Here Are the 5 Biggest Things Announced at Apple’s Big iPhone Event
As predicted, Apple’s big September 12 event showcased the tech giant’s release of its new iPhone Xs and Xr models.
That said, there were a handful of noteworthy announcements related to Apple’s popular iPhone, Apple Watch, and the its approach to software and internal hardware that ties its products together.
Here are five of the biggest announcements from Apple’s annual iPhone event, held at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, Calif.
Here are the new iPhones everyone’s been talking about
Apple’s new iPhone Xs and Xr models represent the next iteration of the company’s previous iPhone X model it debuted last year. Like the iPhone X, the new models contain Apple’s Face ID feature, which lets people unlock their smartphones by looking at them.
The iPhone Xs contains a 5.8-inch “Super Retina” OLED display while the Xs Max has a 6.5-inch version of the same display. Both versions come in gold, space grey, or silver finishes. The cheapest version of the iPhone Xs with the most limited amount of storage (64 GB) will cost $999, while the Xs Max’s base price starts at $1,099.
Apple’s iPhone Xr model is the cheapest of the new iPhones, with a starting price of $749. This model doesn’t have the pressure-sensitive 3D Touch feature as its more expensive siblings, and its display screen contains a lower quality “Liquid Retina” LED display than the “Super Retina” displays.
The iPhone Xr model will be available in white, black, blue, yellow, coral and red colors.
There’s a new Apple Watch in town
The new Apple Watch Series 4 device has a 35% bigger display screen than its predecessor and comes in two different sizes: 40mm or 44mm.
People will be able to buy the Apple Watch Series 4 with GPS for $399 while the version with cellular connectivity will cost $499. Both watches will be available in three different silver, gold, and space gray aluminum finishes.
Apple did not improve the battery life of the new Apple Watch, and it still runs for 18 hours before needing to be recharged.
Apple wants to be good for your heart
Apple chief operating officer Jeff Williams discussed the company’s health technology features that it was embedding in its new Apple Watches.
“Apple watch has become an intelligent guardian for your health,” he boasted.
The new Apple watches, with the help of an optical sensor, can notify a person if their heart rate is too low and can monitor people’s heart rhythms in the background. Williams said the new Apple Watch could help detect atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat), although he hedged that it won’t “catch every instance.”
Apple also put a new electrical heart rate sensor in its watches that makes the device work as an electrocardiogram, or ECG. He said this was the first ECG product “offered over the counter directly to consumers” and said that Apple “received clearance from the FDA” for medical use.
Dr. Ivor Benjamin, the American Heart Association president, came on stage to praise Apple’s health efforts and said he was “inspired by the life-saving potential of technology.”
Start taking better photos with your new iPhone
One of the most interesting new features Apple announced had to do with its new iPhone cameras.
Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller talked about an addition Apple’s portrait mode that now lets people adjust a photo’s depth of field after it was taken.
With the added feature, photographers can change how crisply a photo’s background is displayed, so that they can better emphasize the picture’s subject. It’s a big deal for budding photographers who aren’t familiar with the nuances of shooting professional-looking portraits with their smartphones.
As Fortune’s John Patrick Pullen noted via Twitter, camera company Lytro debuted a similar feature in 2012, but it didn’t take off with consumers.
Use augmented reality to play better basketball
Apple is a believer in augmented reality technology, and brought on stage NBA Hall-of-Famer Steve Nash to demonstrate why seeing digital images overlaid on the real world is a big deal.
Nash showed off a version of the HomeCourt mobile app built for the new iPhones that can track a person’s movements on a basketball court without the help of additional sensors scattered around the area.
The app incorporates various iPhone sensors to monitor a person playing basketball, and can display digital graphics on a person’s phone that tells them statistics about that player’s performance.
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Some of those stats include the time it takes for people to release their shots, the angle of their releases, and their overall speed at shooting hoops. It can also display (via its AR interface) how many shots people have made during a practice session.
“I really wish when I was younger we had these tools,” Nash said.