Digital Transformation Apple Watch Tech

What you need to know about the new line-up of iPhone 14s, Apple Watches and Airpods


By Kendra Barnett, Associate Editor

September 7, 2022 | 12 min read

Tim Cook beamed down from the heavens – or Silicon Valley, more accurately – to deliver a handful of key product updates on the company’s line-up of iPhones, Apple Watches and Airpods.

Apple Store display

Tim Cook announced a suite of new hardware and software innovations on Wednesday / Adobe Stock

In a quarterly event, Apple today unveiled a range of new product updates, including an Apple Watch designed for extreme sports, upgraded Airpod Pro earbuds and a new iPhone 14 suite equipped with a powerful chip for improved battery life, display and operability. Here are the top takeaways.

Key product updates:

iPhone 14

The biggest news at today’s event was the highly-anticipated launch of the new suite of iPhones. iPhone 14 now has a larger display of 6.1”, camera enhancements, improved connectivity and a handful of hardware updates.

The new device, which comes in five colors and is made with a crack-resistant ceramic shield display, offers improved performance, with a 16-core neural engine and Apple’s A15 chip for faster speeds and smoother graphics.

The phone’s camera system has received a major makeover. The main camera includes a larger sensor and a faster aperture for better motion-freezing and improved color and texture representation. It offers a 49% improvement in low-light imagery, according to the company. The front-facing camera sees similar improvements in aperture time and low-light imaging. And for the first time, the front camera offers auto-focus. Both cameras now use Apple’s Photonic Engine, a technology designed to render more colors and brighter hues.

The phone, like its Pro counterparts, is also equipped with new filmmaking tools. Most notable among them is Action Mode, a new setting that auto-stabilizes videos, providing smoother imagery even in high-motion moments.

Aside from its 5G connectivity, the new phone represents the start of Apple’s switch to electronic SIM cards, or eSIMs. The iPhone 14 uses an eSIM, allows the storage of multiple eSIMs and enables seamless transferring of multiple cellular plans. In the near future, Apple said, all US iPhone models will be made without physical SIM cards and instead with eSIMs.

New safety features have been integrated into the iPhone 14. These include a new satellite connectivity feature for situations in which wifi and cell service are both unavailable. With new algorithms, iPhones can connect to satellites and get in touch with emergency services via text message, even when they’re off the grid. Additionally, Apple’s Find My app can now be used to share locations with friends and family.

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iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max

The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max arguably stole the show at today’s Apple Event. Both models feature the most advanced iPhone display to date, made sexier and more seamless with the new Dynamic Island, a new way for users to receive notifications and interact with various activities and apps at once. The small, top-of-screen display allows users to gain visibility into notifications and activity on other apps running on iPhone – without disrupting or leaving the app they’re currently using. It adapts in real-time and enables users to interact with the information displayed in various ways.

A new always-on lock screen allows users to see key notifications and keep an eye on live activities without even touching their device – and it provides energy savings by intelligently dimming. The refreshed lock screen also gives users new controls and personalization options for different looks and feels.

Beyond the reimagined lock screen and new Dynamic Island, both models boast even better hardware updates than the iPhone 14. They are powered by the new A16 Bionic chip, which Apple asserts is the fastest chip ever to be used in a smartphone – up to 40% faster than the competition. Its CPU powers 17tn operations per second, and it features four nanometers for elevated efficiency and a 5-core GPU.

Like the iPhone 14, both the Pro and Pro Max models have received camera updates. The smartphones feature a 48-megapixel main camera and a two-times improvement in low-light photos, as well as new ProRaw tools designed to give professional photographers more control over features such as depth, sharpness and resolution preservation. ProRaw has been designed with machine learning (ML) algorithms that intelligently reduce noise and automatically improve image quality. Plus, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max include the new Action Mode for filmmaking, as well as an updated version of Cinematic Mode with 4K imagery.

Company spokespeople at today’s event highlighted the company’s commitment to sustainability, stressing that while Apple’s corporate operations have been carbon neutral since 2020, the company is making strides to ensure that its entire supply chain and product footprint are decarbonized by 2030. New devices from its iPhone and Apple Watch line-ups are made with recycled materials.

Apple Watch

The new Series 8 Apple Watch not only comes in four updated colors and three new stainless steel finishes – with new accessories – but is also outfitted with a handful of key feature updates.

Adding to the device’s line-up of built-in safety and health functions such as fall detection, blood oxygen and emergency SOS, the new version of the watch includes additional biometric tools and analytics for users. Using new temperature sensors, the Series 8 Watch can provide estimations about ovulation periods, augmenting the device’s menstrual cycle tracking tools.

