Today's the big day. At long last, at 10 a.m. PST, Apple execs will be taking the stage to announce their latest offerings. What's on tap for today's reveal? We're expecting news about three new iPhones, as well as updates to the Watch and iPad. As usual, you can follow along with Apple's live stream (which for the first year will also be on Twitter in addition to Apple TV and apple.com). But even if you can't sit down and spend some time with Tim Cook and friends, we'll have you covered with all of the updates and most important things to know about what will soon be coming to an Apple store near you. While the morning came with a few leaks, in the form of potential iPhone names (now XS, XS Max, and XR—not XC—according to The Verge and new Watch Series 4 sizes, we won't know anything for sure until the lights go down at Steve Jobs Theater.
Apple's keynote starts with a Mission Impossible-esque scene (literally scored to the movie's theme) of an employee running, biking, and generally hauling a briefcase across Apple's campus to the Steve Jobs Theater, a little tongue-in-cheek action to poke fun at how secretive Apple's announcements always are. In the end, it's just Tim Cook's presentation clicker, but the video is a cute way to kick off Apple's 2018 event. As usual, Cook steps on stage as the first presenter, talking about Apple's legacy with both their devices and stores—which are now welcoming over 500 million visitors a year, according to Cook. This keynote also marks a milestone for iOS devices, with the company about to ship the 2 billionth (yes, with a B) iOS device.
New announcements kick off with the Apple Watch. According to Cook, not only is the Watch the #1 smart watch in the world, it's now also just the top watch period. That's the power of Apple. Cook steps off the stage to introduce "Jeff" (no last name, apparently) who will announce the new Watch updates.
As Jeff, puts it "Apple Watch has become an intelligent guardian for your health," and they're updating all of the Watch's features with the Series 4. Like the iPhone, the Apple Watch is getting a larger screen, with a display that's over 30% larger. The Watch now also comes in new sizes, with a 40mm and 44mm, instead of 38mm and 42mm like the Series 3. The larger display also allows users to see bigger and more images, and eight new watch faces that show things like your closest contacts, or your most-used fitness apps on Watch. Your Breathe app (the one that encourages you to calm down for a few minutes each day) is also available as a face, so that you can be a little more chill throughout your entire day.
Other updates include a better speaker, to make phone calls clearer and give Siri more volume. A 64-bit dual-core processor promises to be up to 2x faster than your Series 3 Watch. An updated gyroscope and accelerometer also allows the Series 4 to detect falls—one of the leading causes of injury. No, really, your Watch will be able to detect when you've dropped suddenly, whether that's a full fall, a trip, or a slip—and it'll give you the option to call emergency services or even call emergency services for you if you're immobile for a minute after you've taken a tumble.
They also announced some heart updates. Your watch monitors your heart rate anyway, but now it can tell you if you might be experiencing Atrial Fibrillation, and prompt you to see a doctor. You'll even be able to take an electrocardiogram (ECG) through your Watch—the first ECG product available over the counter, directly to consumers. It's a 30-second process, and at the end, you receive a heart rhythm classification, which goes directly to your Health app in a PDF that you can share with your doctor. And if you're a little weirded out, Apple has received clearance from the FDA and endorsement from the American Heart Association, so it's pretty legit.
More Apple Watch updates: you can expect the same battery life (18 hours) and expanded outdoor workout time (6 hours) with the Series 4. The case is also available in a new gold color, and luckily, all your old bands will still fit the new cases. With GPS, the Series 4 starts at $399, and with cellular, $499. The Series 3 will now be $279. Series 4 starts on pre-order this Friday and ships Friday, September 21 with the new Watch OS 5 available September 17.
It's iPhone time and Tim Cook is back on stage.
