Medtech and iPhones at the Apple Launch

A close up of the new Apple Watch Series 4

writer icon Samuel Christiansen     Apple   |   Tech     🕐 13. Sep. 2018

At 10 am on 12 September, a hush fell over the Steve Jobs Theater at the Apple HQ in Cupertino, California.

After a fun, tongue-in-cheek introductory film, the 1 000-strong audience erupted into applause as Tim Cook, Apple CEO, stepped out on to the stage. Around the world, millions watched via a live stream. The excitement was palpable.

The much-anticipated event saw the launch of four new products.

There were many rumours leading up to the event, as well as a number of purported leaks claiming to show the new designs as they were to appear in the presentation. These leaks turned out to be accurate.

Apple Watch
In December 2017, Bloomberg reported that Apple was developing an EKG heart monitor for the Apple Watch. Since this revelation, people have been waiting for a new model, one with built-in medical tech.

Apple Watch Series 4 was the first product announced during the event. Exactly as predicted, this latest design includes an EKG heart monitor.

In November 2017, Apple partnered with Stanford University to launch Apple Heart Study. The University Dean, Lloyd Minor, said at the time that the aim was to "help usher in a new era of proactive health care central to our Precision Health approach”.

With this latest version of the Apple Watch, it is safe to say that Apple is positioning itself squarely in the health and medical market. The EKG heart monitor on the Series 4 Apple watch has been approved by the FDA, which means that it can officially be used as a medical device.

The iPhone
The highlight of the launch was the announcement of the new iPhone. The iPhone XS is a natural sequel to last years game-changing iPhone X. The new XS has an even more advanced camera compared to its predecessors. The camera is a fundamental part of each iPhone launch, which is understandable considering the iPhone was ranked as the world's most popular camera in 2017. 

Alongside the iPhone XS is the iPhone XS Max, a bigger model with the largest screen an iPhone has ever had. Both models are available in three colours; silver, space grey and gold. There are three storage options of 128GB, 256GB and 512GB, the highest in an iPhone yet.

A high price
These advanced specifications come with a hefty price tag. An iPhone XS Max with 512GB storage costs $1499. This cost increases outside of America. The difference is felt particularly strongly in Sweden where the same phone costs approximately $2050.

Part of the reason for the higher price in Sweden may be the chemical tax that was introduced in July 2017. The tax is on electrical devices that use a chemical heat protectant in order to prevent overheating turning into a full-blown fire. The chemicals used to make the protectant are not good for the environment.

However, the chemical tax is applied based on how heavy a device or unit is, and as iPhones weigh relatively little, the tax would not be so dramatically high.

iPhone XR
Together with the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max, Apple also launched the iPhone XR. This smartphone is closer in many ways to the iPhone 8, although it has Face ID and no home button, just like the iPhone X. This iPhone is aimed to give customers more choice and is available in six different colours.

Apple has coined a new term, Liquid Retina, to refer to the advanced display screen. The iPhone XR is more moderately priced in comparison to the XS and XS Max, starting at $749.

What about the other rumours?
Many of the rumours prior to the launch surrounded the iPad Pro, which has not been improved since its first update in June 2017. There was no mention of the iPad during the launch, so fans will have to wait and, in the meantime, speculate.

The next big event expected on the Apple calendar is the World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June next year. It is conceivable that Apple may announce another event before then. Possibly as soon as next month, as they did in 2016 when they announced the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar just one month after their annual product launch had taken place.

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