On September 12, 2017, at 10 a.m. PDT/1 p.m. EDT, Apple is holding its first media event in the Steve Jobs Theater at its new Apple Park headquarters. Fast Company’s Mark Sullivan and Harry McCracken are reporting on the news on new iPhones and other products as it happens, with color commentary from other staffers.
Harry McCracken09.12.175:32 pmShare This Update
We’re done with our live coverage. Thanks for tuning in, and check out these stories on today’s Apple news, with more analysis to come.
My first very brief hands on time with an iPhone X. You can’t tell from this photo, but looks like OLED on an iPhone will have been worth the wait. The build quality, as you’d expect from a $1,000 iPhone appears magnificent. And as iconic as the home button has been, it appears that Apple has done an effective job of rendering it obsolete.
Many of the most important things about the phone will require a lot more time to judge, including how well Face ID works and how big an upgrade the new cameras are.
Harry McCracken09.12.173:34 pmShare This Update
“40 million songs on your wrist” makes “1000 songs in your pocket” seem like a long time ago.
To wrap up, this did seem like an important day for Apple. The announcements were pretty big, and worthy of the fantastic venue we’re sitting in. In fact, I think Apple did right by bookending the product announcements with the words of Steve Jobs. Apple is confronting a near-future that’s going to be very different from the first decade of the iPhone. It may be a decade that’s not ruled by the smartphone at all. Jobs said Apple needed only to remain true to itself and its core ideas to be successful. Today Apple looked like it’s managing that.
Harry McCracken09.12.173:12 pmShare This Update
John Lasseter sighting in the demo area.
Mark Sullivan09.12.173:08 pmShare This Update
The iPhone X looks impressive. Lots of work has been done around the camera and integration with AI engines. But I’m almost more excited for the new Apple Watch. Of the two products, it’s the Watch that took the biggest evolutionary leap forward today, I’d argue. Getting internet connectivity is huge, and, I have a feeling, a bigger boon for productivity than we realize right now.
Mark Sullivan09.12.173:00 pmShare This Update
I suppose many people are running a calculus in their head right now, with the new features of the iPhone X (facial recognition, OLED screen, wireless charging) on one side and the $1,000 price tag on the other. I have a feeling lots of people are going to be able to justify the spend. Especially when you think about how many times you use your phone every day.
Mark Sullivan09.12.172:57 pmShare This Update
One of the most memorable things from the presentation today was the raise, look, and swipe method of unlocking the iPhone X.
Tim Cook ends the event by praising the demo room we’re about to visit. Thanks for joining us, everyone! More thoughts to come.
(Final song here is the Beatles’ “It’s Getting Better,” which is upbeat and optimistic, except for the woman-beating part.)
Mark Sullivan09.12.172:55 pmShare This Update
There’s a hands-on area here, so we will do our best to get a little bit of quality time with the new devices.
David Lidsky09.12.172:54 pmShare This Update
Apple is currently estimated to next report earnings on October 24, three days before the iPhone X is available for preorder. So will Apple move the date to report preorder volume on X? If not, expect a lot of pressure from analysts for numbers about the vitality of iPhone 8 sales.
Harry McCracken09.12.172:54 pmShare This Update
This first event at the Steve Jobs Theater has certainly had the heaviest Steve component of post-Steve Apple keynotes.
Mark Sullivan09.12.172:53 pmShare This Update
Starting to wrap up here at Steve Jobs Theater. Very little today on AirPods. Nothing on HomePod. It was a fast two hours.
Harry McCracken09.12.172:51 pmShare This Update
Will iPhone X create a new category of superphones, beyond the one previously defined by the Galaxy Note?
The iPhone X is available November 3. Preorders start October 27.
64 GB version is $999. It also comes in a 256GB version, but the price for that was not given.
David Lidsky09.12.172:48 pmShare This Update
“The physical device that disappears into the experience.”—This is an apt description for the entire array of Apple products debuted today.
Harry McCracken09.12.172:45 pmShare This Update
Here’s Apple’s new jumbo-sized charging pad, due next year and based on QI but with additional Apple technical goodness—called “AirPower”—which Phil Schiller says Apple will give back to the rest of the industry. Not due until next year. (AirPods will require an optional wireless-friendly charging case.)
