This was a day about more, not less.
In contrast to the announcement in the Spring that Apple would give customers the ability to limit usage, the company spent nearly two hours touting additions. These included a lower-priced iPhone XR to potentially bring in more of those unable or unwilling to spend $1,000; more “true” pictures and sound; and more time to grab your submerged phone before it fails (talk about encouraging usage, even near water, rather than promoting a disconnect).
Noteworthy for brands was the focus on augmented reality and the accompanying demonstrations that showed more engaging, and even multi-person, experiences. Those looking for scale should take note of what Apple brought with Apple Watch Series 4. While the early generation of watches mostly attracted those who couldn’t or wouldn’t get away from email, the impressive additions of heart and other health information in 4 will surely bring in a more mass audience.
Last Wednesday, September 13th, Apple introduced the next generation of the iPhone X line: iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and the iPhone XR. These models debut the new A12 Bionic System On A Chip which features a new revision of the Neural Engine component of the previous SOAC. The Neural Engine is an 8-core dedicated machine learning processor that can move learning operations and tasks to either the CPU or GPU as necessary. This takes machine learning operations from the already impressive 600 billion operations per second to 5 trillion. The iPhone XS Max is a larger option that increases the screen size to 6.5″.
Also new to the iPhone X lineup is the iPhone XR, which is a more wallet-friendly and colorful variation with an LCD screen (rather than the X’s OLED) and only one rear facing camera. The iPhone XR sports the same SOAC as the XS. Notably absent from the XR is 3D Touch technology.
Other technologies demoed last week included iOS 12’s new ARKit with shared AR experiences, CoreML with a 9x speed bump at 1/10th the power, and Siri Shortcuts, which allows users to create macros from inputs and outputs of various apps to get things done.
Takeaway: The XS Max brings developers another new screen size to support and makes using modern layout and UI practices like Storyboards and Autolayout even more important. Apple is going all-in on on-device machine learning and continues to make it a more viable option for apps. Also, Siri Shortcuts, which rely on existing frameworks like CoreSpotlight and app indexing technologies, will quickly become an expectation of users as apps begin to support it in iOS 12, which was released to the public today (Monday, September 17th).
Last week Apple also introduced the Apple Watch Series 4. They announced their usual metrics around the overall success of the product line, Apple Watch is the #1 Watch in the world. Series 4 has a larger screen and a redesigned interface. The major functionality added was to the heart rate sensor which will now be able to not only measure rate but perform an Electrocardiogram (ECG). The phone can also detect a fall reaching out to emergency services.
Takeaway: The larger screen allowed for more complications to be present. Complications are clearly the holy grail for brands’ apps to exist on the watch face. The focus on health and features should drive increased adoptions by older demographics. POSSIBLE Mobile will work to understand changes to watchOS for necessary upgrades to existing Apple Watch apps as well as sussing out potential new Apple Watch strategies/opportunities.
If you’re interested in discussing how these changes from Apple will have a direct impact on your apps, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. One of our strategists will be in touch.