1:40 p.m. "By far the most advanced iPhone we've ever created," is how Tim Cook introduces the iPhone XS (again, pronounced "Ten S" not like an extra-small). It's also described as the "most beautiful" iPhone ever, touting features like the most durable glass ever on a smartphone and it comes in gold, silver and space gray, with two sizes. The 5.8" super retina OLED display, is the highest quality display on an iOS device, with a screen that's the same size as the one on the Plus-sized phone (on a smaller device). The 6.5" screen on the larger size is the biggest display on an iPhone ever. It's about the same size as an 8 Plus, but with a much bigger display. And yes, it is called the iPhone XS Max.
The new iPhones also come with a new A12 bionic chip, which builds on the A11 bionic chip's neural engine, designed to make your phone way faster and more efficient. Plus, it makes it possible to have a 512 GB phone (now that's a lot of image storage). Like the iPhone X, the XS and XS Max both come without a home button, but Apple promises that Face ID is the most secure facial recognition security available in smartphones.
Now we're on to some more talk about the chip and iOS 12 features that will be optimized by the A12 chip and new iPhones, including Memoji and new Siri shortcuts. An ARkit2 is also on the horizon, allowing app developers to make use of Apple's AR capabilities.
Steve Nash is here! ...Steve Nash is here?
After detailing the new possibilities for AR on the iPhone XS and XS Max with the A12 bionic chip, it's time for camera talk, possibly most important for those of us who love a good selfie or travel gram. The iPhone camera is already the most popular in the world, but that doesn't mean there aren't more upgrades to be made.
The XS has a 12 megapixel wide-angle camera with a new sensor, and a 12 MP telephoto camera, sticking with the dual-camera system. The front-facing camera has a new 7 MP sensor. The chip may be what truly makes the difference in the iPhone XS and XS Max's camera. The image signal processor and neural engine come together for an improved Portrait mode that can distinguish between hair and background better than ever before.
2:15 p.m. Portrait Mode is also reportedly better than ever before. When editing your Portrait Mode photos, you can even adjust your depth of field, meaning you can control how blurred the background in your photo is after you've taken the picture. Game changer. Video also gets an upgrade thanks to the chip, with new stereo sound thanks to the phone's four microphones.
You may be wondering, how is this new chip going to affect my battery life? iPhone XS gives you 30 minutes more battery life than the iPhone X, and the XS Max, with the biggest battery, has 1.5 more hours than the X. Your phone can now also have a DualSim—so that you can keep two phone numbers, get an international plan, or just two plans in general—thanks to Apple's eSim technology.
The new phones are also Apple's most environmentally friendly. Lisa Jackson, Apple's VP of environment, policy and social Initiatives, reminds everyone that Apple now runs on 100% renewable energy, and announces a new initiative. Apple will aim to stop mining materials by finding new, more renewable sources, making devices that last, and recycling devices that are no longer in use.
Aiming to "reach as many customers as possible," Apple has announced the third phone, the colorful iPhone XR. Available in white, black, blue, coral, and (RED) red, the phone has an edge-to-edge LCD "Liquid Retina" 6.1" display.
The XR has no home button and Face ID, in what they describe as an "X experience." The phone also has the A12 chip, meaning it'll run similarly to the XS and XS Max, though it only comes with one rear camera, a 12 MP wide-angle camera. That doesn't mean XR users will lose out—Portrait Mode will also be available with the single camera system, unlike with previous iterations of non-Plus phones. The front-facing camera also has Portrait Mode. The battery also gives users an hour and a half more life than the iPhone 8 Plus.
The question on everyone's mind is undoubtedly, "What's this all gonna cost me?" The iPhone XS starts at $999, the XS Max at $1,099, and the XR at $749. You can start ordering the XR on October 19, shipping later that month. The XS and XS Max go on preorder on Friday and ship on September 21.
A few more updates: HomePods can now be grouped with AirPlay 2 and they can now make and receive phone calls, ping your phone, set multiple timers, and search for songs by lyrics (something you could already do with Google Home). MacOS Mojave comes out later this month as well, with a new MacOS app store among other updates. Tim Cook wraps everything up, setting forth the masses to plan their iPhone and Watch purchasing plan.