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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 November 2018

Apple iPhone launch event 2018 - live updates

We bring you all of the announcements from the Steve Jobs Theater

• New iPhone variants are called iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max and Xr

• New Apple Watch revealed

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10:45pm: And that's a wrap

Tim Cook and co are done. So, three new iPhones, nothing massively different, but what did we expect? The Apple Watch Series 4 was impressive, probably more so than the phones. The cheaper entry point of the iPhone Xr should help to claw back some market share over the next six months and the funky new colours should appeal to a wider customer base.

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10:25pm: There's another iPhone

All of the leaks pointed to three new iPhones and here's the third. It's the iPhone Xr. It has more durable glass and comes in white, black, blue, coral, yellow and red. It has IP67 rather than the Xs's IP68. It's the "most advanced LCD screen ever" with a liquid retina display. It's screen measures 6.1in, so bigger than the iPhone 8 but in a smaller design. "It's an iPhone X experience on an LCD display." It has "haptic touch" similar to the trackpad on the McBook Pro, Face ID and the same experiences as the iPhone Xs. The camera is the same as the Xs and Xs Max.

The Xr will come in six finishes and three sizes. "It's the future of the smartphone delivered to more people," says Tim Cook.

Now for the prices:

iPhone Xs: from $999

iPhone Xs Max: from $1099

iPhone Xr: from $749

There will be three versions going up to 512GB.

The iPhone XS and XS Max will be available to pre-order from September 14 and on sale on September 21.

The iPhone XR will be available for pre-order on October 19 and on sale on October 26.

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10:15pm: iPhone camera, battery, dual-sim

Phil Schiffer is now talking about the quality of images the upgraded 12MP camera can create. There's zero shutter lag, and "smart HDR". Of course, the images being shown look stunning, and Phil admits he's excited. After taking a picture you can adjust the depth of field - impressive. "A new era of photography," he says.

Battery: The Xs lasts up to 30mins longer than iPhone X, in the iPhone 10Xs Max it lasts 90 mins longer.

Dual-sim, dual standby: It's confirmed, dual-sim is here for iPhone. Both phone numbers are waiting and ready to receive calls. In China there will be two physical sims, rest of the world one physical sim and an e-sim.

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10:00pm: Gaming capabilities

The new iPhone is said to be able to perform in the way a home console can. They've shown off a new Elder Scrolls game to display the power of the new processors. It looks sharp and smooth.

AR: Multiple players can share the same augmented reality. Four people are now playing something akin to an extremely modern version of Space Invaders. Not bad, but probably not as much fun as the Nintendo Switch.

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9:40pm: It's phone time

Cook starts off talking about the capabilities of the iPhone X 'the number 1 smartphone in the world' and 'most loved'.

'This is by far the most advanced iPhone we've ever created.'

It's iPhone Xs.

There's a new formulation of glass - the most durable ever in a smartphone. It comes in gold, silver and space grey. It has IP68 water protection level. The screen is OLED, 5.8in, has 2.7m pixels. There's a new 6.5in super retina version as well - the biggest display ever on an iPhone. What's it called? iPhone Xs Max. So, just as expected. A wider stereo sound has been added.

Face ID: "Now works faster than ever before. Most secure ever in a smartphone."

We're getting super technical now - talk of a faster neural engine and the A12 bionic chip. Storage of up to 512GB - enough for 200,000 photos. "The most powerful chip ever in a smartphone."

Siri Shortcuts have arrived. Do they sound helpful?

Augmented reality: You can turn your surroundings into an aquarium with 200 species of marine life.

Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple shows the new products. Bloomberg

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9:35pm: Back to Tim Cook with more on the watch

They are now showing a video of how the Apple Watch has inspired people to be more active.

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9:15pm: Apple Watch Series 4

Right, the Apple Watch is up first. "It's an intelligent guardian for your health. We're taking it to the next level," says Apple's Jeff Williams.

The next generation, the Watch Series 4, has a new display with curved corners, the screens are larger - more than 30%, and it is thinner. The modular face has been redesigned. The breathe app now works as a watch face so if you lift your arm up it can guide you through a deep breath. There's also a new water face option which is stunning.

