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.

Apple Keynote Conference 2016: Apple Reveals iPhone 7 and Wireless Earbuds

On September 7, Apple hosted their 9th annual Keynote Conference at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. Although newer versions of the iPhone and Apple Watch were shown for the first time, this year’s event was a little different. Instead of introducing state of the art innovations, Apple showed some additional features they’ve added to existing products. Moreover, these features weren’t anything extraordinary but new for Apple nonetheless.

Image Source: i.ytimg.com

Apple Music & the App Store

Apple CEO Tim Cook expressed his passion for music and the important role it has played in the brand’s development saying that they now have 17 million paid subscribers on their own Apple Music. They plan on partnering with more musicians this year as well. They announced its collaboration with Nintendo and will have classic games such as Super Mario and Battle Toads available on the App Store. Awesome! Its ‘ConnectED’ Program improved ‘iWork’ introducing real-time collaboration so users can work on numerous docs and presentations simultaneously. By doing so, Apple will now rival competing products such as the Google Chromebook and hope to gain a solid presence in productivity/educational environments.

Image Source: cdn1.tekrevue.com

iPhone 7 & the iPhone 7 Plus

The designs of the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus is virtually the same as their 2 previous models with one discrete addition. The iPhone 7 does not have an aux port because it only accepts wireless earbuds called ‘Airpods.’ Therefore, the lack of aux abilities is more of an exclusion than an addition. Its updated processors grant longer battery life whether at home or on the go. In addition, its internal stereo system has been improved for crisp audio playback. They’ve also made them water resistant and adjusted the home button for force sensitivity.  Last but not least, they’ve upgraded to a dual-lens camera system that enhances its already pristine picture quality. The price for the iPhone 7 is a little less at $649 in comparison to the 7 Plus at $769. Preorders will start on September 9th.

Image Source: 1reddrop

Apple Watch Series 2

The Apple Watch has updated features most beneficial for athletes and particularly swimmers. The new models are now swim-resistant, integrated swim workouts into its system and even repel water while swimming. It also has a built in GPS and comes with their new hiking app ‘View Ranger.’ Additionally, they partnered with Nike to create an exclusive Apple Watch with a cool running band design. Pokémon Go is now available for the watch as well. Lastly, its brighter display and faster processors tally it up to the asking rates of $269-$369 available September 9th for preorder.

Image Source: A Blog to Watch 

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.

“The Future of TV is Apps.”

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Source: Getty Images

Admittedly, I had low expectations for this year’s recent Apple keynote.  As I listened to the list of Apple’s new product announcements I was unimpressed: iPad ProApple WatchiPhone 6sApple Pencil.  Yawn.  However, what blew me away was the Apple TV.

Although introduced in 2007, Apple TV seemed unremarkable.  It seemed like it was their forgotten red-headed step child and I wouldn’t have been surprised if they decided to end support for it.  However, Apple CEO Tim Cook brought new life and vision to Apple TV by declaring, “The Future of Televison is Apps.”  As I watched Apple’s product demo, my jaw dropped with all the different possibilities.  Right off the bat, I can see Apple TV replacing the DVR, cable TV, large room video conferencing, and console gaming.

The interface leverages Siri which seems light years ahead of the clumsy interface that I use with my cable box.  But that’s not the secret sauce; it’s the fact that Apple has opened up its SDK and has created tvOS (based on iOS 9).  This will allow developers to develop apps for Apple TV and to be distributed by the Apple TV App Store.

Apple introduced their new controller which uses Siri and could be used like a Wiiwireless controller.  Interesting enough, the iPhone and iPod touch could also be used as a controller.  Couple this with developer’s porting their games to Apple TV, and we could be seeing the demise of Xbox and the PlayStation.

I can see network television and local television stations providing live streaming and on-demand content through their own branded app.  By doing so, they can provide targeted interactive advertising where they will know the demographics of the individual user.   For example, based on my user profile, I would see interactive trailers for Sci Fi movies and subscription offers for Fast Company(which I can instantly buy with my credit card on file).  Best of all, unlike the DVR, the user won’t be able to fast forward the ads.  Once a critical mass of TV stations and networks begin developing their own apps, it will lead to the end of the DVR and Cable TV.

In addition, I can see Apple TV becoming a standard for conference room.  Third party apps will replace large video conferencing systems like Cisco Telepresence.  Presentations will be delivered by an app, controlled by an iPhone.   And when the screen’s idle, it will display creative and useful digital signage.

One can argue that the mobile app market was first started when Apple opened up their SDK for the iPhone.  Amazing new applications have been developed that many did not foresee (for example, when the iPhone was created, I don’t think anyone could imagine Uber developing a $50 B company by delivering car service from an app).  In a similar fashion, I expect amazing innovations will be developed on the Apple TV.

By Rich Foreman, CEOApptology 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.

Quick Summary of iOS 8 Enhancements

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If you didn’t have a chance to view the WWDC Live Stream, Apple unveiled iOS 8 and OS 10.10 (Yosemite).  Since we’re focused on mobile apps, I’m highlighting the upcoming iOS 8 features which is expected to roll out in the fall.

HealthThis collects information from different health apps and creates one dashboard.  This seems similar to their  Passbook App.

Homekit:  This is standard for common protocol that can be used for controlling external devices in the home.

Extensibility:  Allows apps to share functionality with other apps.

Family Sharing:  Allows for 6 family members to share  their purchases on iTunes.

Photos:  Improved sharing of photos across devices along with a new cloud base storage model.

iMessage :  Improved messaging to make it more competitive to services like WhatsApp

Interactive Notifications :  Allows users to respond to messages directly from the notification banner

QuickType :  Introduces Predictive Text where keyboard is able to learn your writing style and offer suggestions (can’t wait to see how this compares to auto correct).

iCloud :  More robust iCloud to take on Dropbox and Google Drive

Greater Connectivity within Apple Devices:  Greater sync between apple devices (iPhone, iPads, and Mac) in conjunction with Yosemite.

Spotlight:  New search tool that takes location and context into account.

Enhanced SDK:  Apple touts this as the biggest release for developers.  There’s actually a lot of stuff here and we’re still digesting it.  I’ll talk about this in a future blog.

Enterprise Enhancements:  Apple introduced several Enterprise enhancements specifically towards security, productivity, and enhancements.

In future blogs, we will dig deeper into iOS 8 upgrades.