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iPhone 7 Event Wrap-up: Waterproof, Goodbye Headphone Jack, and a Swimmable Apple Watch

We are always excited about any Apple announcement but this year’s special event brought some great surprises (It’s Mario!!)! We are thrilled to once again be partnering with Tech Guru and Tech Radar’s Global Editor in Chief Darren Murph to get the inside scoop and his take on the upgrade announcements from Apple’s 2016 iPhone Event in San Francisco.

Apple 7 Collage

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It’s here! The iPhone 7 has officially been announced, and shipments begin September 16th. We were on hand at Apple’s launch event in San Francisco, which kicked off with James Corden escorting Tim Cook to the stage while engaging in a round of Carpool Karaoke. Turns out Cook is a huge fan of OneRepublic — who knew? The two-hour presentation saw a lot of new kit revealed, so let’s dive in.

iPhone 7

The iPhone 7 looks a lot like the iPhone 6s, with two notable exceptions. First, the antenna bands have been whittled down so that the back is a bit cleaner than before. Second, there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack anywhere – it’s not on top, it’s not on the bottom, and it’s not lurking along the edge. The rumors we all heard proved true, and Apple CEO Tim Cook told the crowd that it took a lot of courage to yank such an expected port. To compensate, each iPhone 7 will ship with EarPods that plug directly into the Lightning port, and Apple is surprisingly also tossing in a Lightning-to-3.5mm headphone adapter so that your current earbuds or cans continue to be of use.

Now, for the rest. It’s way, way faster than prior iPhones, utilizing a quad-core processor and a graphics chip that’s some 3x more potent than the iPhone 6. Selfie lovers will appreciate the upgraded 7MP (up from 5MP) front-facing camera, and the 12MP rear camera is faster, sharper, and more low-light capable than before.

It’s splash, water and dust resistant, which means it can take an accidental dip, but you definitely shouldn’t dive with it. The base model now has 32GB of storage (up from 16GB), which is a welcome change for those who immediately ran out of space on their last iPhone.

iPhone 7 Plus

It’s worth detailing the 5.5-inch Plus variant for one reason in particular: the camera. The iPhone 7 Plus has not one, but TWO 12MP sensors on the back. One is a standard wide-angle lens, while the other is a telephoto lens that allows for 2x zoom without resorting to digital stretching. Also, Apple’s planning a software update for later in the year that’ll impact just the iPhone 7 Plus. That camera update will enable a new depth-of-field effect, using both cameras on iPhone 7 Plus to capture images. The processor then takes over to add a softer background that’s ideal for portraits. Although this may be a bit disappointing for those who prefer a smaller phone, it is called Plus for a reason.

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Apple Watch Series 2

It doesn’t look a lot different, but the Series 2 Apple Watch is a major improvement. For starters, it’s “swim proof,” which should excite swimmers that could never track their workouts in the pool. It also has a dual-core processor that should cut down on lag times, and the built-in GPS module will allow hikers, walkers, and runners to better track their exercise while leaving their phone at home.

Apple quotes up to 18 hours of battery life, but that’s apt to lessen if you utilize the fitness functions with any regularity. In other words, you should still plan on recharging it nightly. It’ll ship on September 16 and start at $369, while the original Apple Watch (now dubbed Series 1) will remain on sale for $269, though that does include a newer, faster processor.

For those serious about running, there’s the Apple Watch Nike+. The major difference here is the inbuilt Nike+ Run Club app and a variety of new colors and band options.

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AirPods

Sure, you can use any ‘ole set of Bluetooth headphones to get around Apple’s headphone jack removal, but there’s another option to consider: the $159 AirPods. Introduced yesterday, these cordless ‘buds look a lot like the traditional EarPods but, of course, with no wires dangling about. In a move that’ll no doubt upset some, Apple is relying on its own proprietary wireless technology rather than Bluetooth, so you can’t use these to listen to music on a non-Apple device. Now we’re all just hoping that Apple Watch Series 2 incorporates a way to ping your AirPods! It’s also worth noting that these aren’t designed for sport. Beats will be shipping a suite of fitness-minded earbuds in the months ahead that are compatible with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

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With all this news our designers are hard at work creating the next must-have accessories for new devices. We can’t wait to roll out a new line of Twelve South gear so be sure to keep an eye here for updates soon!