eXtensions - Wednesday 13 September 2017
eXtensions - The Wednesday File (22): Apple Event and New Products: As it Unfolds
By Graham K. Rogers
There is a Belkin Wireless Charger and it will ship to Thailand ($29.93 + $27.27 Shipping), although I hope that the notoriously tardy retailers here would at least get this act together by the time the new iPhones arrive here.
The last few days before Apple's even saw the leak to end all leaks when an Apple insider (apparently) sent emails to a couple of publications that contained the URL for the Gold master release of iOS 11, exposing the Crown Jewels. We shall know the full details in a short while, but one interesting point concerns the A11 processor. With the A10 (in the iPhone 7) the Fusion chip had two cores for high power processing (like power-intensive games) and two for lower speed processing (mundane tasks like Mail). The A11 is said to have 6 cores, four of which are for the day to day tasks, and two for power (Christian Zibreg, iDownloadBlog). Early benchmark testing shows that this far surpasses anything that exists now. As a note, with the iOS release scheduled for 19 September, that leaked GM may still be updated more.
I am setting up now for the Event which I shall watch via Apple TV, with a Mac and iPad on standby. I note that, so far, the real Gold Master has not yet actually been released to developers. Nor has the one for macOS, so perhaps there may still be some surprises after all. The last iOS 11 beta update was put out on 22 August according to what I heard and there were still issues then. Right on cue, the Apple Stores round the world went offline and the pages will be updated, although the Apple sites themselves, including the iPhone 7 page here, were still up. The iPhones are not at all likely to be on sale here immediately, but maybe there are other products that could be available early.
I expect three iPhones, if rumours and the GM leaks are right, with at least one using an OLED screen (organic light-emitting diode). The top model will apparently be an iPhone 10-year anniversary model, so X is TEN - can we get that out of the way now. That was 16 words. I have seen two articles of around 500 words already debating the name before it is announced. The internet (and the need for advertising income) really does make for a lot of wasted text and time.
Before the event, a lot of people were putting videos of the Steve Jobs Theater online showing some of the exterior, the inside and many of the people attending the event. As the auditorium is downstairs, I thought there would be a crush (like the rugby scrums at Moscone Center) when the inner doors were finally opened, but early videos showed it filling up fairly slowly. As there were different coloured badges for attendees, maybe seating is allocated properly. I see there is also a tube-like lift for VIPs like Woz.
Showtime. . .Like the overture for an opera, there is always something to settle down the crowd. It used to be music - James Brown for the first iPhone launch - but lately Apple has produced videos for the start of its events and these may give clues as to some of what is to be announced. Sitting here just before midnight, on the other side of the world, despite all the leaks and rumours, I am quite excited for the event itself.
In this case, the video was of the theater itself and the arriving press, with background music from The Beatles: All You Need is Love. In the video I was able to spot Wu, from Thailand's DigiTimes as he came down the stairs.
At the start there was a recorded voice of Steve Jobs, about making something wonderful with care and love. We need to be true to who we are. Keeping us, us.
"Some incredible products today", but Cook talked about the destruction caused by adverse weather. Hand in Hand benefit tonight and Cook hoped people would donate. Cook then discussed the move to the Apple Campus - its design, its landscape - and how it would take several months. Powered by 100% renewable energy. A Visitor Center, with Augmented Reality displays and a new store are available.
A sneak peak suggests more stores in other countries, but 5th Avenue New York is being redesigned; in Paris; Milan; Carnegie Library; Michigan Ave., Chicago (20 October).
0025: News about the future of Apple Watch from Jeff.
WatchOS 4 available from September 19 has a redesigned Workout app. New features for swimmers; and GymKit. Heart Rate monitor, will have enhancements: resting heart rate, recovery heart rate. Adding a feature to notify an elevated heart rate when user does not appear to be active. As expected, the heart rhythms are also to be included as found with the research done at Stanford and by the developer of Cardiogram. Apple working with FDA too.
New Apple Watch too. Series 3. Cellular built-in. Freedom to go anywhere. Go for a run without the phone. Receive calls with just the Watch: uses the same phone number as the iPhone. Can stream songs using the cellular connection. Beats 1 live (or any other Apple radio station).
Advanced technology. New dual-core processor. Siri can talk on Apple Watch. Bluetooth and Wireless connectivity a new W2 chip. Cellular needs new antennas and solutions include the display used as antenna. Electronic SIM which is much smaller. The case is the same size as Series 2. The back crystal is extended 0.25mm. He ran a small (live) demo showing the way the Watch can make calls. The demo was done with no microphone and just the Watch.
New bands and new Nike bands too. New watch face styles. A new ceramic watch in grey to go with the white one from last year.