The digital crown has been reengineered. The speaker is 50% louder, while the microphone has been moved to the opposite site to make phone calls clearer.

The back of the watch is made of black ceramic and sapphire crystal. The brain of the watch is called S4 and has a new 64-bit Dual-Core processor to produce up to two times faster performance. It can sample motion data eight times faster - effective for athletes. It can now detect a fall which requires "a tremendous amount of data". If you fall it delivers an alert and can start an SOS call. "We hope you never need it but it's nice to know it is there."

There's three new heart features - low heart rate detection, irregular rhythm (atrial fibrillation), and an electrocardiogram (ECG). "It's the first ECG over the counter offered to consumers. You can take one right from your wrist."

Prices start at $399, with the cellular version at $499, and the Series 3 model available for $279.

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9:05pm: The deleted tweet

Meanwhile, social media is abuzz with a tweet from Tim Cook which appeared minutes ago and was then swiftly deleted. 'No. Who can get it here quickly?' it said.

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9:00pm: The Apple Special Event is under way

And we're off, with a snazzy intro featuring a woman running to Apple HQ through all manner of obstacles with a suitcase under her arm - and backed by the Mission Impossible soundtrack. What's in the box? Tim Cook appears on screen, opens it up and ... there's a clicker. He's now pacing around on stage with the clicker. That was fun, and very over-the-top.

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8:45pm: How to unveil an iPhone

Ok, turn your life back to 2007, and this was how this iPhone jamboree started ... with Steve Jobs and his big tease of an unboxing...

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8:20pm: Adding more value

The National's technology correspondent Alkesh Sharma has spoken to research and advisory firm Gartner:

It says high pricing is not an issue for Apple but it is essential for the technology giant to focus more on enhancing consumers’ experience.

“Consumers want Apple to build more services or capabilities around the iPhone to add more value to their overall experience. For example, iPhones could be linked to AI or linked to more immersive practices and so on...,” Roberta Cozza, research director with Gartner’s personal technologies team, told The National.

Gartner expects that new launches will help Apple to boost its presence mainly in the US and partially in Western Europe.

“Apple is basically not interested in (increasing) market share but it is more inclined towards making good products. Pricing will continue to be high for top models as users are willing to pay,” stated Ms Cozza.

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8:10pm: Searching for the 'big one'

Research firm CB Insights told AFP that Apple is at a "crossroads" a decade after introducing the iPhone.

"Looking for the next wave, Apple is clearly expanding into augmented reality and wearables with the Apple Watch and AirPods wireless headphones," the analysts said.

"But the next 'big one' - a success and growth driver on the scale of the iPhone - has not yet been determined. Will it be augmented reality, auto, wearables? Or something else entirely?"

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7:45pm: Will Apple slip up?

You could say it already has after the website leak earlier (see 5:30pm). Or was that a deliberate ploy to add to the anticipation and create even more of a buzz ahead of the start of the event? Just over an hour to go now.

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7:25pm: Apple CEO Tim Cook is ready

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7:10pm: Samsung vs Apple

It's been the Real Madrid against Barcelona of the smartphone market for years now. But which one has the best flagship device? Samsung launched its Galaxy Note 9 last month and it was immediately labelled the "best Android phone ever" by the tech writers. Samsung has put its exploding batteries well in the past and has a considerable edge when it comes to market share thanks to its large mid and low-end range of phones. But it hasn't released a phone which has made consumers sit up and say "wow" for some time.

Click here for our full write-up on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9

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6:40pm: When will the products likely hit the shops?

Last year, Apple fans had to wait until November to get their hands on the iPhone X - nearly two months after it was first unveiled. This year, however, experts expect the new gadgets to be available sooner, maybe even the first week of October as Apple looks to boost sales going into US Thanksgiving and holiday shopping season.

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6:35pm: Wall Street is excited

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6.15pm: Will we see dual-sim?

There's murmurings that tonight's fresh line-up could include Apple's first stab at a dual-sim phone. For those unfamiliar, it means you can have two different phone numbers working on the same device. It's especially handy if you travel a lot and need to pick up a local sim card and don't want to keep swapping the sim cards in and out. Many Android phones offer dual-sim which has given Samsung an edge for frequent fliers.