Mark Sullivan09.12.172:45 pmShare This Update
iPhone X Front Camera has Portrait Mode Portrait Lighting
iPhone X battery lasts 2 hours longer than iPhone 7
Jared, $10 a month is what you might guess based on how wireless carriers charge for additional gizmos. No Apple innovation on this front, I guess.
Harry McCracken09.12.172:42 pmShare This Update
The photos that Apple shows off in keynotes always look spectacular, and always have. I’m curious about how much nicer ones from the iPhone X will look than their iPhone 8 and 8 Plus counterparts in real-life use.
Mark Sullivan09.12.172:40 pmShare This Update
iPhone X Rear Camera:
Dual 12-megapixel sensors
New color filters
Dual optical image stabilization
Quad LED two-tone flash
Tuned for augmented reality
Jared Newman09.12.172:39 pmShare This Update
While Apple is demoing the iPhone X, I just got a note from AT&T: Cellular data plans for the Apple Watch 3 will cost $10 per month on top of existing wireless service.
Mark Sullivan09.12.172:37 pmShare This Update
Software chief Craig Federighi is onstage demo-ing more of the new gestures in the iPhone X. He shows how you can switch between apps by swiping along the bottom of the screen. He also showed (several times) how you use Face ID to unlock the phone and start working. “You just raise it, look at it and swipe up and you’re in,” Federighi said.
The Face ID facial recognition system does more than just security. The leak about the Animoji was true. The iPhone X watches your facial movements and replicates them in an animal or other avatar in Messages. The Animoji can even say your words.
Mark Sullivan09.12.172:29 pmShare This Update
You unlock the iPhone X by looking at the screen and it recognizes your face. It’s facial recognition technology called Face ID. An infrared camera shoots a beam of light at your face. The light creates hundreds of contact points where the light hits your face. The phone looks for a match between the dots and a prerecorded face map stored in a secure enclave in the phone. This is all done on the phone, nothing sent to the server.
The A11 Bionic Chip in the iPhone X contains a new “Neural Engine” for doing artificial intelligence. The engine learns to recognize your face, even if you’re wearing a hat, or if you grow a beard. The engine also makes sure that the system can’t be spoofed by a photograph of a face.
Harry McCracken09.12.172:28 pmShare This Update
The iPhone X does indeed use “Face ID” instead of Touch ID. It uses a neural network to recognize your face, and one of the signle biggest questions about this new phone is whether it’s as painless, reliable, and secure as Touch ID as become.
Schiller says it knows it’s you even if your hairstyle changes or you put on a phone or a hat. Or grow a beard. Or use it at night. He also says it can’t be spoofed by a photo or a mask, unlike some facial-recognition technologies.
The iPhone X is glass on front and back. The band is a surgical grade stainless steel. It comes in space gray and silver.
An all new display called super retina display. It’s 5.8 inches on the diagonal. It’s 2436 X 1135 pixels. 458 pixels per inch. It uses Samsung made OLED display. It supports HDR, a million to one contrast ratio. It has the TrueTone light balancing tech.
You can raise to wake or just tap on the screen. There is no more home button. All you do is swipe up from the bottom of the touchscreen. If you’re in an app you swipe up and pause a little bit to see all open apps.
For Siri you press and hold on the side button.
Harry McCracken09.12.172:23 pmShare This Update
As expected, the iPhone X ditches the classic Apple home button in favor of having you swipe up to get home. A bigger leap than the virtual home button on Samsung’s new Galaxy phones—but if it works well, a more elegant solution.
Harry McCracken09.12.172:22 pmShare This Update
Schiller is explaining why Apple is finally introducing a phone with an OLED display, years after they became very popular on Android models. This is the first one “great” enough for an iPhone, he says.
David Lidsky09.12.172:20 pmShare This Update
Very surprised they’re calling it “10.” Have to agree with John Gruber here that this makes iPhone 8 sound TWO years behind and it’s brand new.
The basic stuff: iPhone 8 and 8 Plus come in 64GB and 256GB versions, starting at $699 (iPhone 8) and $799 (iPhone 8 Plus). Pre-orders on September 15, on sale on the 22nd. iOS 11 available for existing devices on the 19th.
