Fall is a time for cozy sweaters, pumpkin spice lattes and new iPhones. This year, we’re getting three new iPhones.
Apple’s annual September press conference kicked off on Wednesday at the Steve Jobs Theater on its circular Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California.
Here’s what was announced.
iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max
The high-end iPhone X is getting an upgrade and new size options: a 5.8-inch iPhone XS ($999) and the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max ($1,099). The Max has a larger display than the usual Plus size phones but a similar body.
The devices don’t have a home button and feature Face ID in lieu of a Touch ID fingerprint scanner.
The cameras on the phones are, as usual, “better than ever before,” said Apple exec Phil Schiller, who has uttered the same words at previous events. The new 12 megapixel cameras have bigger sensors and an improved HDR mode.
The popular portrait mode, which de-focuses the background of a photo to emphasize the subject, has a new setting. Customers can adjust the depth of field after they take the picture.
The iPhone XR
Apple surprised with a third smartphone, the “lower-end” iPhone XR ($749). The 6.1-inch features a bright LCD screen and comes in a variety of colors, including white, black, blue, coral and red. It’s missing a home button and is activated by swiping up.
The device only has one camera — a 12 pixel wide-angle camera — but Apple added a similar portrait feature found in its dual camera devices, which blurs the background. The device kills the 3D touch feature but added some haptic feedback, so the screen vibrates a bit in response to touch.
Price breakdown and availability
An iPhone XS Max with 512 GB of storage will be the most expensive iPhone ever. Meanwhile, the iPhone XS will cost the same as last year’s iPhone X ($999).
Apple will continue to sell the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 in regular and Plus sizes. The cheapest phone in the iPhone line up is the iPhone 7, starting at $449. The iPhone 8 starts at $599.
The iPhone XS and XS Max will be available to pre-order on Friday September 14, and ship Friday September 21 in the US and other countries.
You’ll be able to pre-order the iPhone XR beginning Friday, October 19, and it will hit stores on Friday, October 26, in more than 50 countries.
Software launch dates
Even if you’re not springing for a new iPhone, customers will be able to download iOS 12 starting Monday September 17. iOS 12 features new Animojis, customized Memoji and a much-anticipated time management feature to help people use their devices less.
Meanwhile, MacOS Mojave, which will launch Monday September 24, features dark mode, a tool to clean up your messy desktop, and some classic iOS apps including News, Voice Memos, Stocks and Home.
Apple Watch Series 4
Apple also showed off an upgrade to its 3-year-old smartwatch. The Apple Watch Series 4 now has a 30% larger edge-to-edge display. With curved corners, it’s also slightly thinner, has more reliable reception and two times faster, thanks to a new processor.
The dial on the side, called the digital crown, now has haptic feedback to feel vibrations. (This feature was previously only available via the screen).
It can also detect when you fall by calculating wrist trajectory and other movements and can send that data to an emergency contact. The latest wearable also touts a built-in (and FDA-approved) EKG sensor to help diagnose heart diseases and other conditions. The company says it’s the first EKG available over the counter.
The Apple Watch Series 4 will cost $499 for built-in connectivity and $399 for a standard model. It will be available for pre-order starting Friday and ship Friday September 21.
iPhone trade-in program
Apple also highlighted its recycling program called GiveBack. The company will buy your old devices if they’re in good condition or recycle them for free if they’re not usable. The company also reiterated that it’s now completely powered by clean energy.
CEO Tim Cook and other executives announced the latest Apple hardware updates in front of a packed room of media members, analysts, special guests and employees.
It is the second event held in the Steve Jobs Theater, a 1,000 seat underground venue topped with a 20-foot high glass lobby and a metallic carbon-fiber roof.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the price of the iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR, and the iPhone X’s availability. The story has also been updated to correct the history of Apple’s GiveBack recycling program; it was highlighted at Wednesday’s event but is not a new program.