Home / Technology / Apple Event: New Larger iPhones at Higher Prices, Plus Apple Watch Becomes More of a Health Device

Apple Event: New Larger iPhones at Higher Prices, Plus Apple Watch Becomes More of a Health Device

To boost growth, Apple has raised prices. Unit sales of the iPhone were about flat in the latest quarter compared with a year earlier, but iPhone revenue rose 20 percent, to $29.9 billion. Something else that rose 20 percent? The average selling price of the iPhone.

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Philip W. Schiller, senior vice president for marketing, talks about the new camera on the iPhone XR on Wednesday.

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Jim Wilson/The New York Times

By going bigger and pricier, Apple isn’t just trying to boost growth with prices, but also by getting its customers to use their devices even more. Research shows consumers with larger smartphones use the devices more, particularly to do things like watch movies and play games.

That’s good for Apple. A central part of the company’s growth strategy is by getting existing iPhone owners to pay for more services on their phones, like Netflix and HBO. For each subscription bought via its App Store, Apple takes a 30 percent cut for the first year and 15 percent for each subsequent year. That bet seems to be working: Apple services revenue rose 31 percent to $9.55 billion in the latest quarter.

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Philip W. Schiller, senior vice president for marketing, talks about the new iPhone XR while comparing it to the screen size of the iPhone 8 Plus on Wednesday.

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Jim Wilson/The New York Times

— Jack Nicas

More colors for the entry-level iPhone.

Apple rolled out the iPhone XR, a new entry-level model with a 6.1-inch model that comes in a wider variety of colors, including white, black, red, blue and yellow, for $749. The device is just as fast as the XS models that Apple showed earlier in its event. It also has a slightly larger screen than the 5.8-inch iPhone XS.

Here are the main features to know about: The XR has a single-lens camera, unlike the XS models which have dual-lens camera systems. It also uses LCD, a cheaper screen technology than the OLED screens on the XS, and is composed of aluminum, unlike the glass bodies of the premium phones.

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Lisa Jackson, vice president for environment, policy and social initiatives, talks about what the company is doing to keep at 100% renewable energy on Wednesday.

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Jim Wilson/The New York Times

— Brian X. Chen

iPhone XS? How do I pronounce that?

The iPhone is old enough now that figuring out what to call the new versions each year has become tricky. Last year, on the device’s 10th anniversary, Apple skipped the iPhone 9 and went straight to the iPhone X. (But they pronounced it ten not “X.”)

This year, that X created an awkward situation for Apple. The company has typically appended an “S” to the name of the second iteration of each generation of phones, like the iPhone 5S, 6S, and so on.

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Philip W. Schiller, senior vice president for marketing, talks about the Dual Sim Dual Standby feature on iPhone Xs on Wednesday.

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Jim Wilson/The New York Times

But this year, that meant calling it the iPhone XS. Never mind that XS is the abbreviation for extra small — not an adjective Apple wants for its $1,000 phones — but say “XS” out loud. In the age of smartphone addiction and devices that cost as much as some refrigerators, “iPhone Excess” may not necessarily be great for branding.

Instead, the new iPhone XS is pronounced “iPhone 10S,” or as the audience here quickly realized, “iPhone Tennis.”

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Philip W. Schiller, senior vice president for marketing, shows off the features of the camera on the iPhone Xs on Wednesday.

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Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Now add the new iPhone XS Max to the mix and you’ve got “iPhone Tennis Match.”

— Jack Nicas

Meet the largest-ever iPhone.

Apple quickly unveiled the iPhone XS, a premium model with a 5.8-inch screen, and the iPhone XS Max, a new big-screen premium model with a 6.5-inch screen. The iPhone XS Max (what a mouthful!) is the company’s biggest-ever smartphone.

The XS models are generally sped-up versions of last year’s iPhone X, Apple’s first $999 model. Apple emphasized the phones’ advanced processor, durable glass and so-called Super Retina OLED display with a wide color gamut.

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Philip W. Schiller, senior vice president for marketing, shows off the size of the new iPhone Xs on Wednesday.

