Apple Unveils Trio of iPhones & S4 Watch at Latest Product Event

The hallmarks of fall are finally starting to arrive: The leaves are changing, the kids are back to school, and Apple has made another major product announcement during the second week of September.

Held this year in the Steve Jobs Hall at the company’s massive new Cupertino headquarters, the event included the unveiling of a trio of new devices to build on the success of the company’s iPhone X, which went on to become the world’s best-selling smartphone after it was introduced last year.

Underpinning each of these devices is the enhanced iOS 12 platform, which was previewed at the Apple event in June and unpacked in a recent post on the blog. Along with the slew of handhelds, Apple also unveiled the latest generation of their smart watches, which Apple CEO Tim Cook touted as “the most popular watch in the world, period.”

 

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So what about these new devices ups the ante on the last generation?

For starters, the three new iPhone models build on the tenth anniversary naming scheme that Apple introduced last year with the X. The XS and XS Max will be the first new models coming to market this week, featuring a 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch Super Retina OLED display, respectively. Along with the cleaner aesthetics, Apple has also retired the home button, allowing these devices to feature larger screens than the previous generations without expanding their overall proportions.

Underpinning this pair of iPhones -- which will succeed the premium X model -- is the new A12 Bionic chip, which was designed to improve processing power and machine learning in configurations up to 512 GB. Despite delivering more speed and power than previous models, these devices will boost battery life by up to 30 minutes for the XS and an hour for the XS Max.

Each of these new iPhones will also support dual SIM, allowing users to set up primary and secondary numbers on a single device.

A new “standard” iPhone

The third new iPhone, the XR, will actually be smaller than the iPhone 8 while featuring an expanded 6.1-inch LCD display the company is calling “Liquid Retina.” This represents the new “standard” iPhone product while the XS models will succeed the premium X model when they hit the market over the next week.

Along with featuring the A12 Bionic Chip, the XR will also feature a 12MP wide-angle camera -- opposed to the dual camera that will be featured in the XS models -- and a 7MP selfie camera, plus a roughly 90-minute increase in battery life over the iPhone 8.

A watch that can save your life

The Series 4 Apple Watch doubles down on the company’s mission to change the perception of these devices from novel to essential, especially in the context of health and wellness. Along with using a new S4 chip to double processor speed, the device features a new gyroscope sensor that can detect falls and alert contacts in the case of an emergency.

But the real kicker comes from the device’s ability to deliver a real-time EKG measurement, as well as track for symptoms of atrial fibrillation and other heart-related ailments, all with approval and endorsement from the FDA.

So what’s the takeaway for developers?

For starters, users will enjoy more dynamic and aesthetically pleasing displays, which will only serve to make inadequacies in existing apps more glaring.

But the real power lies in the nuances of iOS 12, specifically through their introduction of Provisional Authorization, which retires the opt-in approach to push notifications that handicapped the adoption of push notifications for Apple users in the past. This feature essentially allows users to test out push notifications through messages that are “delivered quietly” -- that is, they can only be viewed in the Notification Center, not as banners or as messages on the lock screen.

These are just a few of the new features that will help bridge the gap in push adoption among Apple users versus Android, while helping Apple maintain their market dominance in stateside. If consumers will react with the same enthusiasm they did following last year’s announcement, however, remains to be seen.

What are your thoughts on the latest developments out of Cupertino? To learn more about how to update your apps to take advantage of the latest iOS features, read up on our latest SDK here and share your thoughts below!

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