Mark Sullivan09.12.172:16 pmShare This Update
I know the technology for long-range wireless charging isn’t ready yet, but the new inductive wireless charging (Qi standard) seems so 2014. Setting the phone on the pad, which plugs into a computer. It’s boring. We’ve seen it in Samsung phones for years. But it might just be one of those boring things people will really use.
Harry McCracken09.12.172:14 pmShare This Update
Apple’s wireless charging uses the Qi standard, which has been around forever without changing the world or becoming all that mainstream. Maybe the fact it’s finally built into an iPhone will change that.
Harry McCracken09.12.172:13 pmShare This Update
Phil Schiller is talking about the iPhone 8’s wireless features: LTE, Bluetooth, Airpods, and…wireless charging using the glass back.
Harry McCracken09.12.172:11 pmShare This Update
Demo of Directive’s The Machines, a new AR game on the iPhone 8.
Mark Sullivan09.12.172:10 pmShare This Update
The augmented reality story is front and center in the presentation of the new iPhone 8. This comes just a few months after Apple released its AR platform, ARKit, to developers. The two cameras on the back of the iPhone work together to establish the depth of field needed to measure AI effects. We had speculated about this in the iPhone 7 Plus, but apparently Apple wasn’t ready at that point. Phil Schiller is describing how Apple’s hardware and software engineers worked together closely to make AR work efficiently.
Harry McCracken09.12.172:09 pmShare This Update
Schiller is talking about how the iPhone 8 phones have been upgraded with AR in mind: Their cameras are calibrated at the factory, they have low-light improvements and 60fps support, and sport new gyroscopes and accelerometers. And the A11 Bionic chip was designed for AR. He’s demoing some AR apps.
Harry McCracken09.12.172:06 pmShare This Update
Schiller’s talking about the iPhone 8 cameras. The standard 8 has a larger 12MP sensor that lets in 83% more light, deeper pixels, and a new color filter. The 8 Plus has upgrades on its two cameras. And as revealed in last week’s leaks, a new feature called “Portrait Lighting,” which will be a beta at first, uses machine learning to intelligently “light” scenes through computational science rather than mere flash.
For video, the camera divides scenes into two million tiles and optimizes them. Slow-motion now suports 240 frames per second at 1080p.
Mark Sullivan09.12.172:06 pmShare This Update
Apple adds a new photo software to the iPhone 8 feature called Portrait Lighting. The new feature adds a number of choices for lighting effects that manipulate the background behind the subject. For instance you might darken, or completely black out the background for a dramatic effect.
This was said quickly in the presentation, but the new iPhone 8 series has a new noise reduction system that could make the sound from the phone dramatically better.
Harry McCracken09.12.172:00 pmShare This Update
Schiller says the “Bionic” processor boosts machine-learning technology in apps. It’s clear that AI is the next frontier in mobile-device processor design.
Mark Sullivan09.12.172:00 pmShare This Update
The new chip in the iPhone 8 series: A11 Bionic. Bionic!
Harry McCracken09.12.172:00 pmShare This Update
Phil Schiller is introducing the iPhone 8, which is a bigger upgrade than if it were the iPhone 7: Glass back and aluminum band and “the most durable glass ever in a smartphone.” Dust and water resistant, new retina display, louder speakers, and the A11 “Bionic” processor, the most powerful ever (Schiller says) in a smartphone. Two performance cores, four high-efficiency coures, first-ever Apple GPU, with three cores.
Mark Sullivan09.12.171:58 pmShare This Update
We’re watching a pump-up video of the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. These are the followup phones to last year’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Somewhat surprisingly, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have glass on front and back.
Mark Sullivan09.12.171:56 pmShare This Update
It’s time for the main event. Cook is onstage talking about the iPhone and its history. He talks about how the touchscreen totally changed the way we think about phones.
Harry McCracken09.12.171:55 pmShare This Update
Here we go. Tim Cook is reviewing a decade of the iPhone and its impact on the world: multi-touch, Siri, Apple Pay, cameras, and much more.
David Lidsky09.12.171:55 pmShare This Update
Harry, maybe because Apple has unlimited resources for its biggest rollout of the year, they end up gilding the lily with these videos. They are stellar and the envy of the industry, so why not?
Mark Sullivan09.12.171:53 pmShare This Update
Apple says it is adding live news, local, and news features to Apple TV, filling in a crucial (and hard to do) component of the content bundle.
