Apple Confirms World’s Worst Kept Secret: iPhone 7 Starts At $649; Pre-Orders Start Sept. 9

Apple once again called the faithful to the fold this morning to sit patiently for two hours to hear the worst-kept secret in the tech industry: There’s a new iPhone and, no, it doesn’t have a separate headphone jack anymore.

But first, it’s Super Mario!

Yes, Nintendo was on hand to announce that iOS would be the first mobile operating system to get the classic video game character. It’s a new game, called Super Mario Run, which looks and acts a lot like many of the Super Mario games that came before.

The big difference is that this time Mario runs forward on his own; the user just directs his jumping by pressing anywhere on the screen at the appropriate moment. Nintendo says this is the first time it’s made a Mario game that could be played one-handed, meaning you could play it while commuting to work on the subway or eating a sandwich.


There is another mode for Super Mario Run called Toad Rally, where you compete against other users’ established times on a timed course. In addition to collecting more coins, the user earns toadstools each time they make an impressive move. There also appears to be a collecting and customizing aspect to this game, a la Pokémon Go.


Nintendo did not give a specific release date for the game, but said it will be ready by this holiday season. Additionally, no price point was given. However, Nintendo said Super Mario One will be sold at a single set price, implying that the company is not going with the now-popular model of giving it away for free or cheap and then using in-game transactions to continue making revenue.


So now it’s on to the iPhone 7, right? Wait — is that a Pokémon?

Yup, Pokémon Go is soon coming to Apple Watch, meaning you don’t have to pull out your phone to play the game. The idea, explains Niantic, is “focusing less on the screen and more on what’s around you.”

So you can go for a walk or run, and it will work out your captured critters, or help you hatch an egg. When you near a PokéStop, it will alert you and let you collect rewards and stuff.



Okay, so we’re 30+ minutes into this. Time for the iPhone? NO!!! It’s time for a new Apple Watch. Yay?

The Series 2 Watch is being targeted at sportier users, with Apple claiming water resistance at up to 50 meters deep, built-in GPS, and a new partnership on a Nike version aimed at runners (both the same price):


Apple is also introducing a new Watch material: white ceramic, which the company claims is four times as hard as stainless steel:


The old Apple Watch is sticking around and getting the same processor upgrade as the Series 2, with the price dropping to $269.

The pre-orders for new Apple Watches start on Friday.

Now is the time on Sprockets when we iPhone!

First up, there are two new finishes: a matte black aluminum and a high-gloss “jet black” to go with the existing gold, silver, and (ugh) rose gold.

The iPhone 7 is more water and dust resistant than previous models, so hopefully your pricey investment won’t be ruined when you spill a glass of water on it five minutes after you unbox it.

For photo bugs, the new 12 MP rear camera offers more image stabilization, a wider aperture for low-light shooting, a flash with 50% more light and flicker sensor that Apple says will compensate for flicker in artificial lighting.


The iPhone 7 Plus actually includes two rear cameras. One is the same wide-angle lens found on the iPhone 7. The other allows for telephoto optical zooms of up to 2X. Combining the two lenses allows digital zoom of up to 10X.


Apple is also planning to roll out a narrow depth of field portrait feature that isolates the photo’s subject from the background. The company has been testing it and will introduce it as a software update later this year, free to iPhone 7 Plus users.


Now onto audio. The iPhone 7 will be the first iPhone with built-in stereo speakers — one at either end of the phone, meaning twice the volume of previous models. Apple says the new speakers also offer increased dynamic range for higher quality sound output.


Now, onto perhaps the most controversial aspect of the iPhone 7: The decision to remove the traditional 1/8″ headphone jack. Apple claims that the choice was made out of space considerations, and because using the built-in charging port allows for developers to provide new functionality for headphones and other audio devices.

There will be appropriate headphones included, obviously, and for those who like their existing analog headsets, Apple is including a dongle that connects your headphones to the charging port.



And as previously whispered a million times, Apple will soon be releasing wireless AirPods that connect with your device by simply moving their charging case next to your iPhone and pressing “connect.”

The wireless buds, which look a bit like broken wishbones sticking out of both ears, promise up to five hours of wireless listening on a single charge. The container case has a battery that can recharge the pods.




These won’t be coming out until October, and they’ll set you back $159 when they are released.

Speaking of pricey headphones, Apple-owned Beats unveiled a trio of new headsets that use the same, new wireless chip as the AirPods:




Okay, okay, now what about price?

The starting price of the iPhone 7 is the same as Apple charged for the iPhone 6S when it launched: $649. For people who buy devices using the increasingly popular installment plans, that comes out to around $27/month for 24 months.


However, rather than start with just 16GB of storage, the iPhone 7 will start with 32GB, with more expensive versions available that hold 128GB and 256GB.

Likewise, the iPhone 7 Plus starts at the same point as its predecessor: $769, again with storage sizes of 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB.


Note that the new jet black finish is not available for either model in the 32GB version.

Pre-orders for the iPhone 7 will start Friday, Sept. 9 with the device hitting stores Sept. 16. The latest version of iOS will roll out on Sept. 13.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.