NOTICE AS OF 9/14/2020: This is a revised edition of the Apple September 2019 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. 😉
Hello everybody, Sage here, and today (as you would expect) Apple did a September event for 2019, and you know what that means: We’re gonna be covering what was announced there. So without further ado, let’s just get to it.
So the presentation started off with a nice looking evolution intro video called “Wonderful Tools”, featuring some of Apple’s innovations from the past and present: the original Macintosh, the iPod, the iMac, the Mac Pro, the iBook, the MacBook Air, the iPad, the iPhone, technologies such as Touch ID and Face ID, and many more.
Afterwards, we get into some updates regarding Apple’s services, starting off with Apple Arcade.
Previously announced during the March 2019 event, Apple Arcade is Apple’s video game subscription service, with over 100 games to choose from. These games can be downloaded and played online or offline on Apple devices including the Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
Some of the games they showed off during the presentation included Konami’s Frogger in Toy Town, Capcom’s underwater game Shinsekai: Into the Depths, and a rhythm platformer game from Annapurna Interactive called Sayonara Wild Hearts.
But the one thing that we didn’t know about the service was this: When is it going to launch and how much is it going to cost?
Well, Apple Arcade would launch on September 19th, 2019 in over 150 countries. The service was priced at $4.99 USD per month, and that is for a family subscription; a 1 month free trial was also offered for those that want to try out the service.
Next up, we have an update regarding Apple TV+, Apple’s ad-free streaming service set to compete with Netflix.
Apple TV+ was also announced during the March 2019 event, with some original content announced as well. Unlike Apple Arcade however, Apple TV+ is going to be compatible with not just all Apple devices, including the Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, and Mac, but also other platforms including Windows (through a web browser), Smart TVs, and Roku.
Some of the Apple originals that were featured during the presentation included:
- The Morning Show, a drama series starring Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carell, and Jennifer Aniston.
- Dickinson, a coming-of-age story about Emily Dickinson told in a modern fashion.
- For All Mankind, a science-fiction series about what would’ve happened had the space race between the Soviets and the United States never ended. (This show was previously announced at WWDC 2019.)
And then we come to the latest original series announced: See, a science-fiction drama series starring Jason Momoa (of Aquaman fame) about a future where people lose their ability to see. The show was going to be directed by Francis Lawrence, who started his career with music videos, before going on to direct hit movies including I Am Legend, and The Hunger Games film sequels.
But much like with Apple Arcade, there were still questions to be answered with the service: When was it going to launch, and how much does it cost?
Apple TV+ would launch on November 1st in over 100 countries, 11 days before Disney+ would launch. New episodes for Apple TV+ were to be added on a regular weekly basis, and new content were also to be added to the service every month.
But what about cost? Well, Apple surprised us with a family subscription price of $4.99 per month (rumors originally pointed at a far higher price); a 1 week free trial was also offered for those that want to try out the service.
But it wasn’t just the price that surprised everyone, Apple also dropped a bombshell with Apple TV+: At the time of its announcement, anyone who buys an Apple product, whether it’d be an Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, or Mac, gets a 1 year subscription of Apple TV+ at no cost whatsoever.
Apple also launched its website for its streaming service, over at tv.apple.com.
But of course, the real magic lies in the hardware, so let’s take a look at the real highlights of this event, shall we?
7th Gen iPad
Now this was kind of unexpected: An iPad refresh.
The 7th Generation iPad, replacing the previous generation 9.7-inch model, has a larger 10.2-inch Retina Display, a faster A10X Fusion chip, and supports the Smart Keyboard, just like its pro cousin. It also includes the then recently-announced iPadOS 13, which was set for release on September 30th, 2019.
The 7th Gen iPad started at $329 USD for consumers, while educational customers could get it for $30 off, at $299 USD. The product would be made available on September 30th, 2019 with orders being taken on the same day of its announcement.
Apple Watch Series 5
So now let’s move onto the next product: the Apple Watch Series 5.
