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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 13 November 2019

Seven takeaways from the Apple iPhone 11 launch event

The latest iPhones promise better battery and the toughest glass ever used in a smartphone

Apple rolled out three new iPhones at its annual product event in Cupertino on Tuesday, along with a much-anticipated Dh19.99-a-month video service.

The National compiled seven takeaways from the tech giant's newest offerings.

No game-changing upgrades

Last year, consumers got the Max-sized iPhone as well as eSIM and MultiSIM support.

“This year is mainly about the camera and battery life improvements on the ‘Pro’ series and I don't think that's enough to push any XS or XS Max user to upgrade,” said Abbas Ali, managing editor of TechRadar Middle East.

The Pro series comes with the brightest display ever in an iPhone and a new triple-camera system that provides a pro-level camera experience to users.

Bottom line: while the new line-up has a couple of superlative additions, outlined below, they do not add up to a major upgrade compared to Apple's current iPhone models.

The 'fastest and strongest' iPhones ever

Apple’s latest iPhones — the 11 Pro and the 11 Pro Max — are covered in the toughest glass ever put on a smartphone and are protected against everyday spills including coffee and soda and can resist water up to 4 metres in depth for up to 30 minutes.

The new line-up also promises speed using an A13 Bionic chip — the fastest chip ever used in a smartphone. The A13 facilitates machine learning for real-time photo and video analysis, and new accelerators to deliver more than 1 trillion operations per second.

More juice to get through the day

All of this computing, graphics and machine learning performance is delivered while still enabling a good leap in battery life, a notorious shortcoming in Apple products.

The new iPhone 11 Pro offers up to four more hours of battery life in a day than the XS, and 11 Pro Max promises up to five hours more juice than iPhone XS Max, said the company.

A cheaper phone is a good strategy

Apple also introduced a lower-priced version of the phone — iPhone 11 — with a dual-camera system in six colours. Starting at Dh2,949, it is Dh230 cheaper than the last year’s low-cost iPhone XR, which was an instant hit.

The price cut on the iPhone 11, which replaces the iPhone XR is a good move, according to experts.

“XR was already Apple's bestselling iPhone last year and new colours as well as the second camera will attract users that are using an iPhone 8 or an older model,” said Mr Ali, adding: “But again, it's not a phone meant for someone that's already bought the iPhone XR last year.”

Apple is also expected to introduce a lower cost iPhone in 2020 along the lines of the iPhone SE that was launched in 2016. Starting at Dh1,466, the SE saw strong sales, with the company selling 30 million units in 2016, but it stopped manufacturing the phone in September last year.

Apple is getting comfortable with a longer upgrade cycle

Industry analysts say Apple is comfortable with an upgrade cycle that lasts two years or more.

“Instead of selling you a new iPhone every year, they are shifting to a service model for recurring revenue. Even the trade-in programmes are more aggressive … rather than wanting you to have the latest iPhone, Apple just wants you to have an iPhone,” said Mr Ali.

The consumer tech giant's net profit dropped 13 per cent year-on-year to Dh36.88 billion in the last quarter to June. However, its services business was up 13 per cent. The company sold just over 38 million iPhones in the quarter, a 13.8 per cent yearly decline.

“Irrespective of the hardware — as a new iPhone, an older model, or a refurbished product — the expansion of iOS users is what appears to matter most going forward,” said researcher International Data Corporation in a note.

A new war on Netflix and Amazon Prime

With low-cost packages, Apple TV+ is all set to launch a war against industry giants such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. However, a lack of versatile content could hamper its growth.

Other streaming services allow you to watch older shows such as Friends or Breaking Bad, and can thus charge higher for their massive catalogue, said Mr Ali.

“There has been no indication from Apple if Apple+ will offer such shows. The only catalogue Apple will have at launch will be its own original content and there isn't much of it.”

Face ID is smarter and faster

Face ID, the most secure facial authentication in a smartphone, becomes up to 30 per cent faster and easier to use with improved performance at varying distances and support for more angles.

Updated: September 11, 2019 04:24 PM