It is that time of the year again that Apple users look most forward to, this year’s Far Out event may even have been even more enticing as before, given the much-anticipated new redesign of the iPhone 14 Pro models, new lineup of regular iPhone 14s, new reiterations of the Apple Watch, new AirPods Pro, exciting new device features such as car crash detection and so forth. It is safe to say that the team at Apple has certainly outdone themselves this year given all the external issues going on in the world right now such as supply chain constraints.
This year’s Far Out event took place on Thursday, 8 September 2022 at 3am AEST and it was hosted from the company’s corporate headquarters at Apple Park, Cupertino. Apple has unveiled a huge milestone for iPhones. While only nearly 45% of Australia’s smartphone users use iPhones in Australia, the market share in the United States has already hit 50%, according to Counterpoint Research. Of course, it is only natural that Apple would want only the best smartphones for 45% of Australia and half of the US.
iPhone 14 & iPhone 14 Plus
The spotlight of Thursday’s event was where, Apple introduced a new line up of iPhones; Specifically, the iPhone 14, the iPhone 14 Plus, the iPhone 14 Pro, and the inevitable iPhone 14 Pro Max. The base model iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus models come in juicy new 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch display sizes. Unfortunately, due to rising inflation, Apple has decided to raise the prices of the entire iPhone 14 lineup. This brings the starting price of the iPhone 14 model to start at a new price of A$1,399 which will be available from September 16 onwards. On the other hand, the starting price for the iPhone 14 Plus models will start from A$1,599, which will be available for purchase starting from October 7 onwards. Another great option to ensure that you are one of the first few customers in Australia to get your hands on the latest iPhone would be to pre-order your iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Plus through the Apple store or through your supported mobile carriers, which is possible from September 9 onwards.
One of the highlights of the new line up of latest iPhones is that it offers front camera autofocus feature, owing to the more advanced camera system for pictures in any lighting condition. The new smartphone models also offer a brand-new feature called Action mode, which is able to increase the smoothness of videos taken through the front shooter.
In addition to the camera benefits, the new models also come with some of the best battery life an iPhone has ever had. Apple promises to deliver up to 20 hours of video playback time on the regular iPhone 14 model and up to a staggering 26 hours of video playback time on the iPhone 14 Plus model which is just mindboggling when compared to its predecessor, the iPhone 13.
Due to ongoing supply chain shortages around the globe, the regular iPhone 14 lineup would be powered by the same old A15 bionic chip which is also present in the iPhone 13 series. However, to our surprise, it comes with 1 additional GPU core, thus boosting the amount of GPU cores to a whooping 5 cores but CPU core wise will be kept the same as before.
Other notable features that Apple has introduced alongside the iPhone 14 include new features such as crash detection, and a new Emergency SOS feature that utilizes Satellite service which might potentially lead to a boost in Apple’s loyalty among its customers.
The all-new iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus comes in five new stunning colours - Midnight, Starlight, Blue, Product Red, and a new shade of Purple.
Car crash detection
Apple’s car crash detection technology is kind of self-explanatory, basically your iPhone will be able to capture moments where it feels like you have involved yourself in a car crash and it will immediately contact emergency contacts regarding your situation, assuming that you don’t respond to the Emergency SOS notification on your phone.
Emergency SOS via Satellite Connectivity
The Emergency SOS Satellite services features is included as standard across the entire iPhone 14 models for a trial period of just two years, after which Apple will start to charge a small subscription fee. Apple has yet to announce the cost of subscription for this service to be charged to its customers after the end of the free trial period. Unfortunately, the service will only be rolling out to customers residing within the US and Canada starting this November with no plans of being introduced towards Australia and other neighbouring countries.
The satellite-based connectivity features works by connecting your iPhone to a satellite-based network. The idea behind this is that some places such as winding back roads may be unreachable for cell towers. This is where communication satellites come in handy. Though they are difficult to reach, on account of them being hundreds of miles above the planet, they can still offer a lifeline in case something unthinkable happens while you are out of cell service.
Apple has built custom components and software, specifically to overcome any possible technical complications of reaching a satellite. Connecting to a satellite-based network is only possible when your phone directly points at a particular satellite. To beat this obstacle, Apple created a unique user experience, telling you exactly where to point your phone, in order to establish a connection, without using any sort of antenna.
