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The 4 biggest announcements from the Apple September event

The 4 biggest announcements from the Apple September event

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Following Apple’s 10th anniversary iPhone X, the company is back with new devices that fully embrace notch-life; with the three new iPhone models, the home button is officially dead and new devices going forward will start using Face ID as the security unlock system. There’s also an updated Apple Watch available later this month. Here’s a quick recap.

Apple XS and XS Max are your new $1,000 iPhones

Apple confirmed essentially everything that was leaked in the days leading up to the event: this season, the company will introduce three new iPhone models: the XS, XS Max, and XR. The XS comes with a 5.8-inch Super Retina OLED display, while the XS Max bumps the screen up to 6.5-inch. Both have an IP68 waterproof rating, the new A12 Bionic chip that improves processing power and machine learning, and is offered in configurations up to 512 GB. It’s got a 7MP front-facing camera, a 12MP dual main camera with a new Smart HDR sensor to help prevent blurry photos during action shots and enhance lighting based on facial and subject mapping. You can also adjust the depth of field after the photo has been taken, Lytro-style (RIP.)

Compared to the iPhone X, the XS and XS Max get up to 30 minutes and one hour more in battery life, respectively. The new devices will also support dual SIM, as was previously rumored, and users can set up primary and secondary numbers to know specifically which of the two is being contacted. For the China-specific model, the new iPhone models will support two physical SIMs that are slotted back to back.

The XS and XS Max preorders begin on Friday, September 14th; the XS starts at $999 for a 64GB configuration, and the XS Max starts at $1,099, shipping on September 21st.

Apple XR will arrive in October

Indeed, there is also a third iPhone confirmed as the iPhone XR, offered in a variety of colorful finishes. Compared to the iPhone X, though, it’s got a slightly thicker bezel, and has a 6.1-inch LCD display Apple is calling “Liquid Retina.” The screen is larger than the iPhone 8 Plus with a smaller body. There’s now haptic touch on the screen instead of 3D Touch to launch the camera without unlocking the phone.

The XR will also contain the A12 Bionic chip, a 12MP wide-angle camera (not dual), and a 7MP selfie camera just like the XS and XS Max. Apple says it can last up to 90 minutes longer than the iPhone 8 Plus. The colorful iPhone XR also begins its preorders on October 19th, starting at $749 with 64GB, and shipping a week after that.

Apple Watch Series 4 gets FDA-clearance

Also leaked prior to the event, the Apple Watch Series 4 is official. Updates include a larger display, a louder speaker, slimmer body, and a red ring around the digital crown instead of a solid red circle from the Series 3. The crown now has haptic feedback, and the device hardware uses a new body that Apple says improves cellular connection. It uses a new S4 chip that should double the processor speed, and a new gyroscope sensor that can detect falls and alert your SOS contacts of an accident.

Digital crown with haptic feedback

Improving from watchOS 4’s heart rate spikes alerts, the new Apple Watch will also offer new health features that detect unusually low heart rate, irregular rhythm symptomatic of atrial fibrillation, and take electrocardiograms. Users can measure their ECG (or EKG, as more commonly referred to in the US) by holding their fingertips to the digital crown for 30 seconds. Apple says the device is cleared by the FDA.

There are also a couple of new interactive watchfaces, such as a health-focused one that is designed to help users through breathing patterns for meditation. The Apple Watch Series 4 starts at $399 for GPS, $499 for cellular, and preorders starting on Friday, September 14th.

Updates for HomePod and new software arrival dates

To cap off the event today, CEO Tim Cook quickly mentioned a few updates including some new features for Apple’s $349 smart speaker which allows you to search song lyrics and ... set multiple timers at once. Wow. We also got updates on when new software updates that were announced at WWDC earlier this year will arrive: tvOS 12 with Dolby Atmos, watchOS 5, and iOS 12 lands on September 17th, while macOS Mojave will drop on September 24th.