Ahead of Wednesday's big-ass Apple event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, some details regarding the new slate of iPhones and Apple Watches surfaced, presumably to the immediate chagrin of the Apple gods. Still, those pesky leaks didn't spoil the anticipation before of the annual smartphone throwdown.
As always, Tim Cook and company spent the first chunk of the event building even more hype before detailing the iPhone XS, XS Max, Apple Watch 4, and more.
Prior to the event, Cook perplexed us all with this since-deleted tweet about getting "it" "here" in an expedient manner:
All jokes aside, the tweet is likely related to the event's opening short film:
After Cook's intro, during which he celebrated the recent 2 billion iOS devices milestone, the latest Apple Watch update was explained. The Apple Watch Series 4 is described as the definitive "intelligent guardian for your health," with notable design and engineering improvements.
"We pushed the screens right to the edges and we've curved the corners to match the shape of the watch," Apple COO Jeff Williams said, adding that the new screen is a full 30 percent larger than previous models. The microphone has also been moved, which will improve phone call clarity and overall volume when using audio-related apps, boosted by new speakers.
The back of the watch is made up of black ceramic and sapphire crystal, which will allow radio waves to easily pass through the device, resulting in a better connection. Apple said the watch will also feature a 64-bit dual-core chip that will provide twice the speed of the Apple Watch 3 without shortening the battery life.
Health-wise, the new watch marks the first over-the-counter ECG (electrocardiogram) device to be available to everyday consumers. American Heart Association president Dr. Ivor J. Benjamin shared his thoughts on the updates, applauding Apple for their "innovation and commitment to health." That commitment is helped by a fresh FDA clearance.
Through the use of a new accelerometer and gyroscope, the Apple Watch 4 will also detect if the wearer has fallen. Once the device detects a hard fall, it will prompt the individual to either dismiss the alert or call emergency services. If the wearer doesn't respond within 60 seconds after the notification, emergency personnel and emergency contacts will be alerted.
The Apple Watch 4 Bluetooth version will run $399, while the cellular version will go for $499. Both will be available to order this Friday.
Next up, Cook returned to the stage for the main event: the iPhone. "iPhone X has changed the industry," Cook said, pointing to its status as the No. 1 smartphone on the planet. "Today, we're going to take iPhone X to the next level. I'm excited to show you what is by far the most advanced iPhone we have ever created."
Cook then invited Apple's senior VP of global marketing Phil Schiller to break down the iPhone XS. "It's as big a display as the [iPhone 8 Plus] phone, but in a more comfortable design," Schiller noted. The XS Max will have a 6.5-inch Super Retina display size, marking the largest iPhone yet.
The iPhones XS also has a IP68 water resistance rating, and features "the most durable glass ever in a smartphone" with enhanced scratch resistance. The phone is made of surgical grade stainless steel, and will come in gold, silver, and space gray.
The new phones boast wider stereo sound and improved Face ID algorithms. Per Schiller, the XS models contain the "most secure" facial recognition service yet. The phones' A12 Bionic chip, which marks a "breakthrough" for iOS devices, will help apps open up to 30 times faster. The chip will also help enable real-time machine learning.
With iOS 12, users can expect the addition of Siri Shortcuts. The Shortcuts feature vastly improves Siri's ability to help users get moving in the morning by kicking off a series of mobile orders and reminders with a simple command. Gaming, of course, will also see some boosts in playability and overall quality of performance. Additionally, expect some AR Arcade entries later this year.
Photographically, the new iPhones make use of their 12 MP wide-angle camera by loading it with improved True Tone flash, an all-new sensor, optical image stabilization, a 6-element lens, and more. "We have a brand new feature we call Smart HDR," Schiller said. "[This] takes that idea so much further . . . It is a breakthrough and it makes taking photos easier than ever to get beautiful results."
Apple has also addressed the "bokeh" effect by introducing a slider that allows the user to manually adjust how out of focus the background is. This will be especially useful for the portrait mode, as it'll allow individuals to adjust the depth of field after the photo is captured. The rear-facing cameras also have optical image stabilization as well as 2x optical zoom.
With videos, the audio improvements allow video recording in wider stereo sound and—thanks to other improvements—the resulting clips looking pretty damn amazing.
The improved battery—with up to 30 minutes more phone life than the original X—will also help with photo and video usage, as you won’t have to hop to a charger quite as soon as with previous models.
The iPhone XS and XS Max will cost between $999 and $1,099, depending on the GBs. Both devices will also be available in a 512 GB model. Customers can pre-order the phones this Friday.
At the near-end of Wednesday's event, Apple reaffirmed its commitment to sustainability, noting that its services are now operated on 100 percent renewable energy. Moving forward, Apple hopes to lead the charge with abandoning the use of non-renewable materials in the production of devices.
For the proverbial closing number, Apple unveiled the iPhone XR. "It is absolutely stunning," Schiller said of the edge-to-edge LCD display-enabled device. "It comes in incredible new finishes: white, black, blue, coral, yellow. Each beautifully designed with that aluminum finish and glass on the back . . . [The new display] is so cool, we had to give it its own name: the Liquid Retina display." As expected, the XR will also give you way more battery life—about an hour and a half longer than that of the iPhone 8 Plus.
Just like XS, this device will feature Apple's A12 Bionic processor. Unlike the other iPhone models introduced Wednesday, the XR will feature a LCD screen rather than a OLED. It also comes with a Haptic touch system in lieu of 3D touch, and has a water resistance rating of IP67.
The XR begins pre-orders Oct. 19, with shipping set for one week later on Oct. 26. Prices start at $749.
Apple also announced additional features for its HomePod device. The upgraded version will soon be able to make and receive phone calls through Siri; and any call that was made or accepted through the HomePod can be easily transferred to an iPhone.
HomePod users can also set multiple timers, search songs by simply reciting lyrics, and locate other Apple devices inside their residence.
Anyway, someone at Apple should step up and send me a free iPhone XS Max as soon as humanly impossible.