An Apple event is always a spectacle, and the launch of “Far Out” on Wednesday was no exception. There were new iPhones, new watches, new Airpods – and car accidents, lots and lots of car accidents. The company has unveiled its latest range of products, which it hopes will be in high demand as the holiday season approaches.
But in between the releases, there were a few themes that Apple hit on to underline the features of the new devices. Here’s a look at some of the most notable.
Women’s health is a priority
Early on, Apple devoted a lot of time to the new health features of the Series 8 Apple Watch (starting at $399), with a particular emphasis on women’s health. New temperature sensors provide women with retrospective ovulation tracking and also warn of cycle abnormalities, which could indicate medical conditions.
More importantly, though, the company highlighted the Watch’s privacy features, noting that “your health data is yours and yours alone.” Undoubtedly anticipating fears of tracking data used against women who choose to have abortions in the after-Roe v. Wade world, Apple said all data on the device was encrypted and accessible only through a passcode or biometric ID. Even if your watch is synced with iCloud, Apple won’t be able to access it.
Apple sees a big market in adventurers
The Apple Watch Ultra is a beast, with a large screen, 36 hours of battery life (60 hours in optimize mode) and a host of exclusive features (like the new action button and night mode). And the sizzle reels positioned it as anything from a dive computer to a possible mountaineer rescue to a triathlete’s best friend. Apple called it “an essential tool for essentially everything.” It’s a device that at $799 is more expensive than most smart watches, but less than high-end watches and even many dive watches.
However, the market for extreme athletes is limited. And Apple is well aware of that. It certainly made the case for that audience, but in doing so, it made the Ultra the “cool” offering, which should boost sales to people whose idea of scuba diving is swimming to the bottom of their pool to pick up the toy. pick up their child has fallen.
The design doesn’t change much
While plenty of new features were revealed during the event, one thing was noteworthy. Apple is quite confident in its product designs. The new Airpods Pro ($249) have things like improved noise cancellation and touch controls, but the pods look exactly like their predecessors (and there wasn’t a single update to the regular Airpods).
And the iPhone 14 (starting at $799), while it also has plenty of new features like the expected better camera and longer battery life, doesn’t offer any design updates. In many ways, the 14 felt like a minor upgrade from the 13 (which isn’t a bad thing, considering how well the 13 was received).
Admittedly, the 14 Pro ($999 and up) had some notable changes, like what Apple calls the “dynamic island,” a moving notch at the top of the screen, which expands into various shapes to alert you to calls and others. notifications, and a major upgrade to the camera, most notably the ability to shoot RAW photos at 48MP resolution.
While there were many new features and products, Apple went a little shady with its marketing at times. There were heart attacks, bears, plane crashes and lots and lots of car accidents (shown to emphasize the vehicle crash detection of the new watches and phones). Apple also spent quite a bit of time focusing on emergency SOS operations, both in the iPhone and the Apple Watch Ultra. (That SOS satellite system will be free for two years. Apple didn’t announce what it would charge afterward.)
These safety features are of course welcome additions. Having a phone or watch that can alert authorities when you are unable is something no one can complain about. But overall, the tone felt a bit darker than Apple’s typical upbeat tone.
Farewell SIM cards
Apple is going all-in on eSIM, eliminating the SIM tray in all iPhone 14s sold in the US. That’s a small chip built into the phone. Theoretically, that makes it easier to switch networks and allows you to have more than one SIM card. However, some critics have noted that eSIM actually makes it harder to switch. And if you’re worried about being tracked through your phone, you can’t remove the eSIM.
The metaverse can wait
While there was much speculation that Apple could use this event to debut, or at least hint at, its virtual or mixed reality headset, it didn’t happen. We think. There was a strange teaser that turned out to be from the show severance pay after the event ended, almost like a post-credits scene in a Marvel movie. It could have just been a teaser for season two or it could have been something more. Anyway, the lack of a final update leaves an open path for Meta, who will unveil its high-end VR headset on October 11.
However, Apple has never burst into a market. But don’t expect it to stay on the sidelines forever.