Some thoughts on the Apple Keynote

by Volker Weber

Let's dive right in:

  1. Watch Series 2 looks like the original. Wise decision. Samsung has tried seven different designs and they are losing. New features in Series 2: waterproof to 50 m, GPS, 2x brighter display, faster dual core GPU with 50% more performance, 100% faster GPU. Great enhancements, especially for active people. Two new workouts: swimming outdoors and in pool. Does lap and stroke count. Runners won't need to bring their phone for an exact track.
  2. The original Watch stays in market as Series 1, gets the faster CPU and a $100 price reduction from Series 2. Partnership with Hèrmes continues for that extra luxury. New partnership with Nike for serious workout. I haven't figured out the details, but it only seems to be a different band and additional software. Watch Edition in solid gold seems to be axed and is replaced with a ceramic white watch, that is even more expensive than the Hèrmes variant.
  3. iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are exactly as rumored. Two new colors replace space grey: black and jet black. Jet black is shiny and Apple is very proud of the process and finish. However, this is going to be a fingerprint magnet and it will scratch easily. In the fine print Apple recommends a case to mitigate these issues.
  4. Main features besides a new design: protected from water and dust with IP67 rating, double the memory capacity: 32, 128, 256, while maintaining the iPhone 6 pricing. Mechanical home button is replaced with new pressure sensitive pad. Tap Engine replaces vibrator for better notifications.
  5. Both iPhone 7 and 7+ have new cameras, front (higher res) and back (bigger aperture). The Plus model has a dual camera with the normal wide angle lens and an additional 2x telephoto. The main feature of that dual camera isn't even finished yet and comes in an update: a new Portrait mode will use the telephoto camera for the foreground and the wide angle for a blurry background to create the bokeh effect which currently needs a much bigger lens and camera. If you are serious about smartphone photography you want this camera and thus the plus model. Sorry, you skinny people with tight jeans.
  6. Dropping the audio jack caused a tempest in a teapot before the event. I think it is the right decision. The DAC moves from the phone into the Lightning-connected EarPods and into the Lightning-Audio connector. Both are in the box. Wireless headsets have a DAC anyway.
  7. New AirPods wireless earbuds use some proprietary whizbang to connect to Apple devices and will propagate the configuration to your other Apple devices via iCloud. Dual stream Bluetooth connects both earbuds to the phone and you can take out either one for a phone call. This headset will require an in-depth test once they become available. They do look great, but I would not buy them at face value.
  8. Apple opened with an education section, announcing collaborative editing in iWork, a suite that hasn't gotten much love recently. This appears to be a game that Apple is losing. If you ask students, they do all their collaborative editing is Google Docs and most everything else in Microsoft Office, with some pockets of LibreOffice. OpenOffice is more or less dying ever since Oracle has alienated developers.

It was a solid performance which was only boring during game demos. But that's me. I'm not interested in games. And Pokemon Go on Apple Watch "before the end of the year"? That would have been interesting two months ago, not in two months.

iOS 10 and watchOS 3 become available on September 13. You can order iPhone 7 and Watch Series 2 starting this Friday with delivery one week later.

And what does vowe want? iPhone 7 Plus in jet black. And a ceramic watch. One can dream, right?

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iPhone looks amazing, still can't stand the software though and iOS 10 makes notifications even worse

David Guillaume, 2016-09-07

AirPods: Requires iCloud account and macOS Sierra, iOS 10, or watchOS 3. - Great!

Martin Cygan, 2016-09-07

so what is the problem with that @Martin?

Thomas Einwaller, 2016-09-07

There is no irony in Martin's comment, Thomas.

Volker Weber, 2016-09-07

Seems the OS update is required for the dual stream Bluetooth to work. Quite a nifty idea to work around the problem of getting the signal from one ear piece to the other.

Device compatibility seems fine, all current hardware is supported.

Jochen Schug, 2016-09-07

iPhone still lacks one feature: wireless (Qi) charging
But the dual camera on the iPhone 7 Plus... Awesome
I don't give up hope that iPhone 7s get's Qi charging. Release of iPhone 7s would be the perfect point in time to replace my Lumia 950 XL...

Manfred Wiktorin, 2016-09-07

Looking forward to the AirPods. Just canceled my Bragi order (for the cheaper model).

Markus Dierker, 2016-09-07

Bragi is dead in the water.

Volker Weber, 2016-09-07

No buy trigger at all for me. New iPhone will come automatically when the replacement is due, and then I will happily enjoy the improved camera. I have not used a watch for decades and do not intend to change that. Not interested in any games, either (key takeway for me from Volker's post: I am at least not alone here:-) But:::: I need a new laptop, the old one was stolen, and the iPad Pro does not always cut it. Does Apple really want me to buy a Lenovo to use Word, Excel and Outlook and - for pleasure - some Adobe CS?

Peter Daum, 2016-09-07

Apple makes great laptops. I use them all the time and prefer them over any other brand.

Volker Weber, 2016-09-07

@vowe. Exactly!

Markus Dierker, 2016-09-07

@vowe. To both comments

Markus Dierker, 2016-09-07

Looking forward to an AirPod test by vowe. At the moment I have lots of doubts which avoid a buying trigger. I guess that I will use my JayBirds for a long time. Even if they are the X2 instead of the current Freedom. I use them for sports, they fit perfectly due to fins and differnt sleeves (I need to use the smallest ones). Furthermore they have a life time warranty against damages throug sweat. As far as I understood only the Watch has a bilge pump for the speaker ;-)

Torben Volkmann, 2016-09-07

Why get watch series two... i use my watch on the lowset brightness and it is great, i dont go anywhere without my phone so i dont need gps, and i can remove my watch for swimming, though i have dunked mine underwater many time swithout a bad effect

What the question i have is, are all watches sapphire now? Mine does have some small scratches you cant see when lit up

Mark Hughes, 2016-09-07

But it's not white ceramic, or is it? ;-) No news on the glass so I would assume no change.

