Closed Apple 2018 launch event

Apple Showcase

Join us at 1pm Pacific time for the insights into the new product launches from our longtime Apple followers in San Francisco, Richard Waters and Tim Bradshaw, who will be in the auditorium in Cupertino

Join us at 10am Pacific time for the insights into the new product launches from our longtime Apple followers in San Francisco, Richard Waters and Tim Bradshaw, sitting in the auditorium in Cupertino

Attendees gather at the launch event where Apple is expected to unveil a bumper collection of upgrades to its iPhone, iPad and Watch – the second flagship launch to be held at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple’s new Cupertino headquarters.

Oops. Not everyone is ready.

Apple chief Tim Cook has since deleted what appears to be an accidental tweet…

Hope the new iPhone hasn’t gone missing!

In another pre-launch oops, snippets of code spotted in Apple’s own website appear to have confirmed the names of the new iPhone XS and XS Max, as well as the multicoloured XR model, and two Apple Watch Series 4 models coming in new 40mm and 44mm sizes.

The Apple event has started and it looks like Mr Cook’s “accidental” tweet might have been a comedy tease – the big screen on the Steve Jobs theatre is showing a Mission Impossible-themed dash across Apple park with a secure briefcase.

Ho ho ho, it was all a crazy caper to deliver the presentation clicker! How we all laughed. “Wasn’t that a fun video?” asks Tim Cook as he walks onto the stage in blue shirt, khakis and bright white trainers.

“Apple was founded to make the computer more personal,” he continues. He curtain-raises today’s event with the customary look at the Apple retail stores, which now host more than 500m visitors a year.

“We are about to ship our two-billionth iOS device,” he reveals.

Somehow, tricking people with a fake tweet leaves a bad feeling. Not the best way to start. Or is that just me?

“Today we are going to tell you about two of our most personal products,” Cook says – so no iPad or Mac today, then. See you back here in October?

We’re starting with Apple Watch, which Mr Cook says is the number one watch in the world, though I’m not sure on what basis that is calculated.

Jeff Williams, Apple’s operating chief who also helms the Watch’s development, sets out its three main uses:

- keeping you connected, with cellular connections and notifications
- fitness and “living an active life”
- an “intelligent guardian for your health”

Interesting that he is separating fitness from health, which implies a more medical use case than just tracking steps or workouts.

Emoticon Apple Watch Series 4 lands with a particularly OTT intro video.

The new model has a more than 30 per cent larger display but in a smaller total volume than the older version. “Every part of the UI has been redesigned,” says Williams, with new complications for at-a-glance information.

New Watch faces include fire, water and vapor animations to illustrate the bigger display. The Digital Crown has been “completely reengineered” with haptic feedback, so you feel a little bump as you scroll through items on a list. The speaker has also been improved for talking to Siri.

On the inside, the Watch has a new 64-bit dual-core processor, designed by Apple’s own in-house silicon team. The sensors that measure motion have been upgraded, which means the Apple Watch can detect a fall.

The new Apple Watch features a new electrical heart rate sensor (ECG), in addition to the optical sensor that has featured in the Watch since the beginning.

That new sensor can help to identify irregular heart rhythms, which can be a sign of atrial fibrillation, and measure an electrocardiogram in 30 seconds. It’s the first ECG sensor available over-the-counter in a device like this, Jeff Williams says.

A watch that can do an ECG is a big deal. The Watch already had one of the most accurate optical sensors of any wearable device – it was 91 per cent accurate in measuring heart rate, according to one study.

But that’s still nowhere near good enough to act as a true medical device.

The US health regulator, the FDA, has approved the Apple Watch’s ECG sensor and its irregular heart rhythm alert. That means those features will be available for customers in the US later this year, but Apple is still working on regulatory approval in other countries.

Jeff Williams calls it the “ultimate guardian for your health”.

Interestingly, two of the new heart-rate features of the new Watch are based on the old optical sensor – getting a notification when heart rhythm becomes irregular or when it falls dangerously low. But that sensor is still good enough to get FDA approval for irregular rhythm warnings.

Apple Watch Series 4 will cost $399 with GPS and $499 including a cellular connection – a whopping $100 price increase for the cellular model compared to last year’s new model. The Series 3 version is still available, now costing $279.

Phil Schiller takes the stage to talk about the new iPhone XS. It starts with the usual self-indulgent video (a classic piece of Apple techno-porn) plus some technical babble – “new formulation of glass that is the most durable ever on a smartphone”.

As expected, there’s a new, larger X with an 6.5 inch display, to join the existing 5.8 inch version. Because the screen goes to the edge of the device it looks considerably bigger (the biggest Plus phone has a 5.5 inch display). So Apple has come up with a new name: It’s a Max.