Apple goes water-resistant for iPhone 7, Apple Watch Series 2

Posted September 7th, 2016

Apple started off the expected launch of its iPhone 7 with a little bit of Mario and a new hardware version of its struggling Apple Watch.

But due to the current culture of everything leaking online, there were few surprises to be had on the iPhone side, with most of the new news saved for the Apple Watch Series 2 (perhaps because fewer people are paying attention to that product line).

Before getting to the iPhone, Apple chief executive Tim Cook focused on the company's Apple Music status (17 million subscribers), 140 billion app downloads after being introduced in a segment with talk-show host James Corden  (of "Carpool Karaoke" fame). But its first big hardware announcement was the Apple Watch Series 2, which includes built-in GPS, a water-resistant body (up to 50 meters), a faster processor, brighter screen and a new price: $369, shipping in late October.

The company is also rolling out a Nike+ version of the watch focused on running for the same price. The original Apple Watch, now called Series 1, will get a processor upgrade and drop to $269. There'll be swimming apps for the new Watch. And, yes, a version of "Pokemon Go" is coming to the wearable.

For gamers, the biggest news of the day might be a new Nintendo mobile game exclusive to iOS featuring Mario. "Super Mario Run" should be out in time for the holidays.

Marcio Jose Sanchez / ASSOCIATED PRESSTim Cook unveils the new iPhone 7 at a press event from Apple on Wednesday, Sept. 7.

For the iPhone 7 and  iPhone 7 Plus, Apple is introducing a water and dust-resistant set of devices, now in colors that include "Black" and "Jet Black." (Space Gray has apparently been retired.) 

The iPhone 7 has an improved camera with two lenses (wide-angle and telephoto),  a larger sensor and wider aperture, which Apple says will improve low-light images. It will also include an optical image stabilizer. Other features include a newly designed A10 Fusion processor, improved battery life and upgraded wireless LTE capabilities. It will start at $649 and will be available in 32, 128 and 256 GB sizes for iPhone 7 and $749 for the iPhone Plus. (Remember, this is without wireless contract subsidies.)

The phones will begin shipping on Sept. 16, pre-orders will start this Friday.

Marcio Jose Sanchez / ASSOCIATED PRESSFrom Apple's iPhone 7 / Apple Watch Series 2 event on Wednesday, Sept. 7.

The device will also have stereo speakers for the first time and indeed, the iPhone 7 omits the headphone jack. Those who buy an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus will get a free adapter and a set of lightning-powered earbuds.

To that end, Apple is introducing a wireless set of earbuds called AirPods, which will play for about five hours on a charge. The probably easy-to-lose devices will ship in late October for a price of (wow!) $159. Good luck hanging on to those.

The presentation ended with a video + on-stage performance by Sia that, true to form for the artist, was avant-garde dance focused. It was in keeping with Apple's image as an inclusive company, but probably didn't cushion the blow for those who'll miss the headphone jack on future products, or who'll balk at paying $159 for wireless Apple earbuds.