San Francisco, California: Tuesday was supposed to be the day that Apple released an uninspiring upgrade to the iPhone Xs.
Instead, the company caught the media by surprise by announcing cut-rate subscriptions on upcoming streaming and arcade services and dropping the entry-level price of the new iPhone.
The company also rolled out a number of software and hardware updates that could actually cause people to forget that the new iPhones won’t have 5G capabilities.
Only time will tell if consumers really care about the devices’ inability to connect to the new high-speed networking technology, but the camera improvements to the new smartphones announced on Tuesday received lavish praise online, even from people who had dismissed the new phones before the launch.
TV+ and Arcade
There was no getting away from Apple’s new focus on its digital content services.
The company spent the opening 20 minutes of what was supposed to be an iPhone-centric event instead focusing — and playing trailers for — its upcoming Apple Arcade and TV+ services.
The Arcade app will launch Sept. 19, including in the UAE, for only $4.99 (Dh19.99 in the UAE) for a family plan.
It will offer about 100 games, many of them exclusive to Arcade, and including titles by well-known developers like Capcom, the creator of Street Fighter, and Konami, the maker of Castlevania, Frogger and many others.
But the announcement that got the most applause on Tuesday was that Apple TV+, which will offer exclusive content from Hollywood giants like Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg, would launch in November, also for $4.99 (Dh19.99 in the UAE).
Apple’s pricing undercuts the current pricing of Netflix, Hulu and even Disney’s new streaming service. Apple is also putting the boot to its competition by offer a year’s free subscription to anyone who buys a new Apple device.
Investors welcomed the news. Apple’s stock closed up 1.18 per cent to $217.25 a share.
Netflix on the other hand, was down 2.16 per cent to $287.99 a share. Disney was also down 2.20 per cent to $135.79 a share.
The main focus of the show was the new iPhones. It was expected that Apple would launch an iPhone 11R, which would at least by name have been a successor to the XR, Apple’s low-cost iPhone.
However, the new iPhone 11, which is $50 cheaper than the XR, will now fill that role.
iPhone 11 will include a number of upgrades, including a camera that features a new ultra wide angle lens, comes in six colors, and included the same processor — the A13 Bionic, which Apple is calling both the fastest GPU and CPU in any smartphone — as the iPhone Pro series.
It has a starting price of Dh2,949 and will be available for pre-orders on September 13 and arrive in stores on September 20.
Apple also launched the iPhone Pro series, which will come in two sizes: the iPhone 11 Pro will have a 5.8-inch screen and iPhone Pro Max will have a 6.5-inch screen.
The Pro series will also have extended battery life. Apple says the iPhone Pro 11 will last four hours longer than the iPhone XS, and the iPhone Pro 11 Max will last five hours longer than the iPhone XS Max.
Both of the new Pro smartphones received a number of upgrades to their cameras, which will now have three lens on the back as well as one that faces forward.
The Pro’s new rear camera include a 26mm (wide angle), and 52mm (zoom) and a new 13mm (ultra wide angle) lens. Each camera can shot video at 60 frames a second in 4K.
All four camera lens on the Pro series will be able to capture video simultaneously and independently of the others, allowing users to select which camera to record with.
The prices of the Pro series match those of the Xs generation, with the iPhone 11 Pro’s starting price set at Dh4,219, while the iPhone 11 Pro Max will start at Dh4,639.
Like the iPhone 11, the Pro series phones will be available for pre-order on September 13 and arrive in stories on September 20.
Watch Series 5
Apple’s other high profile product launch for the day was the Watch Series 5, with Apple now firmly embraced the watch as a health and fitness device, even going so far as to launch three new medical studies attached to the Watch with major medical institutes in the US.
Apple said it is launching the Apple Hearing Studying to look at the affects of loud noise on people’s hearing, the Apple Women’s Health study to look specifically at women’s menstrual health, and the Apple Heart & Movement study.
The Apple Watch will also have improved battery capability, so much so that the Watch’s screen will no longer turn itself off when a person lowers their hand. Apple says that with the new “always on” screen, the Series 5 will still have an 18 hour battery life.
Apple is also adding a new material for the Watch bodies. Along with stainless steel, aluminum and ceramic, Apple will now make a titanium body available.
Prices on the Watch will various tremendously depending on the style and materials used, but the entry level price stands at Dh1,599.
Last and almost forgotten, Apple launched the seventh generation iPad on Tuesday. While also receiving a number of processor upgrades, the new iPad seems more of an upgraded iteration of the previous version.
The seventh generation will have an A10 fusion chip, which Apple says makes it twice as fast as many top-selling PCs, and a 10.2-inch screen.
The new iPad will be priced at $329 (Dh1,349 in the UAE) and launch on Sept. 30.
- Dh2,949 (64GB)
- Dh3,159 (128GB)
- Dh3,579 (256GB)
- *Comes in six colors Purple, Green, White, Black, Product Red, Yellow
iPhone 11 Pro
- Dh4,219 (64GB)
- Dh4,849 (256GB)
- Dh5,659 (512GB)
iPhone 11 Pro Max
- Dh4,639 (64GB)
- Dh5,269 (256GB
- Dh6,119 (512GB)
- Comes in four colors, including Midnight Green, Space Grey, Silver, Gold
iPad - 7th Generation, Wifi only
- Dh1,349 (32GB)
- Dh1,719 (128GB)
iPad 7th Generation, Wifi + Cellular
- Dh1,879 (32GB)
- Dh2,249 (128GB)
- * Available in Space Grey, Silver and Gold
Apple Watch Series 5
- Watch Series 5 GPS Dh1,599
- Watch Series 5 GPS and Cellular Dh1,999
- * Prices will vary depending on style and material