Posts tagged “Apple Watch

2018 Apple iPhone Event Full Recap

Coming off of the helms of the iPhones X, 8 and 8 Plus this year it was rumored that we’d receive a new Apple Watch alongside 3 new iPhones, which exact specifications and price we wouldn’t know.

Apple’s events are always touted as being “magical” and known for being master marketers, Apple is usually poised to have their onlookers shouting, “Shut up and take my money!”.

Does this ring true with the devices debuted today?


Apple Watch

Welcome, Apple Watch Series 4 a slimmer, fuller screen smartwatch.  The Apple Watch is not only the number one smartwatch on earth, it is additionally the number one watch in terms of units sold.  The amount of features in regards to apps and health propel it, easily, past other smartwatch offerings from Android’s virtually nonexistent WearOS and Samsung’s Tizen, which powers the company’s Gear line.

Source: Apple, YouTube

In addition to the Apple watch receiving a slight facelift (don’t worry all of our Apple Watch bands from the earlier generations will work) there are new features also packed in.

First, is EKG or electrocardiogram.  Apple Watch Series 4 is the first over the counter, FDA approved device that features this technology, it’s been rumored to be included in an Apple Watch and this is a phenomenal feature to have aboard.  EKG is the process of recording electrical activity of the heart over a period of time using electrodes placed over the skin [Source: Wikipedia].  Taking an EKG on Apple Watch is as simple as holding your finger on the redesigned digital crown for 30 seconds.  Including this in a smartwatch makes this item much more than just a companion device or as some view it, “a toy” — it makes it a first class wearable that is deserving of respect.  All of the health data is saved securely to your device in case a need arises to be shown to a physician.

AppleWatchSeries4

Apple Watch Series 4 with Cellular.

Second, due to the “edge to edge” screen of the Apple Watch Series 4, it will include more dynamic watchfaces and complications that can be used on the watch while keeping the same battery life as the previous generation.

Lastly, the Series 4 watch includes fall detection.  Fall detection is vital, especially for the older demographic and thanks to the latest addition from another alerting device may be able to go the way of the Dodo.

Overall, Apple Watch Series 4 is looking to be an excellent upgrade from last years model and although it is not a must buy for all Series 3 owners, if you have Series 0 through 2 — please proceed to your closest Apple Store.


iPhone

This is likely what you’re all here for; however, after seeing the release of Apple Watch Series 4 one could wonder if they could be pleasantly delighted any more.  iPhone X was Apple’s first attempt at a radical redesign of the iPhone, ever.  Not only was the home button no more, the orientation of the cameras changed and there were additions and subtractions made inside of iOS to account for the new display, including it’s hideous display notch — yes, it’s still there in 2018 devices, get used to it.

Enter iPhones XS and XS Max.

iPhonesXSXSMax

iPhones XS and XS Max.

Gone are the days of new “Plus” models.  When it came to the Plus devices, they each offered a different experience when compared to their smaller counterparts.

  • iPhone 6S vs 6S Plus — Camera differences, iPhone 6S did not have optical image stabilzation.
  • iPhone 7/8 vs 7/8 Plus — Camera differences, iPhones 7/8 did not have dual lens camera systems capable of producing portait mode shots with enhanced depth of field.

Now that we have the “Max” model there aren’t any apparent differences other than battery size and screen size 5.8″ versus 6.5″.

Source: Apple, YouTube

The new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max devices are powered by the latest SoC from Apple, A12 Bionic, which not only provide improved overall performance of the device itself, but faster unlocking using FaceID.  FaceID, while regarded as generally stellar, was often noted as being slower than TouchID, which is notably fast and seamless.  Additionally, because of this new chip we get camera improvements and can now adjust the depth of field of a portrait mode photo after it has been captured.  While there have been third party applications that could do that because the image data is readily available, this feature is now natively available within the Photos app itself. All of these features topped with the pleasant addition of IPS 68 water and dust resistance, up to 2 meters, comparable to devices such as Samsung Galaxy S9.

Just when we thought that all was done, there was….one…..more…..device.

