LIVE BLOG: Apple’s iPhone 7 Launch, As It Happened

LIVE BLOG: Apple’s iPhone 7 Launch, As It Happened

The hour is almost upon us. In the early hours of Thursday morning, the world will — almost certainly — be introduced to Apple’s new and improved iPhone 7. What will it look like? What magical feature will it possess? Just how many cameras will it have? Only time will tell. That time, by the way, is 3AM. Set your alarms.

Live Stream: How To Watch Apple’s iPhone 7 Launch Event

7:00PM: How are we all doing tonight, guys and girls? All stocked up on Red Bull? I know I sure am. Shout outs to anyone keen or crazy enough to wake up with me. Early Thursday morning, maybe around 2:30AM, I’ll be back here and blogging away with Gizmodo journalist Rae Johnston to bring you the good word direct from Cupertino.

Now, what do we expect to see tomorrow? The iPhone 7 is the obvious one. Really, if we don’t see an iPhone 7, I think I might just have to eat my hat. But beyond the iPhone 7, there’s a chance we could see an ancillary device or devices announced too. Does that mean a new iteration of the Apple Watch? It’s entirely possible.

If you want to watch Apple’s live-stream of the iPhone 7 event, here’s the place to find out how. You’ll either need a Mac, iOS device or Apple TV, or a Windows 10 PC with the Microsoft Edge browser.

Got any ideas as to what we might be seeing? Feel free to jump in the comments and share your thoughts and hopes and dreams. In case you missed it, here’s the beautiful invitation that Apple sent out to invite the world to Thursday morning’s event:

A New Day Dawns…

2:15AM: Morning folks! Who’s awake? I sure am. Jet lag from a week of IFA in Berlin and writing about the Galaxy Note7 recall in the wrong time zone will do that to you.

Apple’s September Special Event page has been updated with a little reminder that the live video stream will kick off at 10AM PDT, or 3AM our time. Only 45 minutes to go…

Now, to keep up with the live blog, remember to refresh the page regularly to get yourself the latest news. Think of it like watching the F1 on your TV, but also listening to the BBC’s commentary on your phone at the same time: it’s awesome, but you gotta put in that little bit of extra effort.

2:30AM: Hey, look at that! Amazon has a bunch of beautiful iPhone 7 cases for you to order. A bunch of nice cases from Aussie guys Cygnett came out yesterday, even.

You know one thing that’s a lot better about the iPhone launch every September, compared to the March event or WWDC in June? The temperature in Australia. Seriously, I’m sitting here in boxers, where WWDC had me huddled in front of a heater with about six layers still freezing my fingers off. This is balmy.

2:45AM: So, let’s pass the time by taking a quick look at some of those cases off Amazon for clues to see how accurate they might be. We’ll know in the next couple of hours for sure, but that dual rear camera is there, at least on the larger 7 Plus. The home button is still visible too, although in these renders it’s impossible to tell whether it’s a Force Touch haptic-feedback one or a clicky tactile one.

2:50AM: 10 minutes out of the launch and we have a live video feed! With some great tunes courtesy of Apple’s baller Beats 1 radio station on Apple Music, and some beautiful panning shots of a the crowd. Refresh your page if you can’t see it. Here’s where to go to watch it, by the way…

And We’re Off And Racing!

3:00AM: It’s time. Apple’s Tim Cook takes the stage… but first we’re treated to a James Corden Carpool Karaoke, with Tim Cook and Corden singing along to a bit of OneRepublic. And Pharrell is here too!

Tim Cook walks onto stage to rapturous applause. Quick plug for Carpool Karaoke coming to Apple Music in the near future.

We’re now getting some quick updates on Apple products. First up is Apple Music, which now has 17 million subscribers, and 30 million songs.

A bit of love for the iTunes Festival, too, which is now in its 10th year.

Wow. Apple’s App Store has had 140 billion downloads. The iPhone and iPad are the most popular gaming devices in the world, and there are half a million games available for download.

3:10AM: Whoa. Nintendo games coming to the iOS App Store. A brand new game called Super Mario Run is being introduced by Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto on stage.

The game is going to be the first Super Mario title that you can play one-handed. As well as traditional Mario play, there’s also a two-player battle mode called Toad Rally where you can pit yourself against your friends’ high scores.

