Announcing iPhone XS and Apple Watch 4

Category: Mobile

According to Statista, about 88% of all smartphones worldwide run the Android operating system. Math majors may immediately conclude that Apple's devices account for about 12% of the market. But the Reality Distortion Field created by genius marketers at Apple make it look like almost everyone has an iPhone. That impression was made even stronger yesterday, with the fanfare surrounding the announcement of the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and the latest Apple Watch. Here's the scoop...

Apple’s Latest Flavorade

I'm in the 88% group with an Android-powered smartphone, but I know many AskBob readers are Apple fans and iPhone users. So today I'll be commenting on the new products and services coming out of Apple between now and September 21, if all goes according to plan.

A slew of new, shiny, smartphones were announced on September 12, 2018, during a media spectacle known humbly as “Apple’s annual September press conference.” Held in the opulent Steve Jobs Theater on the circular Apple Park campus in Cupertino, CA, this extravaganza was to a press conference what the Rose Parade is to a funeral procession. Here is what it was about:

iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max -- Apple’s iPhone X, already its highest-priced model (which makes it the best, right?) got an upgrade and a new name, the iPhone XS. At a starting price of $999, it comes with a 5.8-inch screen. For another $100, the iPhone XS Max provides a 6.5-inch screen. These prices are the minimum for each model; adding up to 512 GB of storage can boost the XS’s price tag to $1500, Apple’s highest asking price ever. (Does that seem XS-essive to you?)

Apple iPhone XS and Apple Watch 4

Like the iPhone X, the new XS models don’t have a home button and feature Face ID in lieu of a fingerprint scanner. They're powered by an A12 Bionic chip with a "Next-generation Neural Engine" and have Super Retina HD displays with 458 pixels per inch and 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. You can choose from Gold, Space Grey or Silver finishes.

The cameras are “better than ever before” -- dual 12MP wide-angle and telephoto cameras with bigger sensors and an improved HDR mode. Customers can now adjust the depth of field in portrait mode, moving that invisible plane of crystal-clarity behind the foreground image for interesting effects. They can record 4K video at up to 60 frames per second, or slow-motion video at up to 240 frames per second.

A third, “low-end” iPhone XR was announced, with a price tag of $749. (Remember when $749 was a mind-bending "high-end" price tag?) It features a 6.1-inch screen, multiple chassis colors, another missing home button and the ability to activate it by swiping up. It has only one 12 MP camera but it supports the same portrait features as the others. The screen vibrates a bit in response to touch, presumably without ruining a shot. Unlike the XS models, the XR can be ordered in six different colors, including coral, red, yellow and blue options.

The new iPhones can be pre-ordered beginning September 14, and will start shipping on the 21st, according to the company. The iPhone 7 & 8 will remain available, each in regular and Plus sizes, starting at $449 and $549, respectively.

Hey, Watch This...

The new Apple Watch Series 4 is "Part guardian, part guru." It's a full-fledged, FDA-approved medical device that can administer an ECG (electrocardiogram) test to its wearer at any time. Frankly, if I have that much concern about my heart it usually means I’ve seen Apple’s latest prices. The Series 4 can even detect when you fall, another symptom of sticker shock, and call a designated emergency phone number. Maybe Apple’s earnest push into healthcare fuels its price increases, or vice versa.

The Apple Watch can function as a Walkie-Talkie, make phone calls, and receive messages. It will stream Apple Music, play podcasts, and interact with Siri. It has Automatic workout detection, with advanced features for runners like cadence and pace alerts. It offers personalized coaching, monthly challenges, and achievement awards. It may even tell time, but Apple makes no mention of that in their marketing materials.

The watch’s screen is 30% larger but its bezels have not grown commensurately; they got rounded corners. The dial on the right side is called a “digital crown” and now gives haptic feedback in the form of vibration, which was available only on the screen in older Apple Watches. Pre-order and shipping dates are September 14 and 21 for the Series 4 Apple Watch, with prices starting at $399.

An iPhone trade-in program called GiveBack was announced. Apple will buy back usable iPhones, or recycle unusable ones free of charge. Apple also wants you to know that it is 100% powered by clean energy now, not by greed and hubris as the haters may have said.

