By Noreen Flanagan
Date September 13, 2018
Visiting Apple Park in Cupertino, California to attend the fall keynote “is like going to Mecca for Apple fans,” Matthew Santoro tells me. The Canadian LA-based YouTuber is literally vibrating beside me on the bus ride to the park. “I’ve been watching the live-streams for 10 years from my home and now I’m here.” We step off the bus to cheers and claps from Apple employees wearing blue t-shirts. It’s like we’ve just finished a marathon. “Welcome!” they all say with giant grins.
“More hype! More hype! Yes! Yes!” Santoro shouts as we walk through the gates. Behind us is another Canadian YouTuber Karl Conrad. It’s his first time to the Park and he tells me he’s beyond psyched. “I didn’t sleep last night,” he beams.
Seconds later both of them disappear into the crowd of assembled international journalists making their way to the Steve Jobs Theater along the tree-lined path through the 71-hectare park. There’s a bucolic, mesmerizing soundtrack playing on hidden speakers, which is a rather amusing counterpoint to the near frenetic scene of people snapping selfies and doing stand-up live hits.
Inside the theater, the new age soundtrack has been replaced with an apropos selection of tunes, starting with “Connection” by OneRepublic, “Believer” by Imagine Dragons and “Heavy, California” by Jungle. Before Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive officer, takes to the stage they play a Mission Impossible-themed video of an Apple employee madly running across the Park carrying a locked metal briefcase. She arrives just in time to deliver Cook his trusty clicker. He comes onto the stage and the theatre erupts into cheers and claps. It feels like a tech rally. I don’t know where Santoro is, but I suspect he’s one of the fist-pumping enthusiasts who always make these events so fun.
Okay, so that’s the scene. What about the products? Here are the 12 reasons why I think women will be interested in the Apple Watch Series 4 as well as the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and the iPhone XR. Photography courtesy of Apple
Let’s start with the watch.
- The display is 30% larger—due to curved edges—but the watchcase is smaller and thinner than Series 3. (The apps and fonts are also bigger and easier to read.)
- The speaker is 50% louder, which is perfect for phone calls while you’re on the run.
- If you love the Breathe app, you can now make it your watch face. The Vapor, Liquid Metal, Fire and Water faces are also addictively meditative.
- It tracks new exercises, like yoga and hiking. For marathon runners—the battery life for outdoor workouts is increased to 6 hours.
- If you had a walkie-talkie as a kid, you’ll love this new feature which allows you to have a watch-to-watch connection over Wifi or cellular.
- The watch detects if you fall based on your wrist trajectory and impact acceleration. If it senses you’ve taken a tumble, it sends you an alert, which you can either dismiss or use to call for help. If it senses you haven’t moved in 60 seconds, it automatically calls for help and sends a message to your emergency contacts with your location.
Photography courtesy of Apple
- But the most impressive features deal with heart health. It sends you alerts if your heart rate either exceeds or falls below thresholds that you have set. It will also intermittently analyze your heart rhythms to identify signs of atrial fibrillation. If you live in the States, you’ll soon be able to take an ECG reading in 30 seconds by placing your finger on the digital crown. “There are lots of really cool bells and whistles announced today, but the heart heath features in the watch are huge because they may detect things you aren’t even aware of,” says Canadian tech expert Avery Swartz. “Women don’t go to their doctors enough and they don’t take care of themselves. Heart disease is a big issue for women. It’s one of the leading causes of death. This watch may prompt you to take better care of yourself.”
On to the phones: Photography courtesy of Apple
- The display is bigger—5.8 inches for the iPhone XS and 6.5 inches for the iPhone XS Max.
- The battery in the iPhone XS lasts 30 more minutes and the iPhone XS Max runs for another 1.5 hours longer between charges.
- You can adjust the depth of field in portrait mode!
- You can have two SIM cards, which means you can keep two phone numbers and use two different plans.
- Swartz was most impressed with the lower-priced iPhone XR. “You get all the fun things, like Face ID, the fuller screen, emojis and even the portrait mode setting with the depth of field feature. Like they said, it’s really a form of computational photography. You still need to know how to compose a beautiful picture, but this lets you make it better.”
So when can you get your hands on these new products?
The Apple Watch Series 4
You can place orders on September 14 for the Apple Watch 4. They will be in stores on September 21. The GPS-only starts at $519 and the GPS + Cellular starts at $649.
The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are available in 64GB, 256GB and 512 GB in space gray, silver and a new gold finish. They’re $1,379 and $1,519 respectively. You can place orders on September 21 and it will be in stores on September 21. The iPhoneXR will be available in 64 GB, 128GB and 256GB in white, black, blue, yellow, coral and red starting at $1,029. You can pre-order on October 19 and in stores October 26.
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