Apple Product Launch
iPhone 7, Watch Series 2 & iWork Real-Time Collaboration
Software again reigns supreme. iWork real-time collaboration is the start of something very important for the enterprise. Imagine using a pen to write notes in any application and have it shared in real time.
i-Work Real-Time Collaboration
There certainly was a lot of interesting news from the Apple product launch today. While the hardware seems to always get the headlines, it’s most often that the software is where the real innovations occur that appear to more greatly affect our overall productivity.
Take the part of the announcement today where Susan Prescott, VP of Worldwide Apps Marketing, showed off its new version of iWork that incorporates real-time collaboration. Take a look at this screen shot from her demo.
Apple intends to allow multiple users to make edits to documents, spreadsheets and presentations in real-time much the way Google Docs operates. However, the concept of giving colors to the different users and integrating the edits in real-time appears to be a much more elegant and natural user interface than what Google (and others) have done. It appears that this new collaboration service is just available to iWork apps (Pages, Numbers and Keynote).
However, if you think for a minute about the raw capability, it seems plausible that Apple will migrate its real-time collaboration approach to Office apps as well (just as Microsoft finally did to provide Office on the Mac and iOS). We’ll see.
Kudos to Apple for taking a tough user experience and making it work better for productivity applications. I wonder if they have the Apple Pencil in mind to be integrated as well so that iPad Pro users can make notes and share them across iWork applications. This looks very promising; and I can’t wait to try this out and share more thoughts about it.
Steven Rosenbush of the Wall Street Journal just posted an article about iWork and its real-time collaboration, saying how important it will be for enterprises, “ …the collaborative nature of all sorts of work is a big deal, changing processes, culture and hierarchy. Increasingly collaborative technology tends to lead to faster work, greater transparency and a more democratic approach.”
The big hardware news was, of course, the iPhone 7. Apple wanted to make sure that the iPhone franchise was not going to fall behind the Samsung Galaxy S franchise. The upgraded packaging is water and dust resistant. It’s not for using in the swimming pool, but it will likely survive that unexpected plop in the toilet or a short time outside in the rain.
One of the most important things in this announcement is the upgrade of the camera in the iPhone 7 Plus: Apple has included two cameras – one for standard images and one for telephoto with up to 10x zoom. It will soon have software that will enable using both images, which would allow the user to focus at any depth point in the image; something that will become a standard feature in all future smartphones.
The new iPhones have a 12-megapixel camera that includes optical image stabilization on; a larger ƒ/1.8 aperture and 6-element lens enable more detailed photos and videos, and a wide color capture allows for vibrant colors with more detail. With the lower f stop, more light can be captured, which should also benefit taking photos in low light. The FaceTime camera that points to the user is now 7 megapixels and incorporates image stabilization when you’re using it to do a video call.
The Apple A10 Fusion CPU now has four cores. This integrates two high-performance cores that run up to two times faster than iPhone 6, and two high-efficiency cores that are capable of running at just one-fifth the power of the high-performance cores. The graphics performance is also more powerful: it runs up to three times faster than iPhone 6 at as little as half the power.
Apple also includes iOS 10, which had previously been previewed at the Apple Developer’s Conference in June. It includes:
- Improvements to Messages deliver expressive and animated ways to message friends and family
- The ability for Siri to work with apps
- New ways to use 3D Touch™
- Major redesigns for Apple Maps, Photos, Apple Music® and News apps
Apple Watch Series 2
I still wish Apple had extended their ‘I brand’ and called this the iWatch. Then, this would be the second generation identity like the iPhone 7 with iWatch 2. But, alas, the folks in Apple branding have their own reasons for just calling it the Apple Watch.
The new Apple Watch Series 2 has incredible fitness and health capabilities, including a water resistance 50 meter rating for swimming. It has the most desired feature of built-in GPS so users can now run without an iPhone and plot maps on their Apple Watch. It also features a brighter display and a dual-core processor.
I’m again really impressed with its software. It can count laps, track average lap pace and auto-detect stroke type to accurately measure active calorie burn. That likely will negatively affect the future of fitness tracker devices. In addition, the new Apple Watch records precise distance, pace and speed for outdoor workouts such as walking, running or cycling, without needing to take an iPhone. This is a big advance over the previous Apple Watch.
Overall, Apple is clearly making the case that the Apple Watch is more valuable than a traditional watch. The Activity app now includes the ability to share, compare and compete with friends and family.
The built-in capabilities make a strong case for using the Apple Watch; now with a faster processor, APIs for developers and standalone capability for mapping via the built-in GPS, enabling enterprises to build and deploy more useful apps.
Wireless EarPods – No Earphone Jack
The big hype before the product launch was the rumored removal of the earphone jack so the iPhone 7 could be a tiny bit thinner. While it may be a small convenience, Apple has offered a conversion jack to use with legacy devices.
These new AirPods are quite elegant. They work like the current wired ear buds, but you don’t have to worry about the cable getting caught up in your work. These won’t be available until late October, so l suspect a supplier didn’t deliver the new AirPods on time.
Overall, the new iPhones are certainly better than the 6 series. The new 7 series forces users to make a hard choice between the 7 and the larger 7 Plus that has the advanced camera with telephoto and (soon) depth selection and management. I know that the larger device is too big for me; and I eventually got what I call the ‘iPhone thumb’, which was sore from reaching all over the display to try to generate text messages.
Corporate users will be eager to upgrade, just as they have been with prior iPhone releases. Reviewing device refresh policy and upgrade status for all iPhone users prior to iPhone 7’s availability is advised, to prepare for the flood of requests in the coming weeks and months.
The Apple Watch Series 2 is finally able to be almost totally self-sufficient. It will likely take a few years for the technology to allow full LTE communications, but Apple might try to include a low-band solution first so that users can send and receive text messages without being near their iPhone. Clearly, the Apple Watch is gaining strength and should be considered for enterprise app development – more now than in the past.
Overall, the iWork real-time collaboration impressed me the most, because I think Apple got it right with the user interface. It will make it easier for enterprises to collaborate and improve productivity. Although this was just a demo, it looks easier to use than other collaborative systems that I have seen and utilized, and I can see it becoming very popular.