Apple’s launch event on Wednesday (nicknamed “Far Out”) showcased new iterations of the Apple Watch, AirPods Pro and iPhone. While the tech giant did offer up one surprising product reveal and a privacy-concerning health feature for its new smartwatch, the main focus overall was, interestingly, on safety.
The Apple Watch Series 8 (along with a second-gen SE and just-announced Ultra, which is geared toward customers working in more extreme environments) was touted for features like fall/crash detection, automatic notifications in case of emergency and improved GPS. The iPhone 14, meanwhile, introduced an Emergency SOS system that would allow users to send out short messages or location data without the need for wifi or cellular service — instead, it uses some interesting workarounds to connect via satellites without the need for a giant antenna.
Also health-related, but far more controversial, is a new Apple Watch feature called Cycle Tracking that uses temperature sensors, heart rate monitors and other logged data to give a “retrospective estimate of when you likely ovulated and … a detailed view of your menstrual cycle.” The company did stress privacy features that noted all this data stays on your device and is encrypted when your phone is locked with a passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID … and that Apple itself could never access the data. Still, given that some authorities seem very interested in location data and other digital fingerprints when it comes to family planning, having a device that actively tracks ovulation and menstrual cycles might be troubling, even with noted safeguards.
Finally, the other big reveal here is, well, Apple is going BIG. The iPhone 14 features a 6.1” screen (same as the 13, though the 13 mini was 5.4”) but the iPhone 14 Plus bumps that size up to 6.7”. The iPhone 14 Pro offers a 48MP camera (the 13 was 12MP). And the somewhat surprising announcement, the Apple Watch Ultra showcased a titanium 49mm case — and, because safety is key here, an 86-decibel siren for emergencies.
You can find all the new announcements here and watch Tim Cook and co. discussing each new product below.
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