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6pm: The iPhone journey

Haven't they grown. From the first iPhone in 2007, through to the iPhone 7 and today the iPhone X. Apple is often criticised for its lack of innovation through its new handsets - though that can also be said of the whole smartphone industry. The biggest jump forward in terms of design came in 2014 with the iPhone 6, and then last year with the full screen iPhone X. Can we expect another jump this evening? Unlikely, I'd say.

Ramon Penas / The National

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5:30pm: Devices leaked

There's plenty of talk across the internet that Apple has inadvertently revealed its new iPhones on its own website.

This is going to get technical ... the new phones, the XS, XS Max, and XR, were reportedly found in a product sitemap XML file. There's some screenshots doing the rounds of the HTML codes showing the product names. I can tell you it's not pretty - just a lot of code on a white screen. Anyway, there's a little over three hours until the event starts and we find out for sure.

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5:10pm: Updates are coming to the Apple Store

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5pm: Overtaken by Huawei

We've given you some financial stats, so now for the actual iPhones themselves and how many have actually been sold this year. According to data from Bloomberg, sales in the third quarter were up from 41 million in 2017 to 41.3m this year.

However, Apple has lost ground in terms of market share in 2018, with Huawei moving into second place behind Samsung.

You can read more about that here.

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4.20pm: Trump and the cost of an Apple

If you thought Apple goods were expensive, you may be disappointed to hear that the price may be set to go up even more.

US President Donald Trump tweeted at the weekend that Apple, which became the world's first $1 trillion publicly listed US company last month, should make its products in the US if it wants to avoid proposed tariffs on Chinese imports.

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4pm: Billions and billions and billions

How has Apple been doing this year? Well, the numbers certainly haven't been bad. The company's financial year runs from October to September and in the third quarter (end of June) it posted quarterly revenue of $53.3bn - an increase of 17 per cent year on year and its best third quarter ever.

“Our strong business performance drove revenue growth in each of our geographic segments, net income of $11.5bn, and operating cash flow of $14.5bn,” said Luca Maestri, Apple’s CFO.

The National's Alkesh Sharma reveals more on the financials:

Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook said that company’s quarter three results were driven by continued strong sales of iPhone, services and wearables. In the second quarter, the company posted revenue of $61.1bn, an increase of 16 per cent from the year-ago. Meanwhile, in its guidance for its fiscal 2018 fourth quarter (ending September 30), Apple is expecting a revenue between $60bn and $62bn while gross margin will be between 38 and 38.5 per cent.

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3.30pm UAE: It's that most exciting occasion, the one which comes around just once a year and involves the unveiling of some beautiful, new shiny toys. No folks, it's not Christmas, but the Apple product launch event.

It kicks off at the aptly-named Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California at 9pm UAE time, but we'll have all of the build up and background before then.

First up then, is what can we expect this evening? The most important answer to that, is new iPhones - and probably three of them, plus a new Apple Watch as summarised in the mock-up below:

Ramon Penas / The National

The National's technology correspondent, Alkesh Sharma, gives us a few more details on what he thinks will be unveiled later on:

iPhone Xs:

With a 5.8-inch screen, it will be an advanced version of iPhone X, which was launched last year. It will come with a faster processor and better cameras. New colour additions will be gold besides last year’s grey and silver.

iPhone Xs Max:

It is expected to be a grander form of iPhone X with a 6.5-inch screen, around an inch bigger than the screen of the iPhone 8 Plus.

iPhone Xc or iPhone Xr:

A low-cost version of the iPhone X, with a screen measuring about 6.1-inches. It is expected to attract mass attention. According to industry experts, it is likely to have aluminium edges instead of stainless steel.

AirPower Wireless Charger:

A charging pad that can charge an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods simultaneously without plugging them in.

New MacBook:

Succeeding the MacBook Air, it will be a lower-cost laptop with a 13-inch retina display.

New iPad Pros:

Apple is expected to two launch two new iPad Pros that will come with face ID instead of the home button and fingerprint sensor.

Pro-Focused Mac mini:

An advanced version of the Mac mini computer, it will focus more on professional users like graphic designers.

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Read more:

Donald Trump tells Apple to make products in the US

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