Apple Event summary: iPhone 14, Watch Ultra and everything that happened

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Right, I’m back and beavering away bringing you previews of the top products out there. If you’ve never been to an Apple event before, then you’ll struggle to get just how much of a melee it is.

Basically, you get into a large, bright room, with loads of products to try, and the rest of the world’s media is trying to do the same thing. So you get 10-15 minutes to try the new Apple Watch, then the same again for the top phone, and again for the AirPods Pro 2.

Then you come away and start writing it all up. I started with the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which is a… fine phone, but I genuinely think the Dynamic Island (ridiculous name aside) is a real innovation.

Go and read my hands on iPhone 14 Pro Max review  – I dare you. I’ll wait.

Right, that’s it. Thanks for being here today with me – it’s been lots of fun talking to you and we’re out!

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That looks like it for now – the days of ‘One More Thing’ are all gone, in favor of far clearer outlines of what’s coming.

Tim Cook is just running through what we’re getting from the new devices… although saying the iPhone 14 is full of innovation is a bit rich. 

I’m going to have to sprint and go look at these new phones – here’s hoping the scrum isn’t too bad.

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Prices aren’t as high as expected: $999 for the Pro, and $1099 for the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which is the same as last year, with both phones available to pre-order now and can be purchased from September 16.

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Righty-ho, that’s everything about the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max – we must be getting to the end of this event soon.

We still don’t know the price yet…

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It’s easy to forget about ProRAW, but it’s actually a pretty cool feature of the phone – I’ve taken some much better photos when I want to play with my images a bit more.

There’s a new UltraWide camera  – with larger pixels although still only 12MP. It means that the macro mode has been improved too.

The flash has been redesigned, with 9 LEDs that can be twice as bright as before with  more uniformity of flash. The front-facing camera is twice as good in low-light too, thanks to the new computation photohgraphy.

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The CPU, GPU, neural engine and ISP all work together in concert to help support the new Pro camera system.

There are the three camera sensors on the back again, but they’re new – a 48MP sensor that’s 65% larger than the one on the iPhone 13 Pro. It’s got a 24mm focal length too.

By combining four pixels together, you’ll be able to get night mode performance that’s twice as good as last year.

The new sensor is designed to work with each pixel individually – and there’s a new 2x telephoto option as well, using the larger pixels to optically grab that image without any loss in performance.

That’s a good move – the difference between 1x and 3x felt like too much.

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As predicted, the iPhone 14 Pro Max will have the A16 chip inside, with it being (apparently) 40% faster than any other chip on the market, but that has to be proven.

Apple has boosted the core efficiency too – meaning that when it’s in low power mode, it’s even lower than before.

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There’s a lot on the Dynamic Island stuff here – it’s a clever way to distract from the notch completely – it can even split between two apps if they’re running in the background.

The iPhone 14 Pro also has a new display, coming with 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch displays. They’re brighter than before, with a peak of 2000 nits and that’s twice as much as before.

And, as expected, here comes the Always-On Display. It keeps the essential information on there -that’s because it can go as low as 1Hz, meaning the whole screen can dim easily.

The time, widgets and live activities are always going to be available as a result, and you’ll still see your wallpapers too.

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The idea for this means you don’t need to be distracted or having notification shades coming down, with each alert having a different character, tapping iPhone on location, or using FaceID, or the music app moving up there.

Right, here are the colors – gold, purple, black and a graphite color.

The notch is changed, and this is clever – all the sensors are in the screen and the new experience will make it a space that shows up background activity in an interesting way.

It’s called the ‘Dynamic Island’ – that got a laugh here.

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OK, here come the new iPhone 14 Pro models. A lot of fanfare here… and confirmation of the notch becoming the single lozenge at the top.

Whoa, it moves! It becomes longer, shorter and wider to show notifications. That’s unexepected.

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The iPhone 14 will start at $799, the same as the iPhone 13, and the iPhone 14 Plus will cost $899.

