Apple held their annual Fall event at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on September 7, 2016 with Tim Cook taking the stage to serve as ringleader in introducing a new iPhone and Apple Watch line. In this two-part series I provide a quick breakdown of the pieces that got me excited (and not) for what’s to come.

Apple + Plumbers
Super Mario Run FullFirst up, some great news that isn’t exactly device-centric. Nintendo continues to eye the mobile device market as a target for their huge list of intellectual property and it just solidified this approach by announcing the first mobile game on the iOS platform to feature their most recognizable character: Mario.

Super Mario Run, a new platforming and runner game due out before the holidays, is coming to the Apple App Store and will almost guarantee a heads-down holiday for people of all ages (because, you know, they will be too busy playing on their phone). If you are afraid you might miss the launch (hint: there’s no way their marketing wizards are going to let that happen) you can hit the “notify” button in their App Store listing to be notified when it does launch. Oh, and it is coming to the Apple App Store first — no word on what that means for an Android launch.

iPhone 7
You knew it was coming and even the rumors felt pretty strong. On stage they confirmed what many had speculated on and some had even feared. Here are the quick hits and why they matter.

  • Same physical dimensions as the last generation (iPhone 6s) with both a “regular” and “plus” version.
  • Comparison of "black" (left) to "jet black" (right)

    Comparison of “black” (left) to “jet black” (right)

    Same basic colors with a twist: new hi-gloss black known as “Jet Black” (though you may want to consider the risk of scratching before choosing it) while the standard black has gone to a matte finish called simply “black”.

  • Speed has been amped up quite a bit, especially for games with a next-gen graphics processing unit (GPU).

iPhone 7 Camera

  • A drastically-improved camera and this is a big one! Both models will see a new and improved 12MP camera, but the “plus” model will add a second telephoto camera (also at 12MP) that will optically zoom to 2x and allow for some incredible vignette-style photography. I am really excited to see how the “flicker sensor” works. Apparently it detects the refresh rate of artificial lighting and adapts accordingly. Pretty neat stuff since I don’t own a DSLR.
  • It’s true — the headphone jack is gone. But, each iPhone 7 will come with an adapter AND a new pair of EarPods (no, not AirPods) that are ready for lightning port use. The world has gone to wireless and this is Apple’s way of nudging the rest of us along.
  • The home button is changing from the semi-mechanical style that we have grown accustomed to and will now be more like a touchpad with haptic (Taptic) feedback. The reasons are numerous and I am sure that the water-prevention measures have a lot to do with it, but this has also given them the chance to include their Force Touch tech in yet another surface of the phone. I am really intrigued to get my hands on it and try it out. Could this be a march towards ditching the home button altogether as many have speculated? (hint: probably)
  • Last, but not least: yes, it has a longer battery life. It looks like, from the spec sheets, they are seeing an increase of about 15% across the board. We will wait to see how this works in real-life, but these numbers have been pretty good indicators in the past.

OK, that’s it for this first part in the recap from the Apple event. In the second part of the series I will focus on the Apple Watch Series 2 (the new one) as well as AirPods and other apps coming out soon.

Starting to get accustomed to contests at the bottom of my blogs? Well, while I don’t have a contest ready for you this time, I heard a rumor (from myself) that Part 2 of this blog series will definitely have one so look for that VERY soon…

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