. He latterly presented his plans for Apple Park to the board of directors in 2011 and spent two years working on the project before he passed away. Apple Park was designed by UK based architect Norman Foster and it’s rumoured that Apple design guru Jony Ive was heavily involved in creating various elements of the new building. Steve Jobs vision for the campus was to create an office space that felt more akin to a nature reserve than a traditional working environment, and it’s estimated that more than 80% of the campus is occupied by green space. The inner courtyard of Apple Park is said to feature fruit trees and an enormous pond.
The Apple Park building also features unique design details throughout, including custom built door handles in every room and a four-storey glass door. The building itself sits on more than 170 acres of land and takes up nearly 3 million square feet of space. Apple boast that the new campus is 100% powered by renewable energy sources. These energy sources include 17 megawatts of rooftop solar power, establishing Apple Park as one of the largest on-site solar energy installations in the world. Apple Park is also now the world’s largest naturally ventilated building and requires no heating or air conditioning for nine months of the year.
The launch of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8+
The newly launched iPhone 8 and iPhone 8+ appear largely to be rebooted and slightly enhanced versions of the iPhone 7+. Each device features a back panel made from glass and slightly modified designs. Apple claim that the glass is the strongest material it’s ever used in producing a new iPhone. Both iPhone 8 and iPhone 8+ will be available in a range of colours including gold, silver and space grey and both devices dust and water resistant designs. The iPhone 8 comes equipped with a 4.7 inch screen whilst the iPhone 8+ possesses a 5.5 inch display. In terms of the hardware features, both devices will be shipped containing the A11 Bionic chip, which Apple has said is the most powerful chip it’s ever included in a release of an iPhone product. The iPhone 8 will be shipped with a 12 megapixel single-lens camera, whilst the iPhone 8+ comes with two 12 megapixel rear-facing cameras. As such, both the iPhone 8 and the 8+ should be capable of delivering better quality images and videos than its iPhone 7+ predecessor.
Both of the new smartphones are capable of functioning with apps developed using Apple’s new AR platform ARKit, therefore maximising the capabilities of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8+ to successfully blend together elements of the real-world with virtual 3D objects.The new iPhone 8 series smartphones are both equipped for wireless charging, an innovation that has been highly anticipated by existing iPhone users. The wireless charging capability enables iPhone 8 users to place the device on a charging pad, as opposed to plugging them in. This feature adopts the Qi wireless charging standard, which is great news for existing iPhone users as many existing smartphones and tablets available on the market will be compatible with these devices. In terms of pricing, the iPhone 8 starts at $699 whilst the iPhone 8+ will cost $799. Preorders for the iPhone 8 commence on September 15th, whilst availability of iOS11 will be available and free to download as of September 19th.
The launch of the iPhone X
After weeks of intense speculation, Apple finally unveiled the iPhone X. The iPhone X (or iPhone 10 as it’s designed to be pronounced) comes complete with a screen that spans almost the entirety of the device, a stainless steel spine and a glass backed finish. The screen comes equipped with a ‘super retina’ display and measures in at 5.8 inches. The super retina display comes equipped with increased size and resolution, which represents the highest resolution Apple has ever included in a smartphone. The screen also utilises OLED technology (organic light emitting diode) as opposed to the traditional LCD screens that Apple has used in every other iteration of the iPhone including the iPhone 8 models. Apple has also changed the design of the iPhone X to remove the home button, so users now tap the screen in order to wake up the device.
One of the biggest announcements was the way in which users will unlock the mobile phone using Apple’s new Face ID technology, which effectively acts as a successor to the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. This enables iPhone X users to unlock the device simply by looking at it, so that the phone’s front facing sensors can analyse the features of the users face, and Apple clearly see this feature as being a future standard for unlocking it’s devices and protecting data. Face ID is designed to work so that even if the user’s face changes over time it can still manage to successfully verify the user’s identity. Apple were very keen to emphasise that FaceID is impervious to being manipulated by using a photograph of the owner’s face.
In terms of the iPhone X hardware specifications, the device comes equipped with dual 12 megapixel cameras which significantly outstrip the performance provided by both of the iPhone 8 models. The iPhone X runs on Apple’s latest A11 bionic chip and comes equipped with wireless charging and enhanced battery life as standard. Apple unveiled a wireless charging pad that is compatible with the Apple Watch Series 3, the wireless AirPod headphones, the iPhone 8 series and the iPhone X. This technology enables users to charge all of these devices simultaneously. This wireless charging dock is called AirPower and will be publicly available some time in 2018. In terms of price, the Iphone X will be available in both 64GB and 256GB configurations and will cost upwards of $999 in the US. The iPhone X will be available for pre-order on October 27th and will start shipping on November 3rd 2017.
Apple Watch Series 3
Apple announced the latest update to the Apple Watch software, which comes equipped with a heart rate measuring sensor that can flag up potential health problems by analysing abnormalities in the user’s heartbeat. The new Apple watch software, WatchOS4, also provides updates for fitness tracking and will be available as a free download on September 19th. Apple also announced the long-awaited AW Series 3 which comes equipped with its own built-in cellular connectivity. This means it doesn’t need to be wirelessly connected or tethered to an iPhone in order to access data. This will enable owners of the Apple Watch Series 3 to make/receive calls whilst using their existing mobile phone number. The cellular version of the Watch will cost upwards of $399 and will commence shipping on September 15th.
The 2017 Apple keynote delivered on all of the usual iterative improvements you might expect, enhanced displays, faster processing, improved design, higher strength glass and the use of surgically-reinforced steel. Perhaps more importantly, Apple provided a subtle glimpse into it’s future plans in relation to new technologies such as ARKit. If you’re a brand or business interested in the capabilities of Apple’s new product line-up, or wondering how these new innovations might impact your current software offering, we’d love to hear from you, contact us today to kick-start the conversation about your mobile app development project. As the largest mobile app development and IoT company in Scotland, Waracle continues to expand our expertise around mobile strategy, design, development and optimisation and were included in Appindex’s Top iOS App Development Agencies 2016.