Apple unveils new products with added features: Bigger iPhones, enhanced watch sensors

The company also launched an improved version of its AirPods Pro wireless earbuds

Apple CEO Tim Cook delivers a keynote address during a product launch event on September 7 in Cupertino, California.
Apple CEO Tim Cook delivers a keynote address during a product launch event on September 7 in Cupertino, California.JUSTIN SULLIVAN (AFP)

“Far out” was the slogan chosen by Apple this year to describe its most important annual event, the fall product launch that took place on Wednesday at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California.

The slogan alludes to the new iPhone 14′s emergency satellite connectivity (available only in the US and Canada), one of several added features that come with Apple’s latest phones: iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max.

As expected, the tech giant has done away with its smallest model, the iPhone Mini, and now favors larger sizes. Apple on Wednesday introduced two handsets with a 6.1-inch screen – the iPhone 14 and the iPhone 14 Pro – and two with a 6.7-inch screen – the iPhone 14 Pro Max and the iPhone 14 Plus.

The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus have two 12-megapixel cameras. The rear one has a larger sensor and the front one comes with a new auto-focus system. Both models use the A15 Bionic chip and offer 64 GB, 128 GB or 256 GB of storage space. However, the refresh rate on the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus (the number of times the screen updates its image in one second) remains stuck at 60Hz, instead of the 120Hz that has become common among competing brands.

The iPhone 14 Pro, the most ambitious model, makes the leap to 48 megapixels on its rear camera and changes the traditional “notch,” the dark cutout at the top of the screen, for what Apple calls a “dynamic island.” Both the Pro and Pro Max models will run on a new chip, the A16 Bionic. In a first for iPhones, the Pro models also feature always-on displays.

New smartwatches

The Apple Watch is the world’s best-selling smartwatch, according to Statista. The brand has now come up with Apple Watch Series 8, which “keeps you connected to the things that matter most to you, encourages you to be active and monitors your health,” said CEO Tim Cook.

Its main new feature is a body temperature sensor that, according to Apple, can do things like monitor menstrual cycles and provide information on ovulation. The watch aims to alert users of possible issues that could be a sign of a health problem. Smartwatches, in combination with remote medical consultations, have the potential to reduce in-person visits to medical centers and hospitals, according to The Future of Fevices report by GSMA Intelligence (the research division of the association of telecommunications operators). But, as Apple stresses, this app is not intended for medical use.

The Series 18 watches have an all-day 18-hour battery life and a Crash Detection feature that activates communication with emergency services.

Apple also introduced a redesigned Apple Watch SE, as well as a watch designed especially for athletes, the Apple Watch Ultra, which comes with a 49mm titanium case and a 36-hour battery life that can extend up to 60 hours on low-power setting. Apple says that the watch can detect water depth and temperature.

Airpods Pro

The company additionally unveiled the new generation of its wireless earbuds, the AirPods Pro, which despite the rumors of recent weeks will not be able to detect the user’s heart rate or body temperature, or work as a hearing aid for people with hearing problems.

The earbuds come with a new H2 chip as well as “major upgrades to Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode, while also offering a unique way to experience Spatial Audio that’s even more immersive,” said the company in a statement.

Apple notes that the new AirPods Pro have a touch control system for media playback and volume adjustments on the stem, and also feature longer battery life, a new charging case, and an additional ear tip size for a better fit.

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