We’ve been looking forward to this Apple event to find out where its technology is going next and what useful things we can learn for our business. Our technical director, Rob, has shared his thoughts on the updates.
The event opened with Carpool Karaoke where James Corden gave a lift to Tim Cook to take him to the conference while occasionally bursting into sing along and also picking up Pharrell on the way. Standard. Recently, Carpool Karaoke was announced as the new TV series for Apple Music which is the next step for it to get into the video content streaming market.
17m subscribers, 30m songs
Apple is really pushing this service and wants to engage with music enthusiasts by offering exclusive album premieres and a big library that they can access anywhere. Earlier this year, Apple had already previewed that Apple Music was completely redesigned and given a new UI, so it will be interested to see how this plays out.
Apple devices have become one of the most popular mobile gaming platforms and there are now about 500,000 games in the App Store. Apple also announced that you get double the revenue compared to other platforms.
It came as a surprise for many when Apple announced that Mario is coming to the App Store with a game Super Mario Run! Isn’t this Flappy Bird but with Mario? You can even play it with one hand which allows you to multitask! Nintendo likes to innovate, so even if Mario may not be interesting, whatever they might roll out in the future could well be.
I’m surprised they’ve not really mentioned the continued improvements in the App Store that have been talked about recently, including cleaning it of rubbish or broken apps. This is something all developers and app owners should really pay attention to, especially if their app is due an update.
It’s great to see that Apple is encouraging people to start coding by offering the Everyone Can Code programme. Swift Playgrounds is an app that teaches children and adults how to code in a very simplified and interactive way, making it more accessible to learn the programming language. Hopefully, we’ll see more people engaging with it and becoming more involved in technology in the future.
Apple has added real-time collaboration to its iWork suite and got really excited about it... You mean Google Docs, Office 365? Not particularly ground-breaking and has already been done before, only Apple has been lagging behind.
The Series 2 range of Apple Watch looks interesting, but I’m still sceptical. The first iteration didn’t make me get one, so not sure what would make me change my mind. It brings messages, built in GPS, activity tracker and is completely waterproof. The last feature is pretty impressive so it’s quite interesting to see how it works.
One of the other updates for the Apple Watch is the addition of Pokemon Go. This seems very questionable to me and like a really bad timing, given that the main craze for this app has already passed. Will it help to retain Pokemon trainers?
An hour into the presentation and finally we’ve got to the stuff everyone has come for.
1 billion iPhones sold, that is crazy!
They’ve re-invented black. Twice.
10 major features
- The jet black design does look cool if it’s black all over and seamless with the glass, but it’s hard to tell from the screen. I wonder how easily it gets scratched? Even if it’s robust, most people will probably hide it behind a phone case, so won’t be able to enjoy its beauty.
- Force sensitive home button with taptic engine. It’s weird how it works on the MacBook Pro, so I think this could be a nice feature but early hands on have mentioned that it seems weird there too..
- Water and dust resistant case has been a long time coming to iPhone. It’s a welcome addition and catching up with a number of other manufacturers.
- Camera - OIS to normal iPhone, cool. As a keen amateur photographer, I carry a big SLR camera so don’t use the iPhone one that much, but these all seem like nice features, with two cameras on iPhone 7+.
- EarPods with lightning is a very divisive feature. Not having a headphone jack could be a complaint from a lot of people, especially if they’d already invested in high quality and expensive set. It does help to have an adaptor, however it’s not ideal. You can’t listen to music while charging your phone, so that might also be a problem.
- Wireless AirPods is also a questionable change. There’s no way of using earpods and charging them at the same time and the price is quite steep. However, people complained when Apple first removed the DVD drive from MacBook Pro and soon no one remembered it. Wireless/Bluetooth earphones have been gaining popularity so perhaps this will increase from now on.
- AirPods case is a charger - looks interesting, however, I’ve already lost them just by looking at them!
- Apple announced that iPhone 7 will have a better display. The iPhone 7 model comes with 4.7″ retina HD display with wide colour gamut, 3D Touch and 1334×750 resolution, and iPhone 7 plus comes with 5.5” retina HD display, 3D Touch and 1920×1080 resolution. Upgrades in iPhone resolution don’t come as a surprise and most of the time, this doesn’t stack up to other top end Android phones.
- Stereo speakers on the phone - the quality might not be great, so I doubt this will improve much. However, this will encourage youths to blast their crappy music on the bus even more!
- Faster, high efficiency processors - HOW MUCH WILL THIS MAKE BATTERY NOT SUCK? The games look very impressive, but it makes me wonder how much longer my battery will last.
The hardware improvements are incremental and will likely add up to a decent upgrade. The iPhone 7 design looks nice but hardly different from iPhone 6. Removing the headphone jack is a bold move just because they can (“Courage”), but will it please everyone? Waterproofing the Apple Watch is a good feature and hopefully it lives up to the hype about its functionality. As to other updates, we’ll just have to wait and see how they work.
People expect a lot these days, but as time goes by, it’s much harder to be revolutionary so it’s so much more about the software, which with iOS 10 wasn’t touched on much. Once it’s out next week, we’ll give it a full run down once we’ve had our hands on it for a few days.