It actually looks really fun! And I can’t wait to give it a go. Nintendo is releasing a bunch of stickers for iMessage, too, when iOS 10 launches (whenever that is, hint hint).

Apple’s Tim Cook is now back up on stage, giving an update on the company’s ConnectED education program. Apple supports 114 schools around the US by giving Macs and iPads to teachers, and iPads to kids.

3:20AM: We’re now getting a bit of love for Apple’s iWork platform — Pages, Keynote and Numbers, which work across iOS and MacOS. Apple is bringing real-time collaboration to the platform, and is showing it off by editing the actual Apple presentation live on stage, with a bunch of different people building a slide in real time in front of the audience.

3:25AM: Cook: “I’d like to talk about new products… beginning with Apple Watch.” Apple has become the second-placed watchmaker in the market, after Rolex, since the original Apple Watch launch.

Apple’s Jeff Williams is on stage to talk about the new Apple Watch. We’re getting a run through of everything that’s new in WatchOS 3, which was announced and previewed back at WWDC in June.

Pokemon Go is coming to the Apple Watch! Niantic’s CEO is on stage talking about the app: it’s been downloaded over 500 million times around the world, and trainers have walked more than 4.6 billion kilometres playing the game.

“Something new we’ve been working on” from Niantic — that’s Pokemon Go on the Apple Watch — uses a complication on the Apple Watch watchface to show how far it’ll take to hatch any eggs that you’re incubating, with a haptic feedback tap when PokeStops are nearby and a swipe from the watch to pick up items. You can’t catch Pokemon, though — you’ll need to take out your phone for that.

3:35AM: Pokemon Go for Apple Watch will be out before the end of the year. Jeff Williams is back on stage talking about Watch again more generally. “We are going to keep pushing Watch forward”, says Williams… with the launch of the next generation of Apple Watch.

Apple Watch Series 2 is swim-proof where the original was splash-proof, water resistant to 50 metres. It uses a redesigned speaker system to eject any water built up inside the watch — that’s incredibly cool.

Apple Watch Series 2 has a dual-core processor that’s 50 per cent faster and a graphics chip that’s twice as powerful — making apps like Night Sky work at faster frame rates and with more detail.

As well as the brightest display ever on any Apple product, with 1000 nits maximum brightness, the Apple Watch Series 2 has built-in GPS for phone-free workouts with accurate fitness tracking and measurement. That’s awesome.

There’s even a hiking app for Apple Watch Series 2, from Viewranger. This is something I would seriously use. I’m stoked for the new Apple Watch.

3:45AM: Apple Watch Series 2 comes in a new ceramic finish as well as the usual variants, and comes with the same beautiful leather and elastomer and woven wrist bands.

There’s also a brand new partnership with Nike, for the Apple Watch Nike Plus, built specifically with runners in mind. Nike says the new device is simpler than any other fitness or running watch — hey, didn’t Nike make those in the past?

The watch uses software hooks, too, like an Are We Running Today reminder, and a reminder that Sunday is the day that runners like best (it’s true!). Buying an Apple Watch Nike Plus also gets you membership into the Nike Plus running club.

Huh! That’s interesting. New Apple Watches will be available a couple of weeks into September, with even the original getting a processing hardware update and lower $US269 starting price. Watch Series 2 comes in at $US369, same with the Nike Plus version.

3:54AM: It’s iPhone time! Apple has sold over a billion iPhones. We’re getting a bit of an update on what’s new in iOS 10…

Now getting a bit of a run through on everything that’s new with Apple’s smart home HomeKit service and Home app, and Messages. “But the world’s most advanced operating system deserves the world’s most advanced smartphone… and here it is.”

“This is iPhone 7.”

Apple’s Jony Ive (drink!) gets a voice-over talking through the new device, the most beautiful that Apple has ever built. A whole bunch of engineering genius — everything from polishing to machining to dye and “ion particle bath” to create the new Jet Black piano black finish.

Apple’s Phil Schiller is up on stage to talk the iPhone 7. We’re getting a run through of the 10 most important things about iPhone.

The design. “There’s a second black. We call it… simply… black.” Laughter and applause.

The home button is getting the same Force Touch makeover that the Apple MacBook had, with the company’s multi-vibration Taptic Engine.

