Apple Inc introduced its largest-ever iPhone and a watch that detects heart problems on Wednesday.
The new iPhone XS, pronounced “ten S,” has a 5.8-inch (14.7-cm) screen, and will be sold at a starting price of $999. The XS Max, the largest iPhone to date and one of the biggest on the market, has a 6.5-inch (16.5-cm) screen, and will start selling at $1,099. Apple also unveiled the iPhone Xr with a new LCD display that Apple calls Liquid Retina Display. The battery lasts an hour and a half longer than the iPhone 8 Plus and the phone come in all kinds of funky colors, like yellow, coral, red and blue. It's available for pre-order next month for $749.
The $1 trillion firm’s new watches can detect falls and heart conditions, making them a useful gift for grandma, as well as hypochondriacs everywhere. Meanwhile, aesthetic appeal and better cameras should be enough to convince many users to pay up for an improved phone.
Tech firms have been eyeing the vast and growing medical market for a while, with mostly mediocre results. Hefty regulation and the resulting long product-development cycles are an uncomfortable fit for impatient Silicon Valley firms. Gee-whiz-sounding products, such as Alphabet unit Google’s smart contact lenses for measuring glucose levels in diabetics, often end up shelved due to the difficulties of producing something that’s both effective and useful.
Apple’s watches break this pattern. The ability to detect accidents or heart-rhythm abnormalities and notify the wearer’s family members, emergency responders and doctors is a promising way to tap an aging population and those worried about them. The big question mark is how well it works – but the fact Apple has received US Food and Drug Administration approval for its electrocardiogram feature augurs well.
Watches haven’t been a dominant product for the firm. Apple lumps sales with those of AirPods, Apple TV and Beats products when it reports, and together they account for 7 percent of total revenue. Yet these businesses have collectively been growing far faster than the company as a whole, at nearly 40 percent annually. Adding medical features probably will make the device into a breakout hit.
The devices have plenty of useful improvements such as faster processors, dual-SIM support so users can use two operators, and better durability. But what will probably convince people to update their devices is that they are visually appealing, take better pictures.