San Francisco Chronicle
New iPhone line, watch feature larger displays
Apple introduced three new iPhones and a health-focused Apple Watch on Wednesday as it bet that larger displays would continue to lure customers, even for pricey products.
The company debuted the iPhoneXS, iPhoneXS Max and iPhoneXR at the Steve Jobs Theater on Apple’s new campus in Cupertino, setting a higher price for the most expensive iPhone available. The iPhoneXS Max, which has a 6.5inch display and the largest battery Apple has ever put in a phone, starts at $1,099.
The iPhoneXS and iPhoneXS Max are waterproof and have enhanced graphics, an improved camera, and longer battery life. The iPhoneXR, which starts at $749, has a larger display than the iPhone 8 Plus and also has an improved camera. The iPhone XS — like its predecessor, the iPhone X — starts at $999. The XS and the XS Max are available to order on Friday. They’ll ship a week later, on Sept 21. The XR is available to order on Oct. 19.
The Apple Watch, which was first introduced in 2014, comes with a revamped design — a curved screen that’s 30 percent larger than previous models and thinner than the Series 3. The speaker is also 50 percent louder, and the microphone is moved to the other side of the device, away from the speaker, to make calls clearer.
But the biggest leap for the new watch is its focus on health.
The Series 4 Apple Watch, which Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams called “the ultimate guardian for your health,” has the ability to detect when a person falls and gives them the option to call for help. If the person is immobile for one minute, the watch will automatically call for help and include location information.
“Getting FDA approval for the health features on the new watch underlines Apple’s leadership in wristworn tech.” Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight
The watch, which starts at $399, also has three new heart-focused features: a notification if a person’s heart rate is too low, if there is an irregular rhythm indicating atrial fibrillation and an electrocardiogram.
The Series 4 watch’s EKG is the first electrocardiogram available over the counter and directly to customers, Williams said. The watch is also able to send heart health information directly to a wearer’s doctor.
The company received approval from the Food and Drug Administration, and the president of the American Heart Association was on stage at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino on Wednesday to voice his support for the product.
Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight, wrote in a note after the event that it would be interesting to see how the health care industry reacts to the developments in the Series 4 watch.
“Getting FDA approval for the health features on the new watch underlines Apple’s leadership in wrist-worn tech,” Wood wrote. “It’s an arduous process that no other consumer wearable company has successfully navigated.”
“Apple is having to make a careful trade-off with these new products. It’s acutely aware that customers are holding onto their iPhones longer than ever, but by increasing prices and selling services such as Apple Music, apps and iCloud storage the company can keep revenue flowing in during the lifetime of a device,” Wood wrote. “Add the Apple Watch into the mix, and you can see how Apple is achieving by far and away the highest margins in the industry while rivals are seeing their profits squeezed harder than ever.”
Apple stock fell 1 percent Wednesday. The company tends to trade lower on the days it announces new products. It’s up 31 percent in 2018, however, and its valuation remains well above a trillion dollars — a mark the company hit for the first time last month.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.