Apple held its much-anticipated “By Invitation Only” event today, with Tim Cook promising a “huge” morning of news and updates. Over the course of two hours, Apple delivered on the promise with updates to both hardware and software.
Apple Arcade was first out of the gate, with one of Apple highlighting the soon-to-be-released gaming platform. Apple has partnered with some of the world’s best game developers to deliver over 100 exclusive games on launch day, something no gaming service has ever done.
Rather than paying for each game individually, a subscription service will provide access to all the games in the new Arcade tab of the App Store. Users will also be able to access game guides and sneak peeks.
Unlimited access will cost $4.99 per month, with a one-month free trial, and will be available September 19 in over 150 countries.
It’s no secret Apple has been working on disrupting the television market with their upcoming Apple TV+ service. Mr. Cook said Apple’s ‘mission is to bring the best original stories from the most creative minds in film and television.’
Trailers for Apple’s first three series in production have been viewed over 100 million times, with The Morning Show trailer being one of the most viewed trailers of all time.
Apple took the opportunity to introduce their latest show, See, starring Jason Momoa. The series is set hundreds of years in the future when virtually all of humanity has lost its sight. Apple enlisted the help of blind and low-sight cast, crew and consultants to help set an authentic tone for the series. If the audience’s reaction was any indication, Apple may well have another hit on their hands.
The platform’s first shows will be available on November 1 in over 100 countries, for $4.99 per month for a family subscription. In addition, anyone purchasing a Mac, iPhone, iPad or Apple TV will receive the first year for free.
Switching gears to the iPad, Mr. Cook said Apple’s original goal for the iPad was to ‘set out to design something truly unique, something you could take with you, transforming how we work, live and play.’ After highlighting the existing iPad models, he turned the stage over to Apple Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller.
Mr. Schiller said the 9.7-inch iPad continues to be the most popular model, with 60% of first-time buyers opting for it. With the 7th generation of the
product, it was time for Apple to improve it with modern features and abilities.
The 7th generation iPad moves to the A10 Fusion chip, making it up to 2X faster than the current top-selling PC. The iPad moves to a 10.2-inch form factor, giving users slightly more screen real estate. The new model includes the Smart Connector found on the Pro models, allowing it to be paired with the Smart Keyboard, as well as support for the Apple Pencil.
Mr. Schiller briefly touched on some of the added functionality the upcoming iPadOS will bring, including improved multitasking, multiple app instances, more powerful Slide Over, SD card support and more.
The new iPad features an enclosure made from 100% recycled aluminum and starts at $329, or $299 for education customers.
Before announcing updates to the Apple Watch, Mr. Cook introduced a video where several existing users described how the Apple Watch had saved their life or had a profound impact on their overall quality of life.
The announced Apple Watch Series 5 promises to build on that reputation with a number of new features. The biggest of these is an always-on display that no longer requires a wrist raise or tap to see the time or complications. Another big addition is a compass, similar to that on the iPhone.
Apple is also expanding the capabilities of the Apple Watch with various studies designed to monitor a user’s health and use that data to improve the overall experience. Initial studies include the Apple Hearing, Heart & Movement and Women’s Health Studies. Via the Apple Research app, users will be able to opt-in and control exactly what data is shared.
Despite the new features, the Series 5 maintains the same all-day, 18-hour battery life and will retail for $399 for the GPS model and $499 for cellular.
iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max
The event’s last act was reserved for the unveiling of the new iPhone. The Apple rumor mill has been in overdrive in the months leading up to this event, but Apple still managed to spring a few surprises.
The new iPhone is split into three models: the base iPhone 11, the iPhone 11 Pro and the biggest iPhone 11 Pro Max. Hopefully, Apple keeps this simple naming scheme for the iPhone 12, 13 and beyond, as it’s much easier and more logical than the X, XS, XR, and XS Max.
The iPhone 11 is clearly a replacement for the XR as Apple’s entry-level phone. Based on the specs and features, however, it’s a safe bet the base 11 will likely be the most popular model, much as the XR currently is.
The 11 sports the toughest glass on a smartphone for both the front and back, with aluminum making up the rest of the enclosure. It’s available in black, white, red, purple, yellow and green and features a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina HD LCD display.
The dual-camera system was front-and-center among the new phone’s features, with 12 megapixels Wide and Ultra-Wide lens. The Phone is powered by the newest A-series chip, the A13 Bionic, providing the fastest CPU and GPU performance on a smartphone. The iPhone 11 will have an hour longer battery life than the current champion, the XR.
The iPhone Pro and Pro Max models build on the same features as the 11, but with a Pro twist. The aluminum is upgraded to surgical-grade stainless steel available in midnight green, space gray, silver, and gold.
The camera adds a third lens for telephoto zoom and the display is a Super Retina XDR OLED in either 5.8 or 6.5-inch. Water-resistance is rated at a full four meters for up to 30 minutes, up from the two-meter rating of the base 11. Apple promises up to four more hours of battery with the 11 Pro and five hours more with the Pro Max. All versions of the iPhone 11 include improved sound, featuring Dolby Atmos.
Apple’s presentation included examples of professional photographers’ work with the iPhone, as well as the creators of FiLMiC Pro highlighting some of the game-changing filmmaking capabilities of the Pro and Pro Max’s camera system.
The iPhone 11 starts at $699, while the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max start at $999 and $1099 respectively. Apple is also continuing to sell the iPhone 8 for $449 and the XR for $599.
Apple promised a “huge” morning of announcements and, without a doubt, they delivered. Apple Arcade and Apple TV+ demonstrate Apple’s commitment to expanding their services, while the 7th generation iPad, Series 5 Apple Watch and iPhone 11 show they still have plenty to offer in the hard-ware department.