Enter iPhone XR.

This is Apple’s low-cost iPhone, let’s call it like it is.  When your devices start of at $999 for iPhone XS and $1099 for iPhone XS Max, there needs to be another device for the majority of consumers and emerging markets.  Face it, in 2018 you can get a solid smartphone for $500 (eg. One Plus), we shouldn’t have to spend a grand to get a solid phone.  While one could argue about reliability, long-lasting support and other premises that take Apple’s devices from good to great — the aforementioned argument is solely based on price alone.

iPhoneXR2018

Apple iPhone XR, shown in Product Red.

iPhone XR starts at $749 (in the buying options it doesn’t appear that this device can be purchased unlocked) and features a 6.1″ LCD display that forgoes 3D touch but doesn’t lack in many other areas.  It is notable that iPhones 6/7/8 all had LCD displays but all had 3D touch — seems to be an omission for the sake of differentiation.  Although it is LCD, Apple is touting it as the most accurate LCD display on a smartphone, which is likely true as Apple’s displays are individually calibrated for accurate at the factory and lead the industry in how accurate the representation of colors are.  XR also comes in a variety of colors to spice things up, while having only a single lens camera, which differentiates it further from the XS and XS Max.  Although there is only one lens here, the camera is still capable of producing portrait mode shots through the Google coined, computational photography, which Phil Schiller almost winced while saying.  Otherwise, the device could be confused with a X, XS or XS Max device as it features the same stylings and notch, which also houses the same True Depth camera and sensor array that is used for FaceID.

In short, Apple knocked it out of the park here, especially with pricing.  While iPhone XR could come in at an even lower pricepoint to shake up the market, $749 is a pleasant surprise, while $1099 for iPhone XS Max is as well as we are used to seeing a $150 or more markup for the larger devices year over year.  As of this event below is Apple’s new iPhone lineup:

  • iPhone 7/7 Plus
  • iPhone 8/8 Plus
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR

iPhone X is no longer in the lineup and will not be sold going forward.

Of course, there were new updates to iOS, which will be pushed out in iOS 12, Monday, September 17th.


Notable Exclusions

With all of the hype surrounding an Apple event, there are always devices and services rumored to be released and/or updated that simply do not get the attention we thought they’d get.

Most notable is Apple’s AirPower mat, which was promised last year — STILL is nowhere to be found, without as much of a mention from Apple. Not only would this be a great companion to this iPhone lineup, which has Qi “wireless” charging support, it would show users that they’ve taken this product seriously.

Then, iPads, Mac Mini and AirPods. All of these items were longshots and will ultimately receive their own event when and if they are updated this year. This was an event all about iPhone and it’s number one companion, Apple Watch. Here’s to another fall or early winter event from Apple.


Wrapping Up

It is safe to say that Apple is once again firmly in the lead in many areas after this event.  When it comes to companion devices and Apple Watch, there is no question, while the iPhone XR gives premium features at a reasonable cost.

Good game, Apple — good game.

My Apple Lock-in

Everyone goes with an ecosystem for a reason. I don’t consider myself an Apple loyalist by any means. I am a fan of technology, exemplary design and quality. Some continue to use and buy every Apple product because of iMessage and not wanting to see that dreaded green bubble.

For me, the answer is different. For me, I’ve got to have Apple Watch.


Why

Apple Watch is the only relevant smartwatch on the planet aside from devices by companies such as Garmin and Fitbit — yet these are fitness trackers first.

Where is Android Wear? Stagnating because of the fact that Google isn’t doing the best job managing the platform. Samsung wearables are seen from time to time; however, the device that occupies most wrists that are charged daily is the Apple Watch. At this point, it would be difficult to move to a different platform without having a dependable form of wristwear to accompany my smartphone.


Intangibles

There are many things that Apple Watch does that you can’t see. A device that’s so reliable, you never need to worry about it working. Additionally, the safety of having a solid ecosystem behind you is second to none. Watchbands are made by Apple to the established Hermes.


Final Thoughts

Apple Watch, not only the best smartwatch but an excellent ecosystem to be apart of.

