Apple announce 3 badly named iPhone models, the XS and XR, and Apple Watch Series 4!

Let’s Gather Around

As always for an Apple Event, we were never going to be too surprised at what was announced at the Steve Jobs Theatre, and this event was definitely no exception, but they did it anyway, so let’s look at what did get announced!

Apple September Event 2018

We’ve a full round-up of all the things announced at the Apple Event below, which you can re-watch above, or read below.

Apple iPhone XS … that’s 10 S

Yes it’s iterative, but you should expect that from an S year, we’re still impressed with the iPhone XS, plus there’s now an all new iPhone XS Max for those who were fans of the prior Plus series of iPhone models.

This is it, the all-new iPhone XS. The name shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, it does continue Apple’s usual “faster but no design change” naming strategy, but that was before we switched from numbers, to letters that mean numbers, on the name of these things, now it’s just confusing.

But that’s fine, the new iPhone excess, as most will refer to it as, improves upon the iPhone X in pretty much every way it could. It’s faster with the new A12 Bionic, though only sizeably, has better Cameras and has faster Face ID at the front, despite no claims of it being generation 2 of Face ID interestingly.

The problem with the new iPhone XS, despite the fact it is a great Smartphone and we’re on the list of folk to be getting one, is simple. If you have an iPhone X, there’s literally no reason to get an XS. In fact, that’s something that may have been true with all S releases, but, people have very selective memory when it comes to complaints, but we understand that’s mostly targeting the continued £999 base price, however, with Samsung expected to follow this trend with the S10, it’s just something you either go for, or simply don’t.

That’s not to say the iPhone XS doesn’t have improvements over the previous model, oh trust us it does, but naturally they’re likely no improvements worthy of an upgrade. It’s worth the upgrade if you’ve got an iPhone 7 series or earlier, or maybe iPhone 8 series if you’re ready to plunge that new change now.

Here’s all the improvements over the iPhone X, and we’ll let you decide;

  • Improved ISP on the Cameras
    • Advanced Bokeh
    • Depth Control, post photo taken
    • Smart HDR (similar to Pixel 2 models) as aside to Auto
    • Extended Dynamic Range in Video up to 30fps on Front Camera
    • Cinematic video stabilisation in 1080p or 720p on Front Camera
    • STEREO AUDIO RECORDING IN VIDEO (finally!)
  • Faster Face ID thanks to Neural Engine
  • More Wireless bands supported, including new Band 7 for T-Mobile LTE and up to a Gigabit speed supported 
  • A12 Bionic
  • IP68 Water and Dust Resistance for first time in an iPhone
  • Even faster Fast Wireless Charging support (expected to be 10W, from 7W on X and 8)
  • New 512GB option
  • Dual SIM using eSIM Technology, or physical Dual-SIM in China
  • Minor improvements to battery life (up to 30 minutes more than iPhone X)

Interesting oddity, the iPhone XS is 4 grams heavier, and doesn’t come with the 3.5mm adapter anymore!

Apple iPhone XS Max (left) with the new XS (right)

The model most will go with, however, is this, the new iPhone XS Max! That’s right, not Plus, but Max. Whilst the XS maintains the same 5.8 inch display, the Max turns that up to a massive 6.5 inch in a body just about fitting that of the iPhone 8 Plus, and we highly expect a repeat of the iPhone 6 days, where the bigger model, will be the most popular.

One thing we’re very happy about with this release of iPhone models, is the fact that it’s the first time that an iPhone release hasn’t mattered, feature wise, which one you choose. You get an EXACT experience between both. Same Cameras, same PPI with higher resolution naturally on the Max to keep that, but everything is even between the two. Plus, we’re happy that there’s only a £100 difference between all XS and XS Max models.

So, there you go, that’s the new iPhone XS models, and here’s how much they’ll set you back before their Friday release. £999 for the iPhone XS, and £1099 for the iPhone XS Max, with a £150 increment for storage, which is now 64GB base, with 256GB and 512GB available as options.

Apple iPhone XR … that’s 10 R

It may have a stupid name, but this is clearly going to be the iPhone that sells the most, is wanted the most, and, offers a surprising amount of features, including the best battery life out of an iPhone yet! Impressive right, until you realise it’s called the XR, but if you can get past that, let’s have a look.

New iPhone XR in its new colours, Black, PRODUCT (RED), Orange, Yellow, Blue and White

Is that a 5C I see, no it’s not, but it’s so much better! We just mentioned that we think most will pick up the Max version of the XS, that’s not including the majority of consumers who’ll probably just got for this!

Apple learned a lot from the 5C, and it’s clear to see here, is it slower than the XS? Not really, is the Camera worser than the XS? No, same primary sensor. This is actually a fully fledged flagship with a variety of colours to match, we’re in!

