We’re less than a week away from Apple’s special event and there are rumours abound regarding what new tech might potentially be announced. Most notably, there have been plenty of image leaks and user-created renders that give us a look at the supposed new iPhone XS and the Apple Watch Series 4.
In case you’re wondering, that’s just the iPhone X. But we’re pretty sure that the new Apple flagship smartphone will look somewhat similar (don’t they all?), albeit with a few differences and improvements. So what specifications will the new iPhone have? And what does the new Apple Watch look like?
Here’s everything that we know about Apple’s upcoming announcement.
Introducing… The iPhone XS
Last week, 9to5Mac released a leaked image of Apple’s new 2018 iPhones, which shows the new iPhone X and a larger-screen variant.
9to5Mac believes that these are Apple’s 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch models, and both would bear the name: iPhone XS. The nomenclature comes as no surprise because insiders have called 2018, the “S year”.
This is a return to Apple’s way of introducing a new design one year and then releasing an updated version the next with upgraded components, new features, and pretty much zero changes made to the exterior.
With this in mind, we’re aware that the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus should technically have been named the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus. But the folks at Apple decided to “skip this release” in favour of the number “8”. As a matter of fact, they made a seemingly crazier decision to name their full OLED screen flagship model, the iPhone X.
Therefore, not ONLY did they skip the number “9” completely, they ABANDONED the Arabic numeral system for Roman numerals.
In other news: you would have noticed that the iPhone XS comes in gold, which is a first for Apple.
We also have reason to believe that the release of the iPhone XS will be announced during the upcoming Apple special event on 12 September, even though the press invite doesn’t explicitly state so.
Fans of Halo who notice the rings might be going, “Are they incorporating Cortana into the iPhone?!”
As cool as that might potentially be, we highly doubt that Microsoft (up to 7% cashback) will be working with Apple anytime soon to introduce a hologram virtual assistant to your Apple device.
We’re more inclined to think that the picture is a reference to the circular structure of Apple Park in Cupertino, California. And surprise, surprise, it has been rendered in gold (perhaps another hint at the colour of the new iPhone XS?).
Apple fans will also know that September is usually when Apple launches a new iPhone, as it has done so every year since 2012. So we’re pretty sure that all evidence points to the announcement of a new iPhone.
Specifications of the iPhone XS
So far, noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has reported that the new iPhone XS should include 4GB of RAM (up from 3GB), dual SIM options (for the larger variant), and a speed boost with Apple’s next-gen 7 nanometer (nm) A12 processor chip.
The use of the 7nm A12 chip is particularly notable as it’s significantly smaller than its predecessor, the 10nm A11 chip. And while other mobile chipmakers are also working on a 7nm chip, none are expected to launch theirs until 2019.
Apple: 1. Everyone else: 0.
Other benefits from this cutting-edge A12 chip include:
- Improved speed and power for a snappier mobile experience
- Potential to jump from three Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) cores to six, for better gaming and app performance
- Improved battery life with a smaller battery (although that doesn’t always translate to real life use)
- Better photo and video quality in the form of better portrait processing, improved low-light autofocus, noise reduction, and even studio lighting effects
- A potentially smarter AI experience that will improve features like Face ID recognition
However, Kuo has also reported that the new iPhone XS will not have in-display Touch ID (which means you’ll still need to unlock your phone via Face ID), and no Apple Pencil support.
At the risk of sounding like Hermoine Granger when she corrected Ron Weasley, “It’s Levi-O-sa.”
We want to clarify that the iPhone XS is pronounced “Ten S” and not “Excess” or “Extra Small”. Yes. The “X” is the Roman numeral for 10.
Although we’re pretty sure that the ah beng at the second-hand handphone shop and every other major telco sales rep will probably pronounce it as “XS”. Which makes it sound like you’re buying a really, really small iPhone.
It’s even harder to think about what the plural form for the iPhone XS should be. Is it “iPhone Ten Ss” or “iPhone TenSs” or “iPhone Ten S-es”?
