It looks like the rumours were right on the money.
On Wednesday, Apple announced three new iPhones– all successors to last year’s opinion dividing smash hit, the iPhone X. It also announced a new Apple Watch and a new iOS.
Apple is about to ship their two billionth iOS device this year. This sounds like a good time to double down on success and spread the goodness around.
Large displays get even larger
The new flagships, Apple XS and XS Max are faster, sleeker, and most importantly, larger than the iPhone X. The iPhone XS retains the 5.8-inch dimensions from last year, while the XS Max upgrades to a massive 6.5-inches, with a 2,688 x 1,242 resolution. These display panels are made of the strongest smartphone glass ever made, according to Phil Schiller.
The XS Max is also larger than even the newest Note 9, which has a 6.4-inch screen.
Not only is the XS Max larger than any iPhone before, it also feels better than any previous Plus model.
Both XS models boast better stereo speakers, faster Face ID and better water resistance. The newly announced A12 Bionic processor also gives the models a significant boost in speed, leading to an average increased efficiency of 45% among all cores. The A12 is a six-core chip, an industry-first chip to use a 7nm production process. The XS models will also support dual SIMs, which will be a massive boon to Asian markets. It will be available later in the fall, via a software upgrade.
Both the front and rear cameras got a nice boost. Like last year, the rear cameras are both 12-megapixels; but the new the wide-angle sensor creates a noticeable difference. Optical image stabilization has been added, and the True Tone sensor has been upgraded as well. The telephoto also includes a wider aperture, for better low light photography. Although the front camera is still at 7-megapixels, it’s gotten faster as well.
One big software upgrade Apple is introducing for its camera is the Smart HDR feature. Similar to the Pixel, iPhones will now take multiple images and splice them together to get the best shot.
The battery gets a modest upgrade: the XS has 30 more minutes of battery life, while the XS Max gets an hour and a half more.
The XS starts at $999, while the XS Max starts at $1,099.
The new affordable iPhone
The iPhone XR will be the default smartphone for many buyers this fall. It’s budget-friendly and sacrifices the dual cameras and OLED screens of its larger siblings, but it also provides newer features over last year’s iPhone 8.
The 6.1-inch screen is an LCD Display, dubbed ‘Liquid Retina’, reportedly the most advanced LCD smartphone display yet, with a 1,792 x 828 resolution. Specs-wise, the XR matches many of the XS’ upgrades – which include the A12 bionic processor and dual SIM feature – but it lacks 3D touch. The single 12-megapixel camera is still capable of taking portrait-style photos with blurred bokeh effects.
The iPhone XR starts off at $749. It’s a much more affordable alternative to the X and the XS models. However, if you are looking for dual cameras, you are better off with the XS, or even an iPhone 8 Plus instead.
The watch gets bigger, too
Apple unveiled the Apple Watch Series 4 earlier at the event, with a newly revamped, larger screen that goes nearly edge to edge. It now comes in two sizes: 40 mm and 44 mm. Sporting a new dual-core 64-bit S4 processor, the new Apple Watch is twice as fast compared to Series 3 models. Other hardware improvements include a better accelerometer and gyroscope.
The Watch’s most notable new feature is the ability to take an electrocardiogram (EKG).
This makes this the first consumer product to do EKGs that are sold over the counter. The Series 4 model has already been approved by the FDA for use as a medical device.
The WatchOS’ UI has also been redesigned and tweaked to take advantage of the larger display. The watch face has also been overhauled, with eight new combinations. Other additions include haptic feedback and a ring-shaped LTE red dot indicator. The battery life remains unchanged at 18 hours, although the speakers have gotten a little louder.
The GPS only version will ship at $399, while the GPS + LTE version will ship at $499. They are a safe bet on Apple’s part, who overtook Xiaomi and Fitbit in Q2 2017 as the largest seller of wearables.
So many Apple devices, so little cash
Last year, there was some scepticism that the iPhone X’s $999 price tag would limit its appeal. However, Apple revealed in its last earnings that the X has proven consistently more popular than both the iPhone 7 and 8. It also outsold most rival flagships, including the Note 8 and the Pixel 2.
There’s little reason at this point to upgrade to an XR or an XS from an X this year, but that has never stopped Apple loyalists before. Feel free to spend away, and make the poorer folk weep at your misfortunes. If you are poor, worry not: the iPhone 7 and 8 are now available at $449 and $549 respectively.
The iPhones XS, XS Max and XR will be available in October, while the Apple Watch Series 4 will be available in late September.