$329 without cellular
Available September, but unlikely to be in Thailand this year, even without cellular. Tim Cook returned and introduced a video advertisement.
First 4K is one of the major advances because of the number of pixels; but also HDR (High Dynamic Range). Apple TV 4K supports HDR 10. Cue runs a demo of the output beginning with the Dubai screensaver. The UI has been redone: more vibrant. Shows a clip from the new Spiderman movie playing on the new AppleTV 4K. Uses the A10 chip with CPU twice the current AppleTV.
Content is being added (at least in some markets). 4K HDR titles will be available from major providers like Netflix. Live sports will be added (ESPN): notifications. Live News coming to the TV app. Available on iOS devices too (not all areas). Demo of a new multiplayer, game by Genova Chen of ThatGame Company: Sky. Can be played with online players. Also on iPad and iPhone.
Eddy Cue summarised the device.
Phil Schiller does the introductions. iPhone 8i and iPhone 8 Plus. New design, glass on front and back. Silver, Space Gray and Gold. Aluminium 7000 alloy (as before). Glass is most durable ever. 4.7" Retina display for iPhone 8 and 5.5" in iPhone 8 Plus. New stereo speakers: deeper bass. A new chip: A11 Bionic.
The 64-bit 4.3 billion transistors, 25% higher performance. GPU designed by Apple, several times faster than the A10. Image signal processor for photography. Camera has 12MP sensor on iPhone 8. Pixel redesign for lower noise and better colors. iPhone 8 Plus has to new sensors, F2.8. Photos shown are really sharp with great dynamic range. Colors are super saturated. Low light photography improved.
Lighting improvements with the dual cameras adding to Portrait Mode: Portrait Lighting. A lot of software used in this. Real time analysis of the light on the face. Video has high quality video capture with new encoder: real time image analysis of 2 million tiles per second. Slo-mo 240 fps at 1080. Augmented Reality. . .
First smartphone designed for this. ARKit software uses the A11 Bionic chip. Examples of the use of AR. Some already shown in the last few months revealed some potential but the newer ones are impressive. A demo from Directive Games showed how gaming can be improved: The Machines is designed to be only played in AR.
22 September available. iOS 11 on 19 September
An Apple Press release shows orders iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus begin Friday, September 15, with availability beginning Friday, September 22, in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UAE, the UK, the US and US Virgin Islands.
iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus will be available in Andorra, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Greenland, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, India, Isle of Man, Israel, Jersey, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia and Slovenia beginning Friday, September 29.
One more thingSmartphone future. Now after 10 years, there is an anniversary phone: iPhone X (TEN). Video shows vertical cameras. Cook hands over to Schiller again.
Edge to edge, top to bottom fit. Surgical grade stainless steel. Water and dust resistant: space gray and silver. New display: Super Retina display. 5.8" (diagonal), 2.7 million pixels. OLED as expected: contrast, resolution, thinness. New displays have better qualities.
No Home button: rethink how the device can work; now swipe up from the bottom. Multi-tasking also works with the upward swipe. Siri can be activated by speech or by using the side button. Unlocking cannot use TouchID (no longer there), so the biometric protection does use FaceID as expected.
The Truedepth camera system sits in the notch IR camera, sensors illuminators and more. Mathematical model of the face checks that the recorded image matches the recorded image. Uses a neural engine in the processor. Set up like TouchID and the user moves the face around like the fingerprint movement: FaceID learns as you develop (even with a beard). Masks used by engineers to make sure these could not be used to break the protection, so photos are not capable of breaking in either. Apparently according to early reports, the iPhone will only work with one face, unlike the multiple options for TouchID.
Data for TouchID is 1 in 50,000 but for FaceID this is now up to 1 in a million for random break-ins. Evil twins might be able to break in. Payments can be done with FaceID. Also Animojis that can be controlled with the face: these will be popular.
Return of Phil Schiller. 12MP dual camera. Improved technology. Dual optical image stabilisation. Better quad LED for flash. Better low light performance. Excellent photo examples shown. Tuned for AR applications.
Frontside camera, now portrait mode and portrait lighting. Same A11 Bionic chip. 6-core design. Secure enclave. Battery life increased: 2 hours more than iPhone 7. Qi wireless charging as well. Sneak peak of charging innovation: a mat for the iPhone and the Series 3 Watch, and the AirPods - all at the same time. AirPower is not to current standards and will be available next year. Another video with Jony Ive voice.
An Apple Press release shows that orders begin Friday, October 27, with availability beginning Friday, November 3, in Andorra, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Japan, Jersey, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UAE, the UK, the US and US Virgin Islands.
End of event.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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