Apple Watch Series 3 Impressions

Anyone seen the roadrunner?  Of course, you haven’t, because it’s on my wrist.  The biggest upgrade with the Apple Watch Series 3 is it’s responsiveness and battery life improvements.


Overview

Coming from the original Apple Watch (lovingly known as Series 0), the speed increase is huge with Series 3 with GPS.  Not only is the hardware much improved internally, watch OS 4 brings out the best in it.  From an improved workout app, Siri on board and a carousel of complications — this is a solid upgrade.  It is also reported that the speed increase is even notable from Series 1 and Series 2.

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Speed

Speed increases are the biggest and best thing about the new Series 3 watch and is seen from the moment you raise your wrist from the moment you lower it.  Even the most mundane and simple tasks such as swiping from watchface to watchface, opening an app and more — say goodbye to frame drops and hello to a perfectly smooth smartwatch experience.


watch OS 4

What does watch OS 4 bring to the table besides the very useful “Now Playing” complication?  First off, Now Playing is an excellent addition and automatically puts your media front and center on your watch when there is something playing on the iPhone, just makes sense.

IMG_0929.HEIC

PocketCasts app shown above.  The Now Playing screen is similar and accommodates to media coming from your iPhone.

With Siri here, she can actually respond to you with her voice, which is only due to the new processor in the Series 3 device.  Apple Watch is an industry leading fitness device and the OS upgrade brings updates to the Workout app with more workouts to choose from an integration into new machines that will be coming to a gym near you.


Battery Life

Unbelievable. The upgrade from Series 0 to Series 3 is massive in this respect. Since purchase, I’ve gone to sleep after having it off of the charger all day with the battery at 84% and woke up with the battery at 77% — that is with light to moderate use the previous day. Just note that if this was my Series 0 it would’ve bit the dust overnight….


TLDR

Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS or with GPS and LTE are both considerable updates to the Apple Watch line and highly suggested if you’re in the market for a new wearable device.

Apple iPhone Event 2017 Recap

This has been a long year of leaks and speculation about Apple’s latest iPhone and other devices that are released in the fall.  As usual, whether you have them or love them, the world has been on edge for what our friends in Cupertino are going to do and what all will be released.

Will it have a bezel?  Will there be a mac Mini?  Will it have wireless charging?  How much is it going to cost?

Your questions and more were answered on September 12th 2017 — and let’s hope that all of the leaks didn’t spoil all of the goodies Apple had planned for us.


Steve Jobs Theater

Apple’s latest campus is one of the last things that Steve Jobs worked on, from detailing the type of trees that were needed and more.  The Steve Jobs Theater was the place in which this fall Apple Event was to occur and as Tim Cook noted, “It was only fitting that Steve should open his theater” as we watched a very heartfelt video, seen below:

Source: cnet

This marks a great point in the history of Apple and it was no other way to start this event by words from a true visionary.


Apple Watch

Smartwatches, many of us have them; yet, many still do not.  Some view them as a necessity, while others view them as a trivial child’s play thing — needless to say, the Apple Watch is the #1 selling watch on planet earth and touts the most used heart rate sensor of any device.

Let that soak in for a minute.

The Apple Watch has changed lives from making people fitter, more aware of their surroundings and saving a life or two, watch their stories here:

Source: Apple

Today, we met Apple Watch Series 3, one that’s faster and one that has built in LTE (plus GPS) so that you can make calls while you’re away from your iPhone.  Usually phones get thicker when LTE radios and SIM cards are introduced (hello LG) — not this smartwatch.  Apple has integrated the cellular antenna directly into the watch screen itself, while incorporating a tiny eSIM on board the device.

Now that the Apple Watch is faster, featuring it’s W3 chip — we now have Siri on board, but we already had that right?  Now Siri can actually talk to you.

