Unveiled at Apple's special event in San Francisco today, the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus can be ordered starting this Friday and are set to hit the market on September 16.
The latest generation of Apple's smartphones (pictured above) will introduce a number of new features, including water and dust resistance, an advanced 12-megapixel camera and an A10 Fusion chip architecture billed as twice as fast as the processor in the iPhone 6.
As many had expected, the new phones will use Apple's Lightning connector for audio, but they can also be used with adaptors for standard 3.5-millimeter headphone jacks for users with older headphones or earbuds.
Also making its debut during today's event was the new Series 2 line of Apple Watches, which will include a new ceramic case style and a special edition, the Nike Plus, designed specifically for runners. All the new styles can be ordered beginning September 9. All but the Nike plus edition will be available on September 16; the Nike watch is expected to ship starting in late October.
iWork Adds Real-Time Collaboration
Before introducing the new watches and phones, Apple CEO Tim Cook and other executives made several other announcements from the stage at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.
On the productivity side, Apple is bringing real-time collaboration to its iWork apps. Susan Prescott, vice president of worldwide apps marketing, demonstrated the new capabilities on stage, showing how the update enables users to live-edit presentations via the Mac, iPhone, iPad or Web. "It'll change the way you work with classmates, colleagues and friends," Prescott said.
Cook also provided an update of Apple's efforts to encourage more children in schools to learn how to code. Since its June launch, more than 100 schools and school districts around the world have committed to using the Swift Playgrounds coding education app curriculum this year, he said. Apple is also donating iPads to more than 50,000 students through its role in the ConnectedED national education initiative.
And for fun, Apple announced the arrival of Mario gaming -- in the form of a new game called Super Mario Run -- before this year's holiday shopping season, as well as new support for Pokemon Go on the Apple Watch.
5 iPhone Color Choices
The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will run on iOS 10, Apple's latest update to its mobile operating system. "The most advanced mobile operating system deserves the most advanced smartphone," Cook said, adding (not surprisingly) that the iPhone 7 is "the best iPhone that we have ever created."
In addition to two versions of black -- a matte finish and a highly polished jet black -- the iPhone 7 will also be available in gold, silver and rose gold (all pictured above). Jet black will be an option for either the 128 GB or 256 GB models, while the other colors will come in 32 GB, 128 GB and 256 GB models. Prices for the iPhone 7 in the U.S. will start at $649.
Apple Watch Now Second to Rolex
The "completely re-engineered" and swim-proof Series 2 line of the Apple Watch and the Apple Watch Nike Plus, meanwhile, will be priced starting at $369. The model with a ceramic case will be priced at $1249 and up, and a Hermes style starts at $1149.
Apple will be using a new dual-core processor in the Series 2 lineup and will also start using the new processor for the older-version Apple Watch, now referred to as Series 1. The updated versions of the original Apple Watch will be priced starting at $269.
Since hitting the market just 18 months ago, Cook said the Apple Watch has become the world's second largest selling watch brand, measured by revenue, right behind Rolex, which still holds the number one spot. It has also become the top selling smart watch. "The Apple Watch has really changed what people expect from a watch," Cook said.
Image credit: Product shots by Apple.