Following Apple’s 10th anniversary iPhone X that was announced last fall, the now trillion-dollar company returns to announce a slew of new devices that fully embrace the notch-life; with the three new iPhone models, the home button is now officially dead and new devices going forward will start using Face ID as the security unlock system. There’s also an updated Apple Watch available later this month. Let’s get right into the details.
The event that was held in The Steve Jobs Theatre in the Apple Park campus was highly anticipated, mainly because this was the first opportunity for the world to see where Apple would take it’s new generation of iPhones (starting from the iPhone X last year) that are markedly different in design than iPhones 6 through 8.
Apple confirmed essentially everything that was leaked in the days leading up to the event – it introduced three new iPhone models: the XS, XS Max, and XR.
The XS comes with a 5.8-inch Super Retina OLED display, while the XS Max bumps the screen up to 6.5-inch. Both have an new and improved IP68 waterproof rating (compared to the IP67 rating of last year’s iPhone X), the new A12 Bionic chip that improves processing power and touts the new “neural engine”, and is offered in configurations up to 512 GB. It’s got a 7MP front-facing camera, a 12MP dual main camera with a new Smart HDR sensor to help prevent blurry photos during action shots and enhance lighting based on facial and subject mapping. You can also adjust the depth of field after the photo has been taken, which reminds me of the Lytro (RIP).
Compared to the iPhone X, the XS and XS Max get up to 30 minutes and one hour more in battery life, respectively. The new devices will support dual SIM and users can set up primary and secondary numbers to know specifically which of the two is being contacted.
When it comes to price, the iPhone XS will start at £999 and the XS Max will start from £1,099. The iPhone line-up is also being expanded, with a 6.1-inch LCD phone called the iPhone XR. Apple says its screen, which is liquid retina, is the first edge-to-edge LCD handset available.
Like the iPhone XS and XS Max it has the A12 bionic chip, FaceID, and no home button. It has the same TrueDepth Camera on the front. However, the XR only has a single 12MP wide-angle camera on its rear and it doesn’t have Force Touch.
The XR is being made available in new colours – white, black, blue, coral and yellow. Apple is also making a Product RED version of its phone. All of the versions are made of an aluminium band with a glass rear. The iPhone XR is set to start at £749 and come with three different storage options: 64GB, 128GB and 256GB. However, it’ll only be available for pre-order on October 19 and start shipping on October 26.
Also leaked prior to the event, the Apple Watch Series 4 is official. Key improvements include a larger display, louder speaker, slimmer body, and a red ring around the digital crown instead of a solid red circle from the Series 3. The crown now has haptic feedback, and the device hardware uses a new body that Apple says improves cellular connection. It uses a new S4 chip that should double the processor speed, and a new gyroscope sensor that can detect falls and alert your SOS contacts of an accident.
Improving from watchOS 4’s heart rate spikes alerts, the new watch will offer new health features that detect unusually low heart rate, irregular rhythm symptomatic of atrial fibrillation, and take electrocardiograms. Users can measure their ECG by holding their fingertips to the digital crown for 30 seconds. Apple says the device is cleared by the FDA.
There are also a couple of new interactive watch faces, such as a health-focused one that is designed to help users through breathing patterns for meditation. The Apple Watch Series 4 starts at £399 for GPS, £499 for cellular, and preorders starting on Friday, September 14th.
While I personally am not a fan of the clunky naming of these new models, there’s no doubt as to whether the new iPhones will sell like hotcakes. They always do.