As an Android user, I must admit that Apple's new iPhones are beautiful to behold, and impressive in many ways. Will you buy a new iPhone XS or Apple Watch? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

 
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Most recent comments on "Announcing iPhone XS and Apple Watch 4"

(See all 21 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

gene
13 Sep 2018

Last year, I went with iPhone 8 Plus. I didn't like the features on the new X and still don't. Some of the apps I use, DO use touch id for validating, like my password manager, my Apple Pay, my bank. I don't know how face recognition would work those things and don't really care.

I will likely use the 8 Plus until it breaks down or begins to and then move to something else if Apple is still selling this phone at insane prices. Zero interest in the X or Xs. I'm not going Android either, that was my first a decade ago and the impossibility of upgrading the operating system, plus the plethora OF operating systems just annoyed me no end. Not to mention I don't trust Google Play and do trust Apple's vetting process. So I don't know what I'll do down the road, but I am not buying an X at any time. Or such is the current plan.


Posted by:

Kenneth Heikkila
13 Sep 2018

I agree the price is high, but I will most likely upgrade my iPhone 7+ 256GB this cycle. I haven't decided which model, but if I stick true to form it will likely be the XS Max with 512GB (yes I have nearly filled my 256GB with Amazon Prime music, photos and videos). I have AT&T so I will almost certainly take the coward's way out and pay over 24 months.

I don't miss the irony that I would never buy a MAC because I could buy three superior PCs for about the same price and I only need one. Of course the other reason is that I never liked the MAC GUI. But perhaps I'll look at it as though I still haven't spent the difference between my PCs and any possible Macs I could have bought instead.

As for switching to Android, I am in too deep already. I consider the camera a major selling point for me having subscribed to the iPhone Photo Academy and following some amazing iPhone photographers on Instagram. I also invested in a Moment telephoto lens to use in conjunction with the iPhone native lens for real 4X and intend to get one of their wide angle lenses. If I were more into taking videos I would certainly spring for one of their anamorphic lens.


Posted by:

Daniel Wiener
13 Sep 2018

Our family has Android phones, except for my wife who decided to try an iPhone. I think she regrets that decision. The problem with all the new phones is feature bloat. Manufacturers have to keep coming up with new stuff to justify upgrading to the latest model, but we've long since passed the point where this new stuff is needed. I have a Galaxy S5 phone and no desire to upgrade, especially since I treasure the ability to replace the battery if it gets low instead of having to haul around an external battery supply.

The situation is similar to Quicken. I would have been quite happy to continue using my Quicken program from ten or more years ago, since there's nothing in the new features that I need or want. For awhile I was pressured into buying upgrades because every three years they turned off the capability to download bank data, but I figured out a work-around for that.

Same with Windows. I'd have happily continued using XP indefinitely, and now I have no desire to upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 10. But Microsoft can't make any money if customers refuse to buy the latest and greatest, so Microsoft stops sales of the older operating systems on new computers, and eventually stops plugging security holes.

Assuming I can avoid dropping my Galaxy S5 or otherwise accidentally destroying it, I plan to keep using it indefinitely.


Posted by:

Michael Fallin
13 Sep 2018

NO. Way too expensive. Like Android on ZTE Phone better.


Posted by:

Laurie
13 Sep 2018

Bob, at least you do mention at the end that you can appreciate that the new Apple devices are beautiful and impressive. It helps cut through much of the noticeable biting about the prices and Apple in general.

I have both Android and Apple devices, and love them both for different reasons. As this article is about the latest Apple devices, I'll say that I am strongly considering the Xs Max. I love large phones. This one is physically about the same size as my 7 Plus, but with a much larger screen. It is also powerful and elegant both physically and OS-wise. I consider my phone a main computing device, and so I do not have too much issue with paying for what I really like. It's great to have choices. My phone is something I use frequently every day for so many functions that improve my work life and personal life. The iPhones are also well-supported with updates over a long period of time, so if I choose not to purchase a new one for three or four years, I still get the latest OS updates. To me, this is an important aspect, and one not found in any other phone. I realize it is not that important to everyone.

I have owned a number of smart-watches. Only one non-Apple watch that I've owned (Samsung Gear S3) could match the performance of my Apple Watch. So, when it comes to watches, I do feel the Apple Watch is one of the few excellent performers in terms of features, intuitiveness and fluidity. Considering that the price points for the Samsung Gear S(x) watch (running Tizen OS) and Apple Watch are about the same, I don't see where Apple's prices for the watch are crazy. A lower price will get you a smart watch, but from my experience, not the performance of those two lines.


