New iPhones were once again front and center at Apple’s fall event this Wednesday, but the company also announced a few other products and software updates. Here are the most important announcements from Apple’s iPhone Xs event:
Apple Watch 4: Apple announced the next version of its wearable Wednesday, and put a big emphasis on advanced heart tracking as a major new feature. The new Apple Watch 4 comes with a 30% larger screen, but a thinner housing. Apple redesigned the user interface of its watchOS software to adapt to the new screen sizes.
The watch also comes with a speaker that is 50% louder, and it is powered by a new S4 chip that promises the same battery life while doubling the speed of apps running on the device. The crown, used for scrolling and input, has been tweaked to offer haptic feedback.
However, the biggest change is the integration of new health features: Apple Watch 4 can be used to run ECGs at home, and monitor for irregular heart beats, also known as Atrial Fibrillation (AFib). The watch also constantly monitors for falls, and can automatically dial emergency services if a user doesn’t get up after a fall.
The new Apple Watch 4 will be available in 2 sizes, with a diagonal screen size of 40mm and 44mm. The Wifi-only model will be available for $399 and up, where as cellular connectivity will be available starting at $499.
iPhone Xs, Xs Max and Xr. Apple launched 3 new iPhone models Wednesday, including a revamped version of the iPhone X, a super-sized Max model with a 6.5 inch screen, and a more affordable successor to the iPhone 8 dubbed the iPhone Xr. Read all about these new models here.
iOS 12. The next version of Apple’s mobile operating system will be available to existing iPhone and iPad users starting September 17. The company previewed most of the software’s new features, which include digital wellness tools as well as an update to its augmented reality platform ARKit, at its WorldWide Developer Conference in June. The ARKit updates will make it possible to play multiplayer AR games, including an upcoming version of “Galaga AR.”
HomePod. Apple’s smart speaker isn’t getting a hardware update, but the company announced a few software tweaks this week: HomePod users will be able to make and receive phone calls, set multiple timers, get help to find their misplaced phone and search for songs by lyrics once they receive the next software update, which is scheduled to roll out on September 17.
Apple TV. The company’s TV streaming device will receive its next major software update on September 17 as well. This will include previously-announced support for Dolby Atmos, as well as a revamped single sing-on functionality for TV Everywhere apps.
MacOS. Apple is going to release the next version of is desktop operating system, dubbed MacOS Mojave, on September 24.
Apple’s physical stores. Apple CEO Tim Cook also used Wednesday’s event to give a few business updates. One tidbit: Apple’s physical retail locations are now being visited by over 500 million customers a year.
iOS milestone. Apple is close to shipping its 2 billionth iOS device, Cook revealed on stage Wednesday. Apple announced a little over two years ago that it had shipped over 1 billion iPhones, and said earlier this year that it had 1.3 billion active iOS devices worldwide. The number of devices shipped obviously also includes iPads, iPhones and iPod touch devices not in use anymore.