Highlights from Apple’s 2017 Special Event (with Snarky Comments)

Apple held their 2017 Special Event at the new Steve Jobs Theater where they made several announcements on their upcoming products that will ship this fall.  It’s so cliché, as they described each product as the best (Apple Watch, iPhone, AppleTV, etc) ever.  What else would you expect?  In the two hour event, Apple had numerous product announcements and demos;  so as a public service, I’ll boil it down to what I think are the highlights (with a side of snarky commentary).

Apple Watch (Series 3)

I stopped wearing watches when I started carrying a cell phone.    Why have a watch when I can check the time on my phone?  When the Apple Watch first came out, the same thing came to mind.  Why would I want an Apple Watch when I have my iPhone?  Then you have to factor in the fact that the phone needs to be tethered to your iPhone in order to effectively work.  So why would I want to buy another high priced item that I have to manage and charge?  What’s interesting is that the Series 3 now comes with a SIM card that allows the  Apple Watch to function independently without the iPhone.   In fact, their selling point is that you can leave the iPhone at home.  Interesting concept; maybe the Apple Watch can replace the iPhone.    Realistically, no.   Personally, all I can see is having to pay for another cellular connection.

Apple TV 4 K

4 K television owners can rejoice.   Apple TV now supports 4K resolution.   As for me, I’ll probably consider this when my 1040 HD TV craps out and I end up buying a 4K TV.  But until then, I’m probably not in the market.

iPhone 8 /8 plus

So, the here’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for, the unveiling of iPhone 8 and 8 plus.  So, it’s the normal stuff we expect like faster chip and better camera (sadly, it seems like the battery life is the same as the iPhone 7).  The hardware will better support augmented reality (supported by AR Kit which is part of iOS 11). What I found interesting is that they announced the ability to charge the phone wirelessly.  However, it  requires a charging pad which will be sold separately and expected to be released in 2018.  The moment that I thought this was a ho hum release, Tim Cook declared “there’s one more thing…”  in the iconic Steve Job fashion.

iPhone X

It’s been 10 years since the iPhone first debuted and at the event,  Tim Cook debuted the iPhone X (pronounced iPhone 10 – this also begs the question, what happened to the iPhone 9?).  The  most notable change is that the phone lacks the home button and essentially is all screen.   The primary authentication method is their Face ID which replaces Touch ID.  This is made possible by their new TrueDepth Camera which allows for the phone to recognize the face in three dimensions.  My first thought, is that it can easily be hacked by a photograph.  Apparently, it can’t and they even tested against Hollywood style masks.  The other feature enabled by the TrueDepth camera is the ability to created Animoji (animated emoji) using the movement of your face (does it seem like they’re stretching? ). As far as I can tell, that’s the main difference between the iPhone X and the iPhone 8;  and oh, yeah, and then there’s the price.  The iPhone X starts at a staggering price tag of $ 1 K ($999).

Final Thoughts

For me there’s a sense of relief when Apple doesn’t change their iPhone adaptor (When, they moved to the lighting connector, I had to trash all the docking stations I strategically had around the house).  Overall, I thought this announcement was more evolutionary rather than revolutionary.  As a mobile app developer, I’ll probably will end up getting the iPhone X so that I can stay current.  As a consumer, I didn’t really see anything  truly compelling to want to fork out a grand for the latest and greatest and would hold on to my current iPhone until it gets accidentally doused in the pool.

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.

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