- Apple and Sony both had big product announcements on Wednesday
- The iPhone announcement shows the usual upgrades but nothing fresh
- Sony kept the focus on games
If you’re a fan of all things tech, then you undoubtedly watched the Apple iPhone launch event, and immediately followed that up with Sony’s PlayStation Meeting. With one, we got two new phones, theiPhone 7 and the bigger iPhone 7 Plus, as well as the awkwardly named Apple Watch Series 2. From Sony’s event, we got two new consoles, the ‘PS4 Neo’ now known as the PS4 Pro, and the slimmed down PS4 Slim.
(Also see: iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus Price in India and Release Date Announced by Apple)
The new iPhone 7 gets a minor redesign, losing antenna lines. The home button is now touch sensitive. The phone’s also water resistant. Optical image stabilisation is now standard, with two rear cameras – wide and telephoto – on the iPhone 7 Plus. Stereo speakers are in, and the headphone jack has been removed, a move that apparently took a lot of “courage”. Apple is at least also giving out the Lighting-to-3.5mm adapter cable, so you don’t have to buy one yourself.
The big news honestly is that the entry-level iPhone now comes with 32GB of storage and the batteries should last a little longer. The older iPhones were pretty close to water-resistant anyway, so congratulations Apple on making it official, and getting rid of the 3.5-mm jack.
However, apart from this, Apple’s event had more of a gaming feel to it. The company demonstrated the power of its new hardware with console-quality visuals, and told us that Pokemon Go now works with the Apple Watch, which is great timing, since the people have already lost interest.
Getting Nintendo on board and bringing Mario first to iOS is a big deal. You can even argue that the entire ‘runner’ genre of games exists largely because of Mario. And as Pokemon Go proved, that brand recognition is certainly worth a lot.
(Also see: Super Mario Run Coming to Android Next Year, Nintendo Confirms)
But in terms of the iPhone itself, Apple has done little to actually wow us. The new iPhone is better, faster, better looking, has a better camera, and better battery life, and you can bet that millions of units will sell. But those adjectives could just justifiably applied to every single flagship launch. And frankly, given how much these phones cost, is a delta-improvement even worth your money?
Moving on from Apple then, there was one other announcement related to gaming – Sony had its own event and like Apple, it announced new hardware that was an improvement over existing devices, and launched it for the same price as the previous version. Unlike Apple though, Sony’s announcement was short and to the point.
Sony made it clear that it’s bringing a lot of new games into the mix soon, something that has been an obvious need for a while now. It also showed the difference between current hardware and the new devices in a clear way where the visual difference just jumped out at you. Console gaming at 4K, and VR gaming, are both going to get a serious boost with the new hardware, which will go on sale from November 10 at $399 (approximately Rs. 26,590). That’s a fast release, beating its rivals to the punch, bringing the system to the top of of the line in performance. This makes the PlayStation an obvious destination for games that are pushing the limits of visual fidelity and for VR developers, soon after the PS VR launch next month.
(Also see: The PS4 Pro Wont Solve the PS4’s Biggest Problem)
At the event, Sony showed off a host of titles such as Spider-Man, For Honor, Horizon Zero Dawn, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Watch Dogs 2, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. It made a compelling argument for its new product, but agreed that not everyone needs so much power – you don’t have to update your old PS4 if you don’t want to, and if you haven’t bought a PlayStation yet, you can instead get a PlayStation Slim for $100 less and enjoy the original PS4’s capabilities, in a smaller, better-looking package.
There’s little doubt that the new iPhone models will sell a lot more, and make a lot more money for Apple than the new PlayStation 4 units will for Sony. But looking back at both events from Wednesday, Sony came across as much more keyed in to what its customers want than Apple.