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Apple ditches earphone jack with iPhone 7
APPLE cut its last remaining non-proprietary physical standard from its new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, which was announced yesterday in San Francisco.
Gone is the 3.5mm headphone jack. Instead, the new EarPods that come with the new models plug into Apple's proprietary Lightning port. A 3.5mm earphone jack adapter comes free with the new phones.
Apple has also launched its first wireless headphones, the AirPods (S$238), which have a five-hour battery life and come with a charging case.
The home button is still there but it no longer has any moving parts. Screen size remains unchanged, as do physical dimensions, although both models are a few grammes lighter than their predecessors. Storage memory now starts at 32GB, and goes up to 256GB for the first time.
The iPhone 7 makes do with a single 12-megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilisation, a new lens, flash and image processor. The iPhone 7 Plus adds an additional 12-megapixel rear camera, which gives more zoom options. This is Apple's first dual-camera product. Both models sport new 7-megapixel front cameras.
A new main processor helps give the iPhone 7 Plus up to an hour more battery life than the 6s Plus, while the iPhone 7 gains up to two hours of battery life over the 6s.
Singtel, M1 and StarHub have all confirmed that they will start selling the new iPhone models on Sept 16, and are now letting users register their interest online (Singtel, M1, StarHub). The new iPhone models will start at S$1,048 from Apple without a contract.
Apple has also updated its smart watch. Most of the improvements in the Apple Watch Series 2 are internal, and the regular models look very similar to the ones that they replace, with the same 38mm and 42mm case sizes.
An exception is the new Apple Watch Nike+ model, which features special watch bands, along with exclusive virtual watch faces and Siri voice commands.
Apple's collaboration with Hermes has also been updated with a new band design. The Double Cuff in Swift and Epsom calfskin leathers will cost S$2,328. The Single Tour style also gets a new Deployment Buckle option (S$2,188). Existing Hermes band options will remain.
Gone though are the Yellow Gold and Rose Gold Apple Watch Edition models, the most expensive of which cost S$25,500. A single ceramic model replaces them at S$1,818.
Fitness buffs will welcome 50m of water resistance across all Apple Watch Series 2 models, along with built-in GPS, which will make the smart watch more useful standalone.
The price of admission to the Apple Watch Series 2 will be S$548 for both 38mm aluminium and stainless steel cases - S$30 more than the previous cheapest Series 1 model. The Series 1 will continue to be sold, but with an entry price of S$398 - a S$120 price drop.
Orders for all Apple Watch Series 2 models start now, with availability on Sept 16 with the exception of the Apple Watch Nike+, which will be available in late October.
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus launches come on the heels of Samsung's latest and greatest, the Galaxy Note 7, which went on sale here last month.
"Apple's new products match, rather than exceed, the technological envelope already created by competitors in the audio and mobile accessories markets," said IHS Technology senior analyst Paul Erickson.
Ian Fogg, IHS Technology's head of mobile analysis, said: "Apple needs the iPhone 7 to be a major success because it is the main driver of growth for the whole company."
"The iPhone drives acquisition for Apple's entire ecosystem, supports up-sell of Apple Watch, Macs and iPads," Mr Fogg added. "The more iPhones Apple sells, the larger the addressable audience for accessories such as Apple Watch Series 2."
Apple shares closed at US$108.36 on Wednesday.