Apple unveils new iPhones, Apple Watches and Airpods

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CUPERTINO, approx. (CNN) — Apple unveiled its new iPhone 14 lineup at a press event on Wednesday, along with three new Apple Watch models, an update of its popular AirPods product line and a feature that can save lives when cellular service is unavailable.

At a closely monitored event from its headquarters in Cupertino, California, Apple showed off four new smartphones, including a larger 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Plus model and an updated iPhone 14 Pro that rethinks the much-maligned notch. In typical Apple fashion, the devices also offer better battery life and camera features than the year before.

The biggest surprise, though, might be the price: the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus start at $799 and $899 respectively, the same starting prices as last year’s models. The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max start at $999 and $1099 respectively, also unchanged from the year before. Analysts generally predicted that Apple would increase the price of the premium models by $100.

“It’s impressive that Apple has maintained year-over-year price parity for the new iPhone 14 devices in the US,” said Leo Gebbie, chief analyst, connected devices at CCS Insight. “We had expected that inflation, higher manufacturing and parts costs, and other costs, such as higher shipping costs, would have led Apple to increase retail prices.”

There is always a lot at stake for Apple to convince customers to upgrade devices, especially the iPhone, which remains the central product. That task may be made more difficult this year by broader economic jitters, including fears of an impending recession.

During the event, Apple seemed to alternate between offering its range of products as tools to help us live our best lives and also prevent a number of ailments that can befall customers in an uncertain world, ranging from car accidents to getting stuck in the middle of the road. wild.

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Apple has announced several new Apple Watch models, including a more expensive version that costs $799 and is designed to support the needs of a rarefied group of outdoor enthusiasts. It also added an option for its watches to detect when a user has been in a car accident, as well as a satellite connection feature. for phones, which is intended to help people communicate when their cell service is down.

Here are the major highlights of the event:

The new iPhone 14 . lineup

Apple unveiled four new smartphones, including the new iPhone 14 with a 6.1-inch screen and the iPhone 14 Plus with a larger 6.7-inch screen.

The new iPhone 14 has a 12MP main camera with larger pixels, a faster aperture and improved sensors. It also uses the same chip as last year’s iPhone 13 Pro model (the A15), the first time it’s replicated a chip in years.

However, for the first time, the new front-facing camera has autofocus, allowing it to focus at multiple distances in low light for better individual and group selfies. It also has a new action mode that allows users to keep videos steady while moving.

Apple’s new Pro line has an always-on display and the ability to receive notifications and activity through what the company calls “the dynamic island,” the much-polarizing notch at the top of the phone that’s now considered a feature. . The Pro line also comes with the first-ever 48 MP camera on an iPhone.

In a notable shift, the iPhone 14 lineup also eliminates the need for a physical SIM card and uses a digital “e-SIM” card instead. Now users can store multiple e-SIMs on the same device and have multiple cellular plans and phone numbers on the same phone. It also prevents others from removing the physical SIM card if your iPhone is lost or stolen. Apple said all US models of the iPhone will no longer have the SIM tray.

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The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro come in five colors: midnight, starlight, blue, purple and red.

New Apple Watches

Apple unveiled three new smartwatches at the event: the Series 8, the SE and the Ultra.

At the top, the Ultra model is designed to help users track endurance training, diving adventures and triathlons. The device lasts about 36 hours on a single charge, is more water resistant and features an improved compass that can work at night, in the ocean and other conditions.

On the low end, Apple has updated the SE to be up to 20% faster than the previous version. It starts at $249 for GPS models and $299 for cellular models.

And in the middle is the Series 8 model, which starts at $399. Like previous versions of Apple’s smartwatch, the Series 8 aims to motivate users to stay active and fit. Apple also highlighted the watch’s features for women’s health, with revamped menstrual cycle tracking tools that can predict ovulation. The tracking data is stored on every device and can only be accessed via a passcode or face ID, according to the company. Apple does not have a key to encrypted data and thus cannot access it without your express permission.

The announcement comes as data security for women has become a major flashpoint in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

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New AirPods Pro 2

Apple showed its latest generation AirPods Pro, one of the bigger breakout products of recent years. The new AirPods Pro have six hours of listening time on a single charge, better than the original version. Each pair of headphones and the case itself are now equipped to make a sound to help you find them. And a light swipe up and down on the headphones will increase or decrease the volume.

AirPods Pro now comes with improved dynamic noise canceling technology and can eliminate double the amount of noise compared to the original version. Meanwhile, a new adaptive transparency mode aims to reduce loud ambient noise.

The AirPods Pro 2 costs $249 and hits stores Friday.

Satellite connection for emergencies

While Apple hasn’t unveiled any groundbreaking new hardware products, at least one new feature could be a breakthrough for customers — albeit in rare instances.

The new Emergency SOS via Satellite feature, which Apple claims has been in the works for years, is specifically designed and built for iPhone 14 devices to connect to satellites when not near a terrestrial tower. By allowing users to point their device at a satellite, which will help locate the phone, users can send and receive information to get emergency help.

The company said it has created a short text compression mechanism to condense messages that take about 15 seconds to send if a user has a clear view of the sky. (It may take a few minutes longer if something like foliage is in the way.)

Apple said local carriers are being warned to call for help.

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