It’s like Christmas in September for the many fans of Apple products. There was a wealth of topics covered at the event this Wednesday - from new iterations of the iPhone and Apple Watch, to App Store releases and enhanced developer APIs. Here is our round-up of some key takeaways from Apple's September 7th media event:
High Profile App Store Releases
It was announced that the iOS game Super Mario Run will be released exclusively to the App Store later this year. It was also announced that Pokémon Go will be coming to the Apple Watch. Both Mario and Pokémon Go are high profile names and it will be interesting to see if these two releases spur significant iPhone and Apple Watch growth.
Apple Watch Series 2
Apple announced their next generation Apple Watch Series 2 with a number of significant improvements:
- Built-in GPS will be great for when you need to go for a walk or run allowing you to leave your iPhone at home.
- Water-resistant up to 50 meters
- Improved display that is 2X brighter than before. Which is especially helpful when using the watch outdoors in sunlight
- New dual-core S2 SIP chip is 50% faster and has 2X better graphics performance than the previous generation
Collectively, these improvements make developing for the Apple Watch more attractive.
iPhone 7 and 7 Plus
The iPhone is becoming a mature product as it nears its 10th anniversary, so new iPhone releases are more about iterations and refinements rather than ground-breaking announcements. Here are some noteable improvements that were announced for the new iPhone:
- A10 Fusion chip that is 40% faster than the previous generation A9
- Improved camera quality with wide color gamut capture support
- Redesigned solid-state home button
- Improved Retina Display with wide color gamut support and full color management
- Up to 2 more hours of battery life compared to previous generation iPhones
- Removed the headphone jack (RIP), apparently to make room for other internal hardware improvements
The improved chipset certainly aids in battery life savings, while the enhanced display can now more correctly render images from the improved camera. These items combined provide the user with an improved media experience with more power on the go.
Haptic Feedback APIs
Apple also opened up new haptic feedback APIs to developers. These only apply to the iPhone 7 line since they are currently the only iPhone models that have a built-in Taptic Engine. There are currently three types of haptic feedback available to developers:
- Generate haptic feedback when an impact between UI elements occurs. This can be either light, medium, or heavy feedback. This could be especially useful for games where you could produce feedback similar to a rumble effect on gaming console controllers. Another use-case could be for giving haptic feedback after scrolling to the end of a page.
- Generate haptic feedback when making a new selection.
- Generate haptic feedback when a notification is displayed to a user. The available notification feedback types are: success, warning, and error. Each of these feedback types will generate a different haptic feeling to the user depending on the type of notification displayed.
Haptics can improve overall user experience and are an important way to get the user’s attention and to convey important information. Haptics have been very well-received on Apple Watch, so we are happy to see Apple opening up this API now on the iPhone.
The upcoming high profile App Store releases of Super Mario Run for iPhone and Pokemon Go for Apple Watch have potential to spur further growth of these devices. The new Apple Watch Series 2 shows significant improvements that will help legitimize developing for the platform. Finally, it is yet another year of steady improvement for the iPhone, with upgraded performance and new haptic feedback APIs. The iPhone continues to be a great platform for building high quality mobile apps.