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Apple Special Event – 12 Sep 2017 – Summary and Commentary

Steve Jobs Theater

The event began with a recorded message from Steve Jobs, which is appropriate since this is the first event to take place in the Apple Park Steve Jobs Theatre. You can watch the entire event at Apple.com/apple-events/september-2017/.

Giving to Those in Need

Tim Cook welcomed event attendees, and began the event encouraging people to watch the Hand in Hand initiative which will raise funds for those impacted by recent Hurricane disasters.

Apple Park

Tim Cook offered an overview of Apple Park — a new workplace facility on a land restoration project converting pavement to a 175 acre green space with 9,000 trees planted. It’s a facility powered by 100% renewable energy with one of the world’s largest on-site solar installations.

Architecture and Retail

Apple is focused on creating an exceptional retail experience, and as part of that mission, they are restoring some historic buildings as well as creating new unique modern spaces.

Apple Watch

The Apple Watch is now the #1 watch in the world with a 97% customer satisfaction rate. The new Apple Watch software will allow for a greater range of workouts. Watch OS 4 will be available on September 19. The Apple Watch Series 3 has cellular communications built in making it possible to carry just the watch and be able to answer phone calls, or listen to streaming music from a selection of 40 million songs.

Apple TV

Tim Cook offers a brief history of television, commenting that the latest breakthrough being 4K resolution displays.

The Apple TV 4K has High Dynamic Range capability making images sharper and richer. Below is a comparison showing standard 4K versus 4K HDR.

The Apple TV interface is available for free on iOS devices (iPhone and iPad). This means you can get access to the great Apple TV content and features without purchasing the Apple TV device. In other words, you’ll still need to pay for the content, but not the device.

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus

The latest iPhone has glass on the front and back with enhanced structural support making it the most durable display in a smart phone.

The new camera allows 83% more light for sharper, richer, brighter photos.

The Portrait Lighting feature allows for real-time lighting customization to make subtle changes to lighting for portrait photos. This isn’t a filter, but actual lighting alterations based on facial mapping.

Video can be recorded at 4K resolution with 60fps (frames per second) and slow motion with 1080p at 240fps. Augmented Reality in the iPhone 8 make applications and games more dynamic and feature rich. As an example, you can use the video camera to see the sky above you, and Augmented Reality makes it possible to have an overlay map of the stars in the sky. With 3D interactive games, it’s possible to setup a game on any surface. Spacial audio means that sounds are louder when you’re closer, and softer if objects are between you and the sound source.

The iPhone 8 features wireless charging using an open source wireless charging standard called Qi (pronounced ‘chi’) that will allow for easier charging.

The long-term goal will be to promote the Qi wireless charging standard. The following companies are already adopting the standard, so, for example, when you’re at a hotel, coffee shop, restaurant, air port, in your car, a compatible wireless charger can be available.

Because Apple has selected an open standard for wireless charging, third party adapters can be purchased. Already, numerous companies are planning Qi compatible charging devices that will work with Apple as well as other brands of electronics.

iPhone X

Two minutes after the iPhone 8 was announced, it became obsolete. The iPhone X, an anniversary model of the iPhone was unveiled, featuring a Super Retina Display.

Features include easier gestures for accessing phone features. Taping the screen wakes the phone. A swipe up gives access to the home screen, replacing the need for a home button.

Improved Display. The iPhone X offers a high quality display with improvements over the iPhone 8.

Face Recognition. The iPhone X is able to map your unique facial contour, using 30,000 points processed through neural networks. The A11 bionic neural engine processes the data instantaneously with the ability to perform 600 billion processes in a second. The system can adapt to your face over time, so if you grow a beard, get a hair cut, wear glasses,etc. the system will continue to learn slight changes.

Secure, precise, and reliable face recognition security is available due to a wide array of technologies that accompany the front facing camera which can now take Portrait Mode selfies. The Dot Projector, shown below, is what takes over 30,000 measurements of facial topography.

Face ID vs Touch ID. While biometric fingerprint identification offered a high degree of security, face recognition is much more secure. Fingerprints are based on what is mostly just a pattern of lines. While some depth and 3D characteristics are present, there aren’t many variations. So, it’s predominantly a two dimensional biometric measurement. So, the complexity and uniqueness of facial contours make them much more secure.

The chances of someone else being able to access an iPhone using Touch ID is 1 in 50,000.

The chances of someone else being able to access an iPhone X using Face ID is 1 in 1,000,000 — unless that person is an identical twin in which case the system may confuse them for the iPhone owner.

To test Face ID security, the Apple development team used very sophisticated masks with a high degree of realism. The iPhone X can distinguish between a photo or mask of someone and the actual person’s face.

Real-time face topography and contour mapping has other applications besides authentication. For example, animated cartoons can be controlled using facial expressions. Colorful overlays like masks can be applied in realtime as if they were painted on your face. As your face moves, the mask will accurately stay painted on when you turn your head from side to side.

The iPhone X camera has 12MP dual cameras with larger and faster sensors. A new color filter and deeper pixels result in better photos. The lenses feature f/1.8 (wide-angle lens) and f/2.4 (telephoto lens) apertures.

Wireless Charging for iPhone, Watch, and AirPods

AirPower is a new wireless charging dock that works with the latest Apple mobile devices.

iPhone X Overview Video

The iPhone X video provides a great overview of the iPhone X features and capabilities.

New iPhone Series Pricing

The full line of iPhones now have a wide range of prices and screen sizes to choose from.

News Coverage

Below are some videos offering reviews and coverage of the Apple event.

By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com

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