Apple’s hardware and software releases enter the tech arena

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September has seen a bombardment of Apple releases, with the tech company launching iOS 10, the iPhone 7, and macOS Sierra on Sept. 13, 16, and 20, respectively. With these major updates in the hardware and software, Apple’s products and services have been met with mixed reviews.

Apple introduced higher specifications of the new iPhone, including higher quality retina HD screens and a faster A10 chip, or a piece of hardware responsible for the general processing power of the phone. However, the iPhone has also seen unprecedented features unseen in previous iterations of the iPhone. Firstly, the phone is now water-resistant, a much awaited feature that has finally been added to the iPhone. Secondly, the iPhone 7 Plus now has dual cameras on the back that provide wider angles and higher quality pixels for photos, according to a review by Techradar. Finally, Apple has removed the AUX headphone jack and has released a pair of wireless earphones alongside the iPhone for separate purchase. This decision was done in an effort to catalyze the step into a wireless future, as is the case for the removal of the headphone jack. However, as the jack serves a common function, this advancement caused confusion among many Apple customers as to why such a restrictive move was made on Apple’s part.

“Although the removal of the headphone jack seems largely unfavorable to the public, and seems counterintuitive to convenience, Apple will still be successful regardless,” said Jocelyn Lee (10), who has tried using iPhone 7 at an event. “The great thing about Apple is that they have such a loyal fan base and a sturdy legacy that they can experiment with new developments that may seem risky and not worry about failure. I have tried using the new Apple earphones and they are not as bad as people claim. Who knows, Apple may be taking a step forward that will be followed up by other tech companies in years to come.”

Alongside the iPhone 7, the iOS 10 update, available to iPhones and iPads of all generations, saw a number of added features as well. Although the fundamental framework of the new iOS is largely similar to the software that most users are familiar with in iOS 8 and 9, subtle changes to apps have made the mobile experience more aesthetically and interactively advanced, according to AppleInsider. For example, the new iOS now has the option to delete unused built-in apps and an added widget option as well. Furthermore, there is a drastic change in the iMessage application, which saw the addition of many new features such as stickers and bubble effects. However, although Apple has introduced a plethora of features in the entirety of the new OS, many still feel as though it has not brought about a noticeable increase in practicality and convenience.

“While I think functions such as the invisible ink and bubble effects are fun to play with in iMessage, along with many of the other added features in the new iOS, they seem like the sort of features that would get old really fast,” said Nicholas Shin (10), an Apple fan. “For example, I am so used to sending messages the traditional way that it would seem more like a task when I would have to constantly use all these new features. I think Apple has a habit of sometimes adding and advertising features that many of us do not really use, and in the long term are not really pragmatic. An example of this is the 3D touch, which is, although intriguing, not very useful.”

The macOS Sierra, the software program for the Mac series, experienced newly added features as well. In vein of Mac updates receiving features implemented in the iOS such as the design and the applications of the iOS, the macOS was updated with what is largely defined to be quintessentially “Apple”: Siri. The voice recognition artificial intelligence can now be accessed from multiple locations on the Mac interface, such as next to the finder application and next to the spotlight button on the toolbar. Furthermore, in attempt to make the computer and phone experience more tightly knit, both iOS and macOS have been updated with an embedded piece of software called the Universal Clipboard. The Universal Clipboard creates a link between your Mac and your iPhone where you can copy and paste sections of text to and from your devices.

“Overall, Apple is coming this year with new and unique developments such as integration of Siri and Universal Clipboard which make the Apple experience overall more convenient and user friendly,” said Bumshik Shin, Deputy Director at the IT office. “Apple has yet to release the Macbook—a highly anticipated product—but when it does, they are sure to follow the string of innovative features that Apple has provided. We are looking forward to what Apple has in store for us in upcoming months.”

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Jeremiah Nam

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