Apple, as expected, launched the iPhone 7 on Wednesday, a product that, the company hopes, will help it rekindle sales growth in the smartphone category.
The new phone, which features a new, more responsive home button, will come in several colors, including jet black, black, gold, silver and rose gold. The new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are also both dust- and water-resistant.
The new line also features a new 12-megapixel camera that includes a 7 megapixel Facetime HD camera, up from 5 megapixels. iPhone 7 Plus will integrate an additional 12-megapixel camera that supports both wide-angle and telephoto lens (up to 10x) capabilities.
On the audio front, the new phones support built-in stereo speakers, and are moving to link earbuds via the phone’s digital Lightning connector and away from the iPhone's use of analog ports. Apple noted that it’s also including an adapter for analog-based peripherals. Apple said there are now 900 million Lightning connector devices.
The iPhone 7 entry model will retail for $649 while the iPhone 7 Plus starts at $769. Preorders for the phones open September 9 and begin shipping September 16.
Apple also announced its next-gen smartwatch, Apple Watch Series 2. The new “completely reengineered” models are water resistant (up to 50 meters), outfitted with the new watchOS3, and equipped with a dual-core processor that’s 50% faster than its predecessor, a new GPU that provides 2x the graphics performance, and a brighter display (up to 1,000 nits). The new models also are Apple’s first to build-in GPS, and announced “ViewRanger,” the first hiking app for the Apple Watch to take advantage of it.
In addition to a new “ceramic” case, Apple also announced range of Nike Plus models.
The Series 2 models (available in September 16) and Nike+ versions (set to launch in late October) will cost $369. The original Apple Watch, now called the Series 1, will start at $269 and support the new dual-core processor.
Apple started shipping the new smartwatch about 18 months ago and has not yet announced shipment numbers. However, the company claimed that the device is behind only Rolex in terms of watch revenues, and that Apple Watch is the top-selling smartwatch.
--Chris Tribbey, contributing editor, technology, at Broadcasting & Cable contributed to this report.