Apple hosted its much-awaited event at its headquarters in Cupertino. The hour and a half long event was live-streamed directly from the Steve Jobs Theatre and unveiled a range of products. Among those launched was the brand new Apple Watch Series 4 with a focus on health monitoring, the iPhones XS, XS Max, and the XR, all with bigger display screens, better battery life, higher storage capacity dual sim options and loaded with the brand new processor, the A12 Bionic. They also unveiled a number of dedicated AR-enabled iOS apps. And although less than twenty-four hours have elapsed since the release of the devices, opinions are flooding in thick and fast. Here are some of the more interesting ones.
“Evolutionary, not Revolutionary”
The inimitable Lauren Goode, senior writer at Wired held up iPhones XS and XS Max in a video after the event explaining that the phones were not that different to look at from the iPhone X. “It does have strengthened glass, which is supposed to be the most durable for an iPhone, which is what I’m probably going to need because I dropped a couple of these and they do shatter, and scratch.” Although for her, one of the most interesting about the iPhones was the new chip, the processor A12 Bionic. It is a first of its kind – a 7-nanometer chip with 6.9 billion transistors. “It enables machine learning and faster processing.” It also makes the photos better and increases the battery life by about 30 minutes for the Xs and 1.5 hours for the XS Max. “All this stuff isn’t exactly revolutionary in terms of what new iPhones have been, what news iPhones can be. They are more revolutionary, but that is what you kind of expect, from… iPhones.”
“Apple’s testing your willingness to splurge”
For the folks at CNET, as for several others, a key takeaway was the high price of the new phones. “This is officially the era of $1100 phones”, tweeted CNET. The iPhone XR starts from $749, the iPhone XS from $999 (same price as the iPhone X last year) and the iPhone XS Max starts from a whopping $1099.
“The higher prices partly reflect the inclusion of more sophisticated materials and components in these premium phones, from advanced processors to sensors that enable face recognition,” says an article titled “With iPhone XS, XS Max, XR, Apple tests the limits of your budget” on CNET. “But there’s also an element of phone makers feeling they can get away with it, especially as these phones have become such a critical part of our lives,” it continues.
The BBC reported that though there have been concerns over the $999 entry price, it has also managed to outsell rival companies’ flagship devices in the past, propelling it to become the world’s first company with a market capitalization above $1 trillion (£768bn).
“It’s one of the biggest phones out there”
Commenting on the size of the phone, The Verge calls the XS Max huge. “..the real news this year is the introduction of the “Max” model, which has a huge 6.5-inch screen.” They also call this Apple’s admission that large phones will continue to rule. With a wider screen ratio than the traditional iPhone, the phones will not be as big as they sound, and not that hard to hold. Commenting on the new storage capacity of 512 GB, it also said though Apple is “not the first company to hit that incredible storage point in a smartphone, but it’s still relatively quick to get there.”
“a handful of new camera features that mobile photographers will love — and one that might appall photography purists”
TIME did a piece dedicated to the phones’ new camera features. The features are intelligent, optimized to give better photos with minimal work on the photographers’ part. Smart HDR intelligently combines differently-exposed frames into a single image. No shutter lag. One of the new features which the WP predicts will receive a mixed response is the “Depth-of-Field Control” feature. Here the XS allows users to change the depth-of-field after taking a photo. “Many users will find this handy and fun to play around with. But photography purists may scoff at the idea that this particular creative choice is moving from before-the-fact to after-the-fact.”
“I can see kids buying one for their parents and grandparents”
CBS News quoted tech analyst Patrick Moorhead, president of Moor Insights and Strategy in their piece on the Apple Event, had high praises for the newly minted Apple Watch Series 4. The new series comes with a dedicated, serious health monitoring service. It can detect its wearer’s fall and has an in-built electrical heart rate sensor that can take an electrocardiogram (ECG) using the new ECG app, one which has been granted a De Novo classification by the FDA.
So that’s what the pundits say. Stay tuned to find out what the public does. And if you have an opinion, feel free to state it in the comments section.