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Jim Wilson/The New York Times

It’s obvious why Apple and other phone makers like Samsung keep increasing the size of their phones: Phones with bigger screens are selling well. When presented with the choice between a small phone and a bigger one, most people will go with the latter. That’s similar to how just about everyone wants a big-screen TV.

For mobile phones, there are tradeoffs. For one, the larger phones are more difficult to use with one hand. With last year’s 5.8-inch iPhone X, it is difficult to reach your thumb across the screen to type a keystroke or hit a button inside an app. Those usability tradeoffs will probably persist in these new models.

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Tim Cook, chief executive,
announces the iPhone Xs on Wednesday


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Jim Wilson/The New York Times

The larger screens raise an important question about design and usability. Will Apple do much in the near future to improve one-handed use as its devices keep getting larger?

When Apple’s screen sizes started growing with the iPhone 6 in 2014, the company released a software shortcut, called Reachability through which users can tap the home button twice to lower the top of the screen and make it easier to reach buttons up there. That feature still exists for the brand-new iPhones, but the lack of a home button makes it more difficult to use — instead of double tapping the home button, now you swipe down from the bottom of the screen. I often accidentally hit a button inside an app when swiping down for Reachability, which can be frustrating.

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Jeff Williams, chief operating officer, talks about the features of Apple Watch Series 4 on September 12, 2018 at the Steve Jobs theater at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

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Jim Wilson/The New York Times

— Brian X. Chen

Apple Watch becomes more of a health device.

Apple introduced a new version of its watch that it’s calling the Apple Watch Series 4, which it has designed to be more of health aid.

It’s the first time the company has redesigned the device since it was introduced in 2015. The new watch is slightly thinner than the previous version, but the black frame around the screen — what are know as the “bezels” — has been removed to create a larger display area.

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Apple COO Jeff Williams talks about the electrocardiogram features on the Apple Watch Series 4 on September 12, 2018 at the Steve Jobs theater at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

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Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Significantly, Apple said the new watch has a faster processor and better health and motion sensors. For instance, the watch can detect when a wearer has fallen down, a leading cause of injuries. If you have fallen, the watch is designed to prompt you to alert emergency services; if it detects no motion by the wearer after a minute, it calls automatically. The watch can also perform a heart-rhythm test called an electrocardiogram, alerting you to worrisome heart rhythms.

Apple said the new watch would be the first over-the-counter ECG device offered to consumers and that it had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

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Apple COO Jeff WIlliams talks about Apple Watch Series 4 during the new product releases on September 12, 2018 at the Steve Jobs theater at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

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Jim Wilson/The New York Times

The device’s new health-related features are sure to increase to Apple’s dominance of the smart watch category, and they underscore the company’s focus. When the watch was first released, critics and consumers were confused about its utility. Over time, Apple has refined the device to focus on its health and fitness capabilities. Now the narrative is clear: Get this watch, if you want to live.

The Apple Watch will be available in several colors and band styles; watchbands from older Watch models will work on the new model. The Watch starts at $399. It will begin shipping on Sept. 21.

— Farhad Manjoo

Did Tim Cook really tweet that?

A few minutes before the event began, Tim Cook, the company’s chief executive, posted a tweet that appeared to be an errant direct message: “No. Who can get it here quickly?” He quickly deleted it, but not before it was liked more than 2,000 times.

Apple fans and followers on Twitter went wild with jokes and speculation. The blog Cult of Mac said: “Tim Cook just tweeted and deleted something weird. Could be concerning for today’s keynote.”

Then the lights dimmed, the enormous screen behind the stage lit up and the “Mission Impossible” theme began playing. A video showed an Apple employee with a briefcase racing across the company’s campus to the Steve Jobs Theater. She delivered it to Mr. Cook, and the briefcase was revealed to hold his slide show clicker.

No, Mr. Cook did not screw up before such a carefully choreographed event. The tweet was a marketing stunt.

— Jack Nicas

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News credit : Nytimes