Design-wise, it looks pretty identical to its predecessor, but like we’ve seen before, it’s not always the exterior that counts…
The Series 5 features an always-on LTPO (Low Temperature Polysilicon and Oxide) Retina Display, so the watch display never shuts off when not in use.
Now you might be asking: “How does it retain battery life if it’s always-on?” Well, I’m glad you asked: When you’re not facing it, it just dims the display to the lowest possible refresh rate thanks to a low-power screen driver, allowing the watch to preserve its all-day battery life.
Along with that, the Apple Watch Series 5 incorporates a built-in compass, as well as support for emergency calling from international regions. And of course, the Series 5 watch includes watchOS 6, available to those with the Series 3 or higher starting on September 19th, 2019. (Series 1 and 2 users would get the update later in the Fall.)
The Apple Watch Series 5 came in a wide range of models: You have your standard White Ceramic, Aluminum in Silver, Space Gray and Gold, as well as the Hermés variations in Silver and Black.
But there’s also two new models: Titanium in Natural Brushed and Space Black. (Remember those old titanium PowerBook G4s anybody?)
As for pricing, the Series 5 Watch started at $399 USD for the GPS version, while the Cellular version went for $499 USD. The Series 3 Watch continued to be sold at a reduced price of $199 USD for the GPS version, while the Series 4 Watch (as expected) was discontinued.
The Series 5 Watch started shipping on September 20th, 2019 with orders being taken on the same day of its announcement.
But you’re not here for those things, right? Of course not… We’re here to talk about the iPhones.
So let’s start off with the iPhone 11. It looks similar to the iPhone XR when looking at the front, but when you turn it to the back, you’ll see what looks like a dual-camera system (which we’ll go over later.)
The iPhone 11 comes in 6 colors: Black, Green, Yellow, Purple, Product Red, and White.
Specs-wise, the iPhone 11 has a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina True Tone Display with Haptic Touch. It also has spatial audio speakers for better sound (as well as support for Dolby Atmos surround sound), and has improved water and dust resistance.
The iPhone 11 is powered by the A13 Bionic, considered more powerful than the A12 Bionic used in the iPhone XR. To show off the capabilities of the A13, a dark fantasy RPG game called Pascal’s Wager was shown off by Giant Network.
As for battery life, Apple didn’t give an estimate of how long the iPhone 11 lasts, other than it “lasts one hour longer” than the iPhone XR.
So now let’s get to the new camera system. As stated before, the iPhone 11 has two camera lenses: A 12 megapixel Wide camera, and a 12 megapixel Ultra Wide camera, with a 120-degree field-of-view for the latter. The camera system also has an updated image pipeline (thanks to the A13 Bionic) with the addition of semantic rendering, which supposedly makes the subjects in a photo look better in a shot.
The iPhone 11 camera also has some extra features, including next-generation Smart HDR (which uses machine learning to capture better natural-looking shots), Stereoscopic depth for pet portraits, and something called Night Mode, where it creates gorgeous-looking night shots in very low light conditions thanks to a new wide sensor, among other things.
When it comes to video, the iPhone 11 can record up to 4K at 60fps, and you could now switch between the two cameras on the fly, which is pretty cool.
The iPhone 11 also has another new camera feature: QuickTake, where you would simply tap and hold the shutter button in photo mode, and a record button instantly shows up, allowing the user to record video without leaving photo mode.
Sage’s Fun Fact: This wasn’t the first time Apple had used the QuickTake name. In 1994, Apple introduced a camera line called the Apple QuickTake, considered to be one of the first digital cameras marketed towards consumers. It was initially designed for the Mac only, but a version for Windows would come later.
Despite good sales in some markets, by 1997, competition was heating up in the digital camera space, and shortly after Steve Jobs took control of Apple, the QuickTake (along with many of Apple’s non-computer lineups such as the LaserWriter and the Newton) were hung out to dry that same year.
This also wasn’t the first time Apple would bring back an old name in the post-Jobs era: In August of 2019, Apple’s FileMaker subsidiary was rebranded back to Claris.
