By MITCHELL COTE
On the 10th of this month, Apple held its 8th annual September Apple Special Event. Topics discussed in this year’s event included Apple Arcade, Apple TV+, new iPads, Apple Watches, and, of course, the new iPhone 11.
Before hardware was showcased, Apple thought it would be a good idea to touch on software. Apple Arcade, the company’s new game subscription service, was shown. Games showcased included Konami’s Frogger in Toy Town, a typical excursion into the Frogger mold with a few twists, Capcom’s Shinsekai: Into the Depths, a thrilling platformer set in an underwater world, and Annapurna Interactive’s Sayonara, Wild Hearts, a music-driven driving game with combat segments and a delightful neon-based art style that will also be launching on the Switch and PS4. The service will launch on September 19th in over 150 countries and will cost $4.99 a month on a family subscription, although the first month would be free. Apple TV+ was then touched upon. A trailer for the Jason Momoa-led series SEE, a series set in a post-apocalyptic future where almost everyone has been rendered blind – except for our lead’s twin kids – was showcased. This service was announced as launching on November 1st in over 100 countries and will also cost $4.99 a month on a family subscription. It was also announced that one free year of Apple TV+ would be bundled in with any new Apple product sold from that point on.
Following this, the seventh generation of iPads was unveiled for the very first time. This new iPad, described by Apple’s vice president of product marketing Greg Joswiak as “designed to make the most out of iPadOS,” features a 10.2-inch Retina display, an A10 Fusion chip, and a Smart Connector. This new seventh-generation starts at $329 (or $299 for the education sector) and will start shipping on September 30th. After that presentation was a segment on the Apple Watch. Apple’s vice president of health Dr. Sumbul Desai was called up on stage to talk about the Apple Heart Study and how it’s success led to the other studies unveiled at the event, like the Apple Hearing Study, the Apple Women’s Health Study, and the Apple Heart & Movement Study. Following this, Stan Ng was brought on stage to announce the new Apple Watch Series 5, which now has an always-on Retina display, an ambient light sensor, and a compass. The new Apple Watch starts at $399 ($499 for cellular models) with a launch date set for September 20th.
The next, and last, product to be unveiled was the iPhone 11 family of smartphones. Kaiann Drance, senior director of product marketing for the iPhone, was brought up on stage to explain. She talked about the new features, like the glass on the phone, which she referred to as “the toughest ever in a smartphone”; the 6.1-inch Liquid Retina display; the new dual-camera system at the rear, which includes a wide camera and an ultra-wide camera with a 120° field of view – both able of recording 4K 60FPS video; and the A13 Bionic chip that the phone will run on, which she said was “the fastest [CPU & GPU] ever in a smartphone”. The now-prerequisite deluxe edition, the iPhone 11 Pro, was introduced following this. Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, was then brought onto the stage to showcase this new product. Features he touched on included the case, which is made of a “surgical grade” stainless steel and features a single piece of glass on the back; the 5.8-inch Super Retina XDR display, upgradable to a 6.5-inch on the Pro Max; the same A13 chip you can find in the iPhone 11, which leads to a better battery life than the iPhone Xs; and a three-camera system incorporating both of the cameras seen on the iPhone 11 with an added telephoto camera. The price starts at $699 for the base model, with the Pro and Pro Max extending the price to $999 and $1,099, respectively. They all start shipping on September 20th. The last big announcement was that the Fifth Avenue Apple store would reopen on, well, September 20th.
Apple has made a little niche for themselves as “the product for the discerning customer”, and these new products just continue to feed into that notion. Phones may all just be rounded rectangles with screens by this point, but Apple strives to make sure their rectangles are set apart from all the other rectangles. And with each new generation, they manage to make them just that bit more fashion-forward.