We already know all about what’s unfolding with the iPhone 7 and its missing headphone jack. But while the iPhone, and Sia, took up the bulk of the show, there were a few other major announcements as well. Here’s everything else from Apple’s big show.
The Apple Watch Series 2
The Apple Watch is apparently successful enough to become the number two watch brand in the world, and the top-selling smartwatch, although the latter might not be as major as you think. Tellingly, the Apple Watch presentation didn’t mention any hard sales numbers, focusing instead on customer satisfaction.
The new Watch, as we predicted, had a pretty strong emphasis on health. The series 2 is swimproof, so you can take it pretty much anywhere in the water, rated water resistant to 50 meters. There’s a neat new speaker technology that forces out water, keeping it robust. And, in fact, Apple spent a lot of time studying swimmers to create better fitness tracking for swimming, and will learn about your swimming over time. The built-in GPS rumors have also proven to be true, which they showed off with a hiking app. And Nike has a special, runner-focused Apple Watch Series 2 that will goad you into running more with personalized guilt trips, er, invitations.
Most interestingly, it’s twice as fast with both graphics and general computing, with some apps hitting 60 frames a second on your wrist. The display is twice as bright, the brightest, Apple claims, that it’s ever shipped. It’s also coming in a hardened ceramic, four times harder than stainless steel, and Hermes is back offering absurdly expensive watch bands. On the improvement side, everything now preloads information, so you don’t have to wait for an app to load. The Watch Series 2 is $369, and the original Apple Watch gets the same processor, and is now $269. And yes, if you really want to spend lots of money, Hermes is back with new watch bands.
Nintendo And Gaming
Apple has never been notable for its love of video games. This is the same company that inadvertently helped launch the Xbox by letting Halo slip through their fingers. But, surprisingly, Apple had one very, very big partner on stage, the last one anybody expected: Nintendo.
In fact, the show’s first big announcement was Nintendo bringing Mario, their single most valuable property, to iOS with Super Mario Run. Essentially Nintendo’s entry into the popular infinite runner game genre, Mario relentlessly moves right and you tap the screen to make him jump. However, it lacks any free-to-play mechanics, and there are hints Nintendo has a lot more in store for the game.
They also debuted the no-brainer, a more detailed and handy app for Pokémon Go on the Apple Watch Series 2 that lets you swipe Pokestops, hatch eggs, and generally play the game without having your phone out. Which, in of itself, is expected. But that, and Apple demonstrating the iPhone’s graphics power with a game from respected long-time developer Codemasters, marks a subtle but pronounced shift in Apple’s opinions on gaming. Especially with the Nintendo NX on the horizon, this is an interesting development that we suspect there will be more about in the coming months.
- Apple’s general love of Snapchat-like features will be on messaging both iOS10 and Watch OS3. It showed off lots of stickers, animations, and other stuff you can clutter your messages with.
- Apple mentioned some upgrades to Apple Music and that even more exclusive music will be coming, although just what that will be was left unsaid.
iWork is finally catching up to Google Docs with real-time collaborative editing tools.
Apple bore down rather hard on its environmental aspects, noting that every product they meet has to line up with some new, stricter standards.
- Instagram will have a bunch of features that tie heavily into the iPhone 7’s cameras.
Curiously missing is any word on Apple’s Beats headphones. We got a brief look at a few models, but no word on pricing, battery life and other useful data. We also didn’t see much about accessories. But if Apple holds true, all that will be arriving soon, after we digest everything it just laid on us.