Apple scraps headphone jack for iPhone 7

Supply chain leaks meant there was little to surprise observers at Apple's iPhone 7 launch event, where the company announced its latest iPhone, the larger iPhone 7 Plus and the Apple Watch 2.

Apple drops the headphone jack

As predicted, if not entirely seriously, Apple has ditched the 3.5mm headphone jack. The new iPhone 7 models will instead come with EarPods that attach through the Lightning connector, technology Apple introduced with the iPhone 5. Anyone wanting to plug in using normal headphones will need to use a Lightning connector adaptor. 

Chief marketing officer Phil Schiller said: "Our smartphones are packed with technology, and we all want more. We want brighter displays, we want larger batters, we want faster processors, we want taptic engines, and it's all fighting for space within the same enclosure."

He added that it had taken "courage" to drop the jack:  "The reason to move on: courage. The courage to move on and do something new that betters all of us." 

Coincidentally, Apple introduced a new product: the wireless AirPods, which cost £159.

While Apple has a history of ditching technology it deems obsolete, not everyone's happy about the change, suggesting it could lead to anti-competitor moves because a proprietary system yields more control to the company.

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are largely iterative of earlier Apple devices, but boast a dual camera lens on the larger model, better battery life and performance and two new black colours  – black and the glossier jet black. The company warned the latter is more likely to "show micro-abrasions"  – in other words, it scratches more easily.

Apple repositions the Apple Watch 2

Despite intense courting and marketing by Apple, the fashion world did not take to the first Apple Watch. With the Apple Watch 2, Apple appears to be positioning the device more obviously as a fitness accessory.

In its latest spot for the new watch, Apple plays up the device's new waterproof capabilities and focuses entirely on using it for fitness.

The new watch looks similar to the first Apple Watch in terms of design, but also comes with GPS, meaning users can use it to track their runs without an iPhone. There's a better display and processor, and software tweaks via watchOS that make it easier to run multiple apps.

Interestingly, Apple is ditching retail chief Angela Ahrendts' strategy with the first Apple Watch – keeping the device out of stores and forcing consumers onto a long waiting list. Instead, the new watch is available immediately, and users can buy them from the Apple Store starting at £369.

Brand tie-ups with Nike, Nintendo's Mario and Pokémon Go

Fans of Nike FuelBand can rejoice – Apple and Nike have teamed up on a Nike version of the Apple Watch 2.

Called the Apple Watch Nike+, the device starts at the same price as the normal watch, but adds Nike-specific watch faces and greater integration with Nike's running app, Nike Run Club. 

Trevor Edwards, president of the Nike Brand, said: "We know runners – and we know many are looking for a device that gives them an easy, fun way to start running.

"The market is full of complex, hard-to-read devices that focus on your data. This focuses on your life. It’s a powerful device with a simple solution — your perfect running partner."

Pokémon Go developer Niantic also announced the game would be coming to the Apple Watch. The game has been downloaded more than 500 million times since launching in July.

Another well-received announcement was that Apple will bring Super Mario to the App Store, suggesting Nintendo is finally stepping to the mobile gaming market following the success of Pokémon Go.