iPhone 7 and Watch Series 2

Apple announced the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and Apple Watch Series 2 on September 7th. There were no big surprises, unless you count Pokemon Go coming to the Watch as a big surprise.

There was no news about new MacBooks, something I have been waiting for. It appears they will announce new laptops in October.

A quick summary of the new devices is this: the new iPhones are faster, water-resistant, have a better screen, much better cameras, a redesigned home button and no headphone jack. My bottom line is this — if you have an iPhone 6 there is no reason to upgrade unless you really want the new camera. If you have an older iPhone the iPhone 7 will be a good choice.

There is a difference in the cameras on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The 7, the smaller of the two, compared to previous iPhones has better resolution and color, better adaptive technology for color correction, and image stabilization. The 7 Plus, has two camera lenses, one for wide angle and one telephoto providing real optical zoom. You camera buffs will know the difference between digital zoom (the pixels just get bigger) and optical zoom (like a real camera).

What about no headphone jack? you ask. The supposed reason for eliminating this is space. It’s a real design challenge to pack everything needed into the iPhone. Apple’s plan is that everything will be wireless. In fact, they will be releasing their own wireless earbuds called AirPods. They will cost you $159. Also, Apple owns Beats which has it’s own line of wireless headphones.

If you want to continue to use your wired earbuds or headphones you can do so. The new iPhones come with an adaptor that plugs into the lightning port (the charging port) and provides a headphone jack on the other end. The only problem that will arise with this solution is if you want to use your headphones and charge the iPhone at the same time. Apple has a history of eliminating accessories that it deems no longer necessary, like 3.5 floppy drives, then CD/DVD drives, and the rest of the industry seems to follow them. It’s a good bet that soon most headphones will be wireless but the transition is a bit clumsy.

The new Watch Series 2 (the original Watch is still available at a reduced price) in addition to being faster has two nice features: water proof to 50m, which means you can swim with it, and a built-in GPS which will vastly improve the stand alone capabilities of the fitness apps, maps and a new hiking app.

You can read more about the new products here and here.

More radical changes are coming with the new operating systems being released in the next week or two: iOS 10 for iPhones and MacOS Sierra for MacBooks and iMacs. I previously wrote about them here. When they are released, I suggest you wait to upgrade. These are big revisions and it’s best to let the dust settle before diving in — unless you are like me and just can’t wait to try the new stuff. I’ll let you know what I think in my next newsletter.

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