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What We're Taking from Apple's 2019 Hardware Event

Yesterday marked Apple’s annual media event, where they announced the next iterations of the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch – as well as some brand new services. We’re recapping the highlights from the hardware event and taking a deeper look at how this will impact iOS development and innovation going forward.

iPhone 11

The new iPhone 11 is an improvement over the existing line of devices, with better battery life, a new A13 Bionic chip, and new color choices. But Apple’s big focus this year was on significant improvements to the iPhone’s camera and photography.

The iPhone 11 features two new 12 megapixel cameras on the back – a wide-angle and an ultra-wide angle that allows users to capture four times as much in their photos from the same vantage point. In addition, all the cameras on the iPhone can now shoot 4k video at 60 fps.

A new Night mode turns on automatically when the lighting conditions are optimal to get high-quality photos in low-light situations without the need for flash. The A13 Bionic chip and optical image stabilization makes this all possible by intelligently removing noise and focusing parts of the photo to get a quality shot.

iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max

For users who want the most powerful version of the iPhone 11, Apple introduced the iPhone 11 Pro that tops the power and abilities of the base model. iPhone 11 Pro adds a third camera to the back – a telephoto lens. Combined with the ultra-wide camera, it’s now possible to optically zoom up to 2x in or out.

The battery life has also been extended for the Pro and Pro Max version of the phones, offering up to 5 hours more than the iPhone Xs Max.

Other Notable Features:

  • High-Key Light Mono effect for monochrome studio photos
  • Better water-resistance
  • Support for Dolby Atmos
  • Spatial Audio
  • Fast charging
  • Faster wi-fi
  • Slo-mo selfies (Slofies)

The Bigger Picture:

There are so many new opportunities for innovation and creative developments with the introduction of the new cameras and capabilities of the A13 Bionic chip. This seems like one of the biggest advances in the photographic technology contained in the iPhone to date, emphasizing Apple’s push to innovate this capability. The ability to do things like record high-resolution video from multiple cameras simultaneously and use the powerful on-board machine learning could open up a new world of powerful applications that previously haven’t been possible on an iPhone.

Apple is attempting to reach for the quality of professional DSLR cameras while fitting all the optics into a thin mobile package. To accomplish this, they are relying on multiple camera lenses and advanced computational photography. There will always be a market for professional DSLR cameras, but with the advanced optics in the new iPhone 11, the majority of people will have something comparable that can fit in their pocket.

Overall, you could describe Tuesday’s announcements as incremental improvements on performance and battery efficiency, but it is clear that Apple is laying down the foundation to enable new types of digital experiences in the future. The rumors of future mass-market AR glasses will never materialize until the engineering teams are able to deliver the necessary computing power and battery efficiency to provide a quality user-experience. This is a monumental task, requiring years of refinements.

Apple Watch Series 5

The new Apple Watch was introduced yesterday with a lot of new technology packed into a tiny space, but a few things stand out as significant improvements over the previous generation.

Always-On Retina Display

The new LTPO (low temperature polysilicon oxide) display on the Apple Watch is always-on, which means you no longer have to tap the screen or raise your wrist to see the time or view a complication. It still has the same all-day battery life because the new screen is able to adjust how often it is refreshed to save battery.

More health options

One thing that Apple has been focusing heavily on is capturing health-related data from users for large-scale studies. The irregular heart rhythm study they have been operating was so successful (with over 100,000 participants), that they announced three new studies for users to opt-in to:

  • A hearing study using the new Noise app that is included with watchOS 6
  • A women’s health study using the new cycle tracking features in watchOS 6
  • A heart and Movement study using the activity, ECG, and heart rate sensors

Users can download the new Apple Health Research app to participate.

Other Notable Features:

  • The new watch has a built-in new compass app that displays lat/lng, orientation, incline, and altitude.
  • New case options in white ceramic and brushed titanium
  • New Noise app that alerts the user whenever their environment is too loud

The Bigger Picture:

The Apple Watch has an incredible array of sensors that can capture tons of valuable information about humanity in a way that’s never been possible before. Both Apple and users are hopeful that health study data can lead to life-saving developments. With features like fall-detection, automatically dialing for emergency services, heart rate alerts, heart irregularity alerts, activity alerts, exercise tracker, and mindfulness reminders, the Apple Watch is becoming more than just a cool piece of technology – it’s something that can help make us healthier and safer. It’s also important to note that Apple gives developers access to all the capabilities of the watch, which will inevitably help spark even more innovation.


The new iPad that was introduced is an incremental improvement over the previous generation. It runs the new iPadOS that allows for better multitasking capabilities and is tailored to the larger screen size of the iPad.

This 7th generation iPad increases the screen size to 10.2”, has support for the 1st generation Apple Pencil, and now supports the full-sized smart keyboard.The new iPad starts at $329 and appears to be a very competitive option for things like Chromebook and lower-priced laptops.

Apple Arcade

Apple’s new exclusive-to-iOS Apple Arcade will be available starting September 19th and will be $4.99 a month for a family subscription, with the announcement of 100 new games as early as this fall.

Other Noteworthy Features:

  • Start playing on one device, resume on another
  • Download for offline play
  • Ad-free
  • Share with up to 5 family members

Apple is currently looking for developers who are interested in creating brand new games for Apple Arcade to submit their ideas.

Apple TV+

Apple is launching their new premium subscription service with original content starting on November 1st to compete with other original programming, such as Netflix and Amazon Studios. A number of new shows will launch with the service, including – The Morning Show, See, Dickinson, For All Mankind, and more.

Apple TV+ will be $4.99 per month for a family subscription (up to 6 people) and is available in the Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV.

Other Noteworthy Features:

  • New Apple originals every month
  • Get a one-year subscription for free with the purchase of any new iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac, or Apple TV
  • Ad-free
  • 4K HDR video and Dolby Atmos included
  • Download to watch offline

The Bigger Picture:

It’s interesting to see Apple getting into the original content game – especially at such a low price point. With big names like Steve Carrell, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Momoa, Hailee Steinfeld, Sofia Coppola, Chris Evans, Bill Murray, and Snoopy, it seems as though their star-studded lineup is prepared to go head-to-head with competitors.

Given that Netflix charges extra for 4K content, it’ll be interesting to see how the launch of Apple TV+ impacts the already heated streaming wars.

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