Putting an emphasis on wireless audio and improved photography, Apple on Wednesday unveiled the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The two devices are the latest iterations of Apple's smartphone and will go on pre-sale this Friday.
Aiming for a cordless future, Tim Cook and company decided to get rid of the iPhone's headphone jack--the most drastic change to this year's iPhone. Those who purchase the new phones will be able to connect using new Apple EarPods that route in via the iPhone's Lightning port. The iPhone 7 will also include an audio-jack-to-Lightning adapter that will allow consumers to continue using the legacy headphones and earbuds they already own.
To accommodate this change, Apple also announced a variety of new Bluetooth headphones, including three new options from Apple's Beats Brand. Most notably, the company unveiled the AirPods, which are just like Apple's existing EarPods minus their wires. The AirPods can play continuous audio for five hours and include a portable charging pod for additional battery. They will go on sale in October at $159.
"We're just at the beginning of a truly wireless future we've been working toward for many years where technology enables the seamless and automatic connection between you and your devices," said Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive in a video introducing the new AirPods.
The other drastic change to the iPhone is the camera, which includes a variety of improvements that will allow users to capture better photos. Specifically on the iPhone 7 Plus, Apple has added a second camera lens. With a wide angle lens and the new telephoto lens, iPhone 7 Plus users will be to capture higher-quality photographs when zooming in.
Pre-orders for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus--which offer water and dust resistance--will kick off this Friday with shipments starting on Sept. 16. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus base model include 32 gigabytes of storage and start at $649 and $769, respectively. Apple will release its iOS 10 software on Sept. 13.
"It really comes down to one word: courage," said Phil Schiller, Apple's head of marketing, explaining the company's decision to remove the headphone jack from the new iPhones. Schiller spoke at the Apple event in San Francisco on Wednesday. "The courage to move on and do something new that betters all of us. And our team has tremendous courage."
Though the iPhone was the star of the show, it was not alone. Apple also unveiled its second iteration of the Apple Watch, which first went on sale last year. "We call it Apple Watch Series 2, and it has been completely reengineered," said Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams.
The Apple Watch Series 2 includes an improved processor, a built-in GPS for running and a brighter screen than its predecessor. Additionally, Apple has made the device water resistant so users can wear it even when they jump in a pool. "We think swimmers are absolutely going to love this," Williams said.
The Apple Watch Series 2 will start at $369. Apple has also slashed the base price of the original Apple Watch down to $269. The company will roll out its watchOS 3 software on Sept. 13. Pre-orders for the new Apple Watch will begin on Friday with units shipping on Sept. 16.