By Dan Moren
September 12, 2017 1:37 PM PT
Today’s Apple event: the little details you might have missed
As always, with the deluge of information from an Apple event, some details fall through the cracks. Fortunately, we’re here to sweep them up and collect them in the dustpan of our—you know what, I think this metaphor has gotten out of hand.
Anyway, here are a few things I picked up as I was trawling Apple’s site after today’s announcements. If I come across more, I’ll update this post.
Face ID pays attention: As predicted, Face ID goes beyond just unlocking your phone. Apple’s iPhone X page says because Face ID can tell when you’re paying attention to the phone, it can “also reveal notifications and messages, keep the screen lit when you’re reading, or lower the volume of an alarm or ringer.” As someone who has always had message text displayed on the lock screen, this is a nice middle ground between turning it off for more privacy and security and the convenience of not having to unlock your phone.
Face ID failure on stage: While we’re talking about Face ID, let’s address that failure on stage. There’s an excellent piece at The Verge detailing why the failure is kind of misleading. Like the author, I noticed that it looks a lot like the notice you sometimes get about Touch ID being disabled until you enter your passcode. Which is to say: it’s not a bug, it really is a feature. (But somebody’s probably in trouble for not making sure it was properly prepared for the show anyway.)
NFC with reader mode: Both the iPhone 8/8 Plus and iPhone X specs specifically call out “NFC with reader mode”, whereas the iPhone 7/7 Plus specs say only “NFC.” However, I’m told that the 7/7 Plus can read NFC tags via third-party apps under iOS 11. But might this perhaps enable person-to-person Apple Pay or person-to-vendor Apple Pay using an iOS device and no add-ons?
Person-to-person Apple Pay delayed? Speaking of person-to-person Apple Pay, it’s been absent from the betas thus far. The iOS 11 preview site now lists it as “Coming this fall,” suggesting it will arrive in a separate update. Maybe along with Messages in the Cloud?
High Sierra ship date: Speaking of things only mentioned on Apple’s website, macOS High Sierra got zero screen time at today’s event, but Apple’s preview page now confirms a September 25th ship date.
iPhone sizes: Curious about how the iPhone sizes stack up? The X is a little bigger than the iPhone 7, and reasonably smaller than the 7 Plus. The 8 and 8 Plus, meanwhile, are only microscopically different from their predecessors—so much so that Apple is billing its cases as working for both.
New Leather folio: Speaking of cases, I believe this $99 iPhone X Leather Folio, which comes in four colors, is a new style that incorporates a wallet design. Apple also confirms that wireless charging works through the case.1
Apple Watch Series 3 exclusives: Two exclusives to the Cellular version of the Apple Watch Series 3: the Explorer face, which shows the cellular signal strength via four dots above the hub of the watch face, and the red dot on Digital Crown, which appears to be for purely stylistic purposes?2
Apple TV remote “redesign”: Yes, Apple heard our complaints about the Siri Remote for the Apple TV and redesigned it…by putting a white circle around the menu button. Seriously. That’s it. (We’re going to have to have a whole different conversation about the pricing. Gah.)
AirPlay 2 on Apple TV: On the topic of Apple TV, Apple’s press release says “Apple TV can control multiple AirPlay 2-compatible speakers as well as your home theater speakers to create the ultimate home music experience.” I’d read that as including HomePods, since they’re the only AirPlay 2 speakers we officially know about? But it’s unclear to me whether both the 4K and current Apple TV will support it. (Oh, and AirPlay 2 is, like Apple Pay, “coming later this year.”) Update: Here’s a handy article with more about AirPlay 2, including third-party companies on speaker compatibility.
So, that’s what I’ve spotted? Have I missed anything? What have you noticed?
[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His latest novel, The Aleph Extraction, is out now and available in fine book stores everywhere, so be sure to pick up a copy.]
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