CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA – Apple just launched a bunch of new products, including iPhones and an Apple Watch.
Apple invited journalists, Wall Street analysts, and VIPs to the Steve Jobs Theatre on its campus in Cupertino, California, on Wednesday to drum up hype for its biggest product launch of the year.
Apple’s launches are a Silicon Valley tradition, dating back over 20 years. Apple’s top executives get up on stage, show off the company’s new products, and emphasise what makes these gadgets “magical” and the “best ever.”
Because of some leaks, we had already seen marketing pictures of the iPhone XS and the Apple Watch Series 4 before the event. But we finally got the complete, official story later on Wednesday.
Here’s everything that happened at Apple’s big iPhone launch event:
Before the show even started, Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted what appeared to be a direct-message fail. (He deleted the tweet a few minutes after posting it.) It made you wonder what he was missing.
Meanwhile, Apple employees and reporters were getting ready at the Steve Jobs Theatre in Apple Park, the company’s new $US5 billion campus in Cupertino, California.
You can see the edge of Apple Park’s main building.
In 2011, when Steve Jobs unveiled his plans for Apple’s new campus, he said the new building would be “a little like a spaceship landed.”
Here’s another shot of Apple Park.
Everyone started heading toward the theatre around 8 a.m. PT, two hours before the show’s start.
Apple had plenty of drinks and appetizers for attendees, including a “Watermelon Breeze” …
… and a “Sunshine Tea.”
Food included smoked-salmon avocado tarts …
… jalapeno and candied-bacon deviled eggs …
… fruit skewers, and much more.
Here’s a look at the outside of the Steve Jobs Theatre.
At 9:05 a.m., everyone was killing time inside the theatre.
Apple started letting people take their seats about 30 minutes ahead of the show.
At 9:28 a.m., we headed down.
Here’s what it looked like when everyone got inside …
… and here was our view from the floor. Pretty great seats!
We spotted Apple’s chief designer, Jony Ive, before the show started.
After a cute introductory video, Apple CEO Tim Cook came on stage at 10:04 a.m. “As you know,” he said, “Apple was founded to make the computer more personal, first with the Apple II and later with the Mac.”
10:05 a.m.: Cook says Apple’s innovation has extended from its computers to its retail stores, which more than 500 million people visit every year.
10:06 AM: Cook announces Apple is about to ship its 2,000,000,000th iOS device. “iOS has changed the way we live, from the way we learn, to the way we work, to how we’re entertained, to how we shop, order our food, get our transportation, and stay in touch with one another,” he said.
10:07 a.m.: “It’s only fitting that today, we’re going to talk about two of our most personal products,” Cook said. “So let’s get started with the Apple Watch.”
10:08 a.m.: “To think this category didn’t even exist a few years ago,” Cook said of the Apple Watch, which he said was the top smartwatch in the world and “the No. 1 watch, period.”
10:09 a.m.: Cook invites Apple’s Jeff Williams on stage to talk about the Apple Watch.
10:10 a.m.: Williams says Apple Watch has “become an intelligent guardian for your health,” monitoring your heart rate when you’re working out, in addition to providing communication features. “Today, we’re taking Apple Watch to the next level,” he said.
10:11 a.m.: Apple shows off a video unveiling the new Apple Watch Series 4.
10:13 a.m.: The new Apple Watch has a screen that’s 30% larger than before, with the display pushed up closer to the border and now wrapped around the edges. Williams says every part of the Apple Watch user interface has been redesigned to show you more of your content, and new complications show even more information and detail.
10:14 a.m.: Apple created new complications that let you customise more of your watch’s face. You can now see more information from other apps too, including sports scores, your plane ticket, or your fitness information, right from the face.
10:15 a.m.: Apple also created some dynamic new watch faces that interact with the new shape of the display. The faces show fire, water, or vapour washing right up against the edges.
10:16 a.m.: The digital crown on the Apple Watch Series 4 has been reengineered to support haptic feedback, and the speaker is now 50% louder, which is great for phone calls or Siri requests. Apple also moved the microphone away from the speaker to reduce echo to make phone calls even clearer.
10:17 a.m.: The back of the Apple Watch Series 4 is made of ceramic and sapphire crystal in a way designed to improve cellular reception.
10:18 a.m.: The new Apple Watch Series 4 is powered by a new S4 chip, making it up to two times faster than previous models.
10:19 AM: Thanks to the new accelerometer and gyroscope, the Apple Watch Series 4 can detect falls, which injure or kill many people every year. The watch can also contact emergency services for you if you fall.
10:20 a.m.: The Apple Watch Series 4 can also detect a low heart rate. If it detects an irregular heart rhythm, it can help alert the user to heart issues they may not have been aware of.
10:22 a.m.: The new Apple Watch can take electrocardiograms, or ECGs, in 30 seconds. It measures the electrical impulses from your heartbeat and sends them to the S4 chip for analysis. Your ECG recordings are stored in the Health app.
