 Apple Special Event 2018

So the eagerly awaited Apple Special Event was on Wednesday and there were lots of cool new products and updates discussed! It was definitely the best announcement event they have had in a while and I’ll be talking about it in this blog post.

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🌱 Environmental Responsibility 🌎

I am becoming ever more conscious of the environmental impact of everything I use, consume and buy. Apple has just announced they are running their worldwide operations on 100% renewable energy. This is a huge achievement and it includes all of their data centres, stores, offices and headquarters. Apple are also using highest quality recycled materials in their new products including tin and plastics in the iPhone XS/R models. They are really pushing their recycle program as well with trade-ins and providing cash / gift cards when you do so for devices that can be reused (if a device is unusable it can still be recycled for free). Apple also spoke about the longevity of their devices and with the release of iOS 12 increasing the amount of time you can use them for in the future. I am so impressed with Apple on these stats and it’s another reason I am happy to purchase their products and use their cloud-based services.

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Apple Watch Series 4 ⌚️

Apple have increased the screen size on both models of Apple Watch which now come in 40mm and 44mm (in comparison to the previous 38mm and 42mm sizes). Series 4 watches are thinner in size and the screens are larger, making the most of the top of the device. The curves of the Apple Watch have also been increased to blend more seamlessly with the screen size and shape providing a more streamlined appearance. Haptic feedback has been introduced to the Digital Crown to increase usability, especially when scrolling within apps. The audio is 50% louder with improved speakers and the microphone has been relocated to the opposite side to improve performance on calls. On the cellular model the watch now is able to transmit/receive network signal through the back of the device. Apple have also increased the speed of the device with their new processor chip which allows fall detection and the ability to tell when you might need a call to emergency services for help. They have also increased functionality in regards to the heart rate monitoring to detect slower than usual heart rates as well. Apple have also announced that the Series 4 devices can be used for ECGs. This is now the first over the counter electrocardiogram device available in the world. ECGs provide information on the rhythm of your heart so combined with the heart rate monitoring that Apple Watch already supports the device is groundbreaking in regards to health! The last point Apple made about the new watches is that the battery time is the same as previous models even with the increased functionality and speed, providing an all-day 18hr span.

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iPhone XS & XS Max 📱

This is probably the product most people were tuning in for and looking forward to! I’m super excited to get my hands on one and am really impressed at how quickly they are available (pre-orders 14 Sept for release 21 Sept). The iPhone has increased durability in regards to the glass that is used for the screen and rear. They have increased water/dust resistance to IP68 in the new phones. The iPhone XS comes with a Super Retina OLED display. They offer 5.8″ (iPhone XS) and 6.5″ (iPhone XS Max) screens on the new models. I’m going to give the larger screen model a go this time and they’ve improved some apps with split screen to make use of the larger display which will increase functionality. Audio, speed and battery life have all been increased as well. FaceID will work quicker than on the iPhone X and it offers the most secure facial recognition authentication on any smartphone. The internal storage of the iPhone XS has been increased to now allow 64GB, 256GB and 512GB models. The cameras on the rear and front of the iPhone XS have been improved as well as making use of the increased A12 bionic chip’s processing power. The feature of this that I was most interested in was that portrait mode images now have an adjustable dynamic background so you can change the depth of field after snapping! Smart HDR is also a new feature which now includes highlight, lowlight and shadow detail detection for better image results. The camera upgrades also improve the 4K video recording functionality and they have integrated stereo microphones as well to improve audio. Battery life has also been improved (in comparison to iPhone X) to 30 minutes longer on iPhone XS and 90 minutes longer on iPhone XS Max. Apple have also announced dual SIM support and eSIM capabilities. They are working with carriers worldwide to launch this over the coming months/years. The dual SIM phones will run both numbers/lines simultaneously and whichever receives a call will take over at that particular time. eSIMs will allow phones to be set up with carriers without the need of having a physical SIM card in the iPhone. Lots of amazing new features to look forward to here! Oh and I nearly forgot to mention the iPhone XS/XS Max are now available in a Gold version as well alongside Silver and Space Grey.

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iPhone XR 📱

So Apple has released three new phones this season opposed to the two I was expecting. The iPhone XR comes in bright new colours which are all aluminium and glass. The screen is stronger as well and they’ve created an edge to edge LCD display and Apple call this Liquid Retina. The iPhone XR has FaceID, great cameras and the A12 bionic chip for processing. The iPhone XR allows portrait mode photos (even with the rear single camera system) and the depth of field is adjustable afterwards as well just like on the iPhone XS/XS Max. It also supports Smart HDR for photo and video capture. The iPhone XR is a cheaper alternative to iPhone XS/XS Max with some of the great same features.

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HomePod Software Update 🎵

Apple spoke briefly about the software releases coming Monday and one of these was for HomePod. There are new features available with the update including multiple timers with names, making/receiving phone calls, searching for music using lyrics, new languages being supported and find my iPhone being integrated. You can read more about the software announcements in my WWDC 2018 blog post here.

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watchOS 5 Software Update ⌚️

This software update is released 17th September. New updates to Apple Watch faces make the most of these new increased screen sizes which are over 30% larger than each of the previous models! These include more data on activity watch faces, dynamic/Live Photo faces and a breathe app watch face. I’m looking forward to trying this out on my Apple Watch from Monday ahead of the new watches coming out Friday. You can read more about the software announcements in my WWDC 2018 blog post here.

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iOS 12 Software Update 📱

The latest iOS release will be available on Monday which was announced in WWDC 2018 back in June. The new hardware and improved performance will work excellently with iOS 12. You can read more about the software announcements in my WWDC 2018 blog post here.

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macOS Mojave Software Update 🖥

The new Macintosh software update macOS Mojave is also available shortly, this being a week later than iOS 12 on 24th September. You can read more about the software announcements in my WWDC 2018 blog post here.

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Preordering / My Choices

I’ve decided to pre-order the Apple Watch Series 4 Nike+ in Space Grey (44mm GPS). I’ve also opted for the iPhone XS Max in Space Grey (64GB) and will make the most of the larger screen and increased battery life. I’m already on the iPhone Upgrade Program so my monthly payments won’t change much (the iPhone XS Max is £100 more than what I paid for the iPhone X at £1099) as I currently pay £56.45 per month via direct debit. So my only real outlay will be for the new Apple Watch Series 4 but I will be selling/trading in my Series 3 Nike+ Space Grey 42mm model to help towards this cost. I am very happy about the release dates this year too… Last year we had to wait so long to preorder and then get our hands on the iPhone X (4th November)! This year the products can be preordered today (apart from iPhone XR) for release a week from now!

In summary I am super impressed and excited about the new lineup and products. I didn’t think I would consider a new Apple Watch so quickly as the one I have isn’t even that old! The iPhone XS Max looks amazing and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. What do you think of the new products and updates? Let me know below! Thanks for reading and have a great day.

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