In addition to this, Apple has also created a custom, short text compression algorithm called the SOS feature which reduces the size of average messages by a factor of three. Now, messages can be sent in just less than 15 seconds, owing to this algorithm. Upon your message being received by a ground station, the next step is obviously to relay it to the right emergency service provider. To beat this, Apple has set up multiple relay centers, with trained emergency specialists who are prepared for any inbound emergency texts. This service also comes in handy under less dire circumstances, such as to share your location with loved ones via satellite, using ‘FindMy’.
Specially in the US, both models are to drop the physical SIM tray, accommodating only eSIMs, which is a bummer to many. However, on the brightside, this prevents your SIM card from being popped into a different phone in situations where your phone is lost or stolen. Customers from other regions such as Australia, Singapore and so forth, rest assured as Apple will be keeping their physical sim trays throughout the iPhone 14 lineup.
iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max
As for the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, they are even more impressive than the former mentioned models. Powered by the all-new A16 bionic chip, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models are said to the most powerful mass-produced iPhone to date. Not only does it blow the competition out of the water, have a notch redesign which is now shaped like a pill, but it is also said to have the best battery life in an iPhone yet.
One notable feature available exclusively for the iPhone 14 Pro lineup is its Always-On display, which is first of its kind among iPhones. The iPhone 14 Pro’s display will allow it to have the ability to dim the device’s screen and only display key information on the lock screen at all times such as the time, widgets, and notifications, without taking a huge toll on battery life. Not only that, but the display also got a bump in peak brightness all the way up to 2000 nits for outdoor brightness and 1600 nits for HDR brightness
These models also feature a new feature to which Apple named as ‘dynamic island’ on top of the display, which is an interactive cutout design with the intention of diminishing the fine line between technology and real life in which it would bubble up alerts, notifications, and activities in an interactive and lively manner.
It is no question that most customers would be intrigued by the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max’s all new camera setup. Both Pro models are set to house the most impressive iPhone camera system to date. The 48-megapixel camera setup features a quad-pixel sensor which is up 4X from the amount of megapixels compared to its predecessor, the iPhone 13 Pro Max. In layman’s terms, this is equivalent to having clarity and resolution of four of the same iPhone 13 Pro lenses in your hand. The iPhone 14 Pro’s lens comes with a 24mm focal length and f/1.78 aperture lens which will mean that pictures will turn out crystal clear, which will allow professional photographers to capture uncompressed 48-megapixel DSLR grade raw images through their mobile device. The new 48MP sensor also brings about a 2x zoom Telephoto option which allows the new 14 Pro lineup to have a stronger zoom in capability and capture high resolution images with no digital zoom involved.
In terms of video recording capabilities, the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models are able to capture 4K video in up to 60 fps. Apple’s newly introduced Action mode feature present on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models also offers gimbal-like stabilization. This will allow capture smooth silk like videos at up to 2.8K resolution with up to 60 fps.
Same as the regular iPhone 14 lineup, Apple has decided to jack up the price of the iPhone 14 Pro models as well. The all-new iPhone 14 Pro starts at an eyewatering price of A$1,749, and its older brother, the iPhone 14 Pro Max starts at a mindboggling price of A$1,899. Both models will be available for preorder from September 9 onwards from the Apple Store or from your preferred mobile carrier, all Pro devices will be shipped on September 16.
The Pro models are available in four sleek new colours, notably – Space Black, Silver, Gold, and Deep Purple.
Apple has also snuck out three new Apple Watch models in their Far Out event.
The new Apple watch lineup comes in a plethora of new features. While menstrual cycle tracking was introduced to Apple Watches three years ago, the new series – Apple Watch Series 8 takes Health to a whole new level. The new series comes with a suite of advanced cycle tracking features, including ovulation information, which is a critical aspect of women’s health. This is done with the help of temperature sensors, which track changes to your body temperature over time. Apple Watch Series 8 also offers crash detection, connecting you with emergency services as soon as an accident or crash is detected. An enhanced workout application that would greatly assist you with your workout session and so forth.
As for battery life, while the 18-hour battery life still remains, the new series is said to include a low-power mode, which can give you up to 36 hours of battery life, if your Apple Watch is fully charged.
