Apple’s newest devices are designed to help you be more adventurous in the outdoors, become a better content creator and, the company says, stay alive.
That’s the vibe I got after testing the new iPhone 14, Apple Watch Ultra, and AirPods Pro 2 lineups—Apple’s latest flagships. They are expensive, yes, but many will feel that the new offerings make them worth it.
Apple launches three new watch models (Apple Watch SE, Series 8 and Ultra), two iPhone models (the 14 and 14 Pro, each in two sizes) and the second-generation AirPods Pro. As a Bloomberg Pursuits reporter who focuses on lifestyle products, I’m going to stick with the most feature-packed and therefore the most expensive: the Apple Watch Ultra (starting at $799) and the iPhone 14 Pro (starting at $999).
Apple Watch Ultra
With a 49mm titanium case and a rugged look, the Apple Watch Ultra isn’t your average smartwatch. Yes, it has all the features other Apple Watches have, but it’s capable of handling extreme outdoor conditions.
The customizable “action button,” available only on the Apple Watch Ultra, is located on the left side of the device and is coated in a color called “international orange.” It’s a new hardware addition to make the watch easier to navigate. By pressing the physical button, you can track training intervals, launch a built-in dive computer (Huish Outdoors LLC’s Oceanic+ app, available this fall, which starts automatically after you dive, and calculates and monitors your dive parameters), set a timer or drop waypoints (geographical points) along the route.
Along with dual-frequency GPS, the waypoints feature allows anyone from hikers to people living in dense urban areas to accurately document the locations they’ve been and retrace the route they took to if they are lost Although I didn’t go into the woods to test the GPS system, I found the function to be intuitive. Pressing the action button will drop a marker at your current location, and a simple scroll of the crown on the right side of the watch can take you to the previous point you dropped. If you select the “Backtrack” feature in the action button app, a map of the route you’ve taken will be made.
The regular Apple Watch Series 8 also has the improved compass that allows you to scroll down and back, but it requires more manual maneuvering without the action button, which is probably fine for many people who don’t care about getting lost in the wilderness of usual way base
In a noisy environment, for example due to strong wind on top of a mountain or the bustle of a big city, Apple Watch Ultra has an improved microphone system to pick up your voice for phone calls clear, as well as a new speaker. which can sound a loud emergency siren that Apple says can be heard up to 600 feet, or 180 meters, away. (The demonstrator at the presentation said it was too loud to test there.) Another lifesaving feature, also available for the 8 Series, is a new sensor to detect a car crash and alert emergency services.
Along with older features for tracking sleep, ECG, heart rate and blood oxygen, both watch models added two sensors, one on the back of the device and the other inside and behind of the screen, to discern changes in body temperature. Apple pitches the feature as a family planning tool: by wearing the watch all the time, women can track their ovulation cycles (after analyzing at least two months of temperature readings) and decide which one best time to get pregnant The idea sounded great, but I have reservations about wearing a bulky device on my wrist to bed. And willingly giving up so much data and control to a piece of technology gave me a bit black mirror flashbacks.
The Apple Watch Ultra, priced at $799, can also maintain 36 hours of battery life, or 60 hours on low power settings, withstand temperatures from -4F to 131F, and remain resistant to water up to 100 meters deep.
iPhone 14 lineups
As mentioned, Apple is prioritizing the “lifesaving” aspect of many of the new features. All iPhone 14s are capable of sending an emergency SOS via satellite (the service will be available in November). This means that even without Wi-Fi or mobile data, the phones can make emergency calls using satellite technology. They also have a crash detection sensor that will alert emergency services if you have an accident.
Aside from the save features, there are cool features like setting up multiple lock screens, taking better low-light photos, and more stabilized action videos. I tested the autofocus front-facing camera while taking an awkward selfie under the gaze of a model dressed in all sorts of shades of green, who eventually joined me in a photo and exclaimed, “Look, you can focus on both.” he did it In a dimly lit room, I captured another model’s bored face with cameras on both an iPhone 14 Plus and an iPhone 14 Pro. The trio of cameras balanced the dark purple and brown colors while showing the person clearly.
The iPhone 14 (starting at $799) and iPhone 14 Plus (starting at $899) look like a standard upgrade from the iPhone 13, including better 12-megapixel wide cameras and different colors (midnight, blue, star, purple and (PRODUCT) RED) . Apple offers a 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch screen, respectively, for the two identical designs and removed the Mini option.
In comparison, the most interesting features are found in the more expensive iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. Available in 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-facing camera are located. Apple calls it the Dynamic Island. It’s a multitasking tool that helps people keep track of what they’re doing. For example, if you’re listening to music and need to switch to another app, the music app will automatically move to the island. Later you can expand the island to change songs or pause the music. You can also see the duration of a phone call and an animated waveform of the audio; the recording of a voice note; the progress of a timer; or see a mix of apps running in the background.
The camera system is a big deal for the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, which each have three cameras on the back. The main wide camera is 48 megapixels, a monumental increase from the 12 megapixels for the iPhone 13 Pro.
The new models’ Always-On Display dims the screen instead of turning it off completely, so users can see essential information such as the time, date and temperature without touching the screen; essentials are customizable and you can turn off Always On Screen, too.
And the Fitness app that used to appear on your iPhone only after pairing with an Apple Watch? It will appear on your home screen after you update to iOS 16, even if you don’t have an Apple Watch. The app’s Fitness+ tab (coming this fall) is packed with workouts, meditations, and motivational episodes. New Apple Watch buyers get Apple Fitness+ for free for three months (existing owners get one month free), then the subscription is $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year.