Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or maybe concerned with serious, real life issues like deadly hurricanes), you have probably heard that someone at Apple spilled the beans this weekend. The iOS 11 Gold Master is out in the wild ahead of Apple’s event on Tuesday, and with it, most of Apple’s secrets and surprises, as well. It has been picked over by the tech media and developers and we now know a huge chunk of what Apple will show us on Tuesday. If you don’t like spoilers, read no further.
Apple Picked the Right Name for the New iPhone
According to the iOS 11 GM, the new flagship iPhone will be the iPhone X. Whew. I wrote about what a dud of a name I thought iPhone Edition was a few days ago, so this came as welcome news to me. The branding isn’t ideal, and it honestly just doesn’t make a lot of sense. Thankfully, Apple left Edition with the Watch, and it looks like X marks the spot. I still prefer the Pro moniker and branding, but X fits the bill just fine.
We Are Getting an LTE-Enabled Apple Watch Series 3!!
While I am looking forward to the iPhone X, I am honestly more excited to get my hands on this new Apple Watch. Apple has done a great job maximizing the communication speed and efficiency of its first two generations of hardware, but I think that LTE is going to take the platform to the next level. The ability to connect directly to the Internet should bring the element of speed that Watch apps have been missing, and should re-invigorate it as a platform for the right kinds of apps for a small screen.
Also, as we learned via this leak, the LTE isn’t confined to data only, as was initially rumored. The new Watch will be capable of making calls, and even better, will share your phone’s number and will be likely be a rider on your existing cell plan, rather than a separate, stand-alone agreement. The one curious thing that came through via a screenshot of the updated Watch app for the iPhone is a red Digital Crown. I’m not sure what purpose that serves, if any, but it is definitely a little odd looking.
New Colors are Coming to the Series 3 Watch
We were all pretty sure that the new iPhone X would be coming in an all new color- Blush Gold. It looks like the new Series 3 Watch will be, as well. However, unlike the iPhone X, it looks like the Watch will retain at least some of its former colors as well. There also appears to be a new Ceramic Gray color coming for the Apple Watch Edition, which has only been available in White since its ceramic makeover.
Face ID Has a Neat Trick
Face ID is the new security hotness from Apple and will handle all the things we used to use our thumbprints and TouchID for, just as expected. However, Apple loves to come up with cute little animations and additions that add a little extra polish and fun to the iOS experience. With the new iPhone X, Face ID can also be used to dynamically animate 3D emojis based on the user’s facial expressions. This makes me think back to Nintendo’s Mii concept that they started with the Wii that was a massive hit. I have no doubt that this feature will get ALL KINDS of mileage in iMessage.
The Updated 4K Apple TV is Coming (Not That Anyone Cares)
We already had a pretty good idea that it was coming, and that it would support 4K. We also know that Amazon Prime Video will FINALLY make its appearance. In the iOS 11 GM we learned that 4K video on the device will require at least a 15mbps Internet connection, so you might want to run a few speed scans if you are planning on buying. Also, the device’s native resolution will be 2160p. Now will anyone actually buy it over a Roku or Amazon Fire Stick? Apple has more work to do here.
The New A11 Processor Has Six Cores
Apple’s new A11 processor, which will be installed in all three of the new iPhone models, will pack a mean punch. Four of the six cores are for high speed tasks, with the other two dedicated to battery efficiency. For comparison, that’s two more high speed cores than the current A10 processor, so we should see a noticeable performance increase. That will be especially important with the coming of Augmented Reality apps, thanks to ARKit.
Camera Improvements Coming to All Three New iPhones
Originally, it was thought that only the iPhone X would be getting some camera improvements. However, it seems that they are going to be rolled out across all three of the new phones, which is a great move on Apple’s part. They will be able to take 4K video at 60 FPS and 1080 at a super fast 240 FPS. Apple is also rolling out new lighting modes for Portrait Mode photos, which will include several different lighting effects that mimic things you would see in high-end DSLR shots. These include Contour Light, Natural Light, Stage Light, Stage Light Mono, and Studio Light.
Black Trim Only on the iPhone X
This one actually comes from KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo rather than the iOS 11 GM, but I would put a high degree of likelihood on any rumors he is floating this late in the game. According to his more recent report, none of the iPhone X colors will come with white trim on the front or sides, despite the mockups that have displayed this. This option has been available at launch since the iPhone 4S, so this is an interesting departure for Apple. I actually liked the look of the white trim mockups, but this isn’t a major issue. Maybe we will see some color variety starting next year.
Say Goodbye to the Home Button and Hello to the Side Button
If you were wondering how we would do things like trigger Siri on the iPhone X, Apple has added a new button in place of the former Lock Button. The new Side Button will be a “fake” button that doesn’t press, similar to the Home Button on the iPhones 7 and 7 Plus and will likely have Taptic Feedback to give the impression of pressing and clicking.
This button will be multi-functional, like the old Home Button, and will also be customizable to a degree. Some of the tasks you can perform will be a press and hold to trigger Siri, a double-tap to open Apple Pay, and pressing in tandem with the new dedicated Power Button to trigger an Emergency SOS call. Again, some of these tasks will be editable.
That’s all for now. It’s too bad a greedy or unhappy camper had to spoil the party, but I guess it’s fitting considering all of the insanity that has surrounded the iPhone X for over a year now. Hopefully there will be a few details that Apple managed to keep to itself to reveal on Tuesday.