Posted by:

Kenneth Heikkila
13 Sep 2018

A few more things. It was pointed out at the release party that iPhones back to the 5S are all upgradable to iOS 12. I get my updates from Apple, not some third party and I trust the Apple App store. I am aware of absolutely no Apps that are available on Android only that I want and many that are available on iPhone only.


Posted by:

Mark H.
13 Sep 2018

Apple lost me long ago when they killed off the IIc and came out with the Macintosh. Priced me right out. I still think that, although Apple products are decent quality, Apple's prices are too high. The other Steve was on the right track.


Posted by:

Jim
13 Sep 2018

My old iPhone5 (second hand from my daughter who dropped it a lot!) is finally failing so I will probably buy a new one. I certainly won't buy the expensive ones! Maybe a "7" since I like the water resistant feature or an SE if I can still get one.


Posted by:

Derek
13 Sep 2018

I'm an owner of the original X and series 3 watch with no intention of upgrading. 512gb would be nice (I guess), but not really necessary I don't think. The upgrade also gives a better processor, but my X is already smoking fast. It also has better battery, again... my X already is the best battery in an iPhone that I've ever had. I don't even think about battery or drive space with my X... so... no need that I can see to upgrade.


Posted by:

Sarah L
13 Sep 2018

As long as my sister has an Apple phone, I will too. She shares photos of her grandson, using a feature that is Apple specific. My 6+ is working fine.


Posted by:

Nezzar
13 Sep 2018

No thanks, Apple. I love my Samsung Note 8.


Posted by:

TheDoug
14 Sep 2018

Yes, I am going to spring for the largest one. My 3 year old iPhone 6S+ is starting to have software issues. I take excellent care of my phones, so replacing them at 3 year intervals for $1000 ($333 per year) seems reasonable to me.
I'll continue to use my iWatch Series 2 however. I have no use for a watch with a cell phone in it, as I always carry my cell phone for iWatch connectivity.


Posted by:

Marge Teilhaber
14 Sep 2018

My iPhone 6s is doing fine. Bought it for $750 + tax = $802 in March 2016, paid monthly installments to t-mobile for 2 years, and am quite enjoying the first year of no payments and hope for several more years. The next phone will definitely be iPhone because I have friends who love FaceTime.


Posted by:

thenudehamster
14 Sep 2018

I simply refused to even consider an iPhone from the time the first one was introduced. In much the same fashion as the Mac, I resent being held to ransom by Apple's insistence that I only use approved software and only load content from their 'store' at inflated prices. Google may have their faults but they don't exert a 1984-style Big Brother attitude towards their users.
I've just upgraded my Galaxy S7 to an S8+ (I found the S9 too expensive, albeit very attractive, and even that was a LOT cheaper than the iPhone).
Apple lost me as a computer user to a PC-clone when certain games I wanted weren't available for the Mac; they never got me as a phone user with their high-handed attitude, and overpriced phones.


Posted by:

bb
14 Sep 2018

iOS may have only a 12% market share worldwide, but in the US it's 43% by the same Statista Bob cites.

Statcounter (.com) says 49%, so you could indeed say that half the mobile phone users in the US paid too much for their phones.


Posted by:

Dwight
14 Sep 2018

Thanks for the new iPhone reviews;the Apple watch critique was excellent. 😊

Finally, keep our pushing IQ's up and making smarter consumers.


Posted by:

Dwight
14 Sep 2018

Thanks for the new iPhone reviews;the Apple watch critique was excellent. 😊

Finally, keep our pushing IQ's up and making smarter consumers.


Posted by:

Simon Sagala-Mulindwa
14 Sep 2018

Since when did Gold become cheaper than Silver? I believe no Artist worth his/her Salt would be willing to sell their Artworks cheaper than the Market Value would rate them, simply because they want more people to appreciate their Productions. So those who appreciate the quality in Apple products will always be ready and willing to pay the extra Bucks for every new or extra feature added.


Posted by:

Bernard Gray
14 Sep 2018

I am so sick of this smartphone and I phone crap.
I keep threatening to go back to my old flip open phone
I have a new ZTE Avid 916 and I hate it. Just too many problems texting and answering and limited reception.


Posted by:

Jay R
16 Sep 2018

I am currently using a $250 Motorola, Android OS, and it works just fine. I think it's a couple of years old. I cracked the screen on my old Samsung and the screen went black (Black Screen Of Death) in a couple of hours. I want a phone that I can call on, text with, and check stuff on the internet occasionally. I don't want artwork. I might pay for a knife as artwork, but certainly no phone.


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