In the tech world, we can all but mark the beginning of fall by the arrival of new Apple hardware. At this week’s Apple Special Event from the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, CA, Tim Cook et al held forth on new iPhones, a new Watch, and a few other little surprises within each. While not the most momentous product event in recent memory, there’s still a fair amount of info to unpack. Here’s everything you need to know about what was announced:
iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max
Available September 21
Apple unveiled its new iPhone Xs to the world in true cinematic fashion, complete with theatrical audio and dramatic shadowing for a sensual and mysterious effect.
While in many ways an incremental update from last year’s iPhone X, the Xs does seem better-positioned to realize some of the potential of last year’s flagship device. Here are the big updates:
Bionic A12 Chip
This is the industry’s first 7 nanometer chip with 6.9 billion transistors and an Apple-designed 4-core GPU and 6-core CPU.
- 8-core architecture
- Enhanced image signal processor
- Advanced performance controller
- 5 trillion operations per second
- Up to 50% faster graphics performance
- Up to 15% faster performance cores
- Up to 50% lower power usage in efficiency cores
- Up to 9x faster than the A11 Bionic
What it means for your app: A super fast chip with real-time machine learning allows for much faster experiences with both graphic-heavy apps and also interactions such as games, photos, and AR.
Two New Sizes
Apple introduced two new sizes with the iPhone Xs (5.8” display) and iPhone Xs Max (6.5” display—the largest display ever on an iPhone), emphasizing that the new super-retina displays offer the most accurate color in the industry with HDR and true blacks.
What it means for your app: Two new screen sizes you need to be sure to accommodate when designing apps—also, more color depth means more color variance across devices.
Surgical-grade stainless steel bands (great for doctors looking to consolidate tools), a brand new gold finish, the most durable glass ever in a smartphone, and a new level of water and dust resistance (max depth of 2 meters up to 30mins).
What it means for your app: Nothing, really.
Re-imagined Dual Camera System
A new dual-camera system taps into the Neural Engine’s power to perform five trillion operations per second, creating a next-level photography experience complete with smart HDR, bokeh and depth control, enhanced Portrait mode selfies and more low-light detail. It also features 4k video and wider stereo playback, and improved face-detection with machine learning.
What it means for your app: If you make use of the camera, you’ll be able to leverage the higher-quality camera for increased accuracy in AR applications, for instance.
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Similar in many ways to the Xs, the main differences being:
- LCD screen boasting “Liquid Retina” display, compared to the Xs’s OLED
- Aluminum casing (in a variety of colors), compared to the Xs’s stainless steel set
- Single back camera system, compared to the Xs’s two-camera system
- Priced a little lower than the iPhone Xs (starting at $749 compared to the Xs’ $999)
What it means for your app: Much the same as the Xs in most regards.
Apple Watch: Series 4
Available September 21
The most substantial upgrade to the Apple Watch yet; the series 4 offers extreme hardware upgrades which bring considerable enhancements to the capabilities of the watch, especially where health and fitness are concerned.
New Hardware Design
Series 4 includes an all-new hardware design, with a 30% larger screen which offers more power efficiency and a new LTPO display technology. A completely redesigned UI offers more detail and watch faces with the capability of accommodating up to eight complications.
Apple re-engineered the Digital Crown to incorporate haptic feedback for a sharper scroll and a titanium electrode to accommodate the electrocardiogram (ECG) app via touch. The new model features a back made of black ceramic and sapphire crystals, allowing radio waves to pass through both the front and back of the device. It samples motion data 8x faster, allowing for fall detection (rendering Life Alert completely irrelevant and useless) and automatic workout detection.
Now with two sensors—an upgraded Optical Heart Sensor and a new Electrical Heart Sensor which boasts an FDA-approved ECG screen capability along with the capacity to detect irregular heart rates (also FDA-approved). The model still assures an 18-hour battery life, and is actually thinner than the previous model despite the many new additions.
What it means for your app: Potential opportunities to sync more accurate health and fitness data with health and fitness apps. New possibilities for surfacing more data on the watch face with new complication styles. If you have further questions about any of these announcements, reach out to us!