Anyone attending Apple’s first in-person September product launch since 2019 on Wednesday had to deal with all of the above before making it inside the company’s Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. But what waited on the other end was a prerecorded presentation video featuring Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, briefly introduced by real-life Cook, along with some notable changes to the kinds of iPhones, smartwatch and ear buds Apple offers.
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Apple Watch Series 8 with temperature sensor, car crash detection
First up, Apple announced a new Apple Watch: the Series 8. It comes with some cosmetic add-ons like an always-on display and fresh watch faces (hello, astronomy face). But most notable are the Watch’s health and safety improvements. Apple says the temperature sensors mean the Series 8 can help wearers track their menstrual cycles, ovulation and fertility.
Apple emphasized the existing privacy features of its period tracking options, after months of concern about how period-tracking information could be used for criminal cases in states where abortion was recently made illegal. Apple says that data will be end-to-end encrypted and the company won’t have the key to decrypt it.
Additional motion sensors let the Watch detect car crashes, Apple says, letting wearers get help faster in case of an accident. The device will start at $399 and begin shipping Sept 16.
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What else to look for
Apple is also expected to reveal updated iPhones to AirPods. But if the rest of its end-of-summer product launches are anything to go by, it’s the company’s upgraded iPhones that will garner the most attention.
It’s no surprise, really. The iPhone is the company’s most profitable product line, and according to data from Counterpoint Research, iPhones now account for more than 50 percent of all smartphones used in the United States, surpassing Android phones.
But while the new iPhones themselves aren’t expected to look dramatically different, some industry observers suggest there may be notable changes to the kinds of iPhones Apple offers.
But before any of that starts though, here’s our guide to what you can expect Apple to announce.
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Shifting sensibilities for the iPhone
Apple’s “mini” line of smaller iPhones – which first appeared around two years ago – may disappear entirely, according to reports from Bloomberg and TF Securities International analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Instead, the new (and normal-size) iPhone 14 may be joined by a larger iPhone 14 Plus with a 6.7-inch screen.
Having a larger version of the regular iPhone 14 could be especially enticing to people who want a big screen “without having to pay more for the extra bells and whistles they might not want” from one of Apple’s Pro Max models, said Carolina Milanesi, lead analyst at Creative Strategies.
The differences don’t end there, either. A report from the Wall Street Journal suggests that the new iPhone 14 and its bigger sibling will use an “enhanced” version of the existing A15 Bionic chipset found in existing iPhone 13 models. That’s a first for the company’s smartphones, though Apple has used upgraded versions of existing processors rather than brand new ones in some of its iPad models. Instead, Apple is said to be reserving the latest version of its mobile chipset – the A16 – for its more premium iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max devices.
Apple’s Pro models might also include a higher-resolution camera and smaller cutouts for the devices’ front-facing cameras and Face ID scanners in lieu of the notch.
One or more of Apple’s new iPhones could also come with the ability to communicate with satellites in case of emergency, according to TF Securities International’s Kuo. Similar rumors surfaced around the launch of the iPhone 13 last year, but in a note published on Medium, Kuo said the company had “completed hardware tests” of a satellite communication feature for the iPhone 14. Whether that feature actually becomes usable, he added, mostly depends on “whether Apple and operators can settle on a business model.”
Apple declined to comment about its upcoming products ahead of its launch event.
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A possible price bump
Like your milk, eggs and gasoline, at least some of Apple’s new iPhones may wind up costing you more than before.
Since it introduced the first “Pro” iPhone three years ago, Apple has charged $999 for the base Pro model – that’s at least $200 more the standard iPhone model announced at the same time. But in a note to investors, Wedbush Securities analysts Daniel Ives said he expects to see those Pro devices become even more expensive.
“While the base iPhone will stay at the same price, we believe a $100 price increase on the iPhone 14 Pro/Pro Max is likely in store given component price increases as well as added functionality on this new release,” he said.
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Beyond its iPhones, Apple is also expected to reveal new versions of its popular wireless ear buds.
As for audio, the company is expected to reveal a new version of its AirPods Pro, a set of in-ear wireless ear buds with noise cancellation that debuted in late 2019. While it’s unclear how – or if – these new ear buds sound any different from the models they will replace, Kuo has suggested the new AirPods will come in a case that charges them faster and contains a speaker that can play an alert sound if a user misplaces them.
(c) 2022, The Washington Post · Chris Velazco