NOTICE AS OF 9/1/2020: This is a revised edition of the Apple September 2018 Event Recap video that we did years ago. For the website, we decided to convert it into an article only, along with adding some tidbits here and there to make it a bit more of an interesting read. Hope you guys enjoy this as we continue to make more content for both our website and YouTube channel. 😉
Hey everyone, Sage here, and I welcome you back to another Apple event recap. Today, we’re going to be covering the September 2018 event, where Apple announced some new iPhones, as well as a new Apple Watch.
Now before I get started, I do want to give a brief disclaimer: I will only be talking about what kind of enticed me. (Spoiler alert: Most of the stuff announced did not entice me, but I will still cover it nonetheless.)
So without further ado. let’s get on with the recap…
So the Keynote started off with a pretty epic intro video, depicting a Mission Impossible-like chase sequence at Apple Park. It’s got some nice action packed into it, and is probably the only thing entertaining out of the rest of this presentation.
Apple Watch Series 4
Afterwards, we get on with the hardware announcements starting with the Apple Watch Series 4.
The Apple Watch Series 4 has a new swim-proof design, as well as a larger edge-to-edge display, similar to the iPhone X. The back of the Series 4 is made of black ceramic and sapphire crystal, and the digital crown now has haptic feedback.
The Series 4 Watch also got a new user interface to accommodate the new display; it includes a new watch face with up to 8 complications (or special functions) with advanced customization, which means you can add stuff like contacts, the ability to track multiple time zones, health and fitness complications, and more. There’s also a modular face redesigned for the new display, as well as new Breathe app, Fire, Water, and Vapor watch faces.
Hardware-wise, the Apple Watch Series 4 comes with the Apple S4, a 64-bit dual-core system-on-a-chip. It also has an improved accelerometer and gyroscope, improved cellular reception, the speaker being (according to Apple) 50% louder, and all the other stuff from the Series 3, such as Bluetooth 5.0, a GPS, and of course, the all-day battery life.
But the biggest features of the Apple Watch Series 4 are the new health functions. The Series 4 can now detect a fall, whether it’d be just a standard fall, a trip, or a slip. If you’ve taken a hard fall, it would offer an option to call 911, and if you stay immobile for about a minute or so after the hard fall, the watch will automatically call 911.
Not only that, but the Series 4 Watch can also detect low heart rate through an electrical heart rate sensor located on the back. This sensor can be used to take an Electrocardiogram (ECG) through an ECG app, which can be done by holding your finger on the crown in the app. The ECG can then be shared in the form of a PDF to your doctor. (The ECG app however wouldn’t be available until later in 2018.) This, according to Apple, marks the first time an over-the-counter ECG product was offered directly to consumers.
And that pretty much wraps up all of the new features of the Apple Watch Series 4. The Series 4 comes in three aluminum or stainless steel finishes: Silver, Gold, and Space Gray. All Apple Watch bands will also work with the Series 4.
As for pricing, the Series 4 with GPS support was priced at $399 USD, while the Series 4 with Cellular was priced at $499 USD. The Series 3 also got a price drop to $279 USD, while the Series 1 was discontinued.
The Apple Watch Series 4 was made available for pre-order on September 14th, and was released a week later, on September 21st.
iPhone XS and XS Max
The most important hardware announcements however are the two new iPhones…well, actually three, but we’ll come back to the third one later.
The iPhone XS (or iPhone 10S or Tennis depending on who you talk to) is pretty similar to the iPhone X, but it has some performance boosts…and that’s pretty much about it. (Apple has done this a lot of times with the 3G, 4, 5, and 6.) The iPhone XS is going to come in a stainless steel design in three finishes: Gold, Silver, and Space Gray. It also claims to have durable glass, and will be protected against any liquid (including beer) up to 2 meters.
