Apple showcased a new batch of products led by its latest iPhone 14 models, including new Apple Watches and new pair of AirPods Pro.
All of these devices very much carry on from their predecessors, whereas one in particular takes things further. Apple focused more on improving hardware design and performance, adding some additional information about upcoming features.
iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus
The last two years, Apple went smaller with its iPhones, but not this time. The iPhone 14 retains its 6.1-inch XDR OLED, and is now the smaller of the two in the lineup. A larger iPhone 14 Plus sports a 6.7-inch XDR OLED, bringing another bigger phone to Apple’s offering. Both phones are otherwise the same, including Apple equipping them with its A15 Bionic chip.
You get a new 12-megapixel main camera, with f/1.5 aperture and larger Micron pixels. Apple says it will considerably improve low-light photos, though it’s hard to tell without testing. “Photonic Engine” is a newer process that fuses together multiple exposures in greater numbers to render clearer images with better dynamic range. It has a new TrueDepth front camera that focuses better and faster. Plus, video gets even smoother with an Action mode to reduce shake when recording something while moving.
One thing all new iPhone 14 models will have is Emergency SOS via satellite. This is interesting because if you’re in a location without cellular reception, you can still communicate with a satellite to reach someone. It will be available in Canada and the United States starting in November. Apple will also offer it free for two years.
Pre-orders are available starting September 9 and in your hands as early as September 16. The iPhone 14 Plus will take longer, coming out October 7.
iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max
Apple removed the notch that fell from the top of the display and made a “dynamic island” that doubles as a notification interface. This way, you can see certain notifications without leaving an app. Information could be contextual, like skipping a music track, or in real time, like recording audio or following the score of a sporting event.
Both phones sport new displays, though the sizes stay the same. You can go with the 6.1-inch of the iPhone 14 Pro or 6.7-inch of the 14 Pro Max. The lock screen will have widgets—and finally— Apple is offering an always-on display to let you see pertinent info without turning the screen on. Not to mention both screens will be brighter this time.
Apple built its A16 Bionic chip on a 4nm process, following the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and Google Tensor, increasing efficiency while reducing power consumption. This will have implications for photography and video.
A new 48-megapixel sensor, 65% larger than the previous one, promises significant improvements. Apple claims doubled improvement in low-light photos. An improved 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera is set to deliver 3x better low-light images. Meanwhile, the 12-megapixel telephoto camera should see 2x improvement.
Apple’s ProRAW will let you shoot at the full 48-megapixel resolution—great for those who want more control. It uses some machine learning to help render images, though shooting in RAW ultimately is based on how you process the image yourself later.
Cinematic mode gets a nice update with support for 4K at 24fps, which is precisely what “cinematic” should be. The Action mode mentioned for the other iPhone 14s is also available here.
Colour options include space black, silver, gold and deep purple. Storage capacity starts at 128GB, with 256GB, 512GB and 1TB options also available. Pre-orders are available starting September 9 with both launching September 16.
AirPods Pro (2nd Gen)
The AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) stick the familiar design, though Apple made some changes to the drivers and microphone placement. The company claims these earbuds can cancel double the amount of noise as their predecessors. In turn, Adaptive Transparency will cut out really loud noises in your environment, despite Transparency being on.
The stems now have volume controls, where you can slide your fingers up or down to adjust it. It’s not clear how much better audio quality might be, though Apple did say your ears should notice. Spatial Audio is back, and set to be even clearer and resonant when watching surround sound content.
Apple improved battery life, rating the new earbuds at up to six hours of listening time, though that’s with ANC off. Leave it on, and it will be less. The case will offer an extra four charges. Precision Finding will help you find the case if you’ve accidentally misplaced it. The case also has a lanyard loop to keep them close and attached to you.
New Apple Watch models
This was a bit of a surprise, as Apple announced three new Watch models. The most popular could be the Apple Watch Series 8, following up on what the Series 7 delivered. You still get a swimproof, dustproof and crack resistant watch, along with some new features.
One of them is a skin temperature sensor to help determine ovulation for women, adding to the menstrual cycle tracking Apple added in 2019. The watch can also send a notification if there’s a cycle deviation (needs iOS 16 on an iPhone to show on the phone). Aside from women’s health, the sensor could also indicate if something’s off when temperatures fluctuate.
Another new feature is called Crash Detection. When the watch detects you’ve been in a car crash, it will automatically call 911 emergency response to get help to you. It focuses on four types of crashes: front, side, rear-end and rollover.
To preserve battery life, Low Power Mode disables always-on and other settings to keep the battery going longer, though Fall and Crash Detection, plus SOS Emergency always stay on. Cellular models will support international roaming. Add the watch to your roaming plan and you should be good to go. No Canadian carriers were listed during the keynote, so this may be a feature that comes at a later time.
Apple Watch Ultra
The Apple Watch Ultra focuses on the really active crowd that wants to go further, longer and faster. Made of aerospace-grade titanium, with a lip that helps protect the sapphire display, it’s easily the most ruggedized watch Apple’s made to date.
Some new hardware elements come into play, like an action button on the corner, with customizable controls, including a quick way to start and stop an exercise. The side button is still there, and Apple designed both buttons to be easy to work with while wearing gloves. If you’ve ever worried about maintaining line of sight, the Ultra will have L1 + L5 GPS, making it easier to latch onto a GPS signal when, say, running a marathon between skyscrapers in a city. The Ultra has an 86 dB siren in case you’re lost or in trouble and need to catch someone’s attention for help.
When it comes to being in the water, the Ultra has EN13399 protection for diving. A new Oceanic+ app will complement that for recreational and professional divers, keeping track of depth, time underwater and much more.
It also lasts longer than other Apple Watch models, going up to 36 hours of battery life per charge. A battery optimization setting will come later in the fall that can extend that to 60 hours.
The alpine loop is a unique band weaving together two bands together with titanium loops. There’s also the trail loop for a thinner fit. An ocean loop is a durable and rubberized band that withstand the rigours of diving.
Apple Watch SE (2nd Gen)
Apple’s entry-level smartwatch gets a display 30% larger than the Apple Watch Series 3, another favourite for those who want a watch on a budget. The back of the watch is now made of nylon composite materials. Fall and Crash Detection, as well as Emergency SOS. It’s an iterative update at best, as it doesn’t introduce any major new features.
All of these products are coming soon, with all but one ready to launch before the end of September. Check out all the Apple products announced today, including those already available right here.
They dropped the Watch 3 (at last) and lowered the price of the new SE (a bit) which I was pleasantly surprised by. The gadget fan in me would have liked a few new features in the SE but honestly it was probably good enough already for most casual users like myself so a price drop is acceptable.