At 1am WA time Apple presented their new iPhone 7 to a live audience in California, and live streamed around the world.
With smartphones now being our most used personal computers, the latest offerings from Apple are always watched with interest.
Around half of the 40,000 weekly visitors to Everything Geraldton use iPhones or iPads to browse our website.
Here's a rundown on some key features of the new iPhone 7, along with several other announcements Apple made at the event.
The 7, and the 7 plus.
The main differences other than size is the plus gets a much better camera. More on that later.
Apple is also keeping the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus available, along with the iPhone SE.
There's a new colour called Jet Black which is a high gloss black.
The other colours are not high gloss. There's a new mat black, along with Gold, Rose Gold and Silver.
Home button improvements
They've added haptic feedback (they call it "taptic") to the home button. Might be a nice feature, but it's the kind of thing you'd need to try to see if it's useful.
Water and dust resistant
Based on many people's real world experience, it seems Apple quietly introduced this feature in the previous model (the 6s and 6s plus) without telling anyone, perhaps to test how effective their water proofing will be. But they're putting it on the box this time. So ideally those accidental toilet drops won't cost you a thousand bucks.
What Apple has achieved with a tiny pocket camera is nothing short of remarkable.
The smaller phone, the 7, now gets optical image stabilisation. Previously one had to purchase the larger "plus" to get that feature. Some other new features include:
- f1.8 aperture
- 12 MP sensor
- True Tone flash with 4 LEDs
- Flicker sensor
- Image signal processor has twice the throughput of previous versions.
- Can now edit Live photos
- Devs can edit Live photos with new API
- RAW camera API
- Wide colour capture API
- 7MP FaceTime camera (up from 5)
While the above may sound rather technical, suffice to say it's notably better than the 6s, which was class leading.
The new 7 plus gets all of the above, and something extra.
It has two cameras. One is a normal wide angle lens. The other is a telephoto lens. This provides a couple of neat features. The first, and most obvious, is you can zoom in more when taking photos. Very handy.
The other feature is the ability to take photos with something of a bokeh effect in a new mode called "portrait". Bokeh refers to the visual quality of the out of focus area behind a subject. Usually you need a high end camera to do this, but using the two cameras, and some neat software tricks that creates a digital depth map, Apple has achieved this feature on a smartphone.
To be clear, Apple executive Phil Schiller explicitly stated you should not throw out your DSLR. But, this camera certainly will be the best camera many people have ever owned.
The software needed to drive the new feature doesn't appear to be ready yet though. Apple have said it will be released as an update for 7 plus users later in the year.
The screen is 25% brighter than the last model, and has a wider colour gamut.
Last year Apple introduced stereo speakers on its iPad Pro line. And I can tell you it's brilliant.
Now they've brought stereo speakers to the iPhone. There's a speaker at the bottom, as usual, and one on the top. I doubt it will sound quite as good as the iPad Pro, as there's simply less space to work with in the iPhone. But for all that video watching we now do on our phones, it will be a useful improvement.
No headphone jack
This fact was either leaked by Apple deliberately a long time ago, or was simply the worst kept secret ever.
Yes, Apple has removed the headphone jack completely from the iPhone.
It will ship headphones in the box that use a lightning cable, as well as a free adaptor that allows you to continue to use your existing analogue jack headphones.
"Lightning" is the name of Apple's proprietary charging and connection port on iPhone and iPad.
They gave three reasons for their decision to remove the headphone jack, a technology that has been around for over 100 years now.
1. Apple thinks the lightning headphones are a better connector.
2. They're running out of space inside the phone for other technologies they want to include.
3. Apple's ultimate vision for how audio should work is wireless.
I've been pondering this change for several months now. I often charge my phone while I have headphones plugged in.
And I simply hate bluetooth headphones. They're usually too bulky to use lying on a pillow, and the pairing and un-pairing experience is horrible and unreliable.
Quite simply, unless Apple did something completely new, I was not going to be a happy customer.
But Apple exceeded my expectations with the new wireless Air Pods.
The ear piece is the same style as Apple's ear pods, which I find to be the most comfortable of any in ear headphone on the market. And there are no cables. They look like they belong in the sci fi movie "Her". And they don't use the God-awful standard that is bluetooth.
Apple promises they have a consistent and reliable connection and will only play when you're listening to them as they have sensors that detect when they're in your ear. You can access Siri with a simple double tap, and they detect when you're speaking.
They seem very simple to connect, and the case they come in is a battery. They'll last 5 hours on a charge, or 24 hours combining the case/battery life.
Apple-owned headphone company "Beats" is also coming out with a range of headphones that use Apple's proprietary pairing technology. All of a sudden Apple's purchase of Beats a couple of years ago makes a lot of sense.
Again, Apple failed to have these ready for the iPhone launch. They're promising they'll have them later in the year.
The AirPods will retail for $229.
For the most part, tech specs are pretty meaningless. Real world bench testing is a far better way of knowing how fast your phone will actually be to use. Interestingly, the year old iPhone 6s is still faster than anything else on the market (except this new iPhone 7).
Here's some tech specs for those of you who are interested:
Chip is called A10 fusion chip.
2 cores are high performance
40% faster than 6s
Double the speed of the 6
2 cores are high efficiency cores for longer battery life.
Device switches between cores depending on usage.
50% faster than last model (A9)
3 x fast than A 8
Battery life has improved somewhat from the last model. From the 6s to the 7, you'll expect an extra two hours of life. From the 6s Plus to the 7 plus you can expect an extra 1 hour.
The base model phone starts at 32Gb of storage, instead of 16Gb. This will be a godsend for those of you who alway buy the cheapest model.
Up from there is 128Gb, and 256Gb.
It's worth noting the Jet Black only comes in 128Gb and 256Gb.
32Gb = $1079
128Gb = $1229
256Gb = $1379
32Gb = $1269
128Gb = $1419
256Gb = $1569
Apple will keep available the previous models, iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, as well as the smaller iPhone SE, at lower prices.
When can I buy the iPhone 7
Pre orders start at 3:01pm WA time, 9 September 2016. Jump onto Apple.com/au
What else did Apple announce?
New Mario game from Nintendo on iPhone (Great for Mario lovers, not very innovative game play.)
Real Time Collaboration on iWork documents (only 4 years too late)
Pokemon Go coming to Apple Watch (this will be awesome)
Apple Watch Series 2 (very cool, perhaps we'll do another post on this)
Apple Watch Nike Plus (perfect for runners)