10:24 a.m.: Williams invites Dr. Ivor Benjamin, the president of the American Heart Association, on stage to talk about why the data collected by the Apple Watch is so helpful for taking care of patients.
10:26 a.m.: Williams returns to announce that the Apple Watch Series 4’s new health-focused features, like low-heart-rate detection and ECG, have been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration.
10:27 a.m.: Williams briefly mentions privacy. “At Apple, we believe your personal information belongs to you,” he said, adding that all your data is encrypted on the device and in the cloud.
10:28 a.m.: Williams rounds up the features in the new Apple Watch Series 4, including the redesigned screen and digital crown, as well as fall detection and ECG recordings. He also says the watch has an 18-hour battery life, the same as the previous generation, despite a slimmer design.
10:32 a.m.: The Apple Watch Series 4 will be available in silver, gold, and space grey, and a stainless-steel collection includes grey, gold, and space black. All band colours and styles fit any Apple Watch generation, so no one needs to buy new bands.
10:33 a.m.: Apple Watch Series 4 will also support Hermes- and Nike-specific bands, with new faces that stretch to the edges of the screen.
10:35 a.m.: Pricing and availability! The Apple Watch Series 4 starts at $US399, a cellular version will sell for $US499, and the Series 3 will now cost $US279. You can order it starting Friday, and it will become available on September 21. WatchOS 5, the newest version of the Apple Watch software, will be available on Monday.
10:37 a.m.: Cook comes back on stage to introduce the new iPhone. “Today, we’re going to take iPhone X to the next level,” he said. “I’m excited to show you what is by far the most advanced iPhone we have ever created.”
10:39 a.m.: A new video shows off the new iPhone XS. Cook invites Apple’s senior vice president of marketing, Phil Schiller, on stage to talk about the new phone.
10:40 a.m.: The iPhone XS has a new gold finish on the front, though it’s also available in silver and space grey. “It is the most beautiful iPhone we have ever made,” Schiller said. He also says it has the most durable glass ever in a smartphone.
10:41 a.m.: The iPhone XS’s screen features a 5.8-inch “Super Retina” display with 2.7 million pixels and 458 pixels per inch, and it supports high-dynamic range in Dolby Vision and HDR10 formats. The iPhone XS has a 60% greater dynamic range compared with the iPhone X, Schiller says.
10:43 a.m.: Apple is also selling an iPhone XS with a 6.5-inch display, called the iPhone XS Max. “Watching videos on it is cinematic,” Schiller said.
10:45 a.m.: Schiller says the iPhone XS and XS Max also have wider stereo sound, so you won’t necessarily want to wear headphones while watching movies or playing games (but seriously, please don’t do this in public).
10:46 a.m.: Schiller says Face ID is faster than ever thanks to a faster Secure Enclave chip, which powers the authentication software. The A12 Bionic chip is the industry’s first 7-nanometre chip, Schiller says, featuring a four-core GPU, a six-core CPU, and a neural engine — 6.9 billion total transistors. The GPU is up to 50% faster, while the machine-learning engine is much faster than before, making your phone much more efficient, he says. Compared with the A11 Bionic chip, which can do 600 billion operations per second, the A12 can power 5 trillion operations per second.
10:51 a.m.: Apple’s Kaiann Drance takes the stage to talk about iOS 12 and how machine learning is used — when your phone maps your face for Animoji, when your camera detects your face and the lighting, and more.
10:52 a.m.: Apple’s new A12 Bionic chip also helps with augmented reality, and a cool new feature called “AR Quick Look” lets you look at objects you find in the Safari web browser and put them in the real world — in case, for example, you want to see how a toaster would look on your counter before you buy it online.
10:55 a.m.: Drance invites Todd Howard, the game director at Bethesda Game Studios, on stage to talk about his company’s new “Elder Scrolls” game, “Blades,” coming to iOS this fall.
11 a.m.: Drance introduces Dave Lee, the CEO of NEX Team, and Steve Nash, the NBA Hall of Famer, to talk about a new app called Homecourt, which uses Apple’s Core ML software to track how people play basketball and coach them on how to improve.
11:03 a.m.: For the third and final demo, Drance invites Atli Mar, the cofounder and CEO of Directive Games, to show off a game that leverages Apple’s ARKit 2 software to power better augmented-reality experiences. The game showed off an AR version of “Galaga,” where you shoot bad guys and grab powerups. It’s a pretty loud demo.
11:06 a.m.: After the demos, Schiller comes back on stage to talk more about the iPhone XS. This time, it’s about improvements to the camera, which features a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens, a 12-megapixel telephoto lens, and an improved True Tone flash. It has optical image stabilisation and a f/1.8 aperture six-element lens. On the front side, the XS has a new 7-megapixel sensor used for the True Depth camera system that powers Face ID.
11:08 a.m.: Schiller says the new A12 Bionic chip helps the CPU and neural engine work together to detect scenes and bodies to understand what you’re shooting. It understands where eyes are and can make hair and glasses look really good. A new feature called “Smart HDR” captures all the best details of your photos — like light, shadows, and movement — to merge them into the perfect photo.
