SEPTEMBER 7, 2022
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at an Apple event on the campus of Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022. – Jeff Chiu/AP
Apple kicked off its highly anticipated fall product launch on Wednesday, which includes a smartwatch model that can measure body temperature and track ovulation cycles. The tech giant is also replacing its affordable iPhone mini with a much larger iPhone 14, adding more noise cancellation to the AirPods Pro, and equipping the iPhone with a new emergency satellite connection.
The launch event was held at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. in front of an audience for the first time since 2019. Millions tuned in online, many hoping to see the company reveal a smart car or virtual reality headset. But Apple instead delivered a series of updates to its existing product line, with the star attraction being its new iPhone 14 Pro.
The company’s new product line is likely to set the stage for an aggressive holiday marketing blitz during its most important financial quarter of the year, when sales are typically the highest.
Here’s what you need to know about Apple’s latest products.
Apple Watch 8 debuts ovulation tracking and crash detection
The Apple Watch 8 includes two temperature sensors for tracking ovulation cycles, which often correlate to changes in body temperature. The watch takes a temperature reading every five seconds in overnight mode and can detect changes as small as 0.1 degrees Celsius, which can also be useful for tracking illness. During its launch event, Apple put a heavy emphasis on period tracking privacy, which has been a significant concern since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier this year. Apple says cycle tracking data is encrypted on devices, and can only be shared with the company if users give explicit permission.
The new Apple Watch can also detect crashes and automatically provide emergency support, providing your location to emergency contacts. It uses two new motion sensors, an improved three axis gyroscope and an accelerometer that can detect the extreme impacts of a crash in most kinds of vehicles, the company says.
Apple also introduced a new premium version of the watch, with a bigger display and a new button that lets users easily track their workouts. Apple claims the watch has up to 60 hours of battery life on its new low-power mode.
New AirPods Pro offers twice as much noise cancellation
Apple’s latest update to its staple AirPods was seen as a crucial moment for the company, as the wireless earbuds market has become saturated with new products in recent years. The company says its updated AirPods Pro doubles the amount of noise cancellation over the original AirPods Pro, which came out in 2019.
For the first time, Apple says users can use the camera on their iPhone to create a personal profile for spatial audio based on the shape of their head and ears, so that music being played on the new AirPods Pro can be tuned just for them. The company is promising 6 hours of listening time, a 33% increase over the original AirPods Pro.
Goodbye, iPhone Mini and notch design
Apple discontinued its smallest model—the iPhone mini—which came out in 2020 and had a 4.7-inch screen. Although the mini had similar specs to pricier models, it was wildly unpopular with customers, making up the smallest share of sales of all iPhone 13 models, according to Consumer Research Intelligence Partners.
The iPhone 14 now comes in only two sizes: a 6.1-inch or 6.7-inch screen, each of which have “standard” or “pro” options. This means customers can finally buy the biggest iPhone without paying for a premium model.
The new iPhones look similar to previous models, and it might be difficult to spot the differences at first glance. The most significant design change is on the iPhone 14 Pro, which no longer has a notched camera cutout at the top of the screen—which many users had complained about. Apple replaced this notch with what it calls the “Dynamic Island,” similar to the touchbar on the older MacBook Pro.
iPhone 14 gets slightly faster chip and emergency satellite connection
Similar to last year, Apple avoided making major changes to the design and feel of its iPhone—but it claims the iPhone 14’s five-core GPU is 18% faster than the previous model. The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus are using the same A15 Bionic chip as the iPhone 13, while the iPhone 14 Pro will feature a new A16 Bionic chip that the company claims has an even faster neural engine and an improved signal processor.
The iPhone 14 will also come with a feature that allows users to send emergency messages by way of satellites if cellular towers aren’t nearby. Users will be prompted to point their phones toward a specific part of the sky to establish a satellite connection, which Apple says is enough to send a short, compressed text message.
The standard models will feature the same dual 12MP rear cameras, while the Pro model has a 48MP camera. All four models are getting a new front camera with autofocus and a wider f/1.9 aperture, meaning sharper selfies with more light and less distortions.