Volker Weber, 2016-09-07

Interestingly, share price is up by 0.7%. It's the first time for years that a keynote did not result in a (at least) temporary decrease. Wondering what that means...

Peter Daum, 2016-09-08

Awesome video

Maximilian von Hulewicz, 2016-09-08

I must confess: boring. I don't even know why. Maybe because everything was leaked?

Except the Air Pods. I might even ignore your recommendation and buy them the second they are out.

Johannes Matzke, 2016-09-08

I understand you aren't into games, but the Nintendo announcement was huge. Why? Nintendo has not put it's content on any non-self produced hardware in decades. and Shigeru Miyamoto has not be on a stage that wasn't Nintendo's besides the Computer Game Hall of Fame Awards - pretty much ever. Nintendo has the best first party content of any gaming company. If more of that comes to iOS, that could be a big reason people by iOS devices.

John Head, 2016-09-08

Although Apple did not mentioning anything about video performance (hopefully no limitation regarding the two lens approach), my dream team to replace 6 Plus will be 7 Plus + Osmo Mobile.

Peter Meuser, 2016-09-08

> Jet black is shiny and Apple is very proud of the process
> and finish. However, this is going to be a fingerprint magnet
> and it will scratch easily. In the fine print Apple recommends
> a case to mitigate these issues.

I don't get it. What's the point of buying such a good looking device, when even apple recommends to hide its beauty behind a case?

Heiko Wolf, 2016-09-08

It's a legal move to protect them from nitpicking customers.

Volker Weber, 2016-09-08

Well, I´m wondering what impact the dual core CPU has in the upgraded Appw Watch series 1 and 2 over series "0". The upgraded display is not really a killer for me, my current Apple watch runs at lowest brightness.
Is WatchOS 3 going to run significantly better on this ? How about battery life ? Upgrading my Apple Watch is the only thing I´m considering at the moment.
I´d LOVE the ceramic watch but I think the price tag is unreasonable.

Bastian Anthonn, 2016-09-08

Failed to spell my own name right. geez.
Forgot to mention: It´s not called "jet black" but "scratch black"

Bastian Anthon, 2016-09-08

No matter what I say to my wife. She will be ordering a scratch black.

No mention of the improved camera or home button or performance or anything. Just "my god that is so gorgeous - I have to have one".


Ian Bradbury, 2016-09-08

From a UK perspective the price has gone up a lot.
I have an iPhone 6 plus 64GB which I bought 2 years ago for ¢699. It seemed a lot of money at the time. Now there is no 64Gb model, it is bumped to 128Gb. the iPhone 7+ 128Gb is ¢819 in the UK. I refuse to spend that much on a phone. Many Apple fans who I have spoken to since the keynote here, are also reevaluating their commitment to Apple, primarily due to price. Maybe it is exchange rate related.

Andy Mell, 2016-09-08

It is exchange rebate related. Consider it a Brexit tax.

Volker Weber, 2016-09-08

> No news on the glass so I would assume no change.

No change in front glass. This can be seen on the pictures from the specs on the back. But it looks like the back itself changed: This is ceramic now (at least it is on the Nike model,0.5,0,0&iccEmbed=0&layer=comp&.v=1472604546152)

Benjamin Bock, 2016-09-08

There is no Brexit tax. We have only taken back control of our prices and hiked them up. That's what voters wanted. So there.

Armin Grewe, 2016-09-08

Brexit or not, I do not see UK consumers swallowing this large price increase. I foresee Apple losing revenue and market share in the UK - they should be pricing to market.

Andy Mell, 2016-09-08

That is quite possible. There are lots of cheap alternatives. Since none of them are made in the UK though, you will see price hikes there as well, just from a lower base point. 300 is the new price point for a smartphone, and Chinese vendors make most of them. Impressive hardware, shitty software though.

Volker Weber, 2016-09-08

Why is bragi dead in the water?

Lars Berntrop-Bos, 2016-09-08

I will buy the 7 tomorrow if it had some sort of BlackBerry Hub app on it, even a beta one.

Horia Stanescu, 2016-09-08

Hmm, my five cents:
- iPhone 7: looks great, but not great enough; I'll rather stick to my new iPhone SE (don't like too big screens anyway); on the plus side "the jet black" reminds me of the good old 3GS
- Apple Watch 2: nice, but still not convincing due to poor battery life; that's why I'll stick to my Pebble Time; however Apple Watch series 1 is becoming now more interesting
- silent updates to Ipad Air 2: lower price, more capacity, this sounds very nice to me as my iPad 1st generation is really outdated ;-)

No words on Apple Pay in Germany thought; that's sad.

Mathias Ziolo, 2016-09-09

- Apparently, it was easier to include the Japanese NFC tech than to cope with German banks. :(

- The answer from Polar is already in - Android Wear on the flagship M600.
- Garmin seems to follow Nokia on the path of doom - Many devices, same base, diverse feature matrix

Kai Nehm, 2016-09-09

I found a really cheap way to upgrade from an iPhone6x to iPhone7!

Save money!

Ian Bradbury, 2016-09-09

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