Wednesday, 22 March 2017 01:13

Apple: New Red iPhone 7, new ‘Clips’ video app, cheaper new iPad and more Featured

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Apple has just announced three new products: iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in Product RED edition, a snazzy free new video editing app and a cheaper new iPad to reboot the tablet revolution, along with iPhone SE and iPad mini capacity updates, with iOS 10.3 coming soon too.

1. New iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in RED; iPhone SE doubled in capacity for the same price

Apple’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus range is already available in jet black, black, silver, gold and rose gold, but now comes a new colour – the well established "(PRODUCT)RED" colour that has graced a range of iDevices over the years.

(RED) was founded by U2 frontman Bono, and has partnered with Apple for years to create various red-coloured iDevices, and now this iconic colour — which supports the Product Red global fund to fight AIDS — has finally come to the iconic iPhone.

Only available in 128GB and 256GB capacities across both the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models, they will go on sale worldwide from 25 March, starting at $1229.

Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said: “Since we began working with (RED) 10 years ago, our customers have made a significant impact in fighting the spread of AIDS through the purchase of our products, from the original iPod nano (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition all the way to today’s lineup of Beats products and accessories for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch.

“The introduction of this special edition iPhone in a gorgeous red finish is our biggest (PRODUCT)RED offering to date in celebration of our partnership with (RED), and we can’t wait to get it into customers’ hands.”

Deborah Dugan, (RED)’s chief executive, said: “Apple is the world’s largest corporate donor to the Global Fund, contributing more than US$130 million as part of its partnership with (RED).”

“Combining the global reach of the world’s most loved smartphone with our efforts to provide access to life-saving ARV medication in sub-Saharan Africa, customers now have a remarkable opportunity to make a difference and contribute to the Global Fund through the purchase of this new beautiful (PRODUCT)RED iPhone.”

Apple reminds us that “(RED)’s critical work provides access to life-saving HIV/AIDS programs in sub-Saharan Africa, which is home to more than two thirds of the world’s HIV-positive population.

“One hundred percent of all money raised by (RED) goes directly to Global Fund HIV/AIDS grants that provide testing, counselling, treatment and prevention programs with a specific focus on eliminating transmission of the virus from mums to their babies. Since it was founded in 2006, (RED) has generated more than US$465 million for the Global Fund, with more than US$130 million from Apple alone.”

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iPhone 7 Red

Apple has also decided to double the capacity of the iPhone SE models, from the previously available 16 and 64GB models to 32 and 128GB models instead, at the same prices starting at $679.

2. New, lower-cost 9.7-inch iPad to reboot the tablet revolution.

With Apple’s legendary profit margins delivering the company well over US$200 billion in the bank, the time has clearly come for Apple to strike back against the tepid Android and Windows 10 tablets that have so dramatically floundered compared to the iPad’s popularity and app selection.

Apple is doing this by lowering the price of its new 9.7-inch iPad to US$329 in America, which translates to A$469 for the 32GB Wi-Fi model, and A$669 for the Wi-Fi and Cellular model.

The 128GB Wi-FI model starts at A$599, while the Wi-Fi + Cellular model is A$799.

Apple boasts that it has “updated its most popular-sized iPad, featuring a brighter 9.7-inch Retina display and best-in-class performance at its most affordable price ever.”

It also talks up the “incredible performance and all-day battery life” and notes that the “iPad is the world’s most popular tablet and the primary computing device for millions of customers around the world,” with over “1.3 million apps designed specifically for iPad” allowing customers to “do even more, from learning to code with Swift Playgrounds and reading books on the large screen to boosting productivity through Microsoft Office and using multitasking features like Split Screen.”

Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice-president of Worldwide Marketing, said: “iPad is the world’s most popular tablet. Customers love the large, 9.7-inch display for everything from watching TV and movies, to surfing the web, making FaceTime calls, and enjoying photos, and now it is even more affordable.”

“New customers and anyone looking to upgrade will love this new iPad for use at home, in school, and for work, with its gorgeous Retina display, our powerful A9 chip, and access to the more than 1.3 million apps designed specifically for it.”

The 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models are still available, and there’s no word yet on whether these will also be updated later this month, or towards the end of the year, but with Apple lowering the cost of iPad, sales can presumably only go up.

This newly updated iPad arrives in stores from Friday, 24 March.

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New iPad 2017

Meanwhile, the iPad mini 4 also gets a capacity update, offering “more capacity starting at A$579 for the 128GB Wi-Fi model and A$779 for the 128GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model".

3. Finally, Apple continues its track record of releasing party apps

Apple’s new app is “Clips” and is billed as the “fun, new way to create expressive videos on iOS.”

Arriving free in April, Apple says Clips “features a unique design for combining video clips, photos and music into great-looking videos to share with friends through the Messages app, or on Instagram, Facebook and other popular social networks.”

The app also introduces “Live Titles, a breakthrough feature that lets users create animated captions and titles using just their voice".

We are told that “fun effects including comic book filters, speech bubbles, shapes and full-screen animated posters help bring out the personality in videos made with Clips.”

Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice-president of Apps Product Marketing, said: “Clips gives iPhone and iPad users a new way to express themselves through video, and it’s incredibly easy to use.

“The effects, filters and amazing new Live Titles we’ve designed for Clips let anyone make great-looking, easily sharable videos with just a few taps.”

Apple explains that, “Clips lets users create multi-clip videos on iPhone or iPad without timelines, tracks or complicated editing tools. Touch and hold a single button to shoot live video and photos, or add them from the Photo Library.

“Then add artistic filters, speech bubbles, shapes or emoji. Users can also add full-screen posters with animated backgrounds and customisable text. Clips has dozens of music soundtracks to choose from, and they automatically adjust to match the length of a video.

“With Live Titles in Clips, users can add animated captions and titles using just their voice. Captions are generated automatically as a user speaks, and appear on screen perfectly synced with the user’s voice.

“Users can mix and match different styles, and tap any title to adjust text and punctuation, or even add inline emoji. Live Titles supports 36 different languages.”

(Article continues below, please read on). 

New Clips 2017

Apple concludes by stating that “Videos made with Clips can be shared directly to popular social networks and video websites, including Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo and more. When sharing with friends in Messages, Clips can suggest who to share with based on the people who appear in the video, and the people a user shares with most often. When a suggested name is selected, Clips inserts the video right into Messages so it’s ready to send with one tap.”

To use clips once it launches free on the App Store in April, you’ll need an iPhone 5s or better, the new 9.7-inch iPad, all iPad Air and iPad Pro models, iPad mini 2 and later, and iPod touch 6th generation, and devices must be running the soon to be released iOS 10.3.

This clearly means that iOS 10.3 will be available by April, so presumably within the next couple of weeks.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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