11:11 a.m.: Portrait mode and portrait lighting look even better than before in the new iPhone XS, Schiller says, with the new cameras and the A12 Bionic chip working together.
11:13 a.m.: Schiller says Apple’s photo team also made a breakthrough with “bokeh,” the blur effect you see in portrait-mode photos that gives you a sense of background and foreground. “This is a breakthrough in photography on a smartphone,” he said. Now you can adjust the level of depth-of-field after you take a photo.
11:14 a.m.: The benefits of the new cameras and the A12 Bionic chip extend to videos as well, with better image quality and the ability to record stereo sound with the new microphones in the iPhone XS.
11:16 a.m.: Schiller says that the new iPhone XS gets 30 more minutes of battery life than the iPhone X and that the iPhone XS Max gives you 90 more minutes.
11:19 a.m.: The iPhone XS has a new dual-SIM-card system, meaning you can have two different phone numbers or use two different plans, depending on where you live or where you travel. China will get its own edition of the phone that lets you put two SIM cards into a single tray.
11:20 a.m.: Schiller rounds up all the new features in the iPhone XS and XS Max, then introduces Lisa Jackson, Apple’s VP of environment, policy, and social initiatives, who announces that all Apple facilities — from Apple Park to its data centres that power iMessage — are now officially powered by 100% renewable energy. She also talks about how Apple is also relying more on recycled and bio-based materials to make devices. “It’s a huge win for the planet,” Jackson said.
11:25 a.m.: Schiller returns to the stage to talk about “one more iPhone.” A video plays, and we see new iPhone colours, including red, yellow, and blue. “We’re so excited to introduce you to the iPhone XR, and we hope it reaches even more customers,” he said. It comes in white, black, blue, coral, yellow, and red.
11:28 AM: The iPhone XR features an LCD display in the shape of the iPhone X display. Apple calls it a “Liquid Retina” display, which measures 6.1 inches and features 1.4 million pixels, with 326 pixels per inch. Of the phone, which has a bigger display than the iPhone 8 Plus, Schiller says, “We think it’s going to make customers really happy.” All the features from the iPhone X are here, including “tap to wake,” but it notably doesn’t have 3D Touch — instead, it has what Schiller called “Haptic Touch.”
11:32 a.m.: The iPhone XR features a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera, the same one in the iPhone XS, but it has only one lens — no telephoto lens here. Apple calls it the best single-camera system it’s ever made. And this phone can still do portrait-mode photos, despite not having two rear lenses.
11:33 a.m.: Schiller says the iPhone XR has 90 more minutes of battery life than the iPhone 8 Plus, which had the best battery life of any iPhone released last year.
11:34 a.m.: Schiller rounds up the features in the iPhone XR. “This is a huge day for iPhone,” he said. “We now have iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR.” Schiller shows a product video with Ive describing the new phones.
11:39 a.m.: iPhone pricing is announced! The iPhone XR comes in six finishes and three sizes (64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB), and starts at $US749, which is less expensive than last year’s iPhone 8 Plus. It will be available on October 19 and ship a week later, on October 26.
11:40 AM: The iPhone XS will come in 64 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB storage options, and start at $US999. The iPhone XS Max starts at $US1,099. You can preorder it this Friday, September 14, and it will start shipping the next Friday, September 21. The iPhone 7 is still available from $US449 (!), and the iPhone 8 now starts at $US599. iOS 12 will be available on Monday.
11:42 a.m.: Cook comes back on stage once more to make a few more quick announcements: HomePod is getting some new features — you’ll be able to make multiple timers and ask for a song by its lyrics — and the Apple TV’s operating system will get Dolby Vision support. Both updates will be available on Monday. The new Mac software, macOS Mojave, will be available on September 24. “We’re excited about this huge month and all of these big releases that we’ve got,” Cook said.
11:44 a.m.: Cook rounds up the announcements made this morning: The Apple Watch Series 4, the iPhone XS, the iPhone XS Max, and the iPhone XR, which, he says, “will allow us to deliver the future of the smartphone to even more people.” He thanks everyone in attendance, everyone watching online, and everyone at Apple “for making this day possible.”
Check out even more coverage from Apple’s big iPhone XS event:
- It’s official: This is the iPhone XS
- Apple just revealed a new iPhone that has the largest screen yet – meet the iPhone XS Max
- Apple just introduced the iPhone XR, a $US749 iPhone with a big screen that comes in 6 colours
- Apple just introduced a brand-new Apple Watch, the Apple Watch Series 4
- Apple quietly killed off four older versions of the iPhone – including the last versions that had a headphone jack
- The next version of Apple’s iPhone software, iOS 12, is coming on September 17 – here are some of the biggest changes coming
- Apple just accidentally leaked the names of 3 new iPhones ahead of today’s announcement: The iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR
- Apple accidentally leaked all the colours of the 3 upcoming iPhones hours before its huge launch event
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