Just before the last quarter of every year, Apple brings technology enthusiasts, bloggers and journalists together to announce new shiny devices which will be the talk of the technology town for the next few months. This year was no exception, with the company yesterday unveiling a new Apple TV, Apple Watch 3, iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X.
The event started off with discussions and information on the upgrades to the Apple Retail stores around the world, which will see the outlets become community centres that help the company to engage with entreprenuers and Apple enthusiasts.
Apple Watch Series 3
Apple CEO Tim Cook launched the announcement of Apple Watch Series 3 with the fact that Apple Watch is the number one watch. He also pointed out that the company has been able to achieve 97% customer satisfaction rate with users of the product.
The biggest upgrade to the wearable device is the addition of built-in cellular. This means users can leave their smartphones at home and take calls through the watch, using their usual number. The independance this provides is further strengthened by the fact that the Apple Watch now enables streaming of over 40m songs through Apple Music.
In other words, it can become the user's main device when out on a run, at the gym or even when carrying out simple tasks. This opens up immense possibilities for app developers like ourselves, who can look to build innovative apps that can work on the tiny screen while still providing useful features and solutions.
The 8 and 8 Plus
Apple announced the 8 and 8 Plus devices as part of an annual upgrade to the 7 and 7 Plus line launched last year. There was speculation that they would be called the 7s and 7s Plus to remain in sync with the previous nomunclature of iPhone upgrades.
The biggest improvement is the complete redesign of the back of the devices using glass. This means they can be charged wirelessly and will work with the popular QI wireless charging systems. It also renders the devices completely water and dust-resistent.
The new devices have likewise been enhanced to work better with Augmentd Reality, which clearly illustrates Apple's focus Apple on this branch of immersive tech.
One more thing... iPhone X
For the past few months most online tech blogs have been filled with leaks and speculation about a new device that Apple would release to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the original. This device is aptly named as iPhone X (or 10).
The X represents huge jump in terms of design compared to all previous iPhones. It has a super retina display which utilises OLED technology to enhance the quality of the screen. The availability of edge-to-edge screen meant Apple had to let go of the standard home button and come up with clever ways to replicate its functions.
These include screen activation through a simple tap and activation of Siri through the power button on the phone's side. The biggest challenge, however, was security, since removal of the home button also meant the removal of Touch ID, the intuitive system that enabled users to unlock their devices as well as use Apple Pay. These security features will now be replaced by Face ID, a new system that only unlocks the device once multiple sensors have recognised the user's face.
To enable this, Apple has built a neural engine into the device. This does all the processing of storing and identifying the face on the phone; nothing is ever shared or sent to an outside server.
This faster processor also means a lot of power, using the A11 Bionic chip. Again, this open up opportunities for app developers to create high-quality apps and highly immersive AR.