Apple's Big Event: New Watch, Super Mario Comes to iOS and Other Takeaways
The iPhone maker convened the tech press in San Francisco on Wednesday to unveil the iPhone 7, Apple Watch Series 2 and announce other product updates.
Apple's September product showcase is typically all about the iPhone, but this year it took just under an hour before CEO Tim Cook introduced the iPhone 7. Instead, Cook spent a large part of the San Francisco press event highlighting updates to the Apple Watch and new software features.
The Wednesday morning event, which kicked off with a special "Carpool Karaoke" and ended with a two-song performance from Sia, was all about updating Apple's product lineup and didn't feature any announcements about new devices or significant changes to current products.
Here are the highlights:
Apple Loves Nintendo
Early in the presentation, Cook revealed that a new Super Mario game is coming to iPhones. Super Mario Run, a game that uses the touchscreen to help Mario jump his way through challenges, will be available for iPhones and iPads in December. But that wasn't Nintendo's only appearance of the morning. It also was revealed that its recent hit with Niantic Labs, Pokemon Go, will be available for the Apple Watch.
Apple Music Adds More Subs
The streaming music app, which competes directly with Spotify and Jay-Z's Tidal, added 2 million subscribers over the last two months, bringing its total number of paying customers to 17 million. "We've always had a deep love of music," Cook told the crowd. Music streaming leader Spotify, meanwhile, has more than 30 million subscribers.
The Watch Goes Waterproof
Executives didn't reveal how many people have purchased the Apple Watch, but did boast that it's the No. 2 watch in terms of revenue behind only Rolex. No better way to boost sales that add some new features. The new Apple Watch, dubbed the Series 2, has been redesigned to make it waterproof up to 50 meters and now has a built-in GPS for runners. The exercise use cases didn't end there. Apple also announced a partnership with Nike for a Nike+ watch that will become available in October — "Starting a run has never been easier" is the tagline for the new product. The new watches, which include a white ceramic edition, will become available in the U.S. on Sept. 16. Watches start at $269 and can retail for more than $1,249 for the ceramic edition.
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are lacking one noticeable feature: the headphone jack. Instead, Apple will start selling wireless AirPods, which will retail for $160. That announcement came at the end of a long list of new features that make the iPhone what Apple calls the best phone its ever made (though it says that every year). The new device also has an improved camera (including a dual camera feature for the 7 Plus) and even comes in a sexy new color, jet black. The iPhone 7 also is water- and dust-resistant.
Apple Spoils Itself
The Steve Jobs-founded tech giant is notoriously tight-lipped about its product launches, but this year it accidentally spoiled its own show when its newly minted Apple Twitter account began tweeting a short video introducing the new iPhone. The tweet referenced new cameras, the water resistance, longer battery life and other features. The tweets were quickly deleted.