Hit the road (headphone) jack...
APPLE is out to make a splash with new waterproof iPhones, a smartphone game starring Nintendo's beloved Mario and a push on wireless headphones.
The iPhone 7 and larger iPhone 7 Plus, with sophisticated camera technology, improved water resistance and other features, were shown to applause on Wednesday at an Apple event in San Francisco.
Apple, Nintendo and game maker Niantic also announced that the wildly popular Pokemon Go would be available for Apple Watch users this month.
Pokemon Go has been downloaded more than 500 million times since it was made available for free in early July.
The iPhone 7, starting at S$1,048, has one zooming 12-megapixel camera.
The 7 Plus, starting at S$1,248, has two cameras.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook said the new smartphones take advantage of the latest iPhone software, iOS 10.
"We are about to launch iOS 10, our biggest iOS release ever," he added.
"Now of course the world's most advanced mobile operating system deserves the most advanced smartphone, and here it is."
A new iPhone feature which may ruffle feathers is the removal of the headphone jack, requiring audio to be delivered via Apple's proprietary Lightning connector or by wireless.
The new headphones supplied by Apple with the phone will plug into the Lightning port but it will also work with Apple's new wireless headphones, called Air Pods, available in late October at a price of S$238.
Lightning connectors were designed to handle high-quality audio, Apple vice-president Phil Schiller told the audience.
"It comes down to one reason: courage, the courage to move on," he noted of the decision to get rid of the traditional headset port.
The new phone will start shipping in major markets, including the United States, China and Singapore, on Sept 16.
Bob O'Donnell of research firm TECHnalysis said Apple's new glossy jet black finish could be more popular than any tech feature. There is also a new matte black finish.
Mike Binger, senior portfolio manager at Gradient Investments LLC in Minneapolis, said the disappearance of the headphone jack "will probably annoy a certain amount of people" but they would likely get over it.
Apple typically gives its main product, which accounts for more than half its revenue, a big makeover every other year.
The new iPhones and Apple Watch boast the ability to get wet without getting ruined.
"The first Apple Watch was splash-proof, the Apple Watch Series 2 is swim-proof," Apple chief operating officer Jeff Williams said at the presentation.
Apple Watch Series 2, with a swim-proof casing, will be available in more than 25 countries starting on Sept 16.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS