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Everything you need to know about Apple’s new iPhones and Apple Watch

Apple just wrapped up its big iPhone event and in case you missed it, we followed the events as they unfolded with a live blog.

While the majority of rumors about the three new iPhones turned out to be true, there are a number of product reveals that didn’t happen. No new MacBook nor iPad Pro. Not even the long-overdue AirPower wireless charging pad nor the second generation AirPods were unveiled.

With that said, the new Apple Watch Series 4 with its new design and EKG measurement capability is probably the best leap forward in today’s announcements.

We may have over-expected on Apple’s offerings this time around, but coupled with this year’s generous iPhone leaks that practically left no surprises, yesterday’s “Gather Round” event was a run-of-the-mill, if not underwhelming, Apple event.

In case you missed it, here’s everything you need to know about Apple’s new gadgets.

iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR

As expected, Apple unveiled three new iPhones — the iPhone XS, the iPhone XS Max and the iPhone XR.

As you may have guessed, the iPhone XS models are the typical upgraded S versions of the iPhone X. The XS has a 5.8-inch OLED display, similar to the iPhone X, while the XS Max has a large 6.5-inch OLED display, the biggest iPhone display yet.

The iPhone XR, on the other hand, has a 6.1-inch LCD display Apple calls the “Liquid Display.” With its LCD screen, the XR model is cheaper but it will still have features like Face ID and an edge-to-edge display.

All of this year’s iPhones will also get Apple’s new 7-nanometer A12 Bionic chip. According to Apple, this chip is crazy powerful with a 6-core CPU, 4-core GPU, a Neural Engine and two performance CPU cores. The A12’s  CPU runs 15 percent faster than A11, and the GPU runs 50 percent faster.

Camera-wise, the XS and the XS Max will both get a dual-camera system on the rear (12 MP wide angle and 12 MP telephoto camera lenses.) These models also have an updated image signal processor with Neural Engine features plus new “Smart HDR” processing.

The cheaper iPhone XR only has a single rear 12 MP wide-angle camera lens, but it is also capable of shooting Portrait Mode photos. All models will also support adjustable Bokeh depth-of-field post-processing edit capabilities.

The XS and the XS Max also have better IP68 water- and dust-proofing (the iPhone X only has an IP67 rating) plus better sounding speakers.

All the new iPhones will have faster LTE connections plus multiple numbers with dual SIM support via eSim technology).

Battery-wise, iPhone XS has 30 minutes more battery life than the X, while the XS Max, an hour longer. The XR’s battery life is 90 minutes more than the iPhone 8 Plus.

As rumored, 3D Touch is noticeably absent in the XR’s spec sheet but we are assuming that it is available on the XS models.

The iPhone X models are made with stainless steel and they will be available in Space Gray, Silver and Gold.

On the other hand, the XR is made of aluminum and it will come in six different colors: black, white, red, yellow, coral, and blue.

When are they available?

iPhone XS (64, 256, 512 GB storage) starts at $999. XS Max starts at $1,099. Preorders start on Friday. Ships Sept. 21.

The iPhone XR will come in three storage sizes (64, 128, 256 GB). Starts at $749. Preorders start on October 19th, ships on Oct. 26.

Price cuts on the iPhone 7 ($499) and iPhone 8 ($599) also took effect after the event.

Are the new iPhones worth it?

If you currently have an iPhone X, the incremental updates to the iPhone XS are probably not worth it. However, if you want an enormous OLED screen, the biggest iPhone screen yet, the XS Max is the one to get. With OLED’s brilliance and clarity, the XS Max’s display will look incredible.

How about the iPhone XR? Owners of older iPhones like the 7, 7 Plus, 8 and 8 Plus may want to upgrade to the iPhone XR for Face ID and the edge-to-edge screen. But if you want to keep hanging on to Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint system, better hold on to your old iPhone.

Additionally, is this the end of pocket-sized iPhones? People who want the smaller form factors of the old non-Plus iPhones are out of luck this time.

The smallest iPhone this year is the iPhone XS and it starts at a whopping $999. If you don’t want to spend that much, you will have to settle for the iPhone XR’s massive 6.1-inch screen.

Apple Watch Series 4

With its new redesign and sensors, the new Apple Watch Series 4 may just have outshined the new iPhones with its fresh features and functions.

Compared to its predecessors, the new Apple Watch Series 4 models have smaller bezels and larger edge-to-edge displays with curved corners while retaining almost the same case size as the older models. The Series 4 watches are also thinner with less volume than the Series 3.

The user interface of the Series 4 models was also revamped with more information, new “complication” options, and exclusive watch faces including Breathe, Fire, Water and Vapor.

The digital crown was also redesigned and it now has its own haptic feedback. It’s interesting how developers will utilize this but I imagine it will be useful when scrolling through lists and screens.

Processor-wise, it has Apple’s newest 64-bit dual-core S4 chip and it is two times faster than the Series 3.

Better yet. Series 4 has new sensors that can detect three new heart conditions — low heart rate, irregular heart rhythm, and most of all, it can now take electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) measurements.

With Series 4’s new electrodes, you can now take your EKG measurements anytime, anywhere, by holding your fingertips on the watch’s crown. Now that’s a game-changer! Instead of going to a clinic to have your EKG measured, you can now do it yourself.

Apple said that the Apple Watch Series 4 has FDA clearance so we’re hoping that the EKG measurements are accurate.

Series 4 also updated accelerometers and gyroscopes can detect falls! And with its ability to call emergency services whenever a fall is detected, this can be a life-saver!

Other Series 4 upgrades include a black ceramic and sapphire crystal back, a louder speaker and a repositioned mic for better phone calls, an improved all-day battery life plus Bluetooth 5.0 support.

These are all great incremental updates for the Apple Watch, if you ask me. (But we’re still waiting for the rumored sugar level sensors, though.)

I want it! When is it available?

Apple Watch Series 4 prices start at $399 with GPS. $499 for cellular. Series 3 will start at $279.

Series 4 pre-orders start this Friday and ship Sept. 21. The Series 3 price drops are now in effect.

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