Source: Apple

Prices start at $329 for Series 3 with GPS and $399 with GPS + LTE


Apple TV 4K

Apple has made minor updates to the current Apple TV model and is introducing Apple TV 4K, bringing it inline with 4K content (albeit a small library) that is available today.  The new Apple TV has an upgraded CPU in the A10X Fusion (same chip that’s in the iPad Pro) that is twice as fast as the old with a graphics processesor that is four times faster that the previous model.

Additionally, Apple is bringing 4K content to iTunes and all of your previous HD content that you’ve purchased will be automatically upgraded to 4K, free.

Source: cnet


iPhone

Let’s get to the star, or shall I say, stars of the show — shall we?  For the past 10 years the iPhone has been an icon in the mobile space that has truly changed the world, from the way we interact, to the pictures we take, from the way we authenticate, how we consume apps, media and more — it is a truly iconic device.  Today, Apple built upon that with 3 brand new smartphones to take us into the future.

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus (yup, skipped S this year) are our successors to iPhones 7 and 7 Plus from last year and there are upgrades brought to each model.  Each device is now sandwiched between two very sturdy panes of glass, allowing for wireless charging — a first for an iPhone supporting the standard Qi, which means existing chargers made by Belkin, Spigen and others will work.  Each device is color-matched to an areospace-grade aluminum bezel and are splash, water and dust resistant IP67 certified.

Top features:

  • New Retina HD display with True Tone (if you’ve used an iPad Pro, you’ve witnessed the greatness of True Tone, shifting to tone of the colors on the display based off of your current lighting situation — this is different from Auto Brightness)
  • A11 Bionic SoC with 6 cores featuring 2 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores, integrated with the first Apple designed GPU for up to 30% faster graphics performance than on previous models.  The A11 Bionic is named “bionic” because of it’s “world tracking” and “scene recognition” abilities, making this vital for AR Kit, which is instantly the world’s largest augmented reality platform.
  • Updated Portrait Mode with new Portrait Lighting, which dynamically changes the lighting on the subject and provide a completely different feel to the photo all done while in the camera app itself
  • Updated speakers to be louder and deliver more bass
  • Bluetooth 5.0 enabling pairing of multiple devices at once
  • LTE Advanced

Source: Apple

Starting at $699 for iPhone 8 and $799 for iPhone 8 Plus at the 64 GB configuration, available for pre-order on 9/15 and available on 9/22.


But wait, there was one more thing…..

Meet iPhone X (ten), the future of the smartphone.

Source: Apple

The screen on the iPhone X stretches from top to bottom and features the same glass on the front and back as the iPhone 8 devices with the surrounding band made of surgical grade stainless steel, meeting the glass in immaculate fashion.  Retina, move aside, iPhone X has an all new Super Retina Display that is 5.8″ diagonally with over 2.7 million pixels and has 458 PPI, the highest resolution ever put in an iPhone and it’s OLED.  This is the first OLED display that has met Apple’s high standards to be placed into a device.  Additionally notes is that the display features HDR, Dolby Vision, one million-to-one contrast ratio, color accuracy, 3D touch and True Tone.

But let’s talk camera…or cameras.  The iPhone X features the dual camera system, which sports Optical Image Stabilization in each lens and now, Portrait Mode can be used on the front-facing camera as well.

ipx_camera

Source: Pocketnow

Gesture Based Navigation

Since the iPhone X does away completely with the iconic home button of old, there has to be a way to get around the operating system.  The home button is replaced with a thin bar that is accessible at the bottom of the screen at any time.  With a series of swipe gestures you can get to where to need to go, quickly.

  • Swipe up — Home
  • Swipe up and hold — Multitasking

Source: cnet

Face ID

A whole new way to unlock your device, which is actually more secure than Touch ID.  Let’s clear something up here, Face ID is NOT just your ordinary “Face Unlock” seen on phones in the past that essentially compare a picture of your face to what is seen in the viewfinder of the front-facing camera.  The iPhone X features complex depth senors in Apple’s new “True Depth” camera sensor located at the top of the device’s display that actually analyze 30,000 invisible dots on your face — meaning that it really recognizes your face, really.

ipx_depthsensors

iPhone X depth sensors.