For those familiar with Apple’s proprietary operating system, it’s the Mac OS X (pronounced OS 10) debacle all over again…
With regard to the 6.5-inch variant of the iPhone XS, there are two names floating about: the iPhone XS Plus, and the iPhone XS Max.
It seems likely that Apple will stick to the “Plus” name as it always has for variants with a larger screen size. But hey, remember how they decided to name the iPhone X? Yeah… We wouldn’t be too surprised if they go with “Max” to signal a new era of smartphones and devices.
Apple’s New Smartwatch: Apple Watch Series 4
The current Apple Watch Series 3 was first released in September 2017. For the benefit of those who need a refresher as to what it looks like, here it is:
And one of the revolutionary features of the smartwatch is built-in LTE cellular connectivity, which allows you to do stuff like:
- Leave your phone at home, and still be able to answer and receive calls via your Apple Watch.
- Have access to Apple Music streaming which gives you access to more than 45 million songs on the go.
Specifications of the Apple Watch Series 4
So what’s new with the Apple Watch Series 4?
In terms of general design, the Series 4 looks pretty similar to the Series 3. However, the biggest change has to be the new edge-to-edge display, which is rumoured to be about 15% bigger than the Apple Watch Series 3’s. In order to accommodate a display with a higher resolution, the bezel around the watch face has also been dramatically reduced.
If 9to5Mac is correct (they usually are), the resolution on a 42mm Series 4 will be 384×480. In comparison, the resolution of the current 42mm Series 3 is a paltry 312×390.
What this means is that a bigger watch face gives you more space to display up to nine complications (apart from the time). That might appear a little busy for some people but think of the third party app integration and potential information that could be available on your wrist.
Based on the leaked picture (from left to right, and from top to bottom), the complications seem to be:
- Timer: “14:59” (seems like it was set for a 15-minute countdown)
- Weather/Temperature: “72°” (notice the bar below which gives the day’s minimum and maximum temperature)
- Appointment: “12pm Lunch With Ken Tartine” (the amount of info displayed should be limited based on length)
- Day and Date: “Wed 23”
- Music: “music note surrounded by red circle” (probably controlled by the digital crown, where turning down the volume will potentially turn the circle green?)
- Activity: “coloured activity rings” (tracks your daily movement)
- Astronomy: “view of Earth”
- UV Index: “3.6” (a 3.6 means some protection against sunburn is needed)
- Sunrise/Sunset: “7:30PM 9H 21M” (tells you the time of the next sunrise or sunset)
Notable Changes And Improvements
Some changes to the Apple Watch Series 4 include:
- Replacing the all-red digital crown top of the Apple Watch Series 3 with a digital crown topped by a red ring instead (Writer’s note: Blergh. Thank God Apple changed this.)
- There is likely an additional microphone (the hole between the digital crown and side button) built into the watch to improve voice capture.
- The side button also appears to be a flushed, solid-state button similar to the home button of an iPhone 7 or iPhone 8.
If you’re unfamiliar with the iPhone 7 or 8, this means that the button does not move. It merely senses the touch of a finger and gives the button the feel of a “click”.
The advantage of doing this is twofold:
- It frees up a little more space in the Watch’s interior to make space for a larger battery
- It improves overall water resistance
Lastly, current Apple Watch owners will also be happy to know that the Apple Watch Series 4 appears to plan to maintain compatibility with current watch bands.
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What We Hope To See
A new flagship iPhone and an update to the Apple Watch is great. But here’s what else we hope to see during the announcement at Cupertino:
- A MacBook Air replacement with Retina display, and hopefully thinner bezels (the last update was in 2017)
- A new Mac mini with updated specs (the last update was in 2014)
- A new modular Mac Pro (released in 2013, but Apple has already said it will be a 2019 release)
- A keyboard fix to the problematic 2018 15-inch MacBook Pro
- AirPower (slated for a 2018 release)
For those wondering what AirPower is, it’s a charging mat that allows you to wirelessly charge up to 3 Apple devices simultaneously. It was first announced in September 2017 and would complement the iPhone XS perfectly.
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