When it comes to the front camera, the iPhone 11 has an updated 12 megapixel TrueDepth camera, with video recording up to 4K at 60fps, along with 120fps Slo-mo for the first time in an iPhone. (The latter feature allowed for something called “Slofies”.)
The iPhone 11 also came with iOS 13, which was set for release (alongside watchOS 6) on September 19th, 2019.
So now let’s get to the pricing: The iPhone 11 came in three different storage configurations: 64 GB, 128 GB, and 256 GB, with a starting price of $699 USD. The system would be made available on September 20th, 2019 with orders being taken on the same day of its announcement.
As for the existing iPhones, the iPhone 8’s price was reduced to $449 USD, while the iPhone XR’s price was lowered to $599 USD. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus however were discontinued.
iPhone 11 Pro / Pro Max
To go alongside the iPhone 11, you have the iPhone 11 Pro, and its larger cousin, the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
The iPhone 11 Pro is basically everything in iPhone 11…and more. The first difference is in the design, as it comes in 4 stainless steel finishes: Gold, Midnight Green, Silver, and Space Gray.
The iPhone 11 Pro has a 5.8-inch OLED True Tone Super Retina XDR “Pro Display”, while the Pro Max model has a 6.1-inch display, the same size as the iPhone 11, but with an OLED True Tone Super Retina XDR “Pro Display” as well.
The second major difference is with the camera, as it uses a three camera system: A 12 megapixel Wide camera, a 12 megapixel Telephoto camera, and a 12 megapixel Ultra Wide camera. (And of course you could switch between them in the Camera app.)
The iPhone 11 Pro also uses a new image processing system called Deep Fusion, utilizing the A13 Bionic’s neural engine. How it works is it involves taking 9 images: Before you press the shutter button, it’s already taken 4 short images and 4 secondary images. Once you press the shutter button however, it takes one long exposure, then (using machine learning technology) combines the long and short exposure images pixel by pixel in a very short amount of time, and then optimizes the final shot for detail and low noise, resulting in a gorgeous final shot.
Now Deep Fusion wasn’t made available at launch; it would instead be available in a future software update, scheduled for later in the Fall. (It was eventually released on October 28th, 2019 with iOS 13.2 adding support for Deep Fusion.)
The third and final major difference is with the battery life. According to Apple, the battery on the iPhone 11 Pro lasts “4 hours longer” than the XS, while the Pro Max lasts “5 hours longer” than the XS Max. (Oh, and it comes with an 18-watt fast charger—about time, Apple.)
So now let’s move onto the pricing: The iPhone 11 Pro comes in three storage configurations: 64 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB, with a starting price of $999 USD. The Pro Max comes in the same storage configurations mentioned above, but with a starting price of $1099 USD. (Both prices are exactly the same as the XS and XS Max.)
Both iPhone 11 Pro models were also made available on September 20th, 2019 with orders being taken on the same day of its announcement. And since the iPhone 11 Pro was meant to replace its predecessors, both the XS and XS Max were discontinued, after only a year on the market. (Though not as short-lived as the original iPhone X.)
And that pretty much ends our recap of Apple’s September 2019 event. So now to answer the question: What did I think of it overall?
Since the focus of this event was on the iPhones, I’m going to be briefly talking about my opinions on those:
The iPhone 11, while it may look similar to the XR at first glance, has fairly decent performance and the dual camera system is a nice addition (though we expect the cameras to get better every new generation, so this is no surprise.) But aside from that, I was mostly “meh” about it. As for the iPhone 11 Pro, I was a bit more impressed by it than the iPhone 11, primarily in the camera system. (Although I will be honest, those 3 cameras on the back kinda look ugly at first.)
But since I’ve already heard most of the stuff announced in rumors, I wasn’t really that surprised, aside from the pricing on Apple’s services. (And when the only thing that was surprising were related to the services, you know your presentation wasn’t that great.)
So overall, I thought the presentation was mostly underwhelming, but compared to the previous September event, it was somewhat better.
So anyways, that concludes this recap. Hope you guys enjoyed this read, and as always I will see you all next time. Peace. 😉