Plus, the watch includes Apple’s new Crash Detection technology – with motion detectors including a G-Force accelerometer, the Series 8 can detect the impact of four different kinds of automobile accidents, including front-impact, side-impact, rear-end and rollover crashes. Using smart technology, the watch will automatically contact emergency services if the user takes no action on the watch or iPhone to indicate that they are safe.

The Series 8 promises all-day, 18-hour battery life, but Apple is rolling out a new low-power mode similar to that found on iPhone in order to reduce background activity and elongate battery life. Apple says that international roaming will be made available later this year for all Apple Watches from Series 5 onward that operate on Watch OS9.

Apple Watch Ultra

The company today announced the new Apple Watch Ultra, a new version of its popular smartwatch specifically designed for outdoorsmen and adventurers. “Inspired by explorers and athletes from around the world, we created an entirely new category of Apple Watch designed for new and extreme environments – it’s the most rugged and capable Apple Watch yet,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, in a blog post published today.

Apple Watch Ultra is made of aerospace-grade titanium and is more water- and wear-proof than its predecessors. It promises the biggest, brightest display on any Apple Watch and its buttons are larger and more ergonomically friendly, designed for use with gloves.

The device’s core feature is the new Action Button, a tool that can be customized for a range of activities, from beginning a workout or measuring race segments to starting a dive computer (yes, the watch has even been EN13319-certified to serve as a dive computer for recreational scuba diving up to 130-foot depths).

The Ultra is outfitted with new tools designed for explorers, such as a dual-frequency GPS system that improves GPS reads for dense environments where signals may be obscured by tall trees or skyscrapers – Apple claims it offers the most accurate GPS of any sports watch on the market today. The watch also includes an updated compass and the new Wayfinder tool, which includes orienteering capabilities and allows users to track previous locations with backlogged GPS data to help them retrace their steps or find their way home if lost. With a second speaker and three unique microphones, Apple Watch Ultra guarantees better audio in windy or noisy conditions. It also offers built-in cellular service (rather than offering it as an add-on option).

With a bigger battery than other Apple Watches, the Ultra provides users with up to 36 hours of battery life on a single charge, or up to 60 hours with new battery-saving technology coming later this fall.

Apple says it can power through environments anywhere between -4°F to 131°F. The company is offering three new bands designed for different use cases: Alpine, a dual-layer nylon band for rugged environments; Ocean, a thick, rubberized offering for diving and high-speed water sports; and Trail, the thinnest, most lightweight band for any Apple Watch.

Apple Watch SE

Apple claims the new version of its entry-level watch – available in a range of new case colors – is 30% larger than the Series 3 Watch and 20% faster than the last SE model.

It includes family set-up tools to help parents stay connected with their children while customizing the level of access children have to various tools and controlling who they can message. The new Apple Watch SE comes at a lower price point than its counterparts.

Airpods Pro

Apple today debuted an upgraded version of its Airpods Pro, equipped with the new H2 chip that promises higher connectivity and an updated sound system for improved audio and noise cancelation.

With Spatial Audio – which Apple has been promoting since earlier this year – the new Airpods Pro offers more immersive sound and personalized audio quality. Users can even take a photo of their ear and upload it for more personalized audio delivery.

Apple claims its latest Airpods Pro has double the noise cancelation capabilities of the former model. Plus, it’s added adaptive audio transparency settings so the earbuds automatically adjust to reduce the noise of high-decibel sounds in real-time. The company has also added new volume adjustment features; users can simply swipe a finger alongside the earbud to dial in-ear noise up or down.

New Airpods Pro promises better battery life – up to six hours of listening time on a single charge, which Apple says is a 30% increase over the original Airpods Pro. The charging case is also outfitted with new features – including a speaker – designed to help users locate misplaced Airpods and confirm that charging has begun.

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Where advertising fits in

While Apple’s physical devices serve as a major revenue stream for the tech giant, the company also relies heavily on mobile advertising (although the company doesn’t specify how much of its revenue is generated by advertising, Bloomberg has estimated that this number could be close to $4bn annually).

The roll-out of a number of privacy-protecting features and user controls within the last two years – chief among them being AppTrackingTransparency, a framework that enables users to select which apps can follow their activity across the web and other apps – has made it more difficult for developers and advertisers to cash in.

In recent days, rumors have surfaced that Apple plans to level up its digital ads workforce. Some experts are predicting that Apple is likely developing its own in-house advertising platforms. Tim Cook and other executives have thus far kept tight-lipped on the subject.

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