Katie's Week In Review: September 11, 2016

Our long lull of Apple news is finally over. This post is jam-packed with links and information from Apple’s September 7th event. Without further delay, here are the links of note for the week ending September 11, 2016:

  • Apple Special Event September 7, 2016 - if you haven’t had an opportunity to see the keynote, Apple has now posted the full keynote to their website and YouTube channel.
  • Thoughts and Observations on This Week’s iPhone 7 / Apple Watch Series 2 Special Event - John Gruber was on hand at the special event and has detailed his early thoughts and impressions. Gruber focused a lot of attention on the Apple Watch noting the branding has been cleaned up and Apple is putting a strong emphasis on fitness.
  • Mossberg: Apple, the king of tech taste and daring, takes a breather - Similarly, Walt Mossberg, writing for Recode called the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus impressive, but thinks Apple is taking some risks by keeping the form factor of the phones the same for a third year in a row and removing the standard headphone jack.
  • Why the headphone jack must die - Taking a different approach, David Pogue of Yahoo Tech spells out the reasons why it’s time for the headphone jack to die.
  • Apple warns new glossy Jet Black iPhone 7 finish will scratch easily, recommends using case - Apple’s new “Jet Black” finish on the iPhone 7 is clearly the new darling of the product line, it’s featured prominently in all of Apple’s promotional materials. However, as Jordan Kahn of 9to5 Mac points out, Apple has a warning in the fine print that indicates due to the high-gloss finish it may show “fine micro-abrasions” with use. Apple suggests if this is a concern, you should pickup a case. That’s disappointing as almost all cases will completely cover the fancy new finish.
  • Apple to Sell Standalone Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter for $9, Lightning EarPods for $29 - Prior to the event there was lots of speculation whether Apple would or wouldn’t include a Lightning to 3.5mm headphone adapter in the box with the iPhone 7 and what the adapter would cost. Turns out, Apple has taken he high road here. As pointed out by Juli Clover of MacRumors the 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter sells on Apple’s website for $9 while an additional set of Lightning EarPods will cost $29. Apple includes one of each in the box.
  • Belkin Lightning Adapter Solves iPhone 7 Listen While Charging Problem - One common complaint I’ve heard about the lack of a headphone jack is that people can no longer listen to headphones while charging their iPhone. While this is something I don’t do often, I can see it being an issue. Have no fear, third party vendors to the rescue. Jeff Gamet of the Mac Observer has details on a $40 adapter from Belkin that is effectively a lighting port splitter. I’m sure we’ll see other options from vendors in the future.
  • Apple introduces new $29 screen repair tier to AppleCare+, raises fee for other repairs to $99 - Apple sells $99 AppleCare plus for iPhones and iPads. However, for accidental damage, there is a repair fee. Apple has continually raised the repair fee, presumably due to the higher cost of repair as the devices become more complex. As reported by Chance Miler of 9to5 Mac, Apple has announced there is now a flat $99 charge for all incidental repairs under AppleCare+. Interestingly, there is now an option to replace a screen for $29. Note that the $29 screen repair fee applies only if the glass is broken and there is no other damage. If there is damage to the digitizer or components under the screen (which is common) the full $99 fee will apply.
  • AirPods hands-on: They stayed in my ears and sounded awesome - One of the announcements I’m most excited about is the new AirPods. At $160 they’re a little pricy, and I’m terrified I’m going to lose one, but the technology is so cool. Susie Ochs of Macworld seems to really like the new AirPods too. In her hands-on she said despite her best efforts to dislodge them, the EarPods stayed in her ear and and the sound was impressive.
  • The Magic of AirPods - Jason Snell of Six Colors also had high praise for AirPods. Although Jason only had a few minutes of hands on time with the AirPods, he was impressed and like Susie was pleasantly surprised at how well the AirPods stayed in his ears where traditional Apple EarPods did not.
  • Tim Cook Says Apple is ‘Very Committed’ to the Mac and to ‘Stay Tuned’ - One thing we didn’t hear about at this event was the Mac. As reported by Joe Rossingnol at Mac Rumors, Cook supposedly responded to a MacRumors reader’s email about the lack of the MacBook Pro refresh saying that he “loves the mac” and that Apple is “very committed” to it and urging the writer to “stay tuned.” I’m waiting.
  • Apple Drops Prices, Bumps Storage on iPad Line - One surprise that apparently didn’t even warrant a press release, Apple has quietly dripped the prices on several iPad models while bumping storage. As Jeff Gamet of The Mac observer explains, the 16GB storage option is gone across the line and a new 256 storage option is now available on several models.
  • iPhone Preorder Lessons Learned - While it may be a bit late for this year, save this page for reference next year. Casey Liss details best practices for pre-ordering your new Apple device to make sure that you can get in and out as quickly as possible and with minimal hassle to ensure your new toy ships as quickly as possible.
  • Don’t Blink - For years websites have been making parody videos of Apple Keynotes shortening them down to just a few minutes. Apple decided to get ahead of the game and introduce their own this year. They posted this video to their YouTube Channel: