Annual Apple Event Reveals New iPhone, Watch Models
At its annual product showcase on Tuesday, Apple unveiled its latest crop of iPhones, rolled out a new watch and -- perhaps most important for the tech giant's future -- previewed its hotly anticipated video-streaming device, Apple TV.
Indeed, with the new iPhones amounting to only a modest advance over existing devices, much of the interest this year centered on Apple's foray into online video. The company's Netflix-like service promises a slate of original programs with stars such as Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Jason Momoa.
Also on the agenda -- a video gaming service called Arcade. CBS News covered the event from New York, and CNET has reporters on site in Cupertino, California, home of Apple's HQ.
Fewer phones, more services
Apple has seen a slowdown in iPhone sales over the past year, with three straight quarters of declines. It shipped 36 million iPhones in the most recent quarter -- a 13% drop from the year-ago period.
Just over a third of iPhones are sold in the U.S., followed by China (16%), Japan (10%) and the U.K. (5%), according to Canalys, an independent analyst firm.
While the iPhone is still Apple's biggest revenue source, its falling sales are putting pressure on Apple to expand its services, including Apple Music, iCloud and Apple TV.
"Apple needs a large installed base of device users to grow these businesses, which makes older-generation iPhones, as well as refurbished and second-hand devices, critical. But this also presents a challenge to Apple, as older devices provide an increasingly compelling alternative to its latest expensive flagships," Canalys senior analyst Ben Stanton said in a note, referring to widely publicized price estimates of $1,000 and more.
Given that this year's iPhone changes are incremental, many customers who bought models in the past two years may hold off upgrading, analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights told the Associated Press.
Apple Arcade: A new game subscription
CEO Tim Cook skipped his usual introductory updates and stats on Apple's sales and went straight into product announcements. First up is Arcade, a subscription service for games that will be usable across Apple's ecosystem of devices -- the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac and Apple TV.
The gaming service will launch with 100 games on September 19 and will cost $4.99 a month. "No game service has ever launched as many games at once," an Apple executive said.
Apple brought in three game manufacturers to show off the variety of gaming styles that will be available for Apple Arcade. Konomi showed off a remake on the classic arcade game "Frogger." Capcom, known for more immersive games, introduced a platformer-style game titled "Shinsekai: Into the Depths." Lastly, Annapurna Interactive introduced "Sayonara Wild Hearts," a different style of game in the musical genre.
The service won't stream games; instead, users will download games and be able to play them offline or online.
Arcade will be an exclusive system. The program won't work with non-Apple devices, and the games in won't be offered elsewhere, CNET reports. That could be a major selling point for Apple, as well as a frustration for gamers who don't use Apple products.
Players will, however, be able to use Xbox One S or PlayStation DualShock 4 controllers with Arcade, which promises to make gameplay more interesting, according to CNET.
Apple TV Plus
Apple's widely touted video streaming service, which it previously announced in March, will debut November 1, along with the first original series, "The Morning Show."
Apple TV has been eagerly awaited at a time that a range of major companies are planning to roll out streaming products, including Disney. Previously released trailers for three original shows ("The Morning Show," "See," and "Dickinson") have been viewed more than 100 million times, Cook said.
The service will cost $4.99 per month for a family subscription. Any new purchases of an iPhone, iPad or Apple TV will come with a free year of Apple TV+, Cook announced.
The price garnered mixed reactions. The service will launch with nine original shows and add five more shows in later months. That struck some observers as rather thin. Disney Plus, which costs $7 a month, will launch with a library of 300 movies and 7,500 show episodes. Netflix, which starts at $9 for the most basic plan, will debut 32 new show by the time Apple TV Plus comes out, CNET reporter Joan Solsman noted.
But Wall Street had been expecting Apple's TV service to cost $8 to $10 monthly, and the lower price came as a surprise. Wedbush analyst Dan Ives called the low price "a 'show stopper' and a major shot across the bow at the likes of Netflix and Disney among others."
Apple Watch Series 5
Apple's presentation of its new Apple Watch featured a series of video testimonials from people who experienced serious health problems and whose lives were potentially saved by Apple alerts. After speaking about a heart health study that 400,000 people participated in, Apple announces three more:
- A hearing study will analyze how exposure to sound impacts people's long-term hearing, tapping noise level data monitored by Apple's watch.
- A women's health study, done in conjunction with the Harvard School of Health and the National Institutes of Health, will look at menstrual cycles and their effects on health, including osteoporosis.