You can order both from September 9, but you’ll only be able to get the iPhone 14 on September 23, with the iPhone 14 Plus from October 7… the rumors of the delay were indeed true.

Apple Fitness+ is coming to iPhone users later this year too, while we’re here.

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This service can also be used in other ways – you can share your location via satellite on the Find My app (and has been part of the development cycle for years).

You’ll get this free for two years, it’ll be coming to November first and only in the US and Canada to start.

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The messages have been shortened massively, down to three times as short – with all the key questions answered quickly so as little information as possible is needed to be sent over satellite.

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That eSIM change is going to piss off a lot of people in the short term, I think. Unless it’s a super slick changeover.

We’re being shown an image of someone being found on a mountain top – through the ‘Emergency SOS via satellite’ functionality – the satellite rumors were true.

The idea is that connectivity in areas like complete backwaters or high mountains means that no connectivity is available. You’ll need to be outside and with a clear view of the sky.

Apple has ‘invented’ another way, so that iPhone 14’s antennas can connect with satellite frequencies… and there’s a new software experience to show you where to point your phone and keep things connected.

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Now we’re talking about how things can connect when you’re ‘off the grid’… satellite connectivity?

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The iPhone 14 line-up has the same high-speed sensor inside it, so if you’re in a car crash it’ll alert the emergency services on the go – working with the Apple Watch 8 if you’ve got both on.

Lance is just shaking his head next to me. How will people upgrade easily to the new model if they buy it SIM free?

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Now we’re onto connectivity: 5G is the big buzzword here. There’s the eSIM option in there, where you don’t need to pop a new card in your phone… allowing you to do it digitally and the ability to have multiple SIMs or contracts.

There’s a lot more chat about this feature this year… what’s this about? Apple says it has improved things.

Whoa – all US models won’t have the SIM tray. That got a WOW in the room… 

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Hearing more about Deep Fusion right now – with more improved performance from the new ‘Photonic Engine’, with the images taken all combining to make an even better photography experience… and this will work on older phones too.

So basically this is another step where the phone takes better photos without even improving the sensor.

Video will be more stable in ‘Action Mode’, so when you’re running around you can toggle it on without needing to add a Gimbal, and it supports Dolby Vision and HDR.

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There is a new camera in there, with a larger sensor and faster aperture, with 1.9 micron pixels and an f/1.5 for better results when things are darker or more ‘challenging’.

There’s a new True-Depth camera, with an f/1.9 (I think) aperture and autofocus on there too… we’ve been waiting for that for some time.

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The iPhone 14 is ‘designed to last’ – both models have ceramic shield on the front, and water and dust resistance… what’s going on here, there’s very little that’s being shown off that’s new?

Apart from a new blue and lavendar color. Oh, wait, here we go – the best battery life in a smartphone… because it’s got the larger battery size inside.

We’re hearing about how the iPhone 13 Pro A15 chip that’s coming to the iPhone 14 – it’s faster than last year’s model, but it’s still the same chip. Basically, a bit better.

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The iPhone 14 will have a 6.1-inch display, with the iPhone 14 Plus will ahve a 6.7-inch display too.

There’s a speeding through this section – I feel the cool stuff is going to be kept for the iPhone 14 Pro soon.

There we go, there’s going to be a purple color. And it’s confirmed: iPhone 14 Plus.

Right, it’s new iPhone time.

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The touch-sensitive area of the AirPods Pro has a capacitative sensing layer so you can control volume by swiping up and down.

Finally.

There will be 6 hours of listening time on a single charge, with 30 hours using the case.

The new AirPods Pro, if you misplace the charging case, precision finding will help you navigate to it. And there’s a speaker to play louder tones, with pairing, low power and when charging has starting. Plus you can use the Apple Watch charger finally.

Oh, and there’s that lanyard clip! I didn’t think that would be there if there was no chat about the AirPods Pro 2 being good for hearing disability.

Coming from $249, you can order from Friday 9 September, and buy them from 23 September.

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Inside the new AirPods is the new H2 chip inside, which helps to improve the audio performance with new drivers and amplifiers too.