The price of Apple Watch Series 8 (41-mm) is A$629 for GPS based models and A$789 for cellular. On the other hand, the 45-mm model starts at A$679 for GPS based models and A$839 for GPS + Cellular based models. Apple Watch Series 8 will come in multiple new finishes – Midnight, Starlight, Gold, Graphite, Silver, Space Black and (Product)RED. The Series 8 is currently available for preorder and will ship on September 16.
Apple also introduced a new Apple Watch SE 2, offering all the core benefits of an Apple Watch, including crash detection. This Watch will come in three new colours - Silver, Midnight, and Starlight, priced at A$399 for GPS and A$479 for GPS + Cellular for the 40mm. For 44mm model, the pricing starts from A$449 for GPS and A$529 for the GPS + Cellular model. This model is also available for preorder and will ship on September 16 as well.
One of the unexpected Apple Watch releases this year at the Far Out event is certainly the Apple Watch Ultra, which is a bigger, more rugged version of a regular Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch Ultra starts at an eyewatering price of A$1,299 and is set to go against Garmin’s high-end rugged watches. While the Apple Watch has been dominating the smartwatch market for a long time now, Garmin has been leading in market share for smartwatches priced over AUD 730 (USD 500) – at least for now.
Among the key highlights of the Apple Watch Ultra would be that it has a dedicated ‘action button’ which lets you start your workout or mark the next segment of a race immediately. It also has a larger digital crown, which makes it possible for the user to still use the watch while wearing gloves. The Apple Watch Ultra is also louder than a regular Apple Watch, owing to a second speaker which comes with a built in 86db siren mode for emergency situations. This model also has better compass functionality than other models, keeping you on the right track, and allowing you to track you direction as well as distance to custom-set waypoints. In addition to this, the watch also has a quick-toggle ‘night-mode’ that shifts the screen to red, limiting the strain on your eyes and saving them from constant readjusting in dark environments. The watch has 36 hours of battery life - and is said to also adopt a ‘new battery optimization setting’ this fall, which will give up to 60 hours of battery life. The Apple Watch Ultra can also be taken on recreational swims and dives since it is certified to be functional for up to 130 ft underwater. Naturally, the watch comes with new sports-focused bands, such as a woven ‘Alpine’ loop for climbers, and an ‘Ocean’ loop that can fit over a wet suit.
You can get the Apple Watch Ultra at a price of A$1,299 and it is available for preorder now. This model will ship out on September 23.
AirPods Pro (2nd Gen)
When it comes to audio, it is not secret that Apple has been a leader in this space for quite some time now. Audiophiles and casual listeners alike have been long dreading an Airpods Pro refresh for about 3 years now. Lucky for us, Apple has unveiled their latest reiteration of the Airpods Pro 2 featuring the whole new H2 through their Far Out event.
Don’t let its looks deceive you, the latest Airpods Pro inherit a similar design compared to its first-generation predecessor because there are quite a few notable internal upgrades. The all-new AirPods Pro (2nd gen) now offers up to 6 hours of listening time, up from just 4.5 hours from the first generation. The new AirPods Pro 2, gives up to 30 hours of total listening time and 24 hours of talk time when paired with the charging case, which is now also able to be charged with an Apple Watch charger. Apple has also included a built-in speaker on the bottom of the AirPods case paired alongside the U1 chipset, which will be of great use to you when you are trying to search for your missing Airpods Pro. Apple has also sneaked in a lanyard holder at the side of the case so you can hook on your lanyards to your Airpods Pro for your ease.
Airpods Pro 2 also comes with up to 2X of noise cancelling capabilities compared to its predecessor and it is also feature adaptive transparency whereby it will erase harsh noises such as horns and construction tools in your surroundings when you switch on transparency mode. Not only that, but Apple also promises much better audio quality through its new H2 chipset.
Not to mention, Airpods Pro 2 also comes with a wider range of complementary eartips with sizes ranging from XS to L. If you’ve got an iPhone with a true-depth camera, which is every single iPhone released after iPhone X, you will also be able to make a ‘personalized spatial audio profile’ based on the shape of your ear.
Other interesting yet useful features include, AirPods Pro 2’s touch-based controls on the stem which allows it to control volume simply by just swiping along the stem, instead of the basic squeeze controls present on the first generation.
You can get all this from the Airpods Pro 2 for just A$399. They are available for preorder on Apple’s official store starting from September 9 and will officially be launched on 23 September.