Apple hosted its most important event in years today — its first keynote in the Steve Jobs Theater at its new Apple Park headquarters. The following were live updates from the event, in roughly chronological order.
Welcome to the Steve Jobs Theater
Apple kicked off the keynote with a short audio monologue from its late founder Steve Jobs, who died almost six years ago. “I love hearing his voice,” CEO Tim Cook said, taking the stage. “And his inspiring message.” Cook spoke a bit about Jobs’s vision for the new Apple Park campus, and with a bow to a huge photo of his former boss on the screen, said “today and always we honor him.”
An update on Apple’s retail business
Apple’s SVP of retail, former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts, took the stage for a rare keynote appearance (her first?). No big news, but she showed off some of Apple’s new store designs and “Today at Apple” event programs, which have launched over the past year. And she previewed some forthcoming flagship stores, including a redesign of its Fifth Avenue store in New York, stores in Paris, Milan and Washington, D.C., and the new Michigan Avenue store in Chicago, which opens Oct. 20.
A new Apple Watch with built-in cellular
The new Apple Watch “Series 3” looks similar to previous generations and is about the same size, but has a built-in cellular connection, meaning you can stay connected to calls, access internet information and stream Apple Music without your phone, using your same phone number.
It starts at $399 with cellular — available in nine countries to start — and $329 without cellular. Orders start Sept. 15, with availability starting on Sept. 22. (The cheapest “Series 1” Watch now starts at $249.) Apple made some tweaks to the color lineup, including a gray version of the high-end ceramic “Edition” version, and new bands, but nothing crazy.
As Apple moves the Watch’s focus even more toward fitness and health, updates to the heart rate app will now show more information, and will also alert you if it senses an unexpectedly high heart rate when you’re not active. Apple also announced the Apple Heart Study in partnership with Stanford Medicine, aimed at detecting atrial fibrillation.
Apple’s new watchOS 4, which includes this software and was previewed this summer, will launch on Sept. 19. Cook said Apple is the No. 1 watch brand in the world, but the company has not yet disclosed sales figures.
A new Apple TV set-top box with 4K video support
The new Apple TV device has two improvements to its picture quality, for televisions that support them: 4K for higher resolution and HDR support for better colors. Preorders start on Sept. 15, with availability on Sept. 22, starting at $179.
Netflix and Amazon are among the third-party video apps that will support 4K video, according to Apple SVP Eddy Cue. Apple says it will sell 4K videos in iTunes for the same price as HD movies, and will automatically upgrade past purchases.
Updates to Apple’s tvOS and TV app will now alert you if a sports team you like is playing, highlighting live games and live news.
iPhone 8, an update to the iPhone 7
Apple skipped the “S” update to the iPhone 7, instead unveiling an “all-new” glass design called iPhone 8 and 8 Plus — which looks exactly like the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.
With an improved, more vivid, “true tone” screen, better cameras and faster chips, it will be available in silver, space gray and a new gold finish. Apple says its glass is the most durable yet, and the phone is sealed for waterproofing.
The new glass back allows iPhone 8 to support wireless charging; Apple will use the Qi charging standard, which companies like Ikea and Belkin already support.
iPhone 8 will start at $699, with iPhone 8 Plus starting at $799. Apple will take preorders on Sept. 15, with availability starting Sept. 22.
A look at some new AR apps
Apple’s new iOS 11, launching Sept. 19, includes support for new AR — augmented reality — apps, which display graphics over the “real world,” as seen through an iPhone camera. A few demos offered a peek at what’s coming, including some games and utilities.
One neat AR feature coming to MLB’s At Bat app: If you’re at a baseball game, you can point your phone at the field and it will identify players, letting you quickly see their stats.
Apple just launched its ARKit for app makers this summer, but it’s a technology that Apple has high hopes for — expect to hear much more about it over the years.
One more thing ... iPhone X, “the future of the smartphone”
Pronounced “iPhone ten,” this — not the iPhone 8 — is the new high-end iPhone, which will “set the path for ... the next decade,” according to Tim Cook.
“It is all screen,” Apple SVP Phil Schiller said, highlighting the “tight curve of the design.” Practically, that means the old forehead and chin are gone, with thin (but not invisible) borders around the new 5.8-inch “super retina” screen.
With no home button, Apple has made some pretty big changes to the iPhone user experience. To wake the phone, you can tap the screen. If you want to go to the iPhone X home screen, you swipe up from the bottom of the screen.
Unlocking your iPhone X uses a new feature called Face ID, which Schiller called “effortless” and better than the previous, fingerprint-based Touch ID system.
Here’s how it works: A new “TrueDepth” camera system — which includes an infrared camera, flood illuminator, front camera and dot projector — detects your face, takes an IR image, and uses more than 30,000 IR dots to model your face. Apple’s first “neural engine” — specialized hardware for machine learning algorithms — processes the information. And voilà; your phone should unlock, even if you change your hairstyle, put on glasses, grow a beard, or as your face changes.
Schiller says Apple has put effort into making sure Face ID can’t be tricked by photos or even 3D masks. The upshot: Only one in a million faces should be able to trick Face ID, Schiller said — though beware your evil twin or others with similar genetics.
The same face-scanning system will also power new animated emoji, which will read your facial expressions to record custom, live animations in messages, including spoken audio. Apple also worked with Snapchat on new face filters powered by AR Kit.
The iPhone X camera includes dual optical image stabilization, “quad-LED” flash, and better selfies up front — but it doesn’t sound revolutionarily different than the iPhone 8 camera system.
iPhone X comes in two colors, space gray and silver, with a “pearlescence” to the glass. Its battery lasts 2 hours longer than the iPhone 7. It will support Qi wireless charging, including via a new “AirPower” accessory — coming next year — that can charge the iPhone X, Apple Watch Series 3, and AirPods (with optional wireless charging case) at the same time, on the same mat.
iPhone X starts at $999 for 64 GB, with a 256 GB version also available — yes, this is your $1,000 iPhone. Pre-orders start Oct. 27, with shipments starting Nov. 3. No mentions of the Apple Upgrade Program.