The new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are water and dust resistant. IP67 is the standard Apple has built it to.

The camera. The iPhone 7 (smaller) now gets optical image stabilisation and a faster f/1.8 lens, as well as a redesigned 12-megapixel sensor and a True Tone flash with four LEDs and 50 per cent more light output. The image signal processor, too, is more powerful than ever.

The front camera is now 7 megapixels, up from 5 in the old iPhone 6s. It has the same wide colour support as the rear camera. That rear camera is “the best camera in any iPhone.”

4:10AM: And now, the iPhone 7 Plus. Two lenses, two cameras. One 28mm wide-angle lens, one 56mm telephoto lens. Because that telephoto lens is double the wide angle, you can zoom between the two optically, with the same digital zoom (up to 10x) that has been on older iPhones.

Apple is also using the two-camera setup for background defocus that it calls Depth Effect, using the array to determine the depth of field and blur backgrounds smoothly — “it feels almost 3D, like the person is popping off the screen”.

This picture — beautifully smooth background, great detail — was taken on an iPhone 7 Plus. The software feature comes as an update after the phone’s launch, apparently.

Apple’s Retina displays are getting another makeover. 25 per cent brighter — cool — and support for wide colour gamut — awesome! — and the same 3D Touch that we loved in the iPhone 6s.

Instagram’s guys are up on stage talking about how the new iPhone 7 works with Instagram Stories, integrating that optical zoom feature, and using Live Photos to create looping-GIF Boomerangs as well.

Now we’re talking about audio. The speakers inside iPhone 7 are — for the first time — stereo, with one at the bottom and one at the top, with twice the volume and a meatier dynamic range than the older phones’.

And new Apple EarPods. With the Lightning connector. Included in the box. And an adapter, Lightning to 3.5mm, will be in the box as well. Why is that? Oh, there’s no headphone jack.

Apple is giving its reason for getting rid of the 3.5mm headphone jack. That reason is courage. Seriously?!

We’re getting a spiel about how wireless is the future, and how cables are an annoying tether — but we have to deal with them for now.

Until you get Apple’s AirPod wireless earbuds, which promise 5 hours of battery life per charge, with a battery storage case that has another 24. They’ll connect to your phone and Apple Watch as soon as you open the case, and “there’s no step two”.

4:35AM: Say what you want about the iPhone 7 not being revolutionary, but I think this is the biggest thing that Apple has ever done for music listening. AirPods are going to be massive. There’s new Beats ‘phones too, but we can get to them later.

Now we’re talking Apple Pay. The iPhone now has support for the FeLiCa NFC chip. And that’s it!

Performance. The new Apple A10 Fusion chipset is a 64-bit quad-core with two big and two little cores — an existing ARM architecture that Android has used for a while. The A10 Fusion is 50 per cent faster than the A9 in the graphics department, and 240 times faster than the original iPhone.

Apple says the iPhone 7’s A10 Fusion chip is…

We’re getting the usual run through on the amazing graphics that couldn’t ever be achieved before, now available on the iPhone 7. This happens every year. The games even look the same. I couldn’t tell you what’s new or different.

“We can render over 400 monkeys at a flawless, flawless frame rate…” That happened.

The longest battery life ever on an iPhone! 2 hours more than an iPhone 6s for the 7, and an hour more than the 6s Plus on the 7 Plus.

God, this looks nice. Sign me up, guys — I’ll take an iPhone 7 Plus in the flat Black finish. Cheque’s in the mail.

What will it cost? The same as the iPhone 6s that it replaces — $US649 in the States, $US769 for the 7 Plus. Aussie price coming soon. Double storage capacities for every model — 32GB, 128GB and 256GB. The shiny Jet Black variant is only available in 128GB and 256GB.

Pre-orders start on the 9th, with phones shipping on the 16th — including in Australia.

The new AirPods will be $US159, out in late October.

4:50AM: Tim Cook is back up on stage, giving us a run through everything we’ve seen so far.

Aussies represent! Sia is up on stage performing her new single.

And the iPhone 7 web page is live on Apple’s site.

That’s a wrap, guys!

Thanks so much for tuning in. We’ll share the video replay extremely soon, and you can learn all about the iPhone 7, the Apple Watch Series 2, and AirPods if you take a look at our home page.

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