Mobiles & Tablets

Apple takes iPhone X forward with three new launches

Mala Bhargava Cupertino | Updated on November 02, 2018 Published on September 13, 2018

The Apple Watch Series 4

The iPhone XR in orange

Redesigns Apple Watch in its Series 4 line

A new series of iPhones was launched at the Steve Jobs Theatre at the spaceship-like Apple Park in Cupertino, at a large gathering of the media and other guests that the company calls the ‘Apple Special Event’.

Going by nomenclature, the new phones are upgrades to the iPhone X, the one totally redesigned phone launched for the iPhone’s tenth anniversary last year. “It’s time to take the iPhone X to another level,” said CEO Tim Cook on stage at the event.

The iPhone XS, XS Max and the XR all take on some of the features that were only present in the iPhone X, such as the unique True Depth camera that houses the technology behind ‘Face Unlock’, Apple’s special face recognition, and the ability to handle augmented reality applications.

iPhone XS and XS Max

Of the three devices, the iPhone XS and XS Max are the more advanced. Coming in at 5.8-inches and and a large 6.5-inches, the smartphones feature what Apple calls the Super Retina Display. Being OLED displays, these are vivid and have rich colours and clarity. Their sizes, specially the iPhone XS Max, are meant to be more compelling for consuming visual content such as videos and images. To enhance the experience, there is wider stereo sound.

Apple’s iPhones and the iPad Pro line already have the best sounding speakers on mobile devices. Despite its size, the iPhone XS Max is not unwieldy to hold and both devices look similar to the previous generation of iPhones, except for a new gold variant other than the existing silver and space grey.

The cameras get a number of upgrades in the two XS phones. Most interestingly and to the delight of the tech media at the event, a new feature called Smart HDR can shoot several ‘inter-frames’ and combine them for greater depth and detail in the image. Users will also be able to control the amount of ‘Bokeh’ or depth of field blurring effect using a slider.

iPhone XR

The somewhat cheaper iPhone XR or the ‘one more iPhone’ introduced by Philip "Phil" Schiller, the senior vice-president of worldwide marketing at Apple, comes with an LCD display and also looks vivid and bright with its 6.1-inch screen.

All the iPhones will run the new first-to-market 7 nanometer A12 Bionic chip, which makes the devices both faster and more battery efficient, but most of all, able to power neural networks rapidly.

Shenzhen-based tech company Huawei has also announced a 7nm chip, but has not yet featured it on a smartphone. Other than a different screen, the iPhone XR has a single camera set-up, unlike the more advanced iPhones’ dual-lens configuration.

For the first time, Apple is introducing dual SIM in the iPhones. The second SIM is an E-SIM, although in China the devices use dual physical SIMs.

Pricing of new iPhones

The iPhone XS will come in 64GB, 256GB and 512GB versions, priced starting Rs 99,000 for the 64GB version. The larger iPhone XS Max will similarly come in 64GB, 256GB and 512GB versions, priced starting Rs 109,900 for the 64GB version.  In India, the XS phones will be available from September 28.

The iPhone XR will be available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB variants with a starting price of Rs 76,900 with pre-orders beginning on October 19 and will ship from October 26. It has more colour variants than the XS phones including orange, blue, yellow and red. The phones are made of surgical grade metal and glass.

Redesigned Apple Watch Series 4

An interesting redesign has been made to the Apple Watch, now in its Series 4 line. The look of the watch has changed with the use of edge-to-edge glass that curves into the edges. The displays are 30 per cent larger and yet use the same size of casing.

Apple has worked on a strong integration of the software and the upgrade to Watch OS 5, which brings several new features and interface improvements including the ability to display much more information.

The Apple Watch retains its iconic design and has moved from 38mm and 42mm sizes to 40mm and 44mm sizes. The watches in both sizes actually look and feel slimmer and, as ever, come with a slew of optional watch bands.

Keeping watch on your heart rate

But perhaps most exciting of all is the new feature that adds electrical sensors to the ceramic back of the watch to measure actual ECG. Done through an app, the readings are meant to help detect atrial fibrillation and other irregularities in the heart rate level, as also low or elevated heart rates. Noting a significant irregularity can trigger off an emergency call on the watch, which has cellular connectivity. The new Apple Watch will also detect falls using its gyroscope, and a number of parameters on the device. This, too, can get help to the individual.

These features have FDA certification and are supported by the American Heart Foundation. Jeff Williams, Apple’s Chief Operating Officer said, “The completely redesigned Apple Watch Series 4 continues to be an indispensable communication and fitness companion, and now with the addition of ground-breaking features, like fall detection and the first-ever ECG app offered directly to consumers, it also becomes an intelligent guardian for your health.”

Beginning Friday, September 14, the Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS) will be available to order in 26 countries and territories, and Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS + Cellular) will be available to order in 16 countries and territories. Both models will be available in stores beginning Friday, September 21. Prices have not been announced yet.

Published on September 13, 2018

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