September is always an exciting month – especially for those of us who aren’t designed for the heat of summer – but no, we’re not talking about the weather, we’re talking about the big Apple Event that happened yesterday on the 7th of September. And a full week earlier than usual, we might add.
As always, it was jam-packed with announcements and exciting new gadgets and tech that we’re keen to get our hands on – though we’ve got a week or so to wait yet. So, we thought we’d do a little recap for those of you who are curious about what sort of new goodies are on the way from Apple this autumn.
Though the event itself started by talking about the new Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch Ultra and the new AirPods Pro 2, we’re going to start with the announcement we’re most interested in, which is, of course, the four new iPhone models: iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.
The All-New iPhone 14 & iPhone 14 Plus
So, you might have noticed there’s no mention of iPhone mini – and the rumours were true, Apple have scrapped the mini in favour of a bigger version of their flagship model. Gotta say, we’re not complaining!
Display & Performance
iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus feature a 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch display respectively, and aside from their screen sizes are otherwise pretty similar. Powered by Apple’s own A15 Bionic chip, there’s a wee bit of an upgrade over iPhone 13 due to the new 5-core GPU, but as far as processing power goes, we’re pleased.
On the subject of internal techy stuff, the 14 and 14 Plus have updated designs for overall better thermal performance, and both include Super Retina XDR displays with OLED tech that’s bound to impress. What’s particularly nice is that the OLED tech means better brightness for the oh-so-many sunny days we have here in the UK (I’m not even joking after Summer 2022), with up to 1200 nits of peak HDR brightness.
We know you’re dying to hear about the camera specs on the new devices, so here goes: they’re damn good. Apple’s cameras have had some pretty big updates in iPhone 14 and 14 Plus, and both feature a 12MP main camera with a larger sensor and more pixels than we’ve seen before.
The bulk of the upgrade actually combines clever software with hardware in the form of the new Photonic Engine. According to Apple, this will dramatically improve low-light and mid-light performance across all the cameras in the 14 and 14 Plus and will be twice as good on the Ultra Wide camera, twice as good on the TrueDepth camera, and 2.5x as good on the main cam.
That’s not all, either – take a look:
- The main cam features a larger ƒ/1.5 aperture and 1.9 µm pixels that will make improvements to all photos and videos in various lighting scenarios – think better detail, less noise, motion freezing, faster exposure times and optical image stabilization.
- The updated TrueDepth front-facing camera has an ƒ/1.9 aperture for improved low-light shots and videos, as well as all-new autofocus that works fast even in low lights and at a distance in group shots.
- Action mode enables super smooth video without the need for a gimbal, and will adjust for shaking, vibration and motion – even when you’re right in the middle of the action.
- The Ultra Wide cam offers up a whole new perspective on wider shots, and also benefits from the low-light improvements of the Photonic Engine.
- True Tone flash is now 10% brighter than before, and more consistent for improved uniformity.
- Cinematic mode for video is now amped up to 4K at 30 fps and 4k at 24 fps, just like you’d see at the cinema (hence the name).
- There’s also now end-to-end Dolby Vision HDR, which you can’t get on any other smartphone. Just iPhone.
… and the rest.
There are also a couple of cool features that Apple has introduced or improved upon from iPhone 13, including Emergency SOS via satellite, which is great for getting hold of emergency services when you’re in a sticky situation. However, there’s not much info available about how this works in the UK.
One important update that was covered extensively during the event’s segment on the new Apple Watch was the introduction of Crash Detection across all four iPhone 14 models – but we’ll get into that later.
iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus will be available in five colours, some familiar, some less so. This time, we’ve got Midnight, Blue, Starlight, Purple and PRODUCT(RED). iPhone 14 has been priced up at a tidy £849, and iPhone 14 Plus at £949.
