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Still bummed about those allegedly exploding Galaxy Note 7 phones? We feel you. But here's some solace: Wednesday marked the hotly anticipated Apple keynote event, a downright spiritual gathering that gets iPhone enthusiasts hyped like nothing else and just makes the haters even saltier. As usual, the rumors surrounding the event's big reveals have really stacked up in recent months. But did Apple actually kill off the headphone jack? Yep. Is the new Apple Watch about to drop? Indeed. But Tim Cook and company had much more to talk about than just that:
The event kicked off with a special presentation featuring James Corden and Tim Cook, using Corden's Late Late Show x Carpool Karaoke vibes. The two joked about security issues, then dove into some One Republic (sigh).
Siri then got some jokes off about Cook's busy schedule. Then Pharrell popped in to give some fashion tips for Cook's big day. The trio was kind enough to honor Cook's Alabama roots with a quick rip through the Lynrd Skynrd track "Sweet Home Alabama," a real song that actually exists. Then the real fun finally began:
Boasting 17 million subscribers, Cook had nothing but praise for the future of the competitive streaming music service. "This past year alone, Apple Music was the first place to hear over 70 new releases," Cook said. "One of our most popular exclusives of all is the Apple Music Festival in London." Cook noted the festival's 10th anniversary, appropriately bragging about The 1975 and Chance the Rapper's scheduled appearances.
"The App Store has forever change the world of software and forever changed all of our lives," Cook said. "The momentum has never been greater." Over 140 billion apps have now been downloaded for iOS, according to Cook's figures. "In fact," Cook said, "in the last 2 months we've seen growth rates of over 100 percent year on year." Dude then announced the arrival of our guy Mario on the App Store. Hell yeah. The game? The fresh Super Mario Run. iOS 10 will also include some dope Super Mario stickers.
Noting Apple's 40th birthday, Cook told the audience that education is still deep in the company's DNA. "We are keenly aware that not every school can have this impact," Cook said. "That's why we're so deeply committed to ConnectED." According to Cook, the program has greatly helped underprivileged kids utilize the benefits of advanced tech. "I'm thrilled to tell you that this fall all 114 schools that Apple is supporting will be up and running," Cook said, detailing the equipment donations the company is making to schools around the world. Cook also announced an initiative aimed at teaching "everyone" to code. To keep the innovation moving, iWork will also be updated to include real-time capabilities for both students and professionals.
Apple Watch Series 2
Before unveiling the new Apple Watch, Cook had to get a few brags in about how the device fared against the competition. "We became the No. 2 watch brand in the world," Cook noted. "We're also the top-selling smartwatch." Cook then invited Jeff Williams to the stage to take a closer look at the device's future. Speaking on WatchOS 3, Williams mentioned the new safety features. Then Williams announced Pokémon Go would be hitting the Watch soon.
To blend the wildly popular augmented reality game with players' daily walks and runs and various fitness activities, the Watch version essentially makes the popular pastime a full-on fitness phenomenon. That means peeping total number of calories burned and a handy mileage counter while playing the game.
The new Watch was then (finally) unveiled via a hella dramatic, Pusha T-assisted video showing the next generation of Apple's foray into wearable tech. The Apple Watch Series 2, Williams revealed, will be swim-proof. The speaker still needs air, however, so Series 2 will use the speaker itself to eject water. Dope.
"Two of the most popular activities are walking and running, and we know there's times when people want to do this without their phones," Williams said. "So we've added built-in GPS."
The Series 2 will also include a case made of a new material, ceramic. "This new white Apple Watch in ceramic has this gorgeous pearl-like shine," Williams said. "It's actually 4 times harder than stainless steel." The new Watch lineup will also once again feature collabs with Hermès.
Additionally, the Series 2 lineup features a Nike collab built especially for runners. "Apple and Nike share a passion to make life easier and more fun," Trevor Edwards, Nike boss, said at the keynote. "It all began 40 years ago with a deep relationship with runners. That obsession continues to this day." Conveniently, all the fresh Series 2 Watches will be available for preorder starting Sept. 2 and will start at $369.
"The iPhone has transformed the way we do things we do things everyday," Cook said. "There's a reason why you see so many iPhones everywhere you look." By Apple's stats, they've already pushed a billion iPhones into the hands of consumers. However, Cook noted, the best is yet to come. iOS 10 will be the biggest facelift for OS in the company's history. "We've added even more intelligence through machine learning," Cook said. Home automation has now been integrated into a major platform, making it a breeze to set up at-home devices while miles away. New fullscreen effects such as confetti and fireworks will soon hit messaging, making emotions a crucial component of texting and iMessage in general.
Then Cook casually introduced the "best iPhone" the company has ever created:
The iPhone 7, Cook said, makes life "so much better." The new phone is packed with an impressive lineup of major upgrades, including a new "jet black" finish. The antennas are almost invisible, making the device sleek and decidedly sexier. The iPhone 7 also comes in gold, silver, and rose gold.
The home button has been overhauled to be more responsive and customizable, utilizing force-sensitive technology. Not a fan of water and dust? The new device is resistant to those annoyances. The camera on the iPhone 7 boasts multiple huge advancements, including image stabilization and a high-speed sensor that's 60 percent faster:
Additionally, the flash now has 4 LEDs emitting 50 percent more light than previous models.
The iPhone 7 Plus will have 2 cameras side by side, including a telephoto lens. With 2 cameras, a proper zoom feature is made possible with a new button on the screen that will allow users to tap it and jump from 1x to 2x or drag the button to jump all the way to 10x. The coolest part? The quality is much higher than the usual zoom feature would allow.
For shallow depth of field nerds (it me), the iPhone 7 Plus will allow users to "scan the scene" and create a depth map. In editing, users can then blur the background to simulate the shallow depth of field look and feel.
The Retina HD display on the 7 and 7 Plus is now 25 percent brighter than the 6 models and comes with 3D Touch capabilities. To take advantage of these upgrades to the camera and display, Instagram is tweaking its Boomerang feature and updating all its photo filters to put full and vibrant color front and center within the app.
The new speakers, for the first time in iPhone's history, will be stereo. One sits at the top of the device, while the other rests at the bottom. With increased dynamic range and overall volume, the sound is better than ever. As rumored, lightning-connected headphones are the new wave (RIP headphone jack) for those wanting a more private audio experience. An adapter will also be available (in the box!) for all the lames still worried about OG headphones.
To make the audio jump even better, Apple is tackling the wireless field with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Apple AirPods, as the name implies, will do everything you might expect headphones to do without the annoyance of lame-ass wires:
Wow. Pour one out for the aux cord.
Beats will also be getting in on the wireless fun, launching the new Beats Solo Wireless and the Powerbeats 3 Wireless headphone sets. Additionally, Beats X will introduce a more affordable line of headphones for budget-conscious consumers.
All of those specs are dope, but performance is also on the brain for prospective iPhone 7 buyers. The new phones will boast the rumored A10 Fusion chip, a 64-bit processor with 3.3 billion transistors. What that means, according to Apple, is that these phones are twice as fast as the 6 and 6s models. That will make gameplay and general day-to-day tasks even more of a breeze, meaning your phone won't stress out while you're playing that new Super Mario game. Battery life will also get a massive boost, with current iPhone 6 users experiencing a battery life improvement of at least 2 hours.
The iPhone 7 will start at $649 for the 32GB model, while the iPhone 7 Plus will start at $769 for its 32GB model. Preorders start Sept. 9 and will begin shipping Sept. 16, so hop to it. The AirPods will run $159 and are set for release in October.
So can I please borrow, like, $1000? Asking for a friend.