The iPhone XR falls slap bang in the middle of the sizes of the iPhone XS and XS Max with a 6.1 inch display, the display might not be as impressive as the XS series of displays, but it’s gonna be the best LCD displays on the market and maintains the PPI of the iPhone 8 and earlier series at 326PPI.

iPhone XR is the first LCD phone to go “bezel-less” without a growing chin

Most haven’t spoke about this too much, but we think it warrants a quick mention. EVERY Android phone that’s copied the Notch design of the iPhone X, or just had a Notch in general, has always had one thing in common, surprisingly, whether they’ve been OLED or LCD! And that’s that they’ve all had a thick distracting chin as well. The way Apple got around this in the iPhone X was to wrap the bottom panel around inside, so the display controllers could still lay flat, whilst the display itself renders clear to the bottom. This wasn’t possible to do on an LCD, so it’s a big deal that Apple have being able to design and build a Smartphone that offers that experience with a wrap around display with a bezel around the size of the sides at the bottom as well! Yes it’s a thicker outline than the X and XS models, but this is really impressive from an LCD, and not a single Android manufacturer has managed to pull this off!

Design wise, the iPhone XR is like a mash up between last years iPhone 8 models, with the aluminium sides and same glass back design, and the iPhone X. On the back of the iPhone XR, you could fool anyone that it was an iPhone 8, it just looks that similar at the back, but, of course, up front it’s all new, plus you can get this in A LOT more colours!

The iPhone XR also features the True Depth Camera System up front with the same front facing Camera tech as the XS, with Portrait Mode at the back despite the single lens which is impressive to see. As we briefly touched on, the iPhone XR is actually just about as powerful as the XS models as well, it’s got the same A12 Bionic chip, 1GB less of RAM, but if that’s all you’re losing out in performance, you’re still left with quite a beast of performance, and, that’s the same 3GB of RAM that the iPhone X had anyway last year.

You know another area that the iPhone XR champs at, battery life! Seriously! It’s a whole 1 hour and 30 above the previous iPhone battery champ, the iPhone 8 Plus. This is big news, you will get a lot out of this phone!

The iPhone XR will begin shipping a month from now, which is a shame, October 19th to be exact, but will start at quite a nice price of £749. Which, considering the power you’re getting out of this thing, we think, that’s a very decent price, and, with a battery that’s gonna last the longest of any iPhone so far! £50 more will get you a 128GB configuration, and the iPhone XR tops out a £100 less than the iPhone XS at £899 for a 256GB configuration.

Apple Watch Series 4

A day we never thought we’d see finally happened at this Apple Event … well, we gathered it would eventually but the clever analysts never expected this, an Apple Watch stole the show!

Even though this leaked, just like the XS did, it still managed to impress, and that in itself, is impressive. This is the all new Apple Watch Series 4.

For the first time since the original Apple Watch, Apple have changed up the design, and, it’s all about the display. Whilst the Apple Watch physically doesn’t get much bigger, the displays themselves are finally edge-to-edge. This has led to a much more curved UI design, which, admittedly, we’re not a massive fan of in all areas, such as that button curving on the picture shown above, but the overall experience is there!

Performance has been doubled with the S4 chip in the Apple Watch, which, is actually very impressive, as the Series 3 was a big improvement in performance, and, Apple have kept the same Apple Watch battery life, which, by the way, is very good.

The biggest “phew”, we think, all will be feeling, that comes with the Apple Watch Series 4, without a doubt, is that all previous Apple Watch straps will work with the new Series 4, though, admittedly, that will be  rather confusing, at first, so we’ll just lay it out for you, we hope this clears things up;

  • 38mm straps work with the 40mm Apple Watch Series 4
  • 42mm straps work with the 44mm Apple Watch Series 4

The big highlight feature of the Apple Watch, wasn’t the twice as loud Speaker … I know, but was the inclusion of a sensor which is just going to continue the Apple Watch benefits medically, an ECG sensor is built right in! This means you can perform an Electrocardiogram right from your wrist, by putting your finger on the crown! This is massive for those with heart conditions, BUT shouldn’t be something you use regularly or on reliance, plus ECG scans are very sensitive so it will be recommended, especially if something is found using the Watch, to consult a Doctor for a second opinion.

The Apple Watch can now detect if you fall, which sounds really stupid, but it’s actually again a useful feature, and depending on the situation, can offer up Emergency contacts, or services, should you not get up after a set amount of time.

That’s about it really, the Apple Watch Series 4 did go up in price, as expected, but this is one year we’ll let that slide, as this is one very impressive Watch, both on a display stand-point, and, potentially, as one of the best fitness devices, leapfrogging everything else in it’s path.

The Series 4 starts at £399 for a GPS only model, and £499 for a GPS+Cellular model. All prices increase by £40 to the larger model. For us UK folk, Vodafone was added to the list of Apple Watch supported Carriers for the Series 4, where EE were previously exclusive.

The biggest disappointment from the “Gather Round” Event!

The keynote!

Seriously! The biggest disappointment from the whole Apple Event, wasn’t even the products that were announced! I mean, we saw welcome and sizeable improvements with the iPhone XS, with a larger model as an option, and, one everyone was waiting for, a brilliant colourful iPhone XR, and, one of the best Watches on the market, but, the way they were presented was unusually terrible for Apple!

The pace in the Event was beyond off, additional presenters for no reason just broke the feel of the presentation every time, and a larger than normal focus on third party app demonstration, just all added up to an incredibly boring keynote. The event was near 2 hours long, and, we guarantee, if it was half that, everyone would be much more happier with the Event!

Don’t get us wrong, it wasn’t Samsung keynote bad, and we’re sure to expect Keynotes from a collection of companies that will be massively worse than this Event, but for Apple, it was noticeable.

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