Everything announced at ‘Gather Round’ event
Apple revealed three new iPhones along with release dates for iOS 12 and macOS Mojave. Jason Cross reports
It’s that time again. Time for Apple to unveil its latest iPhones and get us all excited about the steady march of technological progress. This year, Apple had plenty to cover. There are three new iPhones, all of them with the powerful A12 Bionic processor and True Depth camera and Face ID system that was previously exclusive to the £1,000
iPhone X. There’s also a hot new Apple Watch Series 4. Over the following pages we round up all the major announcements made at the September 12 event.
Apple Watch Series 4
When Apple introduced the new Series 4 Apple Watch, it said: “Everything about it has been redesigned and re-engineered.” And truly, this is the first Apple Watch to have major, obvious design changes rather than the minor tweaks we’ve seen in previous models.
To start with, it’s slightly larger – the sizes are up to 40- and 44mm (from 38- and 42mm). However, it’s thinner, so the total volume is less than the Series 3. They feature new displays with curved corners,
pushed out to the edge of the case with very slim bezels. Apple says the smaller of the two screens is 35 percent larger than previously, while the bigger watch is 32 percent larger.
There are a host of new watch complications that show more detail, and new updated watch faces, including one that can be customized with up to eight complications.
The digital crown now has haptic feedback, the speaker is 50 percent louder, the back is sapphire crystal and ceramic to allow radio waves to pass through for better wireless reception.
Powering the Apple Watch Series 4 is a new S4 processor that includes a dual core 64-bit CPU and
new Apple-designed GPU, which Apple says makes it up to twice as fast. There’s a new second-generation accelerometer with twice the dynamic range, that takes samples over eight times as fast and can detect up to 32g forces. This allows the watch to detect accidental falls, and can automatically message your emergency contact when it detects one.
The new optical heart-rate sensor is improved, and can detect low heart-rate problems and detect atrial fibrillation (Afib). Apple doesn’t promise that it will detect every Afib event, but it’s still going to help a lot of people.
Apple added a new electric heart-rate sensor, designed in-house, with electrodes on the back of
the watch and on the digital crown. You can take a 30-second electrocardiogram (ECG) and get a classification from the watch. The data is saved in the Health app, and you can even export a PDF for your doctor.
Apple promises the Series 4 will have the same 18hour battery life as the Series 3, but outdoor activity tracking battery life has been improved.
The Series 4 will start at £399, or £499 for the cellular version, with the aluminium version available in Silver, Gold, and Space Grey aluminium. Stainless models are available in Polished, Black, and Gold. It’s available now, but the Series 3 will continue to be sold starting at £279. And it’s compatible with all your existing bands, too.
iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max
Tim Cook introduced the new iPhone XS by saying it is “by far the most advanced iPhone we have ever created”. One would certainly hope that they are not getting less advanced with time.
The iPhone XS is very similar to last year’s iPhone X, with a screen size of 5.8 inches and a resolution of 2,436x1,125. The display now has a 60 percent greater dynamic range, however, and better stereo sound. It is again available in Silver and Space Grey, with a new Gold colour added this year.
It is joined by a larger-sized sibling, the iPhone XS Max. The phone itself is roughly the size of the iPhone 8 Plus, but with a big 6.5in edge-to-edge display. It has a resolution of 2,688x1,242, matching the 5.8in model’s
458 pixels per inch. Both phones are now rated for IP68 dust and water protection, better than the iPhone X or iPhone 8. Apple says it’s rated for up to 30 minutes in up to two metres of water, and it was tested in all sorts of fluids like chlorinated water and salt water.
Face ID has been improved with a faster secure enclave and faster processing algorithms, so it unlocks your phone even faster than before.
The iPhone XS has a new dual-camera system, with a new sensor for bigger, deeper pixels on the 12 megapixel wide-angle camera, and a new True Tone flash. There’s new image processing software that combines the CPU and neural engine to perform over a trillion operations on every photo, and improves portrait mode. The TrueDepth module on the front has a new
7Mp sensor that is twice as fast as that in the iPhone X. The camera now has a new Smart HDR mode that takes a bunch of exposures and combines them intelligently for more detail in dark areas and better highlights in way more challenging situations. You can now adjust the depth of portrait mode photos from f/1.4 to f/16 after you take the shot, too. In videos, you can now record stereo sound for the first time on an iPhone.
The iPhone XS Max has the biggest battery ever in an iPhone, and Apple claims it lasts up to an hour and a half longer than ever.
The radios have been improved, with Gigabit LTE and more supported bands for worldwide roaming. Apple is using an internal eSIM and standard microSIM for dual-SIM support. In China, Apple will sell a model with
a two-sided SIM tray for two physical SIMs, since they can’t use eSIMs there.
The iPhone XS will come in 64-, 256-, and 512GB capacities, starting at £999. The iPhone XS Max will cost £100 more, starting at £1,099. They are both available to buy now.