Harry McCracken09.12.171:52 pmShare This Update
David, I often find the videos they show at these events a bit odd. Why not expose us to stuff in person, which is almost always more powerful? But Apple’s videos are certainly the most polished and original in the industry. (In fact, the ones from other companies often shamelessly mimic Apple.)
Mark Sullivan09.12.171:51 pmShare This Update
In the Apple’s TV app, you can now see the real time scores of sports matches, says Apple’s Eddie Cue. Apple says the new A10X chip will also make gaming on the Apple TV run much more smoothly.
David Lidsky09.12.171:48 pmShare This Update
The presentation’s heavy focus on high-production-value video represents that an Apple event is now a wholly mainstream entertainment experience and it’s programmed as such. This makes the show slicker and longer than when these affairs were purely for tech press and Apple fanboys.
Mark Sullivan09.12.171:47 pmShare This Update
The Apple TV box uses Apple’s A10X chip. CPU twice as fast and graphics processing is four times as past. 4K movies are the same price as HD. If you’ve bought HD movies in iTunes, Apple will upgrade them to 4K for free. Apple TV will soon be adding Amazon’s whole 4K catalog of movies and shows.
Harry McCracken09.12.171:45 pmShare This Update
Eddy Cue is talking about the new Apple TV, with 4K and HDR, and the same chip as the iPad Pro.
Mark Sullivan09.12.171:44 pmShare This Update
Next up is Apple TV 4K. 4K means 4,000 pixels per horizontal line. Apple adds “HDR” which it says enhances the crispness and sharpness of the pixels.
Harry McCracken09.12.171:43 pmShare This Update
The Apple Watch 3 looks the same as previous models—but slightly thicker to accomodate LTE.
David Lidsky09.12.171:42 pmShare This Update
That Apple Watch + Apple Music ad is emblematic of the company’s vision for a post-iPhone future, or at least one in which the phone is not necessarily always the focal point of an Apple experience.
Mark Sullivan09.12.171:39 pmShare This Update
The new Watch comes in a new gold color, and the existing silver, and space gray colors. New sports loops are launched. The Apple Watch Nike Plus gets some new colors. The partnership with Hermes continues this year with some new designs. Also, a new gray finished ceramic Watch is available.
The cellular Watch is $399, and a non-cell version is $329. The big four carriers in the U.S. will sell the Watch. Orders begin September 15 and orders start Sept. 22.
Harry McCracken09.12.171:39 pmShare This Update
Unless I missed it, Williams didn’t explain how the cellular Apple Watch will fit into wireless plans from carriers. (Normally, you pay extra bucks to add additional devices to your plan, and they have access to the same bucket of data as your phone.)
David Lidsky09.12.171:38 pmShare This Update
These bands are a huge deal, not because they help personalize Watch and create ancillary revenue. They reinforce how Watch is a fashion item. No other tech company comes close to understanding style the way that Apple does.
Mark Sullivan09.12.171:36 pmShare This Update
Even with the new cell radio inside, the new Watch is roughly the size of the Series 2. Only the back crystal is thickened slightly. The Watch has a virtual SIM card. Jeff Williams did a demo where he called Watch team member Deidre Caldbeck, also wearing an Apple Watch, as she floated on a paddle board out on the bay. “That’s just darn close to magic,” Williams said.
David Lidsky09.12.171:35 pmShare This Update
The wireless capabilities that enable the new functions between the Watch and iPhone were previously the domain of Isabel Mahe, who was on our Most Creative People list this year. Not long after receiving our accolade, she was promoted to run all of Apple’s China business.
Harry McCracken09.12.171:35 pmShare This Update
Apple’s Jeff Williams conducts an Apple Watch call with a remote coworker. Demos involving wireless connectivity are the most dangerous thing in keynotes—there’s so much potential for things to go wrong—but this one worked flawlessly.
Harry McCracken09.12.171:33 pmShare This Update
The Apple Watch Series 3’s new cellular connection and “electronic SIM” will permit phone calls, Apple Music, messaging apps, and more, no iPhone required. Rare to see one new technical upgrade unleash so much new potential for an existing product.
