8 highlights from Apple’s product launch

The iPhone Mini has been cancelled, there’s a new class of Apple Watch, and a “dynamic island” will make getting notifications less of a hassle for iPhone Pro users.


what you need to know

  • Apple on Wednesday unveiled its latest lineup of AirPods Pro phones, watches and headphones
  • The iPhone 14 will have a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display and will be accompanied by a 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Plus
  • Arguably the most notable advances in iPhones are their cameras.
  • Apple introduced a new class of watch called “Ultra,” designed with outdoor adventurers in mind.

Those are just some of the headlines from Apple’s Wednesday unveiling of its latest lines of AirPods Pro phones, watches and headphones.

Here are eight highlights from the announcement.

1. New iPhones

The iPhone 14 will have a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display and will be accompanied by a 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Plus. The last two lines included a smaller “mini” version of the popular phones, but Apple has phased them out in favor of the Plus.

The phones use the same A15 Bionic chip that was featured in last year’s iPhone 13 Pro models. They also feature longer battery life and a “ceramic shield” smartphone glass.

However, the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max are getting chip upgrades to the A16 Bionic, which is faster and has 50% more memory bandwidth.

The iPhone 14 starts at $799, flat from last year, and the 14 Plus is $899. Starting prices for the Pro and Pro Max are $999 and $1,099, respectively. Pre-orders start on Friday and the phones will be available from September 16.

2. Camera updates

Waterily, the most notable advances in the new iPhones are in their cameras.

The 14 and 14 Plus have a 12-megapixel main camera with larger pixels, improved sensors, and a faster aperture. Also, for the first time, they have autofocus on the front camera, which improves the quality of selfies.

Apple also added a feature called “Photonic Engine” to improve photo quality in low-light environments.

As for video, Apple added “Action Mode” to better stabilize footage when the camera operator is on the move. The video shown during Wednesday’s announcement included a runner shot from behind without much shake in the image.

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Pro models feature a 48-megapixel camera and can capture images in ProRAW format to allow for greater detail.

3. Satellite SOS

Coming to iPhones in November is a feature that will allow users to call for help using satellite connectivity when in remote areas without cellular service.

The process is not simple, however. It requires following a screen that tells users to point the phone at satellites, and each message can take a few minutes to send. But Apple has designed custom text questions, for example, “Is anyone hurt?” — to help information travel faster.

It also allows friends and loved ones to track users in remote areas through the “Find My” app.

4. Accident detection

Apple has also equipped iPhones and Apple Watch to detect if someone has been in a serious car accident.

Using motion sensors, a three-axis gyroscope, and a high G-force accelerometer, it can detect extreme impacts. When it does, it will automatically connect the user to emergency services, provide their location, and notify emergency contacts.

5. Dynamic Island

The iPhone Pro and Pro Max have a new animated notch called Dynamic Island. The idea is that users often receive push notifications and other alerts, which can distract from whatever else they might be doing on their phones at the time.

In default mode, Dynamic Island is a small black capsule near the top of the screen. When an alert is received, it is temporarily expanded.

It can also display selected background activity and can be customized with third-party applications, allowing, for example, someone to follow the score of a baseball game within Dynamic Island while performing other functions on the phone.

6. Goodbye SIM tray

Apple has removed the SIM card trays on all of its US models and replaced the physical card with an eSIM, a digital SIM that allows someone to activate a cellular plan from their carrier.

The transition to eSIM, which was available on iPhone 13 Pro models, makes it easier to switch cellular plans and allows for the ability to have multiple plans and phone numbers on one device.

7. Apple Watch Ultra

Apple introduced a new class of watch called “Ultra,” designed with outdoor adventurers (hikers, mountain climbers, water sports athletes, and endurance athletes) in mind.

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Watches are tougher and have displays that are easier to read in bright light, better microphones to improve voice clarity in windy conditions, batteries that last up to 36 hours on a single charge (and up to 60 hours with a new optimization setting coming soon). this fall) and more easily accessible tools, including a watch face with useful information and a compass.

The Ultra also has improved GPS for better accuracy when, say, running the Chicago Marathon between skyscrapers. It can handle temperatures from -4 to 130 degrees, can play an 86-decibel sound pattern that can alert people up to 600 feet away that someone needs help, and can safely dive into deeper water.

The Apple Watch Ultra is $799. It’s available to order now and will be available on September 23.

8. Ovulation Tracking

Previous Apple Watches have been able to track menstrual cycles, but now Apple Watch Series 8 can also retrospectively estimate when a woman has ovulated. It uses a pair of sensors and overnight readings to alert users to a change in their body temperature that could indicate ovulation, helping women trying to conceive a baby.

Apple, however, emphasized that the information is protected. Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and left abortion laws up to individual states, there have been concerns that some law enforcement agencies could use menstrual cycle tracking apps to investigate possible illegal abortions. But Apple said that when iOS users enable two-factor authentication and a passcode, data from its health app synced with iCloud is encrypted and cannot be read by the company itself.

Other prices and dates

Apple Watch Series 8 starts at $399 for GPS enabled and $499 for cellular enabled. Second-generation Apple Watch SE models start at $249 for GPS and $299 for cellular. The watches can be reserved now and will be available on September 16.

The latest AirPods Pro, which feature an updated chip, improved sound quality, and a new touch volume control, are $249. They can be ordered now and will be available on September 23.

Apple says they have deals available for up to $800 off when you trade in qualifying iPhones.

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