As the most highly awaited event went live for the guests and billions of eyes were glued to the screens of their digital devices taking them into the scene at Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park, the event was on!
And what a cinematic bang to get started with!
The introductory video with its Mission Impossible touch was just the right ‘clicker’ for the event, fun and dramatic.
Tim Cook began the proceedings with a keynote on Apple’s journey so far and the positive impact it has had on its user base across the globe.
Skimming through the products –
Apple Watch Series 4
First up, was the most hyped product of all in the line-up, Apple Watch Series 4. It is what the world has waited for with bated breaths, a category that didn’t exist years before.
Apple Watch isn’t the no. 1 smart watch in the world, it’s the no. 1 watch. – Tim Cook
Taking the curtains off it, the watch was unveiled with an altogether fresh and slim design, edge-to-edge display. The watches offer bigger screens with screen space that is 30 % larger than those of the Series 3 model and is waterproof. With its speaker, it gets as loud as it can get, being 50% louder than a microphone. The most remarkable features that came up were the heart sensor which can provide an electrocardiogram (ECG) and Fall Detection.
iPhone Xs and Xs Max
Next, on the line, Apple unveiled the iPhone Xs and Xs Max, which Tim Cook termed as “the most advanced iPhone we have ever created.”
A quick brushing through the specifications that these two new boasts of; they have a stainless steel design with 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch Super Retina OLED displays. Phil Schiller introduced the two phones, also stressing over the gorgeous looks of the phones. The 6.5-inch display of the iPhone Xs Max makes it bigger than the plus size and the biggest and one of the most incredible iPhone experiences to date. Storage ups the curve too, with the phones offering up to 512GB of massive storage.
So put in all those music videos, heavy documents, movies, software without a fret or worry about the storage space to ply fou. The phones offer improved sensors for faster Face ID. The brand new A12 bionic processor is literally the powerhouse of the phones. The dual 12-megapixel cameras propped up by True Tone sensors and fast 1.8 aperture lenses, a 7-MP TrueDepth sensor on the front, the Smart HDR feature are add-ons to look forward to by all the Apple fans.
The iPhone Xs gives out 30 minutes more battery life than the iPhone X, and both the phones offer the much anticipated SIM card support to the iPhone family.
Last on the stunning line-up, was the iPhone XR, the most budget-friendly product out of three iPhones and coming up in a host of hues such as blue, coral, yellow and red. Termed as “Liquid Retina”, its 6.1-inch edge-to-edge LCD display is quite the eye-candy with its sleek design and its display is wider than the iPhone 8 plus model.
The amazing Face ID feature and the A12 Bionic chip are up in it too. The new Haptic Touch feature instead of the 3D touch feature helps select apps featured on the home screen with a long press. Its single 12-MP wide-angle camera enables optical image stabilization and portrait mode from a single lens. Strengthening the durability quotient like the other two debutant phone, iPhone XR’s battery life exceeds that of the iPhone 8 Plus by 90 more minutes.
Hits and highlights
Fall detection – An appealing add-on that is sure to have delighted the Apple fans is the accelerometer and gyroscope of the Apple Watch series 4 which perform fall detection. What with twice the dynamic range, this super cool wearable detects when you’ve fallen down, with an emergency call to make you get up if you don’t get up immediately following the impact of the fall. With this positive attribute, the feature propels the Apple Watch Series 4 to rise up in competition with the rival Fitbit and qualifies very well to be considered as an event highlight.
ECG – While many people will raise questions on the credibility of the heart sensor of the Apple Watch Series 4, you just can’t ignore the fact that it is the ‘first ECG product offered over the counter’, as said by Tim Cook. The ECG mechanism is the next level technology in wearables enabling the user to hear end notifications for low heart rate and screening the heart for atrial fibrillation. Leaving the actual performance verdict for later, as for now, all we know is that being a one-of-its-kind feature in any wearable so far with its health benefit, it was just impossible to ignore it in the event.
