(Bloomberg) – Apple Inc.’s latest hardware is designed to. To help you be more adventurous in the outdoors, become a better content creator, and – according to the company – keep yourself alive.
That’s the vibe I got after testing the new iPhone 14 lineups, the Apple Watch Ultra, and AirPods Pro 2 – Apple’s latest flagship product. They’re pricey, yes, but many will feel the new offerings make them worth the money.
Apple is launching three new watch models (Apple Watch SE, Series 8, and Ultra), two iPhone models (14 and 14 Pro, each in two sizes), and the second generation AirPods Pro. As a journalist at Bloomberg Pursuits focused on lifestyle products, I’d come home to those packed with the most features and therefore the most expensive ones – the Apple Watch Ultra (from $799) and the iPhone 14 Pro (from $999).
Apple Watch Ultra
With a 49mm titanium case and rugged look, the Apple Watch Ultra isn’t your average smartwatch. Yes, it has all the features that other Apple Watches have, but it is capable of handling harsh outdoor conditions.
The customizable Action Button, available only on the Apple Watch Ultra, is located on the left side of the device and is covered in international orange. It’s a new hardware addition to make it easier to navigate the watch. By pressing a physical button, you can track workout intervals, start a built-in dive computer (the Oceanic+ app by Huish Outdoors LLC, available this fall, which starts automatically after dives, calculates and monitors dive parameters), setup a stopwatch, or drop waypoints. – Geographical points – along your route.
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Combined with dual-frequency GPS, the coordinates feature allows anyone from hikers to people who live in dense urban areas to accurately document where they’ve gone and trace the route they took if they get lost. Although I didn’t go into the woods to test the GPS, the job’s work seemed pretty self-explanatory. One press of the action button will drop a pin on the location you are in, and a simple swipe of the crown on the right side of the watch can lead to the previous point you dropped. Selecting the “Backtrack” function within the Action Button app will set the path you took.
The regular Apple Watch Series 8 also has an upgraded compass that allows for waypoint projection and backtracking, but requires more manual maneuvering without an action button — something that’s probably fine for many people who don’t worry about getting lost in the wild on a regular basis.
In a noisy environment — say, due to high winds on a mountaintop or the bustle of a big city — the Apple Watch Ultra has an upgraded microphone system to pick up your voice for clear phone calls, as well as a new speaker that can set off a loud siren that Apple says It can be heard up to 600 feet or 180 metres. (The demonstrator said in the presentation that it was too loud for testing there.) Another life-saving function, also available on the Series 8, is a new sensor to detect a car accident and notify emergency services.
Along with older features for tracking sleep, ECG, heart rate and blood oxygen, both models have added sensors, one on the back of the device and one inside and behind the screen, to distinguish changes in body temperature. Apple offers the feature as a family planning tool: By wearing the watch all the time, a woman can track ovulation cycles (after analyzing temperature readings for at least two months) and determine the best time to conceive. The idea sounded great, but I have reservations about wearing a chunky device on my wrist while I sleep. And to voluntarily give up a lot of data and control a bit of technology gave me a few black mirror memories.
The Apple Watch Ultra, priced at $799, can also maintain 36 hours of battery life, or 60 hours in low power mode, withstand temperatures from -4 Fahrenheit to 131 Fahrenheit, and remain water-resistant to 100 meters.
iPhone 14 ratings
As mentioned earlier, Apple prioritizes the “life-saving” aspect of many new features. All iPhone 14s are capable of sending an Emergency SOS via satellite (service will be available in November). This means that even without Wi-Fi or cellular data, phones can make emergency calls using satellite technology. They also have a fault detection sensor that will alert emergency services if you have an accident.
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Other than the life-saving functions, there are great features like setting up multiple lock screens, taking better photos in low light, and more stable videos. I tested the AF front camera while taking a selfie uncomfortably under the eyes of a model wearing all kinds of shades of green, who eventually joined me in a photo and shouted, “Look, she can focus on both of us.” she did. In a dimly lit room, I caught a dull face of another model with cameras on both the iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 14 Pro. The three cameras balanced the dark purple and brown while clearly showing the person.
The iPhone 14 (from $799) and iPhone 14 Plus (from $899) look like a standard upgrade from the iPhone 13 — including the best 12MP wide cameras and different colors (Midnight, Blue, Starlight, Magenta, and (PRODUCT) RED). Apple offers a 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch screen respectively for the two identical designs and has eliminated the Mini option.
In comparison, the more exciting features are found in the more expensive iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. Available with a 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch screen, the two cost at least $999 and $1,099, respectively. A notable addition is the black pill-shaped area at the top of the screen, where the speaker and front camera are located. Apple calls it Dynamic Island. It is a multitasking tool that helps people keep track of what they are doing. Suppose, if you are listening to music and you need to switch to another app, the Music app will automatically switch to the island. Later you can expand the island to change songs or pause the music. You can also look at it to see the duration of the phone call and the moving waveform of the sound; recording a voice memo; Advance the timer or watch a group of apps running in the background.
The camera system is a big deal with the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, as they each have three cameras on the back. The 48MP wide main camera, a massive boost from 12MP for the iPhone 13 Pro.
The Always-On display for newer models dims the screen rather than turning it off completely, so users can see essential information like the time, date, and temperature without tapping the screen—the basics are customizable, and you can turn off an always-on display, too.
And what about the Fitness app that was only showing up on your iPhone after pairing with your Apple Watch? It will appear on your home screen once you upgrade to iOS 16, even if you don’t own an Apple Watch. The Fitness+ in-app tab (coming out this fall) is packed with workouts, meditations, and motivational episodes. New Apple Watch buyers get Apple Fitness+ free for three months (existing owners get one month free), then the subscription is $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year.
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