On September 12th Apple called their annual press conference in Cupertino, California. The event is always huge news for Apple fans and developers and is a chance for the tech giants to unveil their latest game-changing products. Ten years ago, Apple introduced the iPhone at a similar event.

Over the last few years, Apple’s September conference has been fairly uneventful, with few big announcements or radical new devices unveiled. Finally, in 2017, Apple fans were rewarded for their patience as Apple made some of their biggest announcements in recent years.

In Brief

There were a few key announcements that #EventProfs should know about. The biggest announcement came when Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed the iPhone X – touted as a radical change to the smartphone handset. Cook claimed that the new device was the “biggest leap forward since the original iPhone” and also claimed that the handset will set the tone for the next decade of smartphones (no pressure then!) But that wasn’t all. Apple also unveiled the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus as well as the Apple Watch Series 3 and a new 4K Apple TV.

So, with all the new tech and big announcements, what does it all mean for events and #EventProfs? As event app developers, here’s what we’ll be keeping an eye on at Noodle Live:

  1. iPhone X – The iPhone of the Future?

The iPhone X will finally be significantly different from any iPhone we’ve seen before and is far more advanced than previous models. With a 5.8 inch edge to edge screen and 2434 x 1125 pixel resolution as well as Super Retina OLED display, the iPhone X increases screen space and looks radically different from previous versions. There’s no home button for a start. Plus, the screen is also encased within a glass body. Without the home button, users simply need to tap the display and swipe at the bottom to access the phone. Another big change – the iPhone X will unlock using facial recognition rather than touch ID (more on that later). Siri can be activated using a side button.

What does it mean for #EventProfs

Perhaps most excitingly for #EventProfs, the iPhone X is charged wirelessly, which means it will be even easier to set up simple charging stations for delegates at your next event. Apple hinted at the idea that their aim is to see wireless charging pads installed in a variety of public locations. They also dropped a hint that an AirPower charging system is in development, so that’s certainly one to watch for #EventProfs.

The huge step forward in screen size and quality with the iPhone X is also interesting news for #EventProfs. The improved display could mean better quality event apps and more possibilities for added features.

Apple hope that the new iPhone X will set the tone for SmartPhone development over the next few years, so it’s certainly one to watch as it begins to move into public use. At Noodle Live we will be watching closely for more details on new possibilities for app development.

When can I get hold of it?

Fans were disappointed when rumours about problems with the iPhone supply chain were revealed to be true, meaning we will have to wait until November to get hold of the iPhone X. Pre-orders will begin on October 27th. Be warned – this is the luxury end of iPhone ownership. Prices start at $999 for the 64GB version.

  1. ARKit and Augmented Reality

Apple first announced the ARKit at their developer conference earlier in the year. The new ARKit makes it much easier for app developers to use augmented reality in their apps. At the September event, Apple used the opportunity to show off some great demos, demonstrating the range of uses for AR in everything from gaming to sports. Coupled with the iPhone 8 and iPhone X’s powerful new camera lenses, the iPhone will now be able to create some powerful high-fidelity visuals – although AR experiences will be available on all recent makes and models, not just the new versions.

In one demo, Apple showed the potential for an app which could overlay the names and faces of sports players over a live baseball game. The app was also able to bring up interesting stats and data about each player. Apple’s ARKit is set to make augmented reality far more common in our daily lives.

What does it mean for #EventProfs?

Apple’s interest in the tech will help to widen the audience and increase the number of users engaging with augmented reality. With Apple’s support it’s looking increasingly likely that this tech will continue to become an important part of our connected environments.

This opens up loads of fantastic opportunities for #EventProfs. With their demos, Apple showed the durability of augmented reality. From a utility point of view, AR could open up some brilliant opportunities for supplying event information in an interesting way. It could also enable some great navigation tools for events. From an entertainment perspective, AR could allow for some brilliant gamification opportunities at events. The possibilities for attendee engagement are really exciting. With a little imagination, there could be some brilliant additions to your average event app.

From a sales perspective, the AR possibilities for #EventProfs are endless. How cool would it be to be able to show your potential clients how a venue could look once decorated or how a conference stand could look during an event?

When can I get hold of it?

It’s already available and app developers are working on loads of applications already. Ask your event app provider whether they are able to work with AR.

  1. iPhone 8 Speakers

A little overshadowed by the announcement of the iPhone X, but not to be forgotten, the iPhone 8 (4.7 inches) and iPhone 8 Plus (5.5 inches) will be the new phones that most people will purchase thanks to their more accessible price ragne. As for the million dollar question – no, they still don’t have a headphone jack, but they do join the iPhone X with their glass casing and their ability to charge wirelessly.

What does it mean for #EventProfs?

Alongside wireless charging, one of the most exciting new features for #EventProfs is the improved speakers. The speakers will be 25% louder than previous generations, meaning there is a new opportunity to add sound features to event apps.

When can I get hold of it?

The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus will be available from September 22nd and are available in silver, space grey and gold.

  1. iPhone Video and Photo Upgrade

It’s becoming traditional for Apple to announce upgrades to the camera with every new iPhone release, but this year saw a significant advancement. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus models will have a 12MP sensor that is sensitive to light conditions. There will also be colour filters that allow for better saturation.

The iPhone 8 will be able to capture photos faster and with more vibrant colours. The 8 Plus version of the handset will have dual lenses to capture both wide angel and telephoto shots. Apple will also offer a Portrait Mode feature which will allow photographers to choose between Contour Light, Natural Light, Stage Light, Stage Light Mono and Studio Light. Portrait Mode will also enhance the contours of the subjects face, allowing for more definition. The new effects are not so much filters as they are ways to process the camera data to create great photo effects.