The iPhone XS also has a 5.8-inch Super Retina OLED display that supports Dolby Vision and HDR 10. It also offers wider stereo sound compared to its predecessors. And as stated before, there’s numerous performance improvements that I won’t go into detail, such as Face ID activation being faster.
The iPhone XS comes equipped with the A12 Bionic chip, which not only contains a quad-core GPU, but also a six-core CPU. It also now supports dual SIMs: A physical SIM card and an eSIM. (For China customers however, it only supported dual physical SIM cards.)
As for the camera, not much has changed, other than its “improved”. It’s got the same 12 megapixel wide-angle camera and 12 megapixel telephoto zoom lens, as well as a 7 megapixel True Depth front camera. The back cameras can record up to 4K at 60 FPS, while the front camera can record up to 1080p at 60 FPS, just like the iPhone X. The one new feature of the iPhone XS camera is the ability to adjust the depth of field after taking a photo.
The battery life on the iPhone XS, according to Apple, lasts 30 minutes longer than its predecessor, the iPhone X.
There’s also a “Plus” version of the iPhone XS, called the iPhone XS Max, which has a larger 6.5-inch display, and a longer battery life.
The iPhone XS and XS Max each come in three different configurations: 64 GB, 256 GB and 512 GB. The iPhone XS started at $999 USD, the same price as the iPhone X. The iPhone XS Max on the other hand, started at $1099 USD.
Both the XS and the XS Max would be available for pre-order on September 14th, and was made available a week later on September 21st.
But wait, there’s more…
The iPhone XR (or the iPhone 10R or Tenor, depending on who you talk to) is basically the 5C of the iPhone X: It comes in an aluminum design in 6 different colors: Black, Gray, Blue, Coral (which is a mix between orange and pink), Yellow, and Product Red. It also has an edge-to-edge Liquid Retina LCD display, rather than a Super Retina OLED, measured at 6.1 inches.
The iPhone XR has almost the same features as the XS, except for the camera which is a single wide-angle camera lens, but otherwise have similar specs. It also has a 7 megapixel front-facing camera, much like the XS. It’s also going to have the same Face ID tech, along with the same Apple A12 Bionic SoC as the XS. It also (supposedly) lasts an hour and a half longer than the iPhone 8 Plus in terms of battery life.
Now let’s talk about the price. The iPhone XR comes in 64 GB, 128 GB, and 256 GB configurations and started at $749 USD…and it was promoted as a budget iPhone. The iPhone XR would be made available after the iPhone XS, with pre-orders starting on October 19th and would be released a week later on October 26th.
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
So that’s pretty much it for the main stuff that Apple announced during the September 2018 event. During the presentation, they also showed off a bit of iOS 12 with some augmented reality demos, along with a release date of September 17th, 2018. watchOS 5 and tvOS 12 were also confirmed to be coming out the same day as iOS 12. As for macOS Mojave, it was confirmed to be coming out on September 24th, 2018.
Okay, so let me get into my thoughts regarding the new iPhones: The new iPhones don’t really deliver anything groundbreaking; the prices are pretty much similar (if not more expensive) than the iPhone X. Now while I have tried an iPhone X myself and finding it not as bad as I thought initially, the new models just seem like nothing much has changed aside from the performance bumps among other things.
As for the iPhone XR, which is meant to replace the 6S and the 1st generation iPhone SE, as much as I think it’s a pretty decent looking phone, the price turned me off.
Also, the original iPhone SE was just fine. As a former Android user, I found the iPhone SE to be one of the best phones I’ve ever used; they could’ve just updated that instead of making the XR as its replacement. (Luckily, Apple would make a 2nd generation iPhone SE…based on the iPhone 8 with better specs.)
Overall, this whole event mostly disappointed me, but your opinion may differ; maybe you were excited about the new products announced, and if so, that’s totally fine.
Well, I guess that’ll about wrap it up for my recap of the Apple September 2018 Event. Hope you guys enjoyed this read, and as always I will see you all next time. Peace. 😉