There’s no denying it, the internet is now teeming with mixed reactions about the recently concluded Apple event.
Yesterday’s Apple event was one of the most talked about and highly anticipated tech events of the year. People were so eager to know what the iPhone X, the company’s 10th-year anniversary smartphone, had to offer that it received a boatload of hype–and for good reason.
Critics and fanatics alike have all turned to social media to air their reactions and opinions about the new Apple product, especially the X.
From people yearning to get their hands on the $999 USD premium iPhone…
— Super Nelson (@famousgists) September 13, 2017
To the people who are skeptical about its latest Face ID feature.
— Godman Chikna (@Madan_Chikna) September 13, 2017
Indeed, everyone is all hooked up with the iPhone X craze!
However, it was not just about the iPhone X. If you were so caught up yesterday with the Apple gadgets to notice some of the other highlights of the event, don’t fret.
Edgy Labs compiled four of the most significant things that you might have missed. Let’s begin with the biggest:
1. The Apple Park
One of the key highlights of the Apple event is the new Apple campus itself. The multi-billion dollar infrastructure is located in Cupertino, California. Officially, the new campus is named Apple Park and is widely known as the ‘Spaceship Campus‘ because of its saucer-shaped design.
Though the construction of the campus is not yet finished, it was reported that Apple was able to secure a last minute permit to host the Apple event in one of its theaters, the Steve Jobs Theater.
The Apple Event: ‘Bringing the Outside In’
Yesterday was the first time that the main office building was opened to the press. It has a visitor center which houses an Apple store, a cafe, and a rooftop observation center. Apple claimed that the campus is set to be surrounded by around 9,000 trees.
Apple is definitely living up to its plan of bringing ‘the outside in.’ It was said that most of the facilities of the campus would be powered by an on-site low carbon Central Plant and the top of the building would be outfitted with solar panels.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said:
“Apple Park has been built to reflect Apple’s values for technology and the environment. The park itself was converted from a sea of asphalt to a green space with more than 9,000 trees; designed to be transparent with nature and bring the outside in.”
The glass walls will give anyone the feeling of remaining in nature even after stepping inside the facility. The plants were also said to be drought resistant, and most are native to California.
“Steve Jobs was an incredibly detail-oriented person, and this was his baby,” said Creative Strategies analyst and Silicon Valley veteran Tim Bajarin.
2. The Apple ‘Town Square’
Aside from the iPhone X, Apple Watch Series 3, and other Apple devices, the company also provided some details about its plans for its ever-growing line of retail outlets at the Apple event.
For starters, the Apple retail stores are now called Town Squares according to Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail. She said:
“We actually don’t call them stores anymore. We call them town squares, because they’re gathering places for the 500 million people who visit us every year. Places where everyone’s welcome, and where all of Apple comes together.”
During the Apple event, Ahrendts explained that the new stores would be a cross between an education center and a retail store, wrapped up in a plaza-like environment just like the Apple Park.
Apparently, it would have some free space where people can gather, share ideas, and shed some dollars for new Apple products.
“We think of Apple Retail as Apple’s largest product.”
The upcoming Apple stores will start showing up in major cities. It will include a Genius Grove, a redesigned version of the Genius Bar where Apple devices could be repaired, and an in-store experience dubbed as ‘Today at Apple.’
3. The Face ID
If there is one feature that really caught the attention of the press and the public during the Apple event, it’s probably the new Face ID.
The Face ID is a machine learning-powered feature that will give the iPhone X the ability to recognize a user’s face and the user’s face the capacity to open the phone. According to Apple, Face ID is more secure than the Touch ID.
Minus the existence of any ‘evil twin’ or genetic relative, the company said that there’s a 1 in 1,000,000 chance that anyone, aside from the owner, would be able to unlock the iPhone X with their face.
One in a million!
While the company is completely confident about the Face ID while presenting it at the Apple event, many are still skeptical about its capacity to secure any iPhone data. So, how did Apple came up with Face ID as a security feature?
The new iPhone X is loaded with the TrueDepth Camera system. That system includes an infrared camera, flood illuminator, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, speaker, microphone, front camera, and dot projector. Combining all these technologies, the TrueDepth system can create IR dots that are pushed through neural networks to create mathematical models which the phone runs to unlock itself.
If it still not clear, the Apple iPhone X is equipped with a mobile AI technology which is way more advanced than the Touch ID.