Powering the new iPhones is the A12 Bionic chip. Apple says it is the industry’s first 7nm chip, and is “by far the smartest and most powerful chip in a smartphone”. It’s 6.9 billion transistors big, with a new Apple-designed 6-core CPU. The two high-performance cores are up to 15 percent faster than the A11 Bionic, but use up to 40 percent less power. The four high-
efficiency cores use up to 50 percent less power. The graphics processor, also Apple-designed, is claimed to be up to 50 percent faster.
Apple has seriously beefed up its Neural Engine. This machine-learning optimized part of the chip was a dualcore design in the A11, and could process up to 600 billion operations per second. In the A12, the Neural Engine is a new eight-core design and can process up to five trillion operations per second. Developers can now use the Neural Engine with CoreML, which lets them perform machine learning operations up to nine times faster with as little as 10 percent of the power.
The biggest improvement in the A12 is to the Neural Engine, which has gone from 600 billion operations per second in the A11 to over 5 trillion in the A12. Apple
says the A12 improves every aspect of the sprawling system-on-chip, including improved image processing and a storage controller than can address up to 512GB. With it, apps launch up to 30 percent faster.
In addition to the high-end iPhone XS and XS Max, Apple introduced a more affordable iPhone XR. It looks similar to the iPhone X, with an edge-to-edge 6.1in display and a notch for the TrueDepth module (the same one as on the new iPhone XS and XS Max). It’s IP67 water and dust certified.
The display is a new LCD, which Apple has dubbed a “Liquid Retina” display. It has a lower resolution
than the iPhone XS – 1,792x828 – but it still has Tapto-wake, True Tone, wide colour range, and 120Hz touch sensing.
The iPhone XR doesn’t have 3D Touch, but it provides the same features with haptic feedback, which Apple calls “Haptic Touch”. It’s similar to the MacBook touchpad.
You still get the same A12 Bionic processor, and even though the iPhone XR has only a single rear camera, it is identical to the improved wide-angle camera in the XS and XS Max. And now, for the first time, you can take Portrait Mode shots with the iPhone XR, even though it only has a single rear camera. Apple claims the iPhone XR will last up to an hour and a half longer than the iPhone 8 Plus.
The iPhone XR come in six colours and will ship in 64-, 128-, and 256GB capacities, starting at £749. It will be available for pre-order on 19 October and will ship on 26 October. Release dates for iOS 12, watchOS 5, tvOS 12, and macOS Mojave iOS 12 release: Now iOS 12 is the next major version of Apple’s operating system for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. iOS 12 include improvements to Maps, Siri, FaceTime, CarPlay, and the Photos app, as well as revamped Stocks, News, Voice Memos, and Apple Books apps. iOS 12’s Messages includes new Animoji characters and Memoji, and
there’s also a new AR-based Measure app. The update is available directly on your iOS device via the Settings app. Or you can connect your device to your Mac and upgrade through iTunes.
watchOS 5 release: Now
WatchOS 5 was previewed at WWDC in June. New features include Walkie-Talkie, a Podcasts app, and Raise to Speak with Siri. Improvements have been made to activity tracking and workout apps, and to Notifications. There are also several new features for the new Apple Watch Series 4. You can upgrade to watchOS 5 through the Watch app on your iPhone.
tvOS 5 release: Now
The upgrade for tvOS has Dolby Atmos, which was announced at WWDC in June. Dolby Atmos is Dolby’s 3D object-based sound format. The operating system also has Zero Sign-on and support for new Earth Aerials.
macOS Mojave release: 24 September
macOS Mojave 10.14 is the major Mac upgrade to macOS High Sierra. New features include a Dark Mode user interface; Finder enhancements that include a new Gallery View, Quick Actions, and Desktop Stacks; Siri improvements; enhanced password support, and more. To upgrade to Mojave, launch the App Store app and look for the upgrade in the Updates section.
The new Series 4 has a much larger display, but the case is only about 2mm bigger, and thinner
The larger display means room for more complications with more detail, if you want them
The improved accelerometer can detect falls and automatically notify emergency contacts
The Apple Watch Series 4 has a new electrical heart sensor that can perform a basic form of electrocardiogram (ECG)
The iPhone XS Max is just like the iPhone XS, only bigger, with a higher-res screen and bigger battery
The iPhone XS Max is about the size of an iPhone 8 Plus, but with a much larger display
The new iPhones feature the most advanced cameras Apple has yet produced, both hardware and software
You’ll be able to adjust the depth effect of Portrait Mode shots even after you take it
The A12 Bionic has faster and more energy-efficient processor cores and a much more powerful graphics processor
The iPhone XS and XS Max may look just like the iPhone X, but they’re full of improvements
Apple managed to make an LCD screen go edge-to-edge like the OLED on the iPhone X, but the resolution is lower
The iPhone XR is honestly better than the iPhone X in most ways, and starts at £749
iOS 12 is available to download now
You will be able to download macOS Mojave from 24 September