Apple unveiled a larger flagship smartphone and a new Watch that can detect heart problems overnight – but will users be willing to pay even more for their devices?
The Apple Watch Series 4, unveiled at the Steve Jobs Theater in its headquarters in Cupertino, California, has an edge-to-edge display which is 30 per cent larger than previous models and is position as a health device.
It can detect irregular heartbeats and start an emergency call automatically if it detects a user falling down.
“The new Apple Watch adds a bigger screen, a significant step forward in usability and some impressive health-related features. I think it’ll spark a wave of upgrades from customers with one of the original Series 1 or Series 2 devices,” said Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight.
The US Food and Drug Administration has developed apps for the Apple Watch and is seeking to help companies create digital healthcare products.
“Getting FDA approval for the health features on the new Watch underlines Apple’s leadership in wrist-worn tech,” added Wood. “It’s an arduous process that no other consumer wearable company has successfully navigated.
“It’s going to be interesting to see how the healthcare industry reacts to this development and it reflects the important role that health is going to play in wearable products.
“What really sets the new Watch apart is Apple’s leadership in health and fitness. The product is a cornerstone of Apple’s plans to boost sales of the Watch and continue growing the product category.”
The iPhone XS has the same 5.8-inch screen as last year’s iPhone X and will again be sold at a starting price of $999 (expected to be £999 in the UK).
However the firm also announced the XS Max, the largest iPhone to date with a 6.5-inch screen and pricetag of $1,099 (£1,099).
A lower-cost 6.1-inch XR made of aluminium will retail at $749 (£749).
“The iPhone XS Max is undoubtedly the star of the show,” said Wood. “It builds on the success of the iPhone X and offers one of the biggest displays on the market, but in a design that doesn’t look as though you have a giant 6.5-inch screen in your hand.
“Introducing dual SIMs in all markets is a bold move by Apple and something that will give mobile operators a lot to think about. Having pioneered the technology on the iPad and Watch, it was only a matter of time before Apple brought it to the iPhone.
“The potential for new business models is limited while Apple continues to offer a physical SIM card slot alongside the e-SIM capability, but if it eventually decides to get rid of the physical SIM it will have significant implications for how customers buy airtime in the future.”
On pricing, Wood added: “Apple continues to break all the rules when it comes to consumer electronics pricing. Once again it’s increasing the price of its flagship device.
“It comes at a time when rivals like Samsung are under huge pressure, and it simply confirms the premium that people are prepared to pay for Apple products.
“At $1,099 the XS Max is the most expensive iPhone to date, but I have little doubt that it’ll be a huge success.”