David Lidsky09.12.171:32 pmShare This Update
Note the reference to WeChat in the explanation of the new Watch. Strategic, both for the Chinese market and in consideration of the competitive threat that WeChat presents to Apple.
Mark Sullivan09.12.171:31 pmShare This Update
Apple has announced the Watch Series 3. It has a cellular radio built in, so it has its own . “Series 3 is the ultimate expression of Apple Watch.” Williams says you can receive a call with just your watch (no phone), and get map directions. With Apple Watch Series 3 you can now stream Apple Music to your wrist.
New with the Watch:
New processor that’s 70% faster
Siri can now talk on the Apple Watch
A W2 chip delivers 80% faster Wi-Fi
Also added a barometric altimeter
A new app for skiing and snowboarding
Harry McCracken09.12.171:29 pmShare This Update
One word, with a lot of implications for the Apple Watch.
Harry McCracken09.12.171:27 pmShare This Update
The Apple Watch may not be an industry-changing landmark along the lines of the Mac or iPhone, but it’s undeniably a success, and it’s been fun to watch Apple figure out what people want out of it—which seems to involve more of a fitness focus than the company may have initially expected.
Mark Sullivan09.12.171:27 pmShare This Update
Apple Watch’s heart sensor now measures resting heart rate and recovery rate (after exertion) measurements have been added to the Watch. It detects an elevated heart rate when the wearer doesn’t appear to be active.
Williams announced a new Apple Heart Study to find out if Apple Watch can detect detect atrial fibrillation, a leading cause of stroke, working with Stanford.
Curious decision this year in the presentation for Tim to introduce everyone by only their first name. He didn’t bring up Angela Ahrendts, just “Angela.” Same with Jeff Williams who is now a one-name celeb too.
Harry McCracken09.12.171:24 pmShare This Update
Here’s Apple COO Jeff Williams to talk about the Apple Watch.
Mark Sullivan09.12.171:24 pmShare This Update
Apple VP Jeff Williams is onstage to talk about the Watch. watchOS adds smart activity coaching, new workout app, new features for swimmers, and integration with commercial gym equipment.
Harry McCracken09.12.171:22 pmShare This Update
Apple is playing a video of people (of all sorts and ages) reading letters about how the Apple Watch has improved their lives—mostly by helping them exercise and take care of their health.
David Lidsky09.12.171:21 pmShare This Update
Last month I traveled across the country and visited 20 states. In everywhere from Mississippi to South Dakota, I saw people wearing the Apple Watch. It is far more popular and pervasive than most pundits give it credit for.
Mark Sullivan09.12.171:19 pmShare This Update
Last quarter Apple Watch sales grew 50% last quarter year over the year. Apple Watch is now the top-selling watch in the world–not smartwatch, watch, full stop. Ahead of Rolex, Timex and all the rest.
David Lidsky09.12.171:17 pmShare This Update
Interesting that the creative areas Apple Stores is focusing on—including music and photo—are so strategically imperative to the company’s subscription services businesses.
Mark Sullivan09.12.171:17 pmShare This Update
Retail chief Angela Ahrendts
Harry McCracken09.12.171:17 pmShare This Update
Angela Ahrendts is saying that Apple’s famous Fifth Ave. store in Manhattan—which I’ve personally found rather claustrophobic—is getting an expansion and more sunlight.
Mark Sullivan09.12.171:15 pmShare This Update
Apple Sessions: Angela says you can now come to a store and learn about photography, or Swift coding, or apps. You can even how to program beats from a local DJ. She says the sessions are about liberal arts, part of Apple’s DNA.
Harry McCracken09.12.171:14 pmShare This Update
At recent Apple events, Tim Cook has often said that the morning will be so dense with news that they’re going to skip the traditional updates about matters such as Apple’s stores. At this one, however, retail honcho Angela Ahrendts—not typically a part of these keynotes—is explaining the experience at Apple’s newest and most ambitious retail outlets, with a video.
Mark Sullivan09.12.171:12 pmShare This Update
Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s retail chief, says Apple now calls its stores “town squares.” Because they are meeting places more than stores. A place to see art and music.
Harry McCracken09.12.171:11 pmShare This Update
Cook is talking about Apple Park.
David Lidsky09.12.171:10 pmShare This Update
Apple Park is actually not that environmentally friendly because it requires all of its employees to drive there.