Today I’ll make a summary(and share my thoughts along the way) of Apple’s September 2016 event where the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2 were announced. I might not talk about everything that was presented, so if you want to watch the whole keynote you can do so at Apple.com or on YouTube. If you are short on time as I am, I recommend you to watch it on YouTube and increase the playback speed ;).
First, Tim Cook presented some statistics about the App Store. He announced that there has been 140 billion downloads from the App Store since its creation. He also mentioned that the App Store was generating twice as much revenue as the other stores. As a developer that would like to go indie someday, these numbers are exciting. But at the same time, I wonder how much of these downloads are for apps such as Candy Crush, Clash Royale, Facebook or other huge apps like these. Also, we don’t know how these downloads translate into money for developers. To have that many downloads, the majority of the apps are probably free or freemium. As I understand it, nowadays it’s very hard to sell a fixed price app. Free apps with ads or freemium apps have a much lower barrier to entry and people are ready to lower their standards/expectations if the app costs nothing. I think it hurts the App Store economy because it makes it much harder to prove the value of a fixed price app if a free alternative exists with (annoying) ads or some restrictions locked behind an in-app purchase but is still usable. Another thing that struck me was that there was 500 000 games on the App Store. I would like to try developing a game but the market is literally flooded and it’s really hard to stand out, except if you are already a well-known brand… Which brings me to another important announcement, Mario is finally coming to iOS! Super Mario Run is a simpler version of the classic platformer we all know and love. Mario is automatically moving to the right and the player only need to touch the screen to jump or make key actions. The game will be available just in time for the holidays and I’m pretty sure this will be a success.
Secondly, the Apple Watch Series 2 was announced. Series 2 is making the Watch water-resistant to 50 metres. It features a water-ejecting speaker to make sure no water might damage the device. It was nice to see how Apple tested the water-resistance capability of the Watch with a swimming simulator. This new version of the Watch also benefits a speed increase due to a dual-core CPU, a GPU 2 times faster than the previous version, a 1000 nits display and a built-in GPS sensor. These new features make the watch more independent from the phone. I haven’t built anything for the Watch yet, but it’s an interesting platform to have quick and contextual interactions with the users of an app.
Last but not least, we were all expecting it, the iPhone 7 was also announced. We enjoyed a classical presentation of the new iPhone by the great Jony Ive. Here is a list of the new models’ features:
- A force-sensitive, Taptic home button
- Device is now water and dust resistant
- Camera now has optical image stabilization, better aperture, a TrueTone flash AND the 7 Plus model has 2 cameras: a wide angle and a telephoto
- Stereo speakers for better and louder audio playback
- NO MORE headphone jack, A pair of Lightning headphones are included in the box, but also a Lightning to 1/8 jack adapter
- Improved battery life, thanks to the new A10 Fusion chip, a 4-core processor, with 2 high performance core and 2 high efficiency core to reduce power consumption
- 16Go model is dead, storage starts at 32Go for the new models and 6s models are upgraded to 32Go for the same price.
I won’t talk much about the (in)famous removed headphone jack. Honestly, in my day-to-day usage of my iPhone I don’t really need the jack since I already use Bluetooth headphones(except when working out because they are a bit heavy). One thing I can think of is the Square payment system that was relying on that port to connect the card reader will need to make a Lightning reader(if they were not already working on that). Also, I’m not really sure about the new AirPods. They cost a lot, it looks like it would be easy to lose them(or worst, only one of them…) and I don’t know how well they will stay in place since the wired headphones always seem to slip out of my ears when I’m running.
Oh, one more thing… You can watch a 107 second short summary made by Apple which highlights the best moments of the keynote. Beware, do not blink! ;)