Thursday, 13 September 2018

Apple Watch 4 + iPhone XS, XS Max & XR

So, what’s next for Apple? It’s quite clear where the money’s to be made, with no announcement of a new iPad, iMac or MacBook (Pro/Air).

Apple Watch

The Series 4 of the Apple watch was already leaked, earlier this week, but now we get a good look and a technical rundown of all that it offers. A new 30% larger screen, with curved corners and edges. All new customisable user interface. Bigger screen also means it’s a bigger device, than previous iterations, but don’t worry too much as all your old wristbands will fit the 4th gen model just fine. The new Crown Dial now has haptic feedback, so you can feel all those clicks as you scroll through your content. The mic and the speaker, which has been made 50% louder, have been moved to the opposite sides, “to reduce echo”.

A “next gen” accelerometer and gyroscope have been added to the series 4, so it can now recognise when you slip or fall and will automatically call the emergency services, if you stay motionless for more than a minute. Apple quite heavily emphasize the fitness aspects of the watches upgrades with it’s new heart rate monitor that knows when you're dying before you do.

It can warn you if your heart slows or is irregular. A new Electrocardiogram (ecg) feature measures for heart conditions and keeps a record of these, for comparison. All of this is FDA approved and is praised by a leading heart specialist. The Apple Watch now runs on a Dual Core 64bit Processor, making it more efficient, whilst using about the same amount of strain on the battery, which reportedly lasts 18 hrs, or 6 hrs active… So now you only need to charge your watch up to four times a day... How convenient.

iPhone XS and XS Max

According to Apple, what we require are bigger phones made of surgical steel. Which is “the most beautiful iPhone ever created” (so says an obviously unbiased opinion). The iPhone XS (pronounced iPhone-ten-S) has a 5.8-inch super retina OLED whilst the, even more awkwardly named, iPhone XS Max has a whopping 0.7-inches of extra screen space, over it’s £100 less counterpart, at 6.5-inches. Both of these displays offer HDR10 and Dolby Vision and a 60% greater image depth than the current iPhone X. An all new updated Stereo sound has been added and Apple make claims that these offer good speakers for listening to music straight off the phone, which I highly doubt but I guess I’ll find out next time I’m on a bus.

Video is also now recorded in stereo, using the two integrated mics, which is surprising that it wasn’t already. Both phones have updated camera’s using “Smart HDR”. “Bokeh” and “secondary interframes” are thrown around as Apple’s buzzwords for blur and explaining on a basic level how depth of field is created and synthetically fixed on a camera’s processor. Basically, taking a few photos of varying exposures and depth of field, in ridiculously inhuman quick succession, to make one photo with nice shadows and highlights. Using an editor it’s also possible to adjust both the level of blur and depth, to your own preference, at a later date. Video has also been slightly updated with some new HDR features. It would have been nice if these were shown off a little more. Dual Sim functionality has been implemented, in both the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, so you can have two numbers on a single phone, for travelling or business. Which reading up on is supplied by eSIMS, who aren’t a very well covered carrier and are not allowed within China. The iPhone XS has a 30 min longer battery life, than the standard iPhone X, and the iPhone S Max boasts an hour and a half over it’s now, judging by the way Apple keep using it as a comparison point, obsolete older brother. Both Phones are available in 64GB, 256GB and 512GB from September 21st.

iPhone XR

A third announced, aluminium iPhone, presumably aimed at more of a teen audience because it’s shown in most of the colours of the rainbow. Features a 6.1-inch - 1792 x828 resolution with 326ppi, no HDR or wide colour gamut - Liquid retina (LCD) display, which is larger than the iPhone 8 Plus but has a smaller body/frame. It also only has one lens. The battery life lasts around an hour and a half longer than the (again compared to) 8 plus. So lots of cutbacks to cheapen production for all those profit gains. It comes in the same sized 64GB, 256GB and 512GB models.

Everyone’s favourite Bethesda employee, Todd Howard, graced the stage - Skyrim on iPhone confirmed... almost. Just Elder Scrolls Blades, which was shown off at E3. An Elder Scrolls light, if you will. A much-simplified version of a full game but still looks very impressive. Available in Fall/Autumn (so soon). I wonder how long the battery last while running Blades?

The Homecourt App has some interesting tech, a basketball App for tracking your shots, accuracy, speed, position and how many you miss. I’m not sure I’d be trusting enough to leave my £1000+ phone just laying at the side of a basketball court, though. Some apps can take as little as 1/10th the energy, to run on the new phones, which is good for things like AR or processor heavy games.

So we got to see a new Apple Watch and three new models of iPhone... X. Because why make something new when people are happy to buy the same thing.

Bry Wyatt

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