Apple Event 2018: What’s new?
As usual, September is all about Apple. Every year, the company announces its latest iPhones and Apple Watches. And lots of cool stuff has been announced this year as well.
We have heard lots of rumours about the expected iphones lately. Now, Apple officially announced three new iphones: the Iphone Xs, the iPhone Xs Max and the iPhone Xr.
The iPhone Xs en the iPhone Xs Max
The iPhone Xs is the successor of the iPhone X. The device has the same model, but one thing stands out immediately. The color: the iPhone Xs is now also available in gold, unlike its predecessor.
The really big news? The introduction of the 'Max' model with a 6.5inch screen. That is indeed a full inch bigger than the iPhone 8 Plus (5.5inch) and even bigger than the Galaxy Note (6.4inch). Does this mean that we will walk around with a phone as big as an iPad? No. The iPhone Xs is just like its predecessor smaller than the iPhone 8 Plus, but offers a larger screen. The Xs Max is just as big and offers a significantly larger screen.
Like every 's-upgrade' of the iPhone, the improvements are mainly defined in terms of speed - both the device in general and specific functionalities, such as FaceID. The iPhone Xs has an A12 Bionic Processor and is ‘the most powerful iPhone ever produced’. What does that mean? ‘Incredible portraits with Depth Control. And speed and fluidity in everything you do.’
The AR-experience (Augmented Reality) is made possible through Apple’s Core ML (Machine Learning) and ARKit 2. Core ML is the software that allows Apple’s devices to learn from what they see and improve if necessary. With the new iPhone Xs, this software is up to 9 times faster and requires only 10% of the energy. This means that we - as an app developer - can develop even more complex apps without losing on the user experience.
And that can be seen as a major improvement when it comes to implementing Augmented Reality. In addition, the powerful A12 processor provides even more realistic graphics. This in combination with Apple's ARKit 2, enables us to develop apps where the environment of a user is even more accurately determined and can be supplemented with 3D objects.
Apple even speaks of 'Next-generation apps'. Homecourt is one of those next-generation apps. With 'Homecourt' users can easily analyze their performance during a basketball-session. By only pointing the camera at the basketball court, the iPhone Xs immediately detects the basket, the lines on the court, the ball and of course the player/user. The app will detect whether a player scores or not. It will also provides a player with comprehensive statistics about the location of shooting and the number of throws within a certain time.
Both the iPhone Xs and the iPhone Xs Max have an improved camera. Or as Apple puts it: 'a breakthrough dual-camera system'. What does this mean? The Xs models are equipped with two 12-megapixel cameras, with a 2x faster sensor making a new function available: Smart HDR. With Smart HDR the device makes a number of photos very quickly, after which it blends into a perfect photo. The result? Sharper photos of moving objects.
The iPhone Xr
The iPhone Xr is Apple’s new budget-model and comes with a 6.1 inch LCD screen and Apple's FaceID. As it is a budget-model, you will have to make some compromises. For example, the iPhone Xr is not equipped with an OLED screen and has an aluminium housing - instead of stainless steel. The LCD screen goes also under the name of ‘Liquid Retina’ and has a 1792 x 828 resolution. And, perhaps the biggest compromise that buyers have to make, is missing the Forced Touch. Instead, the device offers a so-called 'Haptic Touch System' which is similar to the trackpad of the Macbook Pro.
The iPhone Xr offers only a single camera, unlike the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max. However, the device offers a portrait mode in which it combines the 12-megapixel camera with software in order to create a blurred background. The 7-megapixel camera on the front offers FaceID, Animoji, Memoji and selfies in portrait mode, which is the same as the iPhone Xs-models.
As usual with the introduction of the new iPhone devices, a major software update is involved as well - iOS 12. What are the most important features and performance improvements?
With iOS 12 Apple claims to focus on the performance and stability of the software. The company even says it’s ‘doubling down on performance’ of its (new) devices. Especially the older devices will benefit from the software update. The the iPhone 6 Plus for example, where apps will load up to 40% faster, the keyboard slides up twice as fast and the camera loads up to 70% faster.
A small setback for users with 16GB storage: iOS 12 takes up about 2GB more space. This means that you will need 10GB to 12Gb for just the functioning of your phone. There is not much space left for third apps, photos and videos.
Just like the A12 processor, the upgrade to iOS 12 contributes to the improved augmented reality experience. With the introduction of iOS 12, Apple is also announcing a new file format for AR: USDZ. This file format makes it easier for both app developers and end-users to share AR-experiences. With ‘AR Quick Look’ users can view their AR-object with a single tap and then share them via Mail or Messages.
Also, users of Apple’s ARkit can now ‘share experiences’. In other words, users can separately observe the same augmented reality from their viewpoint. This is great for many purposes, such as playing multiplayer games.
Apple's voice assistant gets a new functionality: Shortcuts. With Shortcuts, app developers can easily create a voice shortcut for a specific functionality in their app. For example, users can start a Mindfulness app by saying 'Hey Siri, help me relax'.
With the addition of Shortcuts, app developers - and especially those who use voice assistants - can now offer an even more relevant voice-driven experience.
The notifications are also updated with iOS 12. Users gain more control over the number of notifications they receive. Siri will also suggest turning off notifications that are skipped multiple times by a user. Because of this, relevancy becomes even more important, both for Apple itself and external app developers. In addition, notifications from the same app will be grouped. Users will no longer see a hug list of notifications.
Apple Watch 4
A completely renewed Apple Watch was also presented. A redesigned smartwatch, both from the inside and outside. What's new? A larger screen, faster processor (up to 2x faster), an improved speaker and an electrical heart sensor.
With the new Apple Watch 4, the company focuses on better health functions. For example, the Watch detects if your heart rate falls below a specified threshold for a period of 10 minutes. This will trigger a ‘low heart rate notification’. Users can also easily check their heart rate thanks to the optical heart sensor and the so-called Digital Crown (the wheel on the side of the Watch that allows users to navigate). In addition, the Digital Crown is now 30% smaller than its predecessor.