Both versions of the iPhone 8 will also offer high quality video. Apple claim that the new sensors and built-in machine learning will allow the new iPhone cameras to capture clearer photos with ‘less noise’.

What does it mean for #EventProfs?

All updates to iPhone camera technology are great news for #EventProfs! Better cameras mean better on site photographs from your delegates and better social media posts. To take full advantage of the changes, try looking at ways to encourage attendees to take and share images.

When can I get hold of it?

Improved cameras are available on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus which will be available from September 22nd.

  1. Apple TV 4K

Apple also announced a new version of their Apple TV device – a further effort to attract some of the lucrative TV money that Silicone Valley has its eye on. Apple TV 4K will sit next to your regular TV, just like previous iterations, but will offer TV shows and movies in 4K HDR, which means sharper viewing resolution and support for HDR programming. Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV have both been offering 4K HDR for a while, so Apple are playing catch up.

Apple also confirmed that they are working with Hollywood studios as well as sports providers and content channels such as Netflix to increase the content available and offer better resolution and HDR capability.

Up until now, Apple have only been able to offer HD videos via iTunes, but they will now offer some HDR quality movies at the same price as the HD version. If you’ve already bought the lower quality version, iTunes will automatically upgrade you when higher quality versions become available. You’ll still need to ensure that you have a television set that is able to support 4K HDR too.

The improvements are partly powered by a new internal chip within the device known as the A10X Fusion chip. It’s the same chip that powers the iPad Pro. The chip will provide graphics 4 times faster than previous iterations of Apple TV. That should make a huge difference to viewing quality.

Apple will also upgrade tvOS – the software that runs Apple TV. There will now be a dedicated sports tab offering seasonal sports and notifications when your team are playing. Be warned – the device is just one more way that Apple are drawing consumers into the Apple ecosystem and beginning to turn your home into a connected hub that will be unable to run without your Apple products.

What does it mean for #EventProfs?

For #EventProfs, the new Apple 4K TV could be really exciting. It’s an excellent way to deliver 4K content during live events. The device can be hooked up to any screen and there is no need for an existing delivery system, so it’s a really simple and cost-effective way to screen content.

When can I get hold of it?

The new Apple TV 4K is now available for pre-order and is in shops from September 22nd. It comes in a 32 GB version for $179 or a 64 GB version at $199.

  1. Apple Watch Series 3

The Apple Watch has always been really exciting for #EventProfs on the go, but so far it’s failed to meet expectations and gain widespread pick-up despite the fact that Apple are now the number 1 watch brand in the world. That could all be about to change with the Apple Watch Series 3.

Design-wise, the watch looks extremely similar to last year’s model, but it now comes with built in signal, meaning it can connect to data on its own, rather than relying on Bluetooth signal from the users iPhone in order to make and receive calls and messages or access features including maps. That’s a huge step forward as it means users don’t need to be physically close to their phone in order to get full use from their watch, so you could leave your phone at home and still receive calls and messages.

The new watch comes complete with a super fast core processor that is 70% faster than Apple Watch Series 2. Overall, it’s a faster, more useful product than the versions that have gone before.

What does it mean for #EventProfs?

The Apple Watch is now able to perform most of the features your iPhone can, without needing a close connection to an existing handset. During an event, this could be seriously helpful to #EventProfs who have their hands full. You could make and receive calls, answer messages and check traffic reports – all from your wrist. One word of caution – using the new connected features is likely to dramatically reduce battery life, so relying on your watch to get you through an entire event could be risky.

Apple also announced a new Siri watch face that will be able to pull up and display information that it thinks is useful to you – for #EventProfs that could be upcoming meetings and sessions, transport updates or reminders.

When can I get hold of it?

The new Apple Watch will start at $329 and will be available from September 22nd. In order to gain full connectivity users will need to sign up for additional data plans with a mobile phone provider and will be able to connect to the same phone number as their existing iPhone.

  1. Face ID

One of the most talked about announcements was the news that facial recognition will replace touch ID to unlock the new iPhone X. Apple claim there is a 1:1million chance that someone other than the iPhone owner could unlock the phone via facial ID, but that didn’t stop some serious safety concerns being raised.

Apple’s Face ID goes beyond many existing facial recognition devices. It takes a 3D scan of your entire face to ensure a high level of accuracy despite day-to-day changes.

You will need to look directly into the camera, but Face ID should recognise changes in hairstyle, facial hair or even changes due to cosmetic surgery. It should also be able to adjust to various light conditions and is said to respond very rapidly, so you won’t spend ages trying to get into your phone.

What does it mean for #EventProfs?

This is an exciting indication that facial recognition software could soon become a lot more mainstream, which is exciting news for #EventProfs. When Apple incorporate or introduce a feature, it tends to indicate that the tool is about to become a lot more accessible for mainstream products, so we could see facial recognition being used at registration desks in the near future.

When can I get hold of it?

As soon as you can get hold of the iPhone X – probably early November.

What does it all mean?

Apple needed to make some big announcements at this year’s conference. The removal of the headphone jack alongside disappointing press conferences over the last few years had meant that fans were left feeling a little deflated. Apple are making smart moves to reignite consumer excitement and introduce fun new features. It’s likely we will continue to see the iPhone lead the smartphone industry for several years to come, so #EventProfs should keep paying attention as Apple roll out their new tech.

Written by Clemi Hardie, Head of Pencils Noodle Live

Clemi is the founder of Noodle Live, creating bespoke event apps and technology packages for #EventProfs. Clemi’s background is in digital marketing and she has a passion for ‘hack’ thinking. She founded Noodle Live in 2013 after noticing a space for more efficient and intelligent tech to help events run smoothly. She has worked with brands including Fujitsu, Deloitte, Google and Jaguar Land Rover. 

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