Tim Cook summed up the highlight stating, ‘it redefines what a watch can do for you…to stay more connected, to be more active and lead a healthier life’, serving up to be ‘an intelligent guardian for your health’.
100% renewable energy – This was the most significant highlight of the event. Zeroing on Apple’s environmentally responsible and recycling initiatives with its 100% renewable facilities powered by solar panels, Lisa Jackson said that Apple’s data centers use clean energy to offer services, and Apple eliminates the need to buy new materials, through its 3 point strategy, namely using materials recycled or renewable that are sourced responsibly, producing longer lasting and durable products and recycling the products.
Within this threefold eco-friendly strategy, Apple boasts of material innovations such as using recyclable tin in the main logic board of iPhone Xs that will help ‘prevent mining of 10000 tonnes of tin ores in single year’ as stated by Johnson. It has transitioned to recyclable plastics and bio-based materials and long-lasting software and hardware in the iOS 12 and iPhone 5s for greater durability of their use by the users.
The ‘Apple Giveback’ deserves special mention as the 3rd strategy and the most impressive one, where the user can send back a device regardless the condition, whereby the Apple team will assess it to either re-use or recycle it. We are all already familiar with the Apple robot Leo, whose sister robot Daisy was introduced to carry out the initiative. As Johnson said, Daisy can assemble 9 different models of iPhone and use recycled materials in future products, prompting less mining.
Stressing on the positive impact of these strategies, Johnson said that they make the products “good for you, but a huge win for the planet.”
If you are an Apple phone user, it is well known that you can no longer see a home button on Apple phones now, as Touch ID is already way out of fad for Apple. What’s more, with the Apple Face ID introduced first with the iPhone Xs, your face unlocks the world of the iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max, iPhone XR or iPhone X. Face ID is a complex biometric scanner inbuilt into the front camera system of Apple’s iPhone, and stood out from amongst the gamut of features announced with the products. As put by Phil Schiller, the Face ID feature is a ‘huge step forward’ and is the ‘most secure facial identification ever on a smartphone.’
A12 Bionic chip – This chip is the real ‘clicker’ to the advanced and power-packed performance enhancement in the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR, the ‘smartest, most powerful chip in a smartphone”. Moreover, it’s the industry’s first 7nm chip, which allows them to put in more features to the same space as the old processor. Powered with a six-core CPU along with a four-core GPU, both designed by Apple, this chip revved up operational efficiency as the CPU contains two high-performance cores which are 15% faster than the former A11 Bionic. It is also power efficient as the chip uses 40% less power. All in all, it ‘chipped’ in very well as a highlight of the event!
Up ahead on the horizon
Taking on from the debuts, Apple made quite some interesting announcements on the block which stoked renewed interest for future events. To begin with, HomePod is slated to get stereo pairing support due to AirPlay 2. There’s good news for the Apple TV owners as they can expect Dolby Atmos support on a future TVOS update. Apple gave a heads-up for the Mac owners too as the next big software update macOS Mojave is not very far away, scheduled to be released on September 24. Quite something to look forward to!
“In Apple, we are always pushing the products further and making technology more personal”, Tim Cook stated before signing off. The reception to the event and the product announcements was not singularly positive, what with some coverage highlighting how and why the product announcements and therefore the event fell short of expectations. But that’s the rule of the game, our expectations as a heterogeneous customer base are impossible to match up to individually and that’s exactly where future events join in to fill the gap.
However, one can’t deny that Apple has reinvented the retail experience, making it more engaging and personal. As Tim Cook stated at the beginning of the event, there are over 500 billion visitors in the Apple store. And the way the products of Apple have had a profound impact on our life, they are rather indispensable for the user base which shows that the ‘customer is put at the center’ for Apple indeed and as long as Apple continues to redefine and reinvent with its center unhinged, it has a long way to go.
Coming to the products that debuted in the event, what with their environment-friendly make-up, health features and so on, they demonstrate what the girl exclaims at one point in the introductory video, ‘That’s a serious upgrade!’