It works by shooting light at the face of a user through the flood illuminator. This will enable Face ID to recognize the face of the owner anytime, with any hairstyle, in any light, regardless of what the person is wearing.
It’s pretty impressive, right?
But what’s alarming is the fact that the A11 Bionic neural engine will enable the phone to learn a person’s face. Imagine all the possibilities that such advanced AI technology holds.
Further improvements might someday enable smartphones equipped with AI to learn and read microexpression. Microexpressions are way different from facial expressions mainly because they can’t be faked and occur as fast as 1/15 to 1/25 of a second.
With that speed, humans won’t be able to capture them. But it might not be the case with a device that is powered by artificial intelligence.
There are seven universal microexpressions, namely disgust, anger, fear, sadness, happiness, surprise, and contempt. Having a neural engine who can capture and record these microexpressions would be really invasive. Everyone’s emotional vulnerabilities could be quickly exposed!
Are we ready for a highly intelligent device to learn every feature of our face and have a tech giant company like Apple keep a record of it? Are we prepared to cope with the consequences of such technology?
Another problem that the Face ID might ‘face’ is that it doesn’t have the legal protection that a passcode has. Imagine a scene where you are being arrested, for some charges, and a police officer grabbed hold of your iPhone X and flashed it in front of your face to unlock it.
Is that legal? Unfortunately, yes. It might turn out to be legal.
Of course, Apple insists that the phone can’t be unlocked if you seem distracted. Perhaps if you were to struggle and close your eyes the phone would remain secure?
According to the Fifth Amendment, U.S. police officers are prohibited from getting any potentially incriminating testimony from suspected criminals. Keycode, like a passcode, is considered ‘testimonial’ evidence and any individual may refuse to give up a phone’s passcode because the law protects it.
On the other hand, a fingerprint ID is considered by the Fifth Amendment as more like an ordinary key. In multiple cases, suspects were ordered to unlock their phones via fingerprint because a fingerprint could be a piece of ‘physical’ evidence. If that is the case, the same argument will likely apply to the Face ID.
While this problem could be easily solved by switching between Face ID and a passcode, it is still something that experts wanted the public to consider.
Nevertheless, whether it’s privacy invasion or not, Apple included the Face ID as an AI security feature of its phone. It won’t be long before other smartphone manufacturers follow suit. It is still up to the consumers to decide whether they would buy the $999 USD smartphone or not despite the risk.
Hopefully, the cute animojis will be enough to gain the trust of the Face ID skeptics!
4. Apple Watch’s Medical Contribution
In terms of design, most people would definitely agree that the new Apple Watch has nothing much to offer. Apple retained the same 38mm and 42mm watch face sizing and is barely thicker than the Series 2 version of the watch.
However, the new Series 3 has a new red digital crown, and the company also took the time to make a new sports loop strap along with a variety of new colors across existing designs. The screen is also an antenna that enables LTE cellular connectivity. Aside from that, it’s the same Apple Watch.
What’s really new to the Series 3 is Apple’s attempt at making the wearable more health-inclined by adding several health and fitness features. The new Apple Watch will include a smart activity coaching, swimmer features, Gym connect, and an enhanced heart rate monitor.
What stands out among these new features was the heart rate app which can monitor certain measurements like the resting heart rate, recovery heart rate, and will also include a notification for an elevated heart rate. Furthermore, the new Apple Watch can also track heart rhythm which is particularly helpful to those people who have irregular heart beats.
“A regular heart rhythm has a familiar pattern, but when your heart beats irregularly it’s called arrhythmia,” explained Apple exec Jeff Williams. “That can cause problems, the most common form is AFIB, it affects tens of millions of people and is a leading cause of stroke.”
In an interview with Fortune, Tim Cook also provided a hint about Apple’s future in health care. He said:
“We started working on the Apple Watch several years ago. And we were focused on wellness. And wellness was about activity monitoring and also about performing some measurements of your health that people were not measuring, at least continually. Like your heart. Very few people wore heart monitors. So when we got into working on the watch we began to realize that the things that we could do were even more profound than that.
We’re extremely interested in this area. And, yes, it is a business opportunity. If you look at it, medical health activity is the largest or second-largest component of the economy, depending on which country in the world you’re dealing with.”
With that said, people might expect a few more health related improvements to Apple’s devices in the years to come.
For $399 USD, the Apple Watch Series 3 is available for order September 15th and will ship September 22nd.
There you go. Hopefully these four key highlights of the Apple event yesterday help you better understand the new products, technologies, and future goals of Apple!