Apple certainly took users “far out,” as the event was billed, in its annual September smaller product event, where the company introduced new AirPods Pro and Apple Watches — and announced its new U.S. iPhone 14 models would not have physical SIM cards.
A digital sim card, called eSIM, “eliminates the need for a physical SIM card,” and you can swap a cell phone plan easily and digitally, Kaiann Drance, VP of iPhone marketing, said at the event.
Here are four major Apple product improvements.
The iPhone 14, plus models “Plus,” “Pro,” and “Max”
Apple introduced a suite of iPhone 14s, all slightly larger than previous models.
- iPhone 14 – $799
- iPhone 14 Plus – $899
- iPhone 14 Pro – $999
- iPhone 14 Pro Max – $1099
Apple added an expected “always-on” feature to the 14s, which most non-iPhones already had. It just means the lock screen — which is now customizable, thanks to IOS 16 — is literally always on.
The company also nixed the controversial “notched” design (where cameras and other sensors lived in a square-ish section at the top of the screen) for what it is calling the “dynamic island.” The camera is just a tiny hole in the screen, but when it’s on (which, now, is most of the time), it turns into a black pillbox shape that doubles as a “mini notification center,” with things like GPS and running a timer in the background all in one place, Alan Dye, VP of human interface, explained at the event.
The company posted a video about some of the features:
Meet iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 14, Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch Ultra, and AirPods Pro. All that and more from the #AppleEvent
— Apple (@Apple) September 7, 2022
New Safety Features
Safety was the theme of the day. In probably the biggest news, the company introduced a “groundbreaking” (as Drance called it) new system where the iPhone 14s will be able to connect with satellites to text emergency services.
Ashley Williams, manager of satellite modeling and simulation, explained that a person without WiFi or cell service could contact emergency resources by pointing the phone at an ideally clear sky. Then, they could use a messaging system to engage in a conversation that asks questions like “Is anyone injured?”
Williams added that if an emergency provider takes text messages, it will send those. If not, the company has specific centers with people staffed to send the information along. You can also use the satellite to share your location.
Drance said it would be free for two years on the iPhone 14 and available starting in November in the U.S. and Canada. The iPhone 14s also has a built-in system that can sense if you’re in a car crash and call emergency services if you don’t respond.
New Apple Watch
- New Apple Watch Series 8 – starts at $399
- New Apple Watch SE – starts at $249
- Apple Ultra – $799
Apple introduced a new standard watch, an improved budget one, and an all-new outdoors-focused one. The new apple watches also have crash detection, and the new SE has a larger display.
The shining star of the event was Apple’s new Apple Ultra watch, which they stuffed with features for people who like to adventure.
It has an extra-bright screen if you’re hiking the desert, a physical button on the side with customizable functions you can use while wearing gloves, and a function that can help you backtrack in the wild or plot a location such as a campsite.
Further, the company partnered with a dive company Huish Outdoors to help make it the ideal “dive computer” to track pressure, tides, and the like.
New AirPods Pro
- $249 – can order with free engraving, including Bitmoji
The new AirPods Pro is designed to go a little further inside your ear. Apple also improved the sound quality through its new H2 (from H1) chip, Mary-Ann Rau, senior engineer at Apple, explained.