Spatial Audio is here, and the TrueDepth camera to make a personalized tuning just for you.

Active Noise Cancellation is improved too, with ‘advanced computational audio’ with twice as much noise cancelled over the original AirPods Pro. 

There’s a new extra-small ear tip – which our audio writer Becky Scarrott will be in love with.

Next up, the most ‘advanced AirPods yet’ – they’ve still got the stalks from this video. You can also dance in silhouette… not sure if that’s a feature.

Oh man, I’ve got a blister on my finger already. This has never happened to me before.

I think that’s Apple Watch over. Tim is back and he’s very excited about the Ultra… but we’re going to AirPods.

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Apple does a really good job of making it seem like these things are going to solve everything for the outdoor user – the key thing is whether they’ll actually be useful for people who like to dive, climb mountains and more.

They’re showing people in snowdrifts up snowy hill, lost in the desert… would you want a Watch that lasts only 36 hours at launch? That’s an open question… a louder loudspeaker is a great idea, and the bigger button is useful.

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All the models of the Watch Ultra will be starting at $799, which is cheaper than I expected. It’s something you can order from today, but it’ll be available from a week later on September 23.

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It’s a 49mm case, 6000 nits of display brightness and all the other features of Series 8 as well… looking forward to seeing this on the wrist.

But how much is it?

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The new watch faces for Watch Ultra are exciting if you’re needing things like BackTrack, better compass recognition on the face or getting help when you’re lost on the hill.

There’s an 86dB siren on there for people being able to hear you from 600 feet away… and man, that’s an annoying (but hearable) sound.

And there’s also a new auto-depth app when you go diving, so you’ll be able to see where you are  underwater.

And it’s supporting EN13319… whatever that is. But it’s more powerful and able to withstand water than before. 

I’ll tell you what – this is what Samsung should have done if it was serious about the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro.

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There’s an improved GPS set on here for when there are tall buildings or in less-hospitable enviroments.

A new fual-frequency GPS solution, with L1 + L5 GPS… it’s ‘the most accurate GPS of any smartwatch on the market’ in certain situations.

Now the Action Button. You can instantly transition through triathlon, or automatically detect when you’re on a track running, or using the button to track laps better.

Using the new low-power workout setting you should be able to do an Iron Man (interesting that wasn’t named in there).

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There’s Night Mode too – the UI turns red for better visibility in the dark. 

A new band set has been made – the Alpine Loop has a titanium hook that slips in. The Ocean Band has a longer, stretchier fit for over a wetsuite and a buckle secures it.

The Trail Loop has increased elasticity, and a quick tab for making adjustments. It’s for ‘accomplished athletes and explorers’ primarily… how much is this thing going to cost?

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Didn’t see that name coming., 

It’s made from titanium, and that extends around the sapphire display, which protrudes from the top.

It’s got the biggest and brighest display – with the ‘action’ button on the side in orange.

The digital crown is larger and has larger grooves to be easier to use – there’s a second speaker for higher volume for voice calls in windy conditions.

And every Watch Ultra has a cellular connection, and it can last for 36 hours or 60 hours if you use a new battery optimization setting coming later this fall.

This is a Watch ‘years in the making’ and designed for higher endurance. Here comes a video…

It’s a lot of mist and close up images of the new Watch. There’s the new button on the side, there’s the bulge on the right-hand side…

It’s being shown in hot and cold temps, in the desert. Apple Watch Ultra!

And here comes the Watch Pro…

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There’s nothing here that’s really news – 30% larger than the Watch 3 seems to be the same as the previous model, but it is coming with the new chip inside the Watch 8, making it 20% faster than previous.

The watch will cost $249 for GPS and $299 for cellular – and again, you can order from today and get it on September 16.

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I wonder how many people go for the Nike+ and Hermes bands… actually, enough of that chat. We’re onto the Watch SE.

It’s coming in silver, midnight and starlight in aluminum – with the back case made of ‘nylon’ composite that match the color of the case.