You can pre-order both from Friday 9th September, and get your hands on iPhone 14 from Friday 16th September, and iPhone 14 Plus from Friday 7th October.
iPhone 14 Pro & Pro Max
It wouldn’t be an Apple Event without a top-end announcement, and that’s what we got yesterday with iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Still the familiar Apple phones we know and love, these devices have some pretty major updates to their display tech, including slimmer bezels for a bigger screen, and improved brightness of 2000 nits and HDR brightness of 1600 nits. However, the more notable announcement was the new Always-On Display feature, which will show you everything you could need without the need to unlock, from the time and your favourite widgets to Live Activities and even your wallpaper – artfully dimmed, of course. This feature is enabled by the updated ProMotion screen from Apple, which can reach up to 120Hz, but also drop as low as 1Hz when needed.
Another big change is the rather magical-sounding “Dynamic Island” cut-out that will sit neatly at the top of iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max display. Pill-shaped and interactive, the Dynamic Island is a versatile feature that can do more than any of the rumour mills imagined. It can show you album art in the music app, help you monitor specific background activity, and show controls for FaceTime – but we won’t really know how handy this update will be until we get our hands on it!
One of the most notable differences between iPhone 14, 14 Plus and their more heavyweight siblings is performance. Powered by a new A16 chip built on an updated 4nm processor, Apple promises better efficiency and performance than ever before – and they proudly pointed out that this little chip is years ahead of the nearest competitor, which we don’t doubt.
There’s also Crash Detection and Emergency SOS on the new models, but we’re getting to that…
As you’d expect, the camera specs on the Pro and Pro Max are above and beyond iPhone 14 and 14 Plus, with a truly impressive 48MP lens and quad-pixel sensor taking centre stage. According to Apple, the quad-pixel sensor is capable of adapting to each photo being captured, to make sure you get amazing low-light images without the files being too big to do anything with.
The quad-pixel sensor goes further, though, and enables a 2x Telephoto option that uses the middle 12 megapixels to help you achieve full-res images and 4K videos without the need for digital zoom – which has been a notoriously dodgy feature for many phones. Plus, the ProRAW features mean professional photographers (which will be all of us, any day now) can easily shoot in full 48MP resolution. And these models have the Photonic Engine working for them, too.
What else is new in the camera area then? Let’s have a look:
- The Ultra Wide camera has had its first upgrade and is now 12MP with 1.4 µm pixels for sharp, detailed macro photography.
- The Telephoto camera has been improved and now offers 3x optical zoom.
- The front-facing TrueDepth camera features an ƒ/1.9 aperture for improved low-light performance whether you’re shooting photos or video. There’s also autofocus (the same as the other two models) and updated Adaptive True Tone flash.
- Night mode is better than ever due to some fancy computational photography wizardry on Apple’s part, and you’ll also see improvements to Smart HDR, various Photographic Styles, Portrait mode and Portrait Lighting, and Night mode Portrait photos.
- Action mode makes for smoother-than-ever video without a gimbal, thanks to adjustments that are made for motion, shakes and vibrations.
- Cinematic mode now matches Hollywood levels of video capture, with 4K at 30 fps and 4K at 24 fps.
- End-to-end Dolby Vision HDR
iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max will be available in four lovely colours, including Space Black, Deep Purple, Silver and Gold. iPhone 14 Pro will cost £1099, and iPhone 14 Pro Max will be £1199.
You can pre-order either model from Friday 9thSeptember, and they’ll be released on Friday 16th September.
Apple Watch Series 8
When you’re an Apple fan, you’re really an Apple fan, right? So yes, there’s a shiny new Apple Watch to go with your shiny new iPhone 14 (no matter which model you choose) – and the Series 8 has some pretty hefty changes and upgrades. Many of these focus on safety and are designed for adventurers and explorers, but they can be just as useful for urbanites, too.
The initial focus at the event was on the addition of new temperature sensors on Apple Watch Series 8, which are more effective and reliable than ever before as they’re located on the back of the watch (close to the skin) and under the display, which helps to reduce bias from external factors.
These are a powerful tool for the various women’s health features available on Apple Watch, as they can take accurate wrist temperatures throughout the night to get a better indicator of overall body temperature. This means more accurate period predictions, data on ovulation times and more – measured for changes as small as even 0.1° C. And all of this personal data is fully secure, of course.
