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Few surprises at Apple’s annual bash

Few surprises at Apple’s annual bash

For once, it seems, the forecasters got it about right. Apple’s big reveals at its annual device rollout event were predicted to announce a few advances, a few interesting upgrades and, of course a whole raft of inspirational videos.

It was, in short, everything everyone was expecting with no big wow moments. What there was, was a look at three new variations of the iPhone X, a new version of the Apple Watch and updates to Siri and the Home Pod.

New phones

This year has seen constant leaks around the new phones Apple would be introducing, so the actual launch saw confirmation rather than revelation, particularly with the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR.

Among the upgrades was that the smaller of the top-line models, the XS comes with a 5.8 inches Super Retina OLED display while the XS Max increased screen size to 6.5 inches. Both models are more waterproof and can now boast an upgraded A12 bionic chip and a major camera upgrade. The phones also have longer battery life and can now support dual SIM, meaning a user can set up primary and secondary numbers.

What many thought would be the new iPhone 9 was, instead rebranded as the XR, a slightly less advanced version of the iPhone X. The phone is Apple’s answer to the mid- range market, coming in at £571.

The new Watch

The big speculation before Apple’s annual event was around the developments in the Apple Watch. As was expected, the launch of the Apple Watch Series 4 came with a larger screen, better speakers, a slimmer body and a crown with haptic feedback. Haptic refers to the sense of touch in a user interface.

The Watch continues to offer health services with the new version able to detect unusually low heart rate and irregular rhythm symptomatic of atrial fibrillation.

Home Pod & Siri

What was a surprise was how little Apple trumpeted its voice ecosystems? These have become increasingly important in the struggle for dominance in the future of digital connects.

It has become an increasingly competitive arena with Google and Amazon slugging it out. In a sideways reference, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook simply mentioned improvements which will allow users to search song lyrics, sync devices and set timers. Hardly revolutionary and Apple-like.

Away from the main stage there were some announcements on updates to voice and voice-activated speakers. Home Pod will now be able to make and receive phone calls, help users find lost phones and enable short-cuts.

For instance, by just saying ‘Hey Siri, good morning,’ will now prompt Siri to run an entire morning routine from ordering a shop to turning on household lights.

Whether the new innovations will equate to higher sales is still in the air. Surveys have shown consumers continue being excited about the new iPhones. But it remains to be seen whether Apple can make inroads into the mid-priced range of phones that Samsung and, in particular Huawei dominate.

Image: Justin Ormont


A veteran freelance journalist writing extensively on internet news and cybersecurity.
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