That is regardless if you change hairstyles, add glasses, add hats and more — your iPhone X still knows who you are on a new level.

ipx_FaceID1

iPhone X, Face ID — a technology that truly analyzes your face that replaces Touch ID on the latest high-end iPhone.

It’s a natural and effortless way to access your device that works even in the dark.

Features:

  • Easily setup
  • Specialized neural networks for your security
  • Face data protected by the secure enclave
  • On-device processing (not uploaded to Apple servers)
  • Requires user attention to unlock (eyes must be open and looking at the device)
  • 1 in 1,000,000 chance of another user unlocking your iPhone X
  • Works with Apple Pay
  • Adapts over time

View all features and specs of the new iPhone X that I might’ve missed, here:

Source: Apple


Key Takeaways

After watching and reading about one of the biggest announcements, since iPhone — there is nothing to be underwhelmed about here and the iPhone X dominated the show, although it was the last item to be debuted.  Apple Watch Series 3 has continued to build on the path set forth by it’s predecessor, while the Apple TV gained what the market wanted it to so badly have, 4K.

What are your thoughts on Apple’s latest announcement?  Get involved and join the conversation, tweet me @Dexter_Johnson, I’ll be there waiting.

2016 Apple iPhone Keynote, Recap

Tim Cook, Pharrell Williams and James Corden appear in a car singing their favorite tunes along with small talk about the new iPhone.  They arrive at a door and Tim gets out and walks onto stage at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium — and it begins.
AppleEvent9_7

Stats from Tim
Apple Music
Apple’s music service is noted to have reached 17 million total subscriptions and features numerous exclusives from various artists such as Drake and Frank Ocean.
App Store
Since it’s inception there have been 140 billion app downloads.  The catalog contains approximately 500,000 games, making up the largest category on the App Store.  This incredible figure makes the iPhone/iPad combination the largest gaming platform.  Due to these feats by the iOS devices, Mario — that’s right — Mario, our favorite plumber will be gracing iOS with a new game entitled Super Mario Run!
Super Mario Run

Super Mario Run

This is the first time that a Mario game has been pushed officially by Nintendo to a mobile operating system and I’d easily say that they made the right choice by pushing it to the App Store.  It is created with one-handed gaming in mind and features competitive features in the mode “Toad Rally”.
Education
ConnectED is a national initiative to bring technology to underserved students.  With this Apple is working to donate iPads to 50K students.  Additionally, we’ve seen updates to iWork with improvements in collaboration similar to other applications like Google Docs where the user can see additions made by other collaborators.

New Products
Apple Watch
The Apple Watch was second only to Rolex in the world for sales revenue in the year 2015 and is the top selling smartwatch overall.
Introducing Apple Watch Series 2.
With these impressive stats Apple has worked to produce Apple Watch Series 2 that is completely redesigned on the inside to provide water resistance.  Additionally, the new wearable will be touting the Apple S2 processor, which garners faster app speeds on the device.  This new mobile processor will also make it’s way to the first-generation Apple Watch, which will still be sold by the company.  Furthermore, with the advent of the new Apple S2 processor, comes the new GPU that is 2x faster than the previous generation.
The display has been updated to be 2x brighter, blasting out pixel at 1000 nits (really bright, this is the brightest display that Apple has even put inside of one of it’s devices).  With new processors built for speed the new drove of Apple Watch devices are poised to be great for new adopters.
Sport and fitness have been some of the highlight features of the Apple Watch and these alone have made it be one of the premier fitness trackers in the industry and with the introduction of GPS things are only going to get better (if the GPS feature is not something that you long for, opting for Series One is still a good idea or even the first-generation without the new processor if you can handle a device that is a tad slower).  GPS tracking is a crucial feature for runners, cyclists and more who want a precise recap of the exact route that they followed.  Apple has also partnered with Nike to create the Apple Watch Nike+.  This specific model is similar to the Hermes Apple Watch that comes with a different band and a new watchface.   The Nike+ watchface will provide a sporty interface in addition the watch will remind the user to run and get active.
The Series 2 device with an additional finish of ceramic will start at $369 and the updated Series 1 (first-generation Apple Watch) will be sold at $269.

