Ten years after the release of its first iPhone, Apple is taking the stage this morning at the brand new Steve Jobs Theater at the spaceship-like headquarters in its new Apple Park to unveil the latest updates to its line of signature products.
After a series of recent leaks which seemed to signal much of what Apple had intended to reveal, the company is getting down to business with its latest high-profile event from Cupertino, Calif.
It's a big day at Apple! We are honored and thrilled to host our first keynote at the Steve Jobs Theater this morning. pic.twitter.com/gyiqPJB46y
“One of the ways that I believe that people express their appreciation to the rest of humanity is to make something great, and to put it out,” said Steve Jobs in a voiceover to open the event.
“It was only fitting that Steve should open his theater,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said as he took the stage. “There’s not a day that goes by that we don’t think of him. It has taken some time, but we can now reflect on him with joy instead of sadness.”
Cook called the Jobs Theater the most state-of-the-art, purpose-built theater ever. He said Apple Park was converted from a “sea of asphalt” and now features over 9,000 trees, powered by 100 percent renewable energy.
Angela Ahrendts, Apple SVP of Retail, was the first to take the stage for reveals and showed off concepts for Apple Town Square, the revamped Apple Stores.
Cook called Apple Watch the No. 1 watch in the world before pressing play on a video montage than showcased testimonials from Watch wearers.
Apple’s Jeff Williams ran through a series of improvements from Watch OS 4, including app enhancements for fitness and health monitoring. It will be available to all users on Sept. 19.
Apple Watch Series 3 has LTE cellular connectivity built in. “Now you have the freedom to go anywhere,” Williams said.
Even better, the new Watch will allow music to be streamed straight to your AirPods, without having to have your iPhone with you.
Siri will also be able to speak out loud, not just text, on the new Watch, which is also 50 percent more power efficient. It’s all packed into a case that is the same size as Watch 2.
The display serves as the antennae on the Watch.
The Series 3 price will be $329 and $399 with cellular. Orders begin Sept. 15, and availability will be Sept. 22.
Apple’s Eddy Cue showed off the new 4K HDR version of Apple’s streaming set-top box.
“Apple was the last vendor to add 4K to their streamer and the company says it was waiting for the intersection of 4K, HDR10 and Dolby Vision content,” Patrick Moorhead, a Principal Analyst at boutique tech analyst firm Moor Insights & Strategy, told GeekWire. “This is fair, as the new Apple TV is the only streamer that will ship with this capability which supports both standards now. I believe this new Apple TV will result in the biggest Apple TV upgrade cycle the company has ever had as it removed the objection of not having 4K.”
A10X chip that is in iPad Pro makes the new Apple TV much faster.
The 4K movies will be the same price as HD movies in iTunes. If you purchased a title in HD, it will be updated at no charge.
The device will now support 4K content from Amazon Video.
Live sports is coming to the TV app later this year. Scores and time remaining in games will help viewers decide whether to jump around to different events.
The new Apple TV starts $179 and preorder is Sept. 15. It ships on Sept. 22.
The latest iPhones are expected to include a higher-tech and higher-priced iPhone X which could sell for more than $1,000. It’s features could include Face ID, wireless charging, ARKit Augmented Reality, the iPhone OLED display, Animoji, and more.
It has been 10 years since Apple released the original iPhone, upending the smartphone industry with its iconic design and usability. The company continues to sell tens of millions of iPhones each quarter, but the growth has been tapering off in recent years. In the most recent quarter, iPhone sales were up 2 percent to 41 million units.
The edge-to-edge display is the current hot trend in smartphone design, maximizing the screen size and minimizing the overall hardware size. Samsung, which is the worldwide leader in smartphone market share, released the new Galaxy S8 and recently unveiled the new Galaxy Note 8 with a similarly designed display.
The minimal bezels are also a key design element for augmented reality apps, allowing the phone to overlay the real world with 3D objects and other digital artifacts. Apple is focusing on augmented reality with its ARKit developer tool and built-in augmented reality features in iOS 11.
Check back with GeekWire for updates on Apple’s event.