Wednesday 23 January 2019

First Look: Apple reveals three new iPhones and larger Apple Watch

Apple Watch
Apple Watch
Apple iPhone Xs and Xs Max
Apple's latest range of mobile phones, the iPhone Xr, Xs and Xs Max
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Apple has announced three new iPhones, led by a 6.5-inch large-screen model, the iPhone Xs Max.

The other two new models announced were the 5.8-inch iPhone Xs and 6.1-inch iPhone Xr.

The new handsets follow the all-screen design of the current iPhone X model, using facial recognition (Face ID) as a method of waking up the phone, downloading apps and paying for things.

Apple also announced a new version of the Apple Watch with a bigger screen and new health features, including an ECG sensor and the ability to tell when someone falls.

Apple's latest range of mobile phones, the iPhone Xr, Xs and Xs Max
Apple's latest range of mobile phones, the iPhone Xr, Xs and Xs Max

Here’s what Apple announced:

1 iPhone Xs Max

Apple iPhone Xs and Xs Max

This is the probably Apple’s lynchpin new product this year.

The central appeal of Apple’s new flagship iPhone is its glorious 6.5-inch Oled screen.

But despite the display being a full inch in diameter longer than last year’s iPhone 8 Plus, Apple has managed to keep the overall outline size of the handset at roughly the same as the iPhone 8 Plus because it’s an all-screen device.

The new high-end iPhone gets camera improvements in both the physical lenses and in what the new chip will allow in terms of processing the photo.

There’s a bigger sensor under the hood, while both the 12-megapixel wide angle and 12-megapixel telephoto (2x) zoom lens are stabilised.

Computational upgrades include better high dynamic range, meaning that photos combine better shadows and highlights. It does this by taking lots of different photos simultaneously and taking the best bits of each.

“It’s the world’s most popular camera” says Phil Schiller.

It also gets a newer, more powerful processor called the A12, which Apple says is the industry’s first 7-nanometer chip. It’s capable of supporting 5 trillion operations per second.

Apple says that there has been improvement in the device’s Face ID system and believes that it will become an industry standard.

”Your face becomes your passport,” said chief executive Tim Cook. ”iPhone X has changed the industry.”

The new device comes with up to 512Gb of storage memory for those who don’t want to rely on cloud storage.

And Apple says that its battery life lasts 90 minutes longer than on the current iPhone X.

Apple says that the new iPhone Xs Max will cost from $1,099 plus sales tax in teh US, meaning it will likely cost around €1,300 in Ireland.

The market for big ‘phablet’ phones used to be considered very niche, confined to hardcore business users and pockets of the Asian market. These days, however, it’s mainstream — there is virtually no flagship phone now that has a display under 5.5 inches. People want to do much more with their phones than make calls, send messages, conduct light Google searches or play Angry Birds.

With the perfect storm of speedy broadband, semi-professional camera lenses and laptop-grade chips under their hoods, today’s big-screen smartphones have become televisions, video creation tools and overall entertainment devices.

2. iPhone XR

Apple’s next most interesting smartphone is its new ‘cheaper’ iPhone X model, the iPhone Xr. This is essentially an iPhone X made more affordable by holding back on one or two features, mainly a second rear camera and an LCD display rather than an Oled one. But at first glance, it looks almost indistinguishable from the other two iPhone Xs models, including the presence of a ‘notch’ on the front of the phone to enable Face ID.

With a 6.1-inch screen, this has a bigger display than the current iPhone 8 Plus while being physically smaller in overall handset size.

Unlike the other new iPhone X models, this has only one rear camera, a 12-megapixel wide angle lens. However, this has the same power and features as the more expensive phones, including HDR and control over bokeh.

Its battery life is claimed to be 90 minutes better than the iPhone 8 Plus.

It costs from $749 in teh US, meaning a likely price of around €850 in Ireland.

3. iPhone Xs

The iPhone Xs is Apple’s straight upgrade for last year’s iPhone X.

It has the same size Oled display (5.8-inches in diameter) as the existing iPhone X. It also has the same cameras as the iPhone Xs Max. It comes with a storage capacity of up to 512GB and will start at $999 in the US, meaning a likely price of around €1,150 in Ireland.

4. Apple Watch Series 4

Apple Watch

Apple has unveiled a new, bigger Series 4 Watch.

Highlights include more power, a 30pc larger screen And new technology to detect when you fall. The Watch can then alert medical professionals or other emergency services.

Apple is touting the device strongly as a health and sports wearable, while the rear of the watch has been redesigned to improve cellular connection.

Apple says that the speaker is 50pc louder and optimised for phone calls, Siri and Walkie-Talkie.

The gadget’s ‘crown’ now includes haptic feedback while the user interface is optimised for the larger display, especially for app icons and fonts that are bigger and easier to read.

One of the new Watch’s big features is an ability to take an ECG reading from the wrist using anew ECG app, which uses electrodes built into the Watch’s digital crown and a new electrical heart rate sensor in the back crystal. With the app, users touch the digital crown and after 30 seconds, receive a heart rhythm classification.

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