Thursday Morning News
Apple has a review roundup of the rest of the iPhone XS and XS Max reviews from yesterday. It’s high praise across the board for Apple’s latest and greatest, with many outlets waxing lyrical about the improved photography aspects of the newest iPhones. Although the rest of the changes in the iPhone XS and XS Max might not be as immediately obvious as the photography improvements, especially when compared to previous versions, they all add up to a seriously impressive product that many agree is the best iPhone ever.
It’s a similar story for the Apple Watch Series 4, which has reviews out today from John Gruber of Daring Fireball. Gruber tells us how if there’s one quality that the Series 4 Apple Watch has that over its predecessors, it’s how nice it is, with a lot of that niceness due to the first redesign since the Apple Watch launched over three years ago. The Series 4 has a bigger screen now, one that sports curved edges like your iPhone, and that makes using it nicer in pretty much every way.
Over at Hodinkee, Stephen Pulvirent’s review of the Apple Watch Series 4 provides valuable insights on Apple’s wearable from someone who knows traditional luxury watches. While the conclusion is that it probably won’t replace your traditional mechanical watch, there’s no denying that Apple is really hitting its stride with the Series 4. For previous watch owners, the upgrades are incremental, making the decision to upgrade harder if you already own a Series 3, but the most mature watch device yet not only sets the bar for connected wearables, but also gives us a glimpse at where the Apple Watch can go next.
I know there are a lot of reviews this week, but bear with me, we’ll have new hardware to play with for ourselves tomorrow. Both Rene Ritchie of iMore and Brian Chen of the New York Times frame their Apple Watch Series 4 reviews in the context of a device that didn’t exist as a category a few years ago, but has now become a significant product in Apple’s overall product lineup and something you should absolutely consider owning if you have an iPhone. And just like every other product in their lineup, you can tell how much Apple sweats the tiniest details, from including haptic feedback on the Digital Crown, to faster Bluetooth so future watchOS updates don’t take a long (or so we all hope, anyway). Although the Series 4 launches without its much-vaunted ECG feature, there are plenty of other improvements to get excited about. Yes, the Apple Watch isn’t something you need to have, but it’s something you should definitely consider. It’s for your own health, after all.
A cardiac electrophysiologist’s post on Medium explains why he’s wary of the new Apple Watch and its potential to detect afib using its ECG. While the premise of detecting asymptomatic heart conditions sounds good in premise, and you’ve probably heard of many cases where the Apple Watch has uncovered an underlying heart condition via its high (and now low) heart rate notifications during a rest period, screening otherwise healthy people for a specific condition like afib has its own pitfalls. John Mandrola says that preventative health is tricky, and “when you endeavour to make healthy people healthier, you always risk making them worse”.
For everyone that’s sticking with their current Apple Watch for now, watchOS 5 knows exactly what its sets out to do. The update, as reviewed by MacStories, has something for every aspect of what Apple says the Apple Watch is all about. Fitness junkies get new workout types and what you might consider basic pace alerts and cadence for runners, as well as automatic workout detection if you never remember to start them in the first place. Podcasts come to the Apple Watch, if you’re not tied to any particular third-party app, interactive notifications, and the contentious removal of the “Hey Siri” keyword that perhaps makes your watch a little too eager to respond to you. Oh, and there’s even support for displaying some web content, although it’s limited to mail and messages right now.
Specs of all the new iPhones are out. Apple’s mandatory filings to the China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology tell us about the RAM and battery specs. The iPhone XS has a 2,658 mAh battery, with the XS having slightly more power at 3,174 mAh, and the XR coming in at 2,942 mAh, which may explain why Apple claims the longest battery life on the iPhone XR. And while both the XS and XS Max come with 4GB of RAM, the XR has 3GB — comparatively, the iPhone X and 8 Plus also have 3GB, and the iPhone 8 has 2GB.
For everything we’ve heard about the iPhone XS and XS Max, there hasn’t been nearly as much about the potentially more interesting iPhone XR. That’s probably due to the fact it won’t be available until later next month, which could be attributed to the production difficulties encountered by making an LCD work with curved edges (and the notch). 9to5Mac points out LCDs can’t be bent like OLED displays can, but still need to be backlit, which requires a very precise kind of engineering. Either way, I doubt Apple would launch a product if it couldn’t commit to certain yields, so we’ll have to wait and see.
One of the more interesting aspects of the iPhone XR is that it, according to The Verge, shows how unnecessary 3D Touch has always been. While discoverability of 3D Touch features has always been lacking, I’d still say that it’s useful in some respects; peek and pop might not be the most ground-breaking feature ever, but 3D Touch shortcuts from your home screen work well. Maybe 3D Touch has always been just a novelty.
An unlisted video on Apple’s YouTube channel shows off video shot on the iPhone XS. Their experiments in 4K, slow motion, and time-lapse give you a good idea of what the camera system in the iPhone XS and XS Max is capable of.