Apple wrapped up its annual fall product launch with the introduction of a trio of new iPhones, including the giant iPhone XS Max with a screen size (and price tag) that lives up to its name, and an update to the Apple Watch that adds some singular health applications.
The new iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max build on the all-screen design of the 10th anniversary iPhone X, but offer the kind of product superlatives (better, faster, more energy efficient) that Apple aficionados have come to expect of such next-generation product. These new smartphones boast an improved dual camera system, a more muscular processing capability (in the form of the A12 Bionic chip), wider stereo sound and support for two phone numbers on a single device.
The iPhone Xs Max boasts the biggest display on an iPhone (at 6.5 inches) and extended battery life. Among the features Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller gushed over are the color accuracy of the screen (thanks to the 3 million pixels packed into the OLED screen), a more powerful chip that’s 15% faster, 50% more efficient and can process a blazing 5 trillion operations a second — performance that’s enhanced through machine learning.
The 12-megapixel dual camera system, which includes a new sensor, captures more highlights and shadow detail in photos. A new feature in Portrait mode allows users to dynamically adjust the depth of field on photos in real-time, after the image has been captured. Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 12, adds more augmented reality experiences among its other features.
iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max will be available for pre-order beginning Friday, and in stores on Sept. 21. The iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max will be available in three models (64GB, 256GB and 512GB capacity), three colors (space gray, silver and a new gold finish), at prices starting at $999 (US) and $1,099, respectively.
Apple unveiled the entry-level iPhone Xr, a smartphone packed with many of the same advances — the same A12 bionic chip, next-generation Face ID, which allows consumers to unlock, log in and pay with a glance, and boasts an advanced camera system that creates portraits using a single camera lens.
It boasts a 6.1-inch LCD display and an aluminum enclosure that comes in six finishes, white, black, blue, coral and red. But perhaps most eye-catching for consumers is the price, which starts at $749. It comes in three models (64GB, 128GB and 256GB) and is available for pre-order on Oct. 19. The iPhone Xr reaches stores on Oct. 26.
The event opens with a Mission Impossible-inspired video of a woman making a mad dash across the new Cupertino campus to the Steve Jobs theater, theme music playing in the background. She’s toting a briefcase and using all the Apple gadgets at her disposal, consulting Siri for the fastest route to the stage, and consulting her Apple Watch.
She hands off a silver briefcase to CEO Tim Cook, who opens it and lets out a sigh, “Ah, the clicker.”
The CEO takes the stage to applause and a laugh. Let’s get started.
Cook offered some Apple highlights, noting that 500 million people have visited Apple Stores this year. The company’s on the verge of shipping its two-billionth device.
“It’s amazing how our mission started with personalizing technology for the desktop to now seeing the ways we are making it so personal, in many parts of our lives,” said Cook.
Cook begins by talking about the Apple Watch, saying it’s not only the No. 1 smart watch in the world, it’s No. 1 period.
“For millions of people around the world, Apple Watch has become an indispensable part of people’s lives,” Cook says.
Apple introduces the next generation of the device, the Apple Watch Series 4, which offers new ways of staying connected, living an active live and managing your health. The device is thinner, but the new display is than 30% larger (40 and 44 millimeters in size) than the current generation, and a watch face supports up to eight complications.
There are dynamic new watch faces — including vapor, liquid metal, fire and water, that interact with the curved edges of the case.
A new speaker on the Apple Watch is 50% louder, and there’s an enhanced microphone as well — two features which will be handy for phone calls. There’s a speedier processor, and new accelerometer and gyroscope that can detect a fall and automatically initiate an emergency call if the wearer is unresponsive after 60 seconds.
The device comes with a built-in heart rate sensor, which can detect atrial fibrillation (irregular heart rates). The Apple Watch 4 is the first FDA-certified device of its kind that can take electrocardiogram on the wrist, using the new heart-rate sensor on the back of the device. The user places a finger on the digital crown and a sensor measures the electrical activity in the heart, and stores the heart rhythm in an app that can be shared with the doctor.
“Capturing meaningful data about a person’s heart in real time is changing the way we practice medicine,” said Ivor Benjamin, president of the American Heart Association. “In my experience people often report symptoms that are absent during their medical visits. That is why information is vital … the ability to access health data on an on-demand electrocardiogram is game-changing.”
Cook returns to the stage to talk about the next generation of iPhone.
Phil Schiller takes the stage to talk about the next generation iPhones, the iPhone 10s, with its 5.8-inch display that more color range, and the iPhone Xs Max, with an even larger 6.5-inch super retina display that’s well suited for playing games.
The devices come with improved stereo sound, for those who use the device for watching movies or listening to music. And Apple’s Face ID facial recognition technology works even faster on the new device, thanks to improved algorithms.
The new iPhones are powered by a more robust A-series chip, the A12 bionic, that comes packed with 6.9 billion transistors capable of processing 5 trillion operations per second. This new chip, together with new software, is well-suited for augmented reality experiences — a new area of focus for Apple.
Steve Nash, eight-time NBA All Star, showed off a new app called Homecourt, which uses the next generation iPhone to track real-time data — shot angle, leg angle, speed — while a basketball player shoots hoops. This information has the potential to revolutionize game training. Directive Games showed off an augmented reality demonstration, in which a virtual arcade game was projected onto surface.
Schiller said the new generation of dual camera system, upgraded sensors and more powerful A12 bionic chip allow some intriguing new photo features, such as the ability to dynamically adjust the depth of field on portraits shot with the iPhone.
Apple says the iPhone Xs provides 30 additional minutes of battery life, over the iPhone X. The iPhone Xs Max boasts the largest battery in a phone, and more than an hour and a half longer battery life than today’s iPhone. This generation of device will also allow two phone numbers to work on a single iPhone, thanks to the addition of a dual SIM chip and support from wireless carriers.
The Max is the most costly iPhone ever made, with prices starting at $1,099.
Ok, here’s the last iPhone. The one-more-thing, the new iPhoneXr, made from aerospace aluminum, more durable glass and new finishes — white, black, blue, coral, yellow and red. The 6.1-inch screen goes edge to edge and top to bottom, and it’s an LCD display.
“This is the most advanced LCD ever in a smartphone,” Schiller said.
It’s a bigger display than iPhone 8 Plus and in a smaller container. It has the same A12 bionic chip, supports Face ID, which allows consumers to unlock, log in and pay with a glance, and boasts an advanced camera system that creates portraits using a single camera lens.
iPhone XR will be available to pre-order beginning Friday, October 19 and in stores beginning Friday, October 26. The iPhoneX r comes in three sizes, with prices starting at $749.
Cook comes back on stage, to wrap things up, touting the most capable Apple Watch yet and more capable generation of iPhones.
“At Apple we are always pushing our products forward and making technology more personal,” Cook said. “We hope that you love these new products as much as we do.”