Op-Ed: The iPhone Announcement Lived Up to the Pre-event Hype

The new iPhone models have been unveiled! Despite the fact that I was among the many who read in detail the Apple employee-leaked details on the new iPhones, I still enjoyed the thrill and spectacle of the official unveilings. Apple's new line of products certainly lived up to the hype, and the presentation was precise, well-rehearsed, and comprehensive.

Related: Everything Apple Announced at Today's iPhone Event

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The Intro

The first five minutes of the two-hour event were dedicated to honoring the spirit and memory of Steve Jobs, followed by five minutes spent mentioning the victims of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey and Apple's humanitarian efforts to offer relief to the victims and survivors.

The next 10 minutes paid special attention to Apple's retail stores, highlighting everything from their helpful and informative staff to services offered to their eco-friendly design and construction and their architectural and visually stunning aesthetic. The rest of the event was divided up between product unveilings.

Apple Watch Series 3

The new Apple Watch finally became available as a Cellular enabled device! Yay! One of the highlights for me of the Apple Watch section of the event has to be the brilliant and rather surreal video featuring Apple Watch testimonials from about a dozen people as they read from their own letters of appreciation that they'd previously sent in to Apple. They read their letters juxtaposed against the background of their own significant life events; such as the formerly obese man who'd lost weight by competing in endurance events, and who read his letter while standing serenely in the midst of people participating in a mud race. Or the man who survived a near fatal car accident and with the Apple Watch he was able to call for emergency assistance as he sat dangling off the side of the road. For me, this video section was definitely the "feel-good" moment of the morning.

Apple TV 4K

Following the Apple Watch, came the Apple TV presentation. The Apple TV introduced 4K HDR, live sports and news feeds within the Apple TV app and included HomeKit SmartHome support. The highlights of the Apple TV unveiling was the gameplay of a new video game titled Sky. Sky, by ThatGameCompany, is a social adventure game that involves a lot of graceful flying with an emphasis on compassionate and generous real time social interactions. Of course, all of this game looked absolutely breathtaking on Apple TV. As I've long said, one of the Apple TV's greatest strengths and as yet, untapped potentials, lies in its ample capabilities as an advanced, HDR gaming console.

iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus & iPhone X

Finally came the iPhones, and as we got not just one, but two phenomenal models.

The new iPhone 8 series is undeniably awe inspiring. Yet, even with the many revolutionary features that the iPhone 8 manages to pack into what up until now had been the new standard in iPhone design, it still took a backseat to the impressive and stunning iPhone X (10). In fact, as I watched the iPhone X being presented to the public, I felt a wave of sentimentality and nostalgia that warmed my heart and made my eyes tingle—something I haven't felt since I watched the original iPhone introduced a decade ago.

The list of upgrades and improvements to the iPhone X is impressive indeed. The new iPhone X advancements that I found most innovative and intriguing included OLED screen technology, Facial ID, a 7MP front-facing camera, wireless charging, and at the risk of sounding shallow, the new Animojis. Animojis being the Snapchat-like technology that transforms your face into one of a dozen fully animated, 3D emoji masks that can be used to record messages or create iMessage stickers. In the near future, my friends and family should all expect communications from me to arrive as a talking fox, unicorn, panda, or alien.

The cameras on the iPhone X are also deserving of special mention. The photographic potential and capabilities of the iPhone X (and iPhone 8 series) is groundbreaking. If you are a professional photographer or enthusiastic hobbyist, you'll especially appreciate the new feature within Portrait mode: portrait lighting. Portrait lighting effects that you can customize based on smart facial recognition technology built into the iPhone. Users can select from a variety of lighting settings, including Studio, Contour, Stage with color, and Stage monochromatic. This is a spectacular development and will give us the power to recreate a variety of professional staging environments, all from within our iPhones!

All that said, I have a couple of critiques of the new iPhones. I still do not care for the effect that the protruding cameras have on the overall design aesthetic of the iPhones. In terms of the iPhone X, I really do not care for the way that the beautiful, full OLED screen is marred by the dip-down area of the front-facing camera, proximity sensor etc. Mark my words, these two features won't last. Before too long I expect to hear of Apple introducing new devices, sans these distinctly non-Apple features and then letting us know in no uncertain terms that it had been their intention all along to make the iPhone a completely symmetrical and entirely smooth-finished piece of hardware. Kind of like they did when they introduced today's new cellular Apple Watch, saying that it had been their intention all along to introduce a wireless model, something many scoffed at. Then again, many also scoff at my prediction that iOS and MacOS are heading towards a full unification and merging, so stay tuned.

In addition to the above-mentioned Apple devices, Apple also introduced a forthcoming wireless charging plate called the AirPower Charger, which is slated for release early next year and will allow for simultaneous charging of multiple wireless-charging capable Apple devices.

Overall the iPhone announcement was a wonderful presentation; however, I would have loved it (I had my fingers crossed and hopes high) if Apple had used their prominent platform to speak more on the topic of human rights, and the reasons for environmental protection, considering the current political climate and Cook's (and Jobs') firm and constant stance on the importance of human rights.

Stay tuned to iPhone Life for all the details of today's Apple event and in-depth examination of the products unveiled.

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As Senior Gear Editor at iPhone Life, Dig reports on the latest and greatest accessories built for the iOS ecosystem. From rugged gear and Bluetooth speakers, to headphones, unique iDevice cases, and iOS remote controlled vehicles, Dig's articles cover a wide range of great gear for the iPhone and iPad. A core gamer for over three decades, Dig also writes iPhone Life's Game Centered column, which focuses on the best iOS games and game related news. Additionally, Dig's company, iDoc Tech Support, offers web design and administration services as well as iPhone and iPad repairs. When not at his work desk, Dig loves spending time with family and enjoying the wonders of nature. You can follow him on Twitter @idoctech