That’s a quick overview.

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New Nike+ versions again, with ‘Just Do It’ woven into the band, and there’s new (and very expensive) Hermes bands coming too.

That’s not a huge update to this – but it’s starting at $399 for GPS only, and $499 for the cellular model. You can order it today and then get it from September 16.

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This launch is whipping by now… there’s a lot coming I feel.

Oh, still got an 18-hour battery life. But this time we’re finally getting Low Power Mode, which will boost things up to 36 hours, while still allowing fitness tracking and fall detection, but dropping always on display and auto-workouts.

This will come to older models as well (we both missed how long back it’ll go).

There are four colors, midnight ,starlight, silver and red. Plus silve, gold and graphite for the stainless steel models too.

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OK, you’re going to be getting Crash Detection, which can alert close contacts and emergency services.

There are two new sensors in the Watch 8, with a g-force accelerometer, with over 200G of impact able to be spotted. And it can spot them four times faster, so the notifications can come quicker.

Apple has been studying many different kinds of crash testing, from head-on to rolling, and used machine learning to add in the sensor to GPS and microphone listening and work out when you’re crashing – and only processes data on the Watch when you’re driving and only in a crash situation.

Again, more talking about privacy here – meaning that Apple can’t decrypt the data and can’t read it. Only with explicit permission can it be shared… all of this is clearly designed to make sure women worried in the US since Roe vs Wade are able track things securely.

Now, we’re onto car crashes…

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There are two sensors, one on the back and one on the front, with the wrist able to retroactively spot ovulation – and it’ll check every 5 seconds while you sleep, and it’ll show changes to things down to 0.1 degrees of temperature.

It’s good to see this being done on the wrist – new and automatic ovulation estimates and notifications of possible cycle deviations, like prolonged periods or spotting that could be a separate health symptom.

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Right, the temperature sensor is in there, and it’s to help women’s health. It’s good to see a proper reason to put this in.

This new sensor will able to help further with menstrual cycle tracking, and the extra features will go deeper into things like ovulation – and there’s a lot of push on how this data is secure and private. That’s pretty clear.

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Right, we’re going to hear about ‘what’s next’ now.

It’s the Apple Watch Series 8 to start – what’s going to be different though?

We’ve heard about the extra robustness on the front, making it swim and dustproof… but I don’t know if that’s actually anything new.

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These are some nice stories. A plane crash, a bear attack, being stuck in a trash compactor, a Watch that spotted a heart issue… inventing something that managed to save a single life has to be a good thing to have made, right?

OK, so we’re starting with the Apple Watch. Is this going to be the shortest launch of all time? Or is it just there will be so many things coming.

Ah, the old video talking about how Apple Watch saved a life or two.

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Looks that way – Tim is now on the video, telling us that we’re going to be seeing new iPhones, AirPods and Apple Watch, and how the headphones connect the two.

This is showing that three devices are becoming more of a simple situation where you need to do things like setting destination on their Watch and pick it up on the go.

I’ve never seen Apple so clear about what a launch is going to be about – and ‘this is something that only Apple can do.’

We’ve just been told: “hope you enjoy the film…” does that mean this is going to be a pre-record?

The lights just dimmed, and we were told to prepare for the event to start. We’re both near a restroom, but there’s zero chance of us doing that. Game time. Here come Tim!

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Ok, he’s already given me some good info – Lance has been checking out the crowd and has ‘spotted nobody interesting yet’. Not sure who he’s loking for to be honest, but he’s looking hard.

He did just run into Phil Schiller, so that’s nice.

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OK, so we’re ten minutes from the launch, I’ve been outside in the sweltering heat for too long and am starting to crisp… but this is one of the big, tentpole moments of the year – being in the Steve Jobs Theater to see new iPhones being launched.

And this is more special as it’s been three years since the last one of these – man, I’m going to enjoy it.

Or weep at the speed of having to type. Lance is just next to me taking pictures and having a lovely time… I hope he starts doing something useful in a moment.

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