As it does every September prior to holiday season, Apple introduced the latest versions of its already highly popular products at a major media event. This time it was Sept. 7 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in downtown San Francisco.
As expected, the world's richest and most successful consumer IT company showed off its iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, an updated and completely waterproof version of the Apple watch, wireless ear buds called AirPods and several other items.
For the second consecutive year, no totally new products were unveiled. The last time Apple showcased an entirely new product was in 2014, when it introduced the Apple Watch. Before that, the new product was the iPad in 2010.
New Cameras the Most Important New Feature
Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller spent an inordinate amount of time describing the new iPhone's new colors and exterior finish, dubbed jet black and just plain black. But the main reasons for someone wanting to upgrade to the new phone would have to be its slam-bang new telephoto-lens, 12-megapixel, 1.8 aperture camera and its 7-megapixel HD camera; a speedy new A10 Fusion processor; stereo speakers; and waterproof protection.
The new iPhones also are missing something all the others have had all along: an earphone jack.
Music lovers who buy the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will have the option to buy Apple's new AirPods. These small earphones (not trivially priced at $159 and available in October) are designed similarly to regular Apple earbuds, only they have a five-hour battery and an antenna that hangs down a few inches below the user's ears, making it appear as if white tubes of some kind are protruding from the listener's head.
Priced at $649, Available to Order Sept. 9
With the $649 price for the iPhone 7 in addition to the price of the AirPods, new buyers will be looking at about $810 plus tax just for the new wireless earbuds. The first day people can order the new phones is Friday, Sept. 9.
For those who may not want to shell out quite so much for the AirPods and an iPhone 7, the standard Apple earbuds will be included with an adaptor in the phone package and will use Apple's Lightning plug-in port.
"From the start, we designed Lightning to be a great audio connector," Schiller said onstage. "We are taking the headphones in iPhone 7 and 7 Plus to Lightning, and including them in the box with the device."
Users Can Plug in Through Lightning Port
Apple also showed its new Beats 3 and Beats X wireless headphones for those who don't prefer the AirPods.
On the outside, the iPhone 7 itself is physically similar to the two aluminum-body iPhones that preceded it. There are no different screen-size options this time. Outside the two new black exterior options, the main difference is in a more useful home button.
The updated Apple Watch Series 2's main new feature is its own GPS, which enables users to gather fitness data during an outdoor workout without the need to take along a smartphone.
"We started shipping Apple Watch just 18 months ago, and already people all over the world are using it in many aspects of their daily lives," CEO Tim Cook said from the stage. "But we are just getting started."
Super Mario Comes to iPhone 7
Apple also announced jointly with Japan's Nintendo a new partnership that enables "Super Mario Run" specifically for the iPhone 7. The game, featuring the well-known mustachioed runner, is developed specifically for mobile and will become available in the App Store later this year.
Apple, Nintendo and game maker Niantic also announced that the popular Pokémon Go game would be available for Apple Watch users later this month.