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Broadband, Phone & TV

Everything you need to know about this year's Apple event

Conor Dever

Conor Dever

Staff Writer

New phones and details on a new streaming service were all announced at the annual event.

The Cupertino giant has announced a new iPhone at this event every year for a while now and this year was no different as Tim Cook took to the stage to announce the new offerings, including three new handsets, a new watch, a new tablet as well as a new gaming platform. Pricing details for Apple's new streaming service were also revealed. 

As leaks have become more prevalent and accurate before the events there were fewer surprises than ever this year.

Critics will say that the announcements were pretty underwhelming, yet fans will be pleased to see an impressive improvement in the cameras of the flagship smartphones.

Either way, there was a lot to talk about, so let's get into it.

iPhone

The big announcement of the event came as no surprise to those in the know. As had been leaked heavily in the weeks and months leading up to the event, Apple announced three new iPhones, though there was a lot of confusion as to what they would be called.

Much like the Fast and Furious franchise, Apple's naming pattern has become a bit spasmodic and unpredictable and this has continued this year with the launch of a new 'Pro' version.  

The iPhone 11 will be the new basic offering, while the iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max (which apparently isn't a protein shake) replace the iPhone XS and XS Max respectively

New cameras

The best thing about the new range of iPhones is undoubtedly the cameras.

Powered by the new A13 chip the camera updates this year are the biggest change to Apple's smartphone range and reestablishes the iPhone as the king of smartphone cameras. However, this may be short-lived as the new Google Pixel will be announced soon as will the newest flagship from Huawei whose P30 Pro camera is already giving Apple a run for its money.

In any case, all three of the new iPhones will get a 12-megapixel front-facing camera, as well as two rear-facing 12-megapixel cameras, one to be used as a wide-angle lens, the other as an ultra-wide lens. 

The iPhone Pro and Pro Max will both also get a third 12-megapixel camera though, to be used as a telephoto lens for extra zoom.

The development of the camera doesn’t end there though, on both the front-facing and rear-facing cameras you will be able to capture full 4K 60 frames-per-second video, which means you will be able to take slow-motion selfies, or what Apple calls ‘Slowfies’ much to the chagrin of anyone with ears who has ever heard words before.

Other developments included in the new camera set-ps will be the impressive 'night mode' for low-light scenarios, more dynamic range, improved video stabilisation, a faster autofocus portrait mode which now recognises pets and objects, and the ability to seamlessly switch between ultra-wide, wide, and telephoto lenses.

iPhone 11 - €829 to €999 to buy outright 

What’s new?

  • New camera set-up as mentioned above
  • New A13 chip which Apple says is faster and more energy-efficient
  • An extra hour of battery life over its predecessor, the iPhone XR, due to the more efficient A13 chip

Our verdict

The iPhone XR was Apple’s best selling phone last year and this seems like a fairly small upgrade to that as the size, weight, design and display are all the same. As a result we wouldn’t recommend you rush out and buy this version. But if you're due an upgrade, like the Apple ecosystem, and take lots of pictures and videos then maybe it's worth considering. 

However, that notch sure is ugly, Apple will likely remove it in next year's model and in our opinion you can get a better Android product in the OnePlus 7 Pro for €130 less. There's also no support for 5G, meaning if you upgrade now it could be close to 2022 before you're able to take advantage of the faster speeds the new technology will offer.

iPhone 11 Pro - €1,179 to €1,579 to buy outright 

What’s new?

  • New camera set-up as mentioned above 
  • Improved display with 1200 nits of brightness
  • Four hours more battery life than its predecessor the iPhone XS
  • Deep fusion pictures which blend multiple images together to give you the best pictures

The verdict

Usually, when Apple gives something the label of ‘Pro’ there is a stand out feature not available on the regular model. But it isn’t clear what that feature is in this instance.

Again, the OnePlus 7 is superior for around €420 less. And again there's no 5G.

iPhone 11 Pro Max - €1,279 to €1,679 to buy outright 

What’s new?

  • Same as the Pro but it has five hours more battery life than its predecessor the iPhone XS Max

Our verdict

The OnePlus 7 Pro is again the superior option in our opinion and will set you back a whopping €520 less.

Apple Watch 

What's new?

  • New LTPO always-on display
  • Built-in GPS compass for maps
  • New colours

Our verdict

Simply put the Apple Watch is the best smartwatch on the market, and boy do Apple know it. However this update has to be the meagerest yet, only adding two things (which critics have long said should have been on it from the start anyway) as well as increasing the range of customisation. And that’s it. Plus it’s €459. Ouch.

Ipad

What’s new

  • Support for Apple pencil
  • New A10 chipset
  • 8-megapixel camera
  • Smart Keyboard support

Our verdict

When Apple announced the iPad Pro we were blown away by two things: the teardrop display with rounded bezels and the price. We had hoped that this would trickle down to the cheapest iPad this time around, but alas we were again frustrated. This update to the iPad would make you wonder why they bothered. On the plus side it isn’t crazy expensive at €399. It’s not exactly cheap though.

Apple TV+

What is it?

Simply put Apple is trying to launch a streaming service to compete with Netflix. Following in the footsteps of Disney it's sinking some serious cash into top-notch talent in the hopes of putting a dent in the streaming market. 

It’s not clear when it will be available to those of us on this side of the pond but in the US it will launch in November with the TV series See from the creator of Peaky Blinders, starring Jason Momoa, as well as a new comedy-drama produced by and starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston.

It is priced at €4.99 a month for a family subscription and you will get a year's free subscription with the purchase of any of the new Apple products outlined above.

Our verdict

In the sudden surge to compete with Netflix from the likes of Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and now Apple TV+ , there will have to be some losers. It’s hard to know how Apple will fare but the talent they're bringing to the table is impressive. 

However, considering how hard Amazon is finding it to gain a foothold in the streaming market and the impressive body of work Disney is bringing to its service, we wouldn’t be surprised if Apple TV+ fell flat on its arse to be honest. Plus, that name!

Apple Arcade

What is it?

Apple is getting into the gaming streaming market, and of course it's not the first after Google, Sony and Microsoft all beat the company to it.

Apple is teaming up with developers to make new games and it appears to be going after the younger market judging by the announced titles. It will be available from November and set you back €4.99/month.

Our verdict

We can’t see this one working out for them.

Overall Verdict

The big takeaway from this year's event, as has been the case every autumn, is the iPhones.

If you use an iPhone you probably like the ecosystem and are reluctant to change despite better value hardware being available elsewhere. So you probably came this far to get validation on your decision to buy a shiny new piece of glass from them. The good news is that the new cameras are great and the battery should be better at least. 

but if you're an Android person there is nothing here that's going to make you jump ship. 

Apple has two products that are the best in class in our opinion - that is the Apple Watch and the iPad Pro. It’s just a shame they are almost prohibitively expensive. 



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