Apple Update

By on Sep 20, 2017 in Technology

Come autumn, the world stops to see the next Apple crop. In this case, we mean tech, not fruit! This year has been especially bountiful with the launch of an upgraded Apple Watch, new iPhones, the 10-year celebration of the iPhone and the first keynote to be hosted at the company’s spaceship headquarters in the SteApple-iPhone-8ve Jobs Theater.

Apple Watch Series 3

Even though the star of the evening was the iPhone X, some other interesting stuff occurred on stage. For example, we met the Apple Watch Series 3, Apple’s newest wearable version, upgraded to LTE connectivity—basically, the watch now works as a standalone device, so you don’t have to keep it connected to your iPhone. If you already own an iPhone and don’t have a watch, this should be the next item in your Apple shopping bag.

The gizmo will work with the same phone number that your iPhone has, synchronizing calls, iMessage and music automatically. It will use a separate connection when away from the phone, so you no longer have to carry both your watch and your iPhone next time you hop on your mountain bike or head out for a jog.

Visually, not much has changed. The device itself is slightly thicker than the Series 2 model, but that’s to be expected considering the performance upgrades it has stored inside. The Watch Series 3 is decked out with some new band options too—the Sport Loop, designed for outdoor active situations, and Hermès leather straps.

Technical specs of the new watch include a new dual-core processor with 70 percent better performance and a new W2 chip that boosts Bluetooth, wireless connectivity and power efficiency. The cellular antenna is the display itself, and there is a tiny electronic SIM card inside for connectivity. The heart rate app has been improved and includes new measurements, such as resting and recovery heart rate, displaying on your wrist how fast your rate drops after a workout. In addition, the app will be able to notify you when it detects an elevated heart rate despite you being inactive. A notification will also pop-up on your watch when it detects an arrhythmia or irregular heart rate (compared to your usual stats).

Apple TV

Apple TV has been upgraded to 4K, sporting better resolution and HDR video. It’s compatible with both the HDR10 and Dolby Vision specs, and will sell for $179. The new Apple TV starts shipping on September 22.

iPhones 8 & 8 Plus

iPhones 8 and 8 Plus, upgraded versions of the iPhone 7, reintroduce the glass back for wireless charging. Actually, this is the only real difference in the design (which means that you can still use the old iPhone 7 cases). iPhone 8 will ship in three colors: silver, space grey and a new gold finish. The device has an aerospace-grade aluminum frame, and the glass is the most durable version on any iPhone to date. It is also water and dust resistant.

The stereo speakers provide an improved sound experience—25% louder and capable of deeper bass. No, the headphone jack didn’t make a comeback. The 4.7-inch device now comes with the Retina HD display, promising improved color accuracy and a cinema wide color gamut. 3D Touch is integrated in the screen, which now comes with Apple’s True Tone technology—the ability to adapt the color palette of the display to the lighting conditions around you.

The 12-megapixel, f/1.8 camera comes with a larger and faster sensor than the iPhone 7 and can capture 4K footage at 60fps, as well as slow-motion footage at 240fps. The 7-megapixel front-facing camera is no different from the one on the iPhone 7, meaning you can anticipate the same quality selfies as before.

These are the first versions of iPhone to support wireless charging; a bit of infrastructure for the Qi technology already exists, both in places like Starbucks and in some newer cars, so things should go pretty smoothly. The downside is that the charging pad will not be included in the box; you’ll have to purchase it separately.

Inside, the iPhone 8 has the same powerful A11 Bionic processor as the iPhone X with 2GB of RAM. This means that Apple has again worked on the little chip and improved it to be even faster than the one used in iPhone 7. In addition, the new chip is optimized for all those augmented reality tricks. All recent iPhones can do AR, but according to the company, only the 8 and the X have been optimized for it.

Price-wise, the iPhone 8 starts at $699 for a 64GB model, while the Plus will start at $799 (also for the 64GB version). Shipping begins on September 22.

The iPhone X

The iPhone X is the device Apple that’s closest to what made them so popular 10 years ago. It’s an experiment, meant to test people’s reactions, to make them love it or hate it or confuse them so much that they no longer know how they feel about it. The device represents the company’s futuristic step ahead, that bit of magic we’re all waiting for. The X is different from the rest of the line, flaunting a new look, new functionality and new magic.

The most noticeable difference is in its bezel-less screen, which now stretches pretty much from edge to edge. It’s also a different size from any other iPhone, measuring 5.8 inches. But it’s not bigger than the 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus. Specifically, these display measurements don’t take into account the aspect ratio of the screens and in fact, the iPhone X has 97.38 percent the area of the iPhone 8 Plus. For comparison’s sake, the X has an 18.6 percent bigger display than the iPhone 8. The iPhone X, at 5.8 inches, is smaller than the 5.5-inch 8 Plus model.

The screen quality, dubbed Super Retina Display, rivals any other flagship product on the market and it’s somewhat ironic that the 1,125×2,436 OLED screen was, in fact, developed by Samsung. The X too comes with a glass back to support wireless charging, and its two sides are held together through a stainless-steel frame that adds a premium sheen to the device. Between the two glass sides is the same A11 Bionic processor and 3GB of RAM.

The home button has gone the way of the headphone jack: it’s disappeared. The fingerprint scanner was replaced with the new Face ID, a 3D scanning system that’s not a new thing, but which gives hope that once in the hands of Apple, will become a reliable, secure feature. This actually is the biggest adjustment iPhone users will have to make in years.

The camera has always been one of the iPhone’s standout features. Now Apple rolled out a series of upgrades that enable users to capture slow-motion film in higher definition or shoot film-style in 4K. The new Portrait Lighting mode opens the option to tweak the flash on the back of the device to fill a little more naturally or make it look like the subject is lit by a spotlight on stage. The back-facing camera array has been rotated 90 degrees and now the bump runs vertically. Inside the array are dual 12-megapixel cameras (just like in the 8 Plus) with f/1.8 and f/2.4 apertures. Dual optical image stabilization mitigates shakes in both cameras. In addition, there’s also a quad-LED True Tone Flash. Animoji, the animated emojis inside iMessage, are also created with the help of Face ID.

Once set up, Face ID will know to unlock your device by simply holding it up to your face, requiring your attention to do so. Apple says it has invested quite a lot in the feature and made sure masks and photos can’t fool it. These facial-recognition features are made possible using the array of cameras and sensors packed into that notch at the top of the screen. The TrueDepth array projects infrared dots onto your face to map it, captures the image and then uses a dedicated processor to interpret your face data. It’s said to recognize you even if you grow a beard or change your hairdo.

The new Face ID feature is by far the most important feature of the iPhone X and will be used also in Apple Pay. Of course, some people are skeptical about whether or not Face ID will work and be secure. But if there is a company that can pull off the implementation of such sensitive technology, it’s Apple.