September 2018 Apple Event

It seems just like yesterday that the iPhone Xpensive, I mean, the iPhone X was launched. And here we are one year later, at the next Apple’s Devices event. Thanks to a number of leaks, the event certainly lost a little of its grip on my expectations. Either way, let’s see what Apple had to say yesterday at the Apple Special Event 2018.

(Have only 108 seconds to find out about Apple’s event, take a look at the video at the end of this post!)

As usual, the event starts with a video (which was quite boring this time), followed by a few of Tim Cook’s updates.

A few of the stats

  • Apple stores worldwide are visited by over 500 million, or 50 crores visitors each year.
  • iOS device sales so far is about to hit 2 Billion
  • Apple Watch is the #1 watch in the world. Not just the #1 watch. The #1 watch.
  • The iPhone X is the #1 smartphone in the world, and also has the highest customer satisfaction rate of 98%.
  • All of Apple’s data centers and facilities worldwide are now 100% running on renewable energy.

Apple Watch

Apple Watch Series 4 is the next upgrade to the Apple Watch Series.

  • With over a 30% larger screen size, a lot of the default watch face have been redesigned to include more widgets (which Apple calls ‘complications’. Well, it got that right!).
  • The digital crown now provides haptic feedback as you rotate it.
    The speaker is 50% louder, and the microphone has been moved to the opposite side, to reduce echoes during calls.
  • The back of the watch is now, not aluminium, but a combination of sapphire crystal and ceramic, which helps the watch get better cellular reception.
  • The processer is twice as fast as the previous gen Apple Watch.
  • Along with the existing feature of detecting suspicious change in heartbeat, the new Apple Watch can now detect low heart rate and also irregular rhythms which could mean atrial fibrillation.

Fall Detection : The Apple Watch has always been able to track different movements. The hugely-improved sensors coupled with the faster processor now allow the Apple watch to detect falls, which include trips and slips. The detection automatically brings up the option to contact emergency services. If the wearer remains immobile for a minute, emergency contacts are automatically notified, along with your location data.

ECG : That’s right. Electric signals from the heart are read by sensors in the back and the digital crown, and processed by algorithms. The app then gives a heart rhythm classification, along with saving the reports in the Health app on the iPhone, which can then be shared as a document to your doctor. This data is encrypted on the devices and also in the cloud.

The fact, that the FDA has approved the irregular rhythm detection and ECG features, is in itself a good sign that Apple is doing a good job on both these.

As usual, there are a bunch of new straps and bands.

Apple Watch Series 4 ranges from $399 to $499, with the Series 3’s price adjusted to $279.
Ordering starts on September 14, and Series will be available starting September 21. Watch OS 5 will be available on September 17.

iPhone

The iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max (not Plus) are the high-end successors of the iPhone X, while the iPhone XR is a slightly lower-specced successor.

  • They also come in Gold, along with the iPhone X’s Silver and Space Grey.
  • They are waterproof for up to 2 meters, compared to the X’s 1 meter.
  • The XS is the same as the X at 5.8 inches, whereas the XS Max comes in at a whopping 6.5 inches *breathing intensifies*
  • Both the phones have upgraded surround sound speakers, and also record audio in stereo, which the X doesn’t.
  • Although the camera upgrades aren’t very impressive, the processor allows for photos to be automatically clicked with additional data such as face detection, face mapping, different exposure levels, which help to produce better photos.
  • The processor and faster camera sensors allow us to edit the depth of the portrait photo after it has been taken. Goodbye, Fotos! You had a good run.
  • They both support dual sims along with dual standby. One of the sims will be a physical sim, whereas the other be electronically “inserted” by scanning a QR code provided by the ISP.

The iPhone XS and XS Max come in 64, 256, and 512 GB configurations, and start at $999 and $1099 respectively. Pre-orders and availability will begin on September 14 and September 21 respectively.

  • The screen is only LCD and not LED, and the screen resolution is 326ppi unlike the X’s 458ppi.
  • The rear camera is a single camera setup, instead of like the double camera setup on the X, XS, and XS Max.
  • The phone’s screen is 6.1 inches diagonally, making it look like a slightly bigger iPhone X.
  • The phone just like the iPhone X has dropped Touch ID, and has Face ID in the never-annoying notch.
  • Although the phone doesn’t have a dual-camera setup-enabled portrait mode, it does, however, takes advantage of the camera’s focus and machine learning to create portrait mode photos with a depth effect.
  • As the XR has the same beast of a processor that powers the XS and the XS Max, you will be able to change the depth of portait photos, by editing them through the Photos app.

The iPhone XR comes in 64, 128, and 256 GB configurations, and starts at $749. Pre-orders and availability will begin on September 19 and September 26 respectively.

You can compare these devices directly on Apple’s site.

Updates to other products

  • HomePod will soon support searching for music, voice calls, pinging your Apple devices, and Siri shortcuts.
  • The HomePod update and the tvOS update which was announced at WWDC earlier this year will both be available on September 17.
  • macOS Mojave, which was also announced at WWDC, will be available starting September 24.

My take on the event

The event was good. The fall detection on the Apple Watch and the new iPhones are no doubt big arrivals to the tech industry. The iPhones providing dual sim support just made me chuckle. Although Apple could have just named the XS Max as XS Plus, and the XR as XC. Guess it took Apple a lot of “courage” to change the normal naming convention :P

I did not like the way Apple conveyed a few points. Apple positioned Dual Sim Dual Standby as if Apple developed it, and spoke high of the XS’ and the XS Max’s Super Retina displays whereas it was already present on the X. It seemed as if Apple was trying to impress naive members of the audience. Even the oil film wallpaper seems to be a cheap trick to hide the ugliness of the notch from the users. Or maybe I’m just imagining things because of my undying hatred towards Apple.

If you weren’t able to see the event, you can catch the whole event at Apple’s site.

Or you can just watch a super-quick recap of just the important stuff.

Google has its event scheduled for October 9, and I really hope Google doesn’t have a notch up its sleeve. I guess we won’t really know till Google lets us know. You can read all about Google’s event on October 10 :)

Did you see the event? What did you like? What did you not like? Let me know in the comments below!

Charles Samuel D'Monte

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Book-lover, Tech-lover, Amateur Photographer, Always-looking-for-something-to-write-about-er