iPhone
The Apple iPhone is the best selling product of it’s kind in the history of the world and has sold 1 billion units.  Changes coming to iOS 10 include a newly redesigned Maps app that includes the ability to book rides and more directly from the app, changes to HomeKit, which is supported by virtually every major home automation product manufacturer, that are throughout the Home app that truly integrates home automation unlike any portal integrated into any mobile OS, changes to iMessage for more expression and tweaks and improvements that make this the fastest and best version of iOS to date.  But with it has to come new hardware, right?
Introducing iPhone 7.
The iPhone 7 is coming to us with a slew of new features, which are detailed below:
  • All new jet black and black colors (Apple notes that the Jet Black color option may scratch easily and promote the use of a case)
  • Home button is changed from a physical button to a Force-touch button, similar to the trackpad on the MacBook and MacBook Pro line that works based off of the patented Taptic engine (see below, the removal of the headphone jack allows for this innovation)
Apple home button Taptic engine placement.

Apple home button Taptic engine placement.

  • Water and dust resistant (IP67 certified) with gaskets throughout the housing
  • Camera features OIS on both 7 and 7 Plus models (additional camera features below)
    • F 1.8 aperture
    • 6 element lens
    • 12 MP sensor that is 60% faster than the previous model
    • Quad-LED true tone flash
    • Wide color gamut photos
    • RAW image capture
    • 7 MP facetime HD camera
    • 7 Plus features two 12 MP cameras, one wide-angle and another is telephoto so that the focal length can be manipulated and achieve the bokeh effect — these features will come as an update to iPhone 7 Plus users
iPhone 7 camera details.

iPhone 7 camera details.

  • Stereo speakers (one on top another on bottom)
  • Improvements to the Retina HD display that make it 25% brighter and support for a wide color gamut
  • No headphone jack, lightning ear pods are included (additionally a lightning to 3.5mm adapater comes with every iPhone 7 device)
  • Wireless AirPods, which feature the Apple W1 chip, are wireless buds that require one time setup and sync across all devices through iCloud
Apple's new AirPods, starting at $159

Apple’s new AirPods, starting at $159

  • Apple Pay support in Japan
  • Performance improvements through the newly design A10 Fusion chip, which is a 4 core 64-bit CPU that contains 2 high performance and 2 high efficiency cores (these can help save battery life when doing less intense tasks such as Email, calculator, light web-browsing and more)
A10 Fusion chip details.

A10 Fusion chip details.

All of these features for the same price as the previous generation, with the addition of more storage.  So, starting at $649 you will get the iPhone 7 models that come in either 32, 128 or 256GB configurations with these options replicating down to the existing iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.  The iPhone 7 will be available for preorder on 9/9 and will ship on 9/16.
iPhone Storage Configurations

iPhone Storage Configurations


Bottom line and takeaways:  This is a very solid announcement for Apple and a leap forward for the iPhone and Watch lines.  The camera is certainly the biggest selling feature on this device and with pictures becoming more and more important in our lives — it should be a focalpoint.  The removal of the headphone jack may make some upset, but it’s 2016 — get over it and use wireless devices.  Why tether yourself to a device that is meant to be mobile?  One note is that the AirPods are absolutely disgraceful — they are hideous, if you don’t get the point.  One of the newly released pairs of Beats wireless headphones seem to be a better choice here.  Additionally, revamping the home button is something much needed as that is the primary button on the device and it is known for collecting dust and sometimes becoming inoperable on older devices — this is huge.

Apple Watch Series 2 simply builds on the great foundation that was laid out by the first-generation device.  Now with better waterproofing, a new ceramic case and a faster processor — these updates bring it into 2016 with a bang.

Of course with any update, this is the best iPhone to date, with better storage options, same pricing scheme, snappy A10 Fusion chip — what more could we ask for?


Let’s end with a quick hands on of the newly announced iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2 devices below, Enjoy.

iPhone 7 Hands on.

Apple Watch Series 2 Hands on.