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Despite the four new iPhone 14s, Apple has lots to show with the Watch Ultra

Apple announced some new hardware during the 'Far Out' launch event. But it was the Apple Watch Ultra that stood out and for good reason.

Apple, Apple Watch Ultra, Apple event,Apple Watch Ultra was clearly the most innovative product on offer. (Image credit: Apple)

Despite the four new iPhones it showcased, Apple opened its first physical event in two years with a 30-minute segment on the Apple Watch, and with good reason. The Apple Watch Ultra was clearly the most innovative product on show, pushing the limits on what a wearable can achieve but also pushing the most popular watch into the world into what was its last frontier: the top-end segment aimed at endurance users and athletes.

Apple is clearly not leaving any space for the competition with the Apple Watch, as it launched three products with price and feature sets that cover the entire gamut of what it can offer.

The Apple Watch Ultra is very different from earlier watches and takes everything to the extreme from durability, connectivity and battery life which can extend up to 60 hours. The watch features a dual-frequency GPS which gets accurate locations even in dense urban environments. There is a dedicated activity button on the left that lets you literally bookmark locations or events.

The new Apple Watch Series 8, meanwhile, gets a lot of incremental updates including a temperature sensor which helps women keep tabs on ovulation as part of their cycle tracking. Dr Sumbul Desai, VP of Health, explained that the new Series 8 has a temperature sensor on the back crystal near the skin, and another, just under the display.  The data will be fully encrypted and available to even health care providers only with explicit permission, she added.

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Apple is clearly not leaving any space for competition with the Apple Watch. (Image Source: Nandagopal Rajan)

The watch will also come with Crash Detection to alert emergency services of car accidents you could be involved in. This is powered by two new motion sensors in the watch which work along with Machine Learning and matches it against 1 million hours of real-world driving and crash data. The watch also comes with a low power mode that gives up to 36 hours of battery life with limited features — 36 hours is standard on the Ultra. This will be available for all models from the Apple Watch Series 4. International roaming is also being rolled out for the watch in some countries.

Apple has made the iPhone segment a little bit less complicated. Now, there are just two sizes to choose from — 6.1 inches and 6.7 inches. The larger size, earlier exclusive to the Pro range, is now available without the Pro branding as a Plus model. So while the size and battery become common across the two sets, the processor, display, camera and UI become the differentiating factor in the Pro phones.

iphone 14, iphone 14 pro, iphone 14 launch, Apple Watch Ultra, Apple Watch Ultra India price, iphone 14 event, iphone 14 price, iphone 14 specifications Apple iPhone 14 is seen in this photo. (Image credit: Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express)

With the iPhone 14, Apple seems to have killed, or at least paused, the mini, for now, indicating that it was gravitating towards larger phones for the future. Both phones have the older A15 Bionic processor. In a bold move, Apple will stop offering SIM phones in the US and will move fully towards eSIMs in what could be a huge signal for the industry as a whole. It is also allowing users in US and Canada to latch on to the satellite in case of emergency situations by sending quick distress messages even without a network.

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In the iPhone 14 Pro range, Apple has a new A16 processor which is helping it roll in new features like an Always-On display with a 1Hz to 120Hz refresh rate on the Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion. It also converts the negative space of a camera notch into a positive feature it calls the ‘dynamic island.’ This new UI offers a lot of messaging and alerts in the black pill box that surrounds the front cameras. The phone also features a 48MP camera with a sensor large enough to be able to increase iPhone’s low light performance significantly and also offer 2x Optical zoom.

On the video front, the new camera will bring 4K recording to cinematic video at 30 and 24 fps. There is also a new Action mode that cuts shakes and disturbances even more.

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Apple’s latest AirPods Pro will feature spatial audio that can be customised to each user using the camera on the iPhone. The AirPods will also cut ambient sound significantly with its new active noise cancelling while offering users the ability to track its charging case using the phone.

Earlier, CEO Tim Cook said he was happy physical events were back while acknowledging that the streamed events over the past couple of years had opened up access to millions of people across the world. Minutes into the event at Steve Jobs Theatre, Cook stepped off stage as a pre-recorded version of himself took over the screen behind. Hybrid is clearly the new normal.

(The author is in California at the invitation of Apple.)

First published on: 08-09-2022 at 12:01:46 am
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