Apple’s events are fun, but they can be a little overwhelming. Not everyone has more than an hour to watch the world’s most valuable company pitch its latest gadgets, software and services. If you’re in a rush, or if you just want a quick overview of everything that’s coming your way from Apple in the coming weeks, look no further. Here’s your quick guide to everything Apple announced at its September 7 “Far Out” event.
Apple, the integration company
CEO Tim Cook kicked off the event standing in a field in downtown Apple Park and immediately told us we’d be hearing about the iPhone, AirPods, and Apple Watch. Three products that work together seamlessly to provide functionality beyond what they could do alone. Cook said it was “something only Apple can do,” which frankly sounds more like a threat than a boast.
Apple Watch saves lives
Before going into detail about any new hardware or software, Apple showed a cleverly crafted montage that people read they sent Tim Cook about a time when the Apple Watch might have saved their lives.
It was meant to be a good moment about the importance of the Apple Watch’s health and safety features, but we couldn’t help but discover a sinister implication of “buy an Apple Watch or you might die.” Apple certainly spent a lot of money on it, even going as far as producing a plane crash wreckage kit.
Apple Watch Series 8
The Apple Watch Series 8 is very similar to the Series 7. It has the same size and design, and the S8 system-in-package (SiP) looks almost identical to the S7. What’s new are some new sensors that enable new health and safety features.
A new, more sensitive accelerometer and gyroscope are used to detect car accidents and automatically send for help, similar to the fall detection on Apple Watches today. A new body temperature sensor (or actually a few of them) tracks your team temperature while you sleep to alert you to changing trends, which is especially useful for tracking ovulation. Combined with heart rate and registered cycle data, women get a detailed picture of their menstrual cycle.
The Apple Watch Series 8 is the same price as Series 7: $399 for 41mm Wi-Fi/GPS, $429 for 45mm Wi-Fi/GPS, and another $100 for cellular connectivity to both. Pre-orders are available now and shipments will start arriving on September 16.
Read more about the Apple Watch series 8 here.
Apple Watch SE
The Apple Watch SE gets its first update. Still technically simply called “Apple Watch SE”, this second-generation model is just like the latter, but upgraded to the S8 SiP (which is like the S7, which is like the S6 but is about 20 percent faster than the S5 in the original SE). It has slightly larger bezels around the screen than the Series 8 and doesn’t always support on. It also doesn’t do an EKG, monitor temperature, or test your blood oxygen levels, and it does. But it does have the new gyroscope and accelerometer to support car accident detection.
The price dropped a bit, to $249 (40mm GPS) and $299 (44mm GPS) (the old SE was $279 and $329). Pre-orders are now available and the watches will ship on September 16.
Read more about the Apple Watch SE (2nd generation) here.
Apple Watch Ultra
The biggest new Apple Watch announcement was literally the Apple Watch Ultra. A huge 49mm Apple Watch with a larger case, made for extreme weather and outdoor activities. It has a larger, sturdier housing that helps protect the glass front, a new customizable action button on the left side, is water resistant to 100 meters (twice as much as the Series 8) and is certified for recreational diving to 40 meters.
It has everything you’ll find in the Series 8 model, plus a new high-precision dual GPS system, an additional speaker for better outdoor calling performance, and a much larger battery that lasts twice as long (36 hours). The housing is made of titanium and only has a natural titanium tint.
There are three exclusive bands: one for diving and water sports, one for endurance sports such as marathon running and one for cold weather. Apple has adapted the software in many places to accommodate outdoor and extreme sports enthusiasts as well.
There is only one model in one size including mobile, and it costs $799 with your choice of one of three bands. Pre-orders are now available and the watch will ship from September 23.
Read more about the Apple Watch Ultra here.
AirPods Pro (2nd generation)
AirPods are one of Apple’s most successful product lines of all time, and the AirPods Pro are its most popular model. But they are now a bit old and in need of an upgrade. The new 2nd generation AirPods Pro are the first to feature Apple’s new H2 chip, which provides faster processing with less power. Combined with a new custom driver and low-distortion amplifier, it delivers better sound quality (but not lossless) and up to twice the noise cancellation capability. The adaptive transparency mode also adapts to outside noises such as construction and automatically increases noise reduction in louder environments.
The battery lasts an hour longer (6 hours instead of 4.5 hours) and the case offers up to 30 hours of playback (from 24 hours). The case also has a keychain loop, a speaker to make sounds with Find My, support for precision search with the U1 chip and can be charged with MagSafe, a wireless charging pad, an Apple Watch charger or a Lightning cable. Oh, and there are new extra small earplugs for more people.
The second-generation AirPods Pro will retail for $249, with pre-orders starting September 9 and orders shipping September 23.
Read more about the second-generation AirPods Pro here.
iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus
The iPhone 14 is very similar to the iPhone 13, but there are some notable changes and improvements. The mini size is gone, replaced by a 6.7-inch Plus model. They borrow some stuff from the iPhone 13 Pro models – the A15 found in them is the same 5-core GPU version found in the iPhone 13 Pro, as is the larger wide camera sensor with f/1.5 aperture. The front camera has been improved to an aperture of f/1.9 with autofocus, which should improve selfies in low light.
Photos are now processed with a new algorithm Apple calls the Photonic Engine, which preserves more detail in low light from all the cameras on the phone. And Apple says it has even longer battery life than the iPhone 13. It also comes in new purple and blue colors.
Read more about the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus here.
iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max are about the same size as the iPhone 13 Pro models, but with a few obvious changes. The cameras are much improved, with a new 48MP quad-pixel Wide sensor that takes more detailed 12MP images and allows a 2x optical zoom. You can even take 48 megapixel photos in ProRAW format. The Ultra-Wide sensor is bigger and should be better in low light too. And all cameras use the new Photonic Engine processing that improves quality.
It has the same improved front camera as the iPhone 14, but that’s not what you’ll notice. It’s the new Dynamic Island that will catch your eye. This is the little pill-shaped cutout where the front-facing camera and sensors reside, but Apple has used some design magic to turn it into a dynamic, responsive, animated area for alerts, background tasks, and notifications. It’s one of the slickest iPhone interface tricks we’ve seen in a long time.
The screen supports an always-on mode, which dims your screen lock and shows your time, widgets, and live activities (these live notifications will come in an iOS 16 update). It also gets much brighter, up to 1,600 nits in HDR content and 2,000 nits outdoors.
There’s a new A16 processor that uses a new 4nm manufacturing process, but it’s very similar to the A15 with more flexibility for higher clock speeds. However, the display engine and image signal processor are new, all to support the new always-on display and camera system. Apple says the battery life should be even better than the iPhone 13 Pro (29 hours of video playback versus 28 hours).
Read more about the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max here.
Satellite emergency texting and eSIM
Along with the iPhone 14 series, there’s a nice new security feature and service that lets you connect directly to a satellite to send emergency messages. It might take a while, so Apple has created a whole interface and technology to keep the data on your emergency messages short and help you keep your iPhone pointed at the satellite long enough to send the message.
This is a paid service, although Apple didn’t say how much it would cost. However, you get two years free with every iPhone 14 (all models, standard or Pro). It’s a great security feature, but it’s certainly not the same as being able to use satellites to make calls or text freely.
Apple also spent some time on the benefits of eSIM over physical SIM cards. All iPhone 14 models support dual eSIMs, and in the US, the phones will not even with a SIM tray. This is likely to cause some confusion at first, although all major US carriers and almost every MVNO now support eSIM.