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.HM
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.
— Fast Company (@FastCompany) September 12, 2017
— Fast Company (@FastCompany) September 12, 2017
— Fast Company (@FastCompany) September 12, 2017
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.
“40 million songs on your wrist” makes “1000 songs in your pocket” seem like a long time ago.
— John Gruber (@gruber) September 12, 2017
A path just got cleared for Tim Cook.
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.
John Lasseter sighting in the demo area.
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.
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.
Any other first impressions, comrades?
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.)
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.
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.
This first event at the Steve Jobs Theater has certainly had the heaviest Steve component of post-Steve Apple keynotes.
Starting to wrap up here at Steve Jobs Theater. Very little today on AirPods. Nothing on HomePod. It was a fast two hours.
Will iPhone X create a new category of superphones, beyond the one previously defined by the Galaxy Note?
— Harry McCracken ???????? (@harrymccracken) September 12, 2017
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.
“The physical device that disappears into the experience.”—This is an apt description for the entire array of Apple products debuted today.
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.)
- iPhone X Front Camera has Portrait Mode Portrait Lighting
- iPhone X battery lasts 2 hours longer than iPhone 7
- Supports the Qi standard for wireless charging
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.
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.
iPhone X Rear Camera:
- Dual 12-megapixel sensors
- New color filters
- Deeper pixels
- Dual optical image stabilization
- Quad LED two-tone flash
- Tuned for augmented reality
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.
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.
Lots of liberties with the English language today at the Steve Jobs Theater.
Let it be noted that when Craig Federighi tried to demo unlocking an iPhone with Face ID for us, it didn’t work. He quickly gave up and entered a passcode.
The iPhone X looks…
— Harry McCracken ???????? (@harrymccracken) September 12, 2017
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 leak revealed the top-of-the-line iPhone would be the “iPhone X.” Now we know that’s pronounced “ten,” as it was with OS X (although I could never remember).
Mark, who cares if wireless charging is boring? It’s better than having to deal with Lightning chargers
“We do have one more thing,” says Tim Cook. “And we don’t use that phrase lightly.” We’re about to see the iPhone X…
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.
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.
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.
Phil Schiller is talking about the iPhone 8’s wireless features: LTE, Bluetooth, Airpods, and…wireless charging using the glass back.
Demo of Directive’s The Machines, a new AR game on the iPhone 8.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The new chip in the iPhone 8 series: A11 Bionic. Bionic!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
Eddy Cue is talking about the new Apple TV, with 4K and HDR, and the same chip as the iPad Pro.
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.
The Apple Watch 3 looks the same as previous models—but slightly thicker to accomodate LTE.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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 his daughter, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
One word, with a lot of implications for the Apple Watch.
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.
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.
Apple Watch discussion is almost entirely about fitness so far, though the WatchOS 4 software update will have lots of interesting general-purpose improvements too.
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.
Here’s Apple COO Jeff Williams to talk about the Apple Watch.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Retail chief Angela Ahrendts
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cook is talking about Apple Park.
Apple Park is actually not that environmentally friendly because it requires all of its employees to drive there.
Tim Cook kicked off the event by talking about Steve Jobs, this theater’s namesake. Now he’s asking the audience to give to Harvey and Irma relief.
Cook is now talking about how Apple is making it easy for people to donate to the hurricane victims in Florida and Georgia.