What would it take to make someone drop $1,000 on yet another iPhone? A better camera? Longer battery life? Less-breakable glass?
Apple announced the latest versions of its iPhone on Tuesday, as part of the company’s traditional September media event. Customers will be tuning in to find out if there’s anything exciting enough to make an expensive upgrade worth it, or if they want to hold on to an existing device for another year or two — an increasingly popular option.
With slowing iPhone sales, Apple has been turning to its growing selection of services to help bring in more revenue. On Tuesday, the company announced the pricing for two of its newest subscription products launching this year: Apple Arcade and Apple TV+ (both $4.99 a month).
If you go all in on every Apple offering, you could pay the company $479.40 a year. That’s for Apple Music, News+, iCloud, Apple TV+, and Apple Arcade. It doesn’t include Apple Care (another $9.99 a month for the basic option), or any of the money you might spend on à la carte books, movies, TV and apps from the App Store.
Apple is hosting the event in the underground Steve Jobs Theater located on its Cupertino, California, campus. The announcements last about two hours, as chief executive Tim Cook and various Apple executives take turns onstage hyping up and demonstrating new features. The event is also live-streamed online.
Cook kicked off the event with a briefer than usual introduction, after saying Apple makes “products and technology that are designed in the service of humanity.”
Apple Arcade: First up for humanity? Games. Apple launched into a recap of its forthcoming game-subscription service, Arcade, that will have 100 games that are exclusive to Apple devices including mobile devices, Macs and the Apple TV. Arcade will launch September 19 in more than 150 countries.
Apple TV+: Cook revealed new details about Apple TV+, the company’s attempted Netflix-slayer that will be available on Nov 1. He pointed to anticipation for the service, citing more than 100 million views of trailers for its original shows, like “Dickinson” and “The Morning Show.” He screened a new trailer for “See,” a post-apocalyptic series in which everyone in the future goes blind.
Apple’s new streaming service is going head-to-head not just with Netflix, but with an armada of new streaming services from companies like Disney. Some anaylsts had expected Apple to offer its service for a price around $10 a month. The lower price, including a year free with the purchase of a new device, reflects the stiff the competition in the streaming market.
iPhone 11: After a brief flirtation with Roman numerals for the iPhone X, Apple is going back to its usual naming style with an iPhone 11 line. The phone will start at $699, lower than the $1,000 pricing for its X line the last two years.
Apple pitched better pictures as the draw of the new phone. It has dual cameras: a wide 12 megapixel camera and an ultra wide 12-megapixel camera. The ultrawide images have a fisheye effect and fit more of a screen into the frame. In video mode, you can switch between the two lenses using the zoom wheel.
Apple has also updated some of its camera software. The company says it can better detect subjects and relight them, and has updated its HDR feature to better show images with a range of highlights and shadows so you can see more details. It has added a night mode to take better photographs in dark situations that might normally be un-photographable.
The front-facing camera is getting a quality bump as well and can now shoot slow-motion selfies. Apple is dubbing them “slowfies.”
The cameras take up more space on the back of the device and Apple has added a slightly bulging square to surround them. Apple described the bump in the most Apple way possible, calling it “sculpted 3d geometry.”
Other improvements include a new A13 Bionic processor to improve speed. Battery, one more hour of battery life than the iPhone Xr, and improved water and dust resistance.
iPhone 11 Pro: The company announced a pair of new high-end smartphones: the 5.8-inch iPhone 11 Pro and 6.1-inch iPhone 11 Pro Max. The devices start at $999 for the Pro and $1,099 for the Pro Max.
What’s better than two cameras? Three cameras, according to Apple. What really makes the Pros high-end are the trio of cameras on the back of the device, which Apple claims will let users take professional quality photographs and 4K videos. There’s a wide camera, a telephoto camera, and an ultra wide camera, all 12 megapixels. Together the cameras give the phone a 4x optical zoom range, so you can stand in one spot and take images at .5x to 2x zoom. Like the iPhone 11, the Pros also have improved HDR, an additional portrait mode, and a new night mode.
The Pros have a new OLED screen that Apple is calling the Super Retina XDR display. The company says it is brighter, shows a wider range of colors, is brighter and more energy efficient. It has the same new processor as the iPhone 11. Additionally, Apple says the phones are more dust and water resistant and have a longer battery life (four hours longer than the iPhone Xs), better Face ID technology, a fast charging option, and Wi-Fi 6.
The iPhone 11 line will be available on Sept. 20.
iPad: Apple announced the seventh generation of its main iPad: a new 10.2-inch device with 3.5 million pixels that weighs around a pound. It has a smart connector to pop it onto a keyboard, works with the Apple Pencil, and runs on iPad OS — Apple’s recently announced version of its mobile operating system optimized for iPads.
The changes show Apple is still pushing hard to make the iPad a valid work option, not just a rectangle for binge watching. Apple compared it directly to laptops and demonstrated new features, like PDF editing and using the new Arcade and TV+ services on it. The device costs $329 and ships September 30. There are now 4 iPads in Apple’s lineup: The new iPad (called just “iPad,” like Cher) iPad mini, iPad Air, and iPad Pro.
Apple Watch: Cook also unveiled the company’s new Apple Watch. A video Apple played about customers who attribute health benefits to the watch underscores how Apple sees the market opportunity for its main wearable. It’s the device that Apple hopes will open the door to the lucrative healthcare industry, an area analysts believe could help drive profits for the company as sales of iPhone slows.
Apple’s new watch, the fifth version of the device, has an always-on display. Previous versions of the watch turned off when not in use to preserve battery. In those older watches, sensors detect when people raise their wrists, turning the screen on. Despite the constant display, Apple says the new watch’s battery lasts just as long.
The watches start at $399 and come out on Sept. 20. Apple also announced it would drop the price of its Apple Watch 3 to $199.
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Video: Apple announced the iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max at their September event. See the newest features, including an ultra-wide lens and superpowered battery.
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