- A heart and movement study will look at how movement and heart rate dovetail. The American Heart Association and Brigham and Women's Hospital will partner on this study.
Apple's newest watch will come with an "always-on" display, ideal for sneaking a peek at the time during work meetings, said Apple's Stan Ng. Many competing smartwatch models already offer this feature, as do standard watches.
The Series 5 watch will also come with a compass and a decibel reader to monitor noise levels. The watch will retail for $399 for a model with only GPS, or $499 for GPS and cellular service. The new model will have 18 hours of battery life, according to Apple. And it will come with free international emergency calling, regardless of whether the user has a cellular plan.
The watch will be available in silver, gold, aluminum, black and "brilliant white," Ng said. Each color will still have customizable bands and faces.
In addition to the debut of the Watch Series 5, Apple announced it has lowered the price of itsApple Watch 3, which was released in 2017, to $199.
A new iPad
Apple's seventh-generation iPad is the first one designed specifically for the new iPadOS, which the company announced earlier this year.
The new iPad has a 10.2-inch display, slightly larger than the 9.7-inch model that is Apple's most popular iPad, according to Apple's Greg Joswiak. It has three times the pixels in its display as the previous version, he said.
For the first time, the 2019 model iPad will be manufactured with 100% recycled aluminum, a step that Apple announced last year for many of its MacBook models. It also contains a mercury-free display and is Energy-Star compliant, the company said.
Pricing will start at $329, or $299 for educational institutions, and the iPad will ship at the end of September.
The newest iPhone will feature a 6.1-inch liquid retina display and the toughest glass ever, Apple said. It will come in six colors: purple, white, yellow, green, black and red.
New features include:
- Anodized aluminum body
- Spatial audio, providing an immersive theater experience that supports Dolby Atmos
- A13 bionic processor -- the "fastest CPU in a smartphone," according to Apple
- New battery that lasts an hour longer than the iPhone XR
- Water-resistant up to 2 meters of depth for up to 30 minutes
Kaiann Drance, senior director of product management and marketing for iPhone, spent a lot of time describing the phone's new camera features. They include:
- A dual-camera system, one of which is a wide-angle camera for "ultra-wide" shots
- A new night mode, allowing the user to take well-lit photos in very low light
- Cinematic video stabilization for taking videos
- A 2X optical zoom
Both the front and rear cameras will be capable of shooting 4K video, with the front camera taking 12MP photos, Drance said.
The base model will start at $699. That's lower than the iPhone XR's price when it debuted last year, with significantly more robust features.
iPhone goes "pro"
The company introduced a second, larger phone called the iPhone 11 Pro -- the first time it used the "pro" moniker for an iPhone.
The phone comes in two sizes: a 5.9-inch iPhone 11 Pro and a 6.5-inch iPhone Pro Max. There are four color choices: midnight green, space gray, silver and gold. The body is made from a matte finish steel.
The pro comes with three camera lenses -- wide-angle, ultra-wide angle and telephoto. That means the pro can zoom in twice as close as the iPhone 11, as well as zoom out.
The cameras will also use new software that will optimize low-light photos. Essentially, if someone's taking a photo in low light, the software will take quick images before and after the shutter is pressed, and then "optimize" them into a single photo. This feature will become available with a software update Apple plans to push out in October.
The phone also has a revamped screen with a new OLED panel, which Apple is calling the "Super Retina XDR Display." Effectively, the phone screen will offer the same experience Apple is building into the display for its Mac Pro laptop.
Along with new phone features, Apple promises more battery life. The iPhone Pro and Pro Max will last, respectively, up to four and five hours longer than than the iPhone XS. The phone also comes with an 18-watt adapter for fast charging.
The iPhone 11 Pro starts at $999 and the Pro Max at $1,099. All iPhones are available to order on Friday and will ship one week later.
Return of the Fifth Avenue flagship store
Capping off the presentation, Apple announced that its flagship store on New York's Fifth Avenue will reopen in time for customers to buy all these products when they go on sale. The store was closed for remodeling in January 2017, during which time Apple operated out of the nearby General Motors building in a space previously occupied by FAO Schwarz.
The store today sports a sign on its entrance.
"Beneath the surface of Fifth Avenue, you'll soon discover a reimagined space where creativity is always welcome," the sign reads. "A 24-hour store with doors open to the bright lights and big dreams of this city, ready to inspire what you can do, discover and make next."
First published on September 10, 2019 / 11:21 AM
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