I still remember the time Steve Jobs took the stage on 29th June 2007, when he unveiled the iPhone for the first time. It was almost like a magician pulling off his best trick ever. His sarcastic jibes on how phone companies built phones during those days is very evident in his presentation. His comment, “who needs a stylus?” is still something most people quote when they talk about innovation. You can watch this whole product launch here.
One gets to see why the crowd goes wild over the announcement of a ‘revolutionary phone’ by Steve jobs. In an era where every other phone manufacturer from Nokia to Motorola to Blackberry was focusing on how to provide more advanced keyboard options and cram as many keys as possible on the phone (at the cost of losing screen space), Apple unveiled a phone that didn’t have a keyboard! Apple broke all the rules of the market and boldly created a new segment for itself in a virtually non-existent market. It redefined what a smart phone is and how it should be designed, and what you can do with it. Apple reinvented the phone!
Like every other competitive market, Apple soon had sleuth of other competitors in the form of giants like Google and Samsung which released series of smart phone on the rival mobile operating system platform called Android. What followed next is history. The then leaders of the market in smart phone business are now almost out of business. The stories of Nokia and Motorola stand testimony to what Apple’s ground breaking products. That’s the power of innovation. It can displace leaders in the market and create not just new leaders but new markets altogether. Apple has since then focused on perfecting its product and worked on incrementally adding features that kept usability at the center of its design.
What’s special about this launch?
If one has closely followed the iPhone launches, it would be evident by now that Apple loves to keep things very secretive and will not spill the beans until the product launch. Apple committed a rare blunder this time by leaking the iPhone 7 tweets even before the product was unveiled on the stage. The tweet was soon deleted but nevertheless this will go down in history books of Apple as a mistake they don’t want to see happen again. There was a similar blunder committed by Amazon which opened up a link to iPhone 7 accessories page here, even before the phone launch was officially announced. The link was taken down and reinstated after the launch.
What’s new in this product launch?
Apple launched the much talked about products today: iPhone7 (an iPhone 7 plus), Apple Watch Series 2. Has this launch really proven to be ground breaking? Or is just new wine in the old bottle? Let’s find out.
Along with iPhone 7, apple also unveiled iPhone 7 plus and Apple Watch Series 2. Here’s a quick summary of what you need to know about iPhone 7.
Key things to know
- Stereo speakers
- Water and dust resistant - The iPhone 7 is water resistant but not waterproof. It's probably fine if you drop it into the toilet (a common occurrence, I'm told) but you shouldn't go for a long swim with it.
- Longer battery life: Apple says the 7's battery will last two hours longer than the 6, and the 7 plus battery lasts one hour more than the 6 Plus.
- Comes in jet black, black, gold, silver, rose gold
- A10 Fusion chip with a 64-bit four core CPU
- Storage: 32GB, 128GB, 256GB
- Cost: Starts from $649 for iPhon7 and $769 for iPhone7 plus.
- Key dates: ordering on Sept 9, shipping on Sept 16
The new camera has optical image stabilization and a 6 element lens with f/1.8 aperture. Apple claims it is 60% faster than previous iPhones. The iPhone 7 has a single lens camera; the 7 Plus has a dual lens camera (wide angle and telephoto).
On the iPhone 7 Plus there's a new 'portrait' effect on the camera to add depth of field to photos.
Headphones will connect via the Lightning port. A free set comes with the phone, plus an adaptor for traditional 3.5mm jack headphones
Apple is also releasing their new AirPods - wireless headphones (with a microphone) that have infrared sensors that detect when they're in your ear and only plays then. W1 chip connects the AirPods to your other Apple devices. The batteries last for 5 hours and the AirPods come with a charging case that holds 24 hours of charge. You can also read here how Twitter reacted to this new from Apple.
Why has Apple removed the headphone jack?
"Maintaining a single, ancient analogue connector doesn't make sense," Phil Schiller explains. Removing the headphone jack frees up space for upgraded features. iPhone 7 will ship with Lightning EarPods. As Apple ditches the 3.5mm headphone jack the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 plus will come with Lightning EarPods that connect via the same port as the charger. It will also come with an adapter that converts traditional headphones to lightning ones. This tweet from James Titcomb, below captures the rationale behind the bold move.
Image Credits: By Rafael Fernandez (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo courtesy: Tweet from James Titcomb
Apple Watch Series 2
Apple also announced the Apple Watch Series 2 with GPS connectivity and a more powerful processor.
Key things to know:
- Waterproof down to 50 meters
- 50% faster,
- 2x brighter screen
- Built-in GPS so you can run without your phone
- Pokemon Go Apple Watch app
- Option of buying it in ceramic (4x stronger than stainless steel) for $1,249
- Starts at $269 for standard Apple Watch 2.
Photo courtesy: Tweet from James Titcomb
I personally believe Apple has taken few bold decisions here and ditched age old traditions. This is a good sign for Apple and proves that the company can think out of the box. It appears like Apple’s new approach will cause a great surge in the Bluetooth headphone or earphone products in the market in days to come. Don’t be surprised if Samsung or Google also decide to follow the same route in the near future.
Do check out this excellent piece which answers all the questions you may have about using the new iPhone with all the features offered.
For now, one can safely say that Apple is slowly but steadily gearing towards a new set of product features that will revolutionize the smart phone again!