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Apple Special Event - September 2018 - Our Thoughts

Posted by Stephen Hamson on

It's September, meaning it's that time of year where Apple reveal their latest line of products and 2018 is no different. 

The event took place at the Steve Jobs Theater located on Apple Park in Cupertino, California, the Theater of course being named after the Co-Founder and former CEO of Apple who passed away in 2011 following a battle with Pancreatic Cancer. 

The Theater itself is an underground 1,000 seat auditorium intended for Apple product launches and press meets.

Apple's CEO Tim Cook kicked off the event with the announcement of the 4th Series of the popular Apple Watch.

One the most noticeable changes that comes with the new series of the Apple Watch is the 30% larger display which comes as a result of the 2 new size options, 40mm and 44mm as opposed to the 38mm and 42mm seen on the previous series.

This new larger screen allows for a new redesigned watch face with more detailed information available to view on your wrist. 

As well as adding a larger screen, Apple has also re-worked many of the UI elements including updating existing watch faces and adding new ones.

Another new feature is the entirely new haptic feedback mechanism that is now found in the signature Digital Crown found on the right side of every Apple Watch to date. This new mechanism allows for much greater precision whilst also being 30 percent smaller in size than the previous series which will give your watch a much sleeker look.

Within the updated Digital Crown is a sensor which is also present on the rear of the watch. Touching both of these sensors at once activates another new feature, ECG (electrocardiogram)The screen will count you down and give you the results of your ECG and any potential abnormalities it detects.

The Apple Watch Series 4 is also able to detect low heart rates as well as AFib making it the ultimate companion to monitor your health.

Inside is a new second generation accelerometer with twice the dynamic range, with sampling happening eight times more frequently, and is capable of measuring up to 32G. Thanks to that, Apple Watch Series 4 can now detect falls, slips, and trips.

If your watch detects a fall, an alert will appear on the Apple Watch. If you're ok, the alert can be dismissed. Otherwise, you can alert emergency services with the watch's SOS feature. 

In a situation where you may be unresponsive, Apple Watch will alert emergency services and send your location to your emergency contact if it fails to detect any movement within 60 seconds. This is a potentially life saving new feature.

Some other new, more expected improvements come in making the overall performance of the new Apple Watch better than it's predecessors. This comes with the introduction of the new seriously fast 64-bit S4 Processor, 50% louder speakers, new and rearranged microphones as well as better cellular reception and the addition of Bluetooth 5.

The customisation for the Apple Watch Series 4 is quite similar to before with different Aluminium and Stainless Steel Watch Faces available and your choice of different Watch Faces with Sports or more Premium straps available.

Ok, so now we've said what's new, what do we think?

Well, one of the most stand out and striking features of the watch will be the new screen, and 2mm extra may not seem like a lot but the newly design shape of the watch face allows for more screen space to be used to display important information, whether this is information about your health, the weather, your messages, the Apple Watch has always allowed you to fully customise your Watch Face with information that is important to you and therefore i think the ability to display more of that information on the larger Watch Face makes this new feature a very welcome addition.

However, the other new features introduced by Apple, except obviously improvements in performance, are geared towards making the new watch the ultimate Health and Fitness companion for iPhone users. Therefore I don't think these new features are going to attract everyone to spend the high asking price of £399.99 on the new series if they are already happy with the model they have got.

Not every user of the Apple Watch is interested in the watch being a Health companion, some users are only interested in using the watch as a companion for their iPhone, using it to get notifications when their phone is in their pocket or see the weather forecast etc., all of which is available on the older and now cheaper series of the Apple Watch.

Despite this, I still think the Series 4 will be a success in it's target market and will continue to be the Number 1 Watch in the world as stated in Apple's Presentation.

Following the announcement of the next series of the Apple Watch, Apple moved on to the part that most people were probably looking forward to most, the introduction of their latest iPhone models. 

Apple announced 3 new models, the iPhone XS and XS Max, which are Apple's new flagship devices, and a much more budget friendly alternative called the iPhone XR.

Starting with the iPhone XS and XS Max, the design is not too different to the iPhone X with the use of Surgical Grade Stainless Steel on the chassis and a 'Super Retina' OLED Display, however, the XS and XS Max does boast having the strongest glass ever used on an iPhone, how strong this glass is we do not know yet (and we don't really want to take a hammer to a £1000 phone to find out!) The XS and XS Max also see the introduction of HDR (High Dynamic Range) which offer a much wider ranger colours and deeper truer blacks providing the best display ever seen on a smartphone to date.

Apple also announced the iPhone XR, a cheaper alternative than the XS and XS Max, however 'some' the specs on the XR are still impressive. It features many of the same features seen on the XS with Face ID and an Edge to Edge display still present however the display is a 6.1" 'Liquid Retina' LCD Display rather OLED and instead of the Stainless Steel Chassis, the XR features a Aluminium Chassis, although the XR is available in a much wider range of colours.

One of the major downfalls with the iPhone XR's is it's Liquid Retina Display, at just 1792 x 828 or 326 Pixels per inch, it has the same Pixels per inch as an iPhone 4 meaning you are unable to watch Full HD 1080p content on the iPhone XR.

Seriously Apple? It's 2018.

The XR, XS and XS Max all feature a 12 MP Wide-Angle Rear Camera capable of recording video at 4k resolution. The front camera or the TrueDepth camera as Apple calls it, features a 7MP Camera.

Impressively, all 3 phones feature Apple's new A12 Bionic Chip, which is Apple's latest and most powerful processor to date which features a 6 Core CPU, a 4 Core GPU, which is 50% more powerful than it's predecessor and for the first time ever the A12 chip features a 8 Core Neural Engine for Dedicated Machine Learning. 

The iPhone XS and XS Max is available in 3 different colours, Silver and Space Gray as seen on the iPhone X and the introduction of a new colour which has been seen on previous models, that being Gold. The XS and XS Max are also the first iPhone models to offer up to 512GB of Storage, as well as offering 64GB as standard or 256GB as an optional upgrade.

The iPhone XR only offers the choice of 64GB, 128GB or 256GB of Storage but offers a much wider range of customisation in terms of colour options with your choice of Red, Yellow, White, Coral, Black or Blue.

So, what do we think?

Although more pricey there is no doubting that the XS and XS Max are going to be very successful phones in the market over the next few years as they feature some amazing new innovations which will massively improve them over their predecessor, the iPhone X. But, the price is the main issue here, the cheapest model at launch is the 64GB iPhone XS which will set you back £999.00 if you choose to buy it outright or add another £100 if you want the XS Max, this is just too expensive for the majority of people.

This is where the XR comes into play, at £750 at launch, which may still be too pricey for some, this model offers arguably the best value for money of the 3 new devices, with a screen size in between the XS and XS Max, albeit LCD and not OLED, but features the same A12 Bionic Chip as the XS.

I think this is a very good move by Apple as they've taken into consideration that average consumers simply aren't going to pay the asking price for the XS and XS Max unless they are big Tech or iPhone fans. However by offering the XR it allows a wider range of people to be able to enjoy many of the features available on the XS or XS Max such as the Edge to Edge Display and Face ID at a much more affordable price.

As we said earlier the only major downfall with the XS comes in it's Liquid Retina which is just 326 Pixels per Inch, the same as the iPhone 4. If you can overlook this then this phone will be a good choice if not then you may have to wait until the price drops on the XS and XS Max before upgrading.

Be sure to let us know what you think in the comments, which new product, if any, from the Apple Event interests you most, we'd love to hear your opinion below!


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