Now, we’ve mentioned Crash Detection a couple of times already, and though it’s available on all four of the new iPhone models, it was most heavily discussed during Apple Watch segment of the big event, so this is where we’re going to talk about it too.
According to Apple, this clever little feature uses advanced algorithms, powerful gyroscopes and an accelerometer to measure the unique changes associated with a car wreck. Serious stuff, but seriously important, too.
Crash Detection essentially uses physics to see if you’ve been in an accident, and if it detects a car crash, will check in with you and dial emergency services unless you respond within a 10-second countdown. Emergency Responders are then provided with your location, and this info is shared with your emergency contacts, so you can get help as quickly as possible – even if you’re unconscious.
Low Power Mode
If you’ve had any previous version of Apple Watch, then this is one you’ll likely be particularly interested in. Low Power Mode extends your watch’s battery life up to 36 hours (so long as there’s a paired iPhone), by disabling and limiting various features and sensors. It’s also being added to previous versions of the watch, including Apple Watch Series 4, 5, 6 and 7.
The Series 8 model is already available for pre-order in four aluminium case colours (Starlight, Midnight, Silver and PRODUCT(RED)) and three stainless steel case colours (Silver, Graphite and Gold). Pricing remains the same, at £419.
Apple Watch SE
For those who prefer to spend a little less, Apple also announced a new Apple Watch SE, which is reasonably similar to its previous iteration but includes the new S8 Processor that’s inside the Series 8. This doesspeed it up by a good 20%, but otherwise, the design is unchanged. Oh, aside from a slightly different nylon composite on the back, which makes it a bit lighter.
You can order Apple Watch SE today in both 40mm and 44mm aluminium cases in Midnight, Starlight and Silver finishes. It’ll set you back about £259.
Apple Watch Ultra
Here’s where the new Apple Watches get quite exciting – with Apple Watch Ultra. This is one that’s really been designed for the great explorers of the world (or those of us aspiring to get out of the house more) and includes quite a few downright impressive premium features.
With an all-new 49mm casing made from a new durable titanium formulation, you can tell Apple was aiming for adventure with the Ultra. It also includes a new Action button that’s totally customisable, so you can set it to do a range of things according to your needs.
The brightness of this little beauty goes up to 2000 nits (2x brighter than other Apple Watches) and includes three mics to make sure sound quality and noise reduction are at their very best. There are also tons of features for extreme sports that are honestly a lot to go into, but it’s fair to say that Apple has just about everything covered, from accurate GPS to scuba diving. Plus, you can get between 36 and 60 hours (yes, you read that right) of battery out of Apple Watch Ultra thanks to a new low power setting.
Apple Watch Ultra is already available for pre-order at £849 in a range of colours (and with some nifty new straps) and will be released on Friday 23rd September.
AirPods Pro 2
Finally, the Apple event introduced us to a long-awaited second generation of Airpods Pro, which might look the same as before, but actually come with a fair few upgrades. And not insignificant ones, either.
In appearance, yes, the new AirPods look much the same – but those of you with smaller ears will be pleased to hear that there’s now a new smaller ear tip size in the box.
The AirPods Pro 2 also feature a new H2 audio chip, which cancels up to twice as much background noise as the last chip and introduces a low-distortion audio drive and custom amp for clearer audio and richer bass (which I personally think is make or break for headphones of any sort).
There’s also Transparency mode and Adaptive Transparency, which uses on-device processing to reduce noise from the environment, such as construction noise, passing sirens, and concert loudspeakers.
Apple has also updated the controls of the AirPods Pro 2, so there’s more control than ever before, as well as an extra 1.5 hours of listening time (for a total of up to 6 hours). With the charging case, you can even go up to 30 hours if you need to – and you’ll never lose your case again, with Find My precision tracking.
The AirPods Pro 2 can be pre-ordered from Friday 9thSeptember, for £249, and will be available on Friday 16th September.