Apple introduced a range of new iPhone 14 models capable of sending a call for help via satellite during an emergency, as well as crash-detection ability and an adventure-focused Ultra Watch.
The iPhone 14 models will test Apple’s ability to wring dollars from its relatively affluent customer base, which has kept spending in the face of rising inflation but is not immune to a weakening economy.
The iPhone 14 will start at $799 and the iPhone Plus at $899 and both will be available for pre-order starting September 9.
Apple said it put together a system that will work with emergency responders during emergencies in remote areas. It also said that in some situations, users will be able to use its FindMy app to share their location via satellite when they have no other connectivity.
Globalstar said in a filing that it will be the satellite operator for Apple’s emergency SOS service. Globalstar’s stock fell about 16% on Wednesday before being halted ahead of the announcement of the Apple deal. The stock has gained about 50% year to date.
Other companies are working on similar functions. SpaceX founder Elon Musk said last month it is working with T-Mobile (TMUS.O) to use its Starlink satellites to connect phones directly to the internet.
Apple’s iPhone 14 Plus model will have a larger screen like Apple’s iPhone Pro models but an A15 processor chip like the previous iPhone 13.
The Cupertino, California-based company also showed a trio of new Apple Watches, including a new Watch Ultra model aimed at extreme sports and diving.
The Ultra has a bigger battery to last through events like triathlons and better waterproofing and temperature resistance to operate in outdoor environments, as well as better GPS tracking for sports.
The new Watches include an upgraded budget model called the SE and a Series 8 Watch with crash detection and low-power mode for 36 hours of battery life.
The Series 8 with cellular will start at $499 and the SE will start at $299 with cellular. The Ultra, which includes cellular in its base model, will start at $799 and be available Sept 23.
Apple said the new Series 8 watch has a temperature sensor that will work in conjunction with its previously released cycle tracking app to retroactively detect ovulation. The company emphasised the privacy approach of its cycle tracking. Privacy and reproductive health data has become a focus for tech companies in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that ended a constitutional right to abortion in the United States.
Apple said it does not have the key to decrypt health data such as cycle tracking.
But while accessories like the Apple Watch have driven incremental sales from Apple’s existing user base, the iPhone remains the bedrock of its business with 52.4% of sales in its most recent fiscal year.
Apple’s stock was up 0.6% more than an hour into the presentation, in line with the start of the event and lagging the S&P 500’s gain of 1.5% for the session.
Some analysts believe Apple might give a preview of a mixed-reality headset on Wednesday. The device is expected to have cameras that pass-through view of the outside world to the wearer while overlaying digital objects on the physical world. Analysts do not expect the device to go on sale until next year at the earliest.
An early preview would be rare for Apple, which keeps its product plans secret until just before devices hit the market. A rival headset called Project Cambria is in the works from Meta Platforms, which is spending billions of dollars on the project.
But in order to have compelling apps for a new headset, Apple might need to give developers time to become familiar with it. “Developing for a new and radically different type of platform is going to take people a lot longer,” O’Donnell said.
WATCH: Meta’s AI-fuelled chatbots bring celebrities to your private conversations
Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta Platforms, has just dropped a bombshell of tech innovations set to change the way we interact with AI.
Among the highlights are smart glasses that redefine connectivity, AI-powered chatbots with celebrity personas, and an updated virtual reality headset.
Meta is at the forefront of the chatbot revolution, introducing a series of intelligent virtual assistants.
These chatbots are not your ordinary digital helpers. They come with distinct personalities and specialisations, offering more personalised and engaging interactions.
From settling arguments to providing holiday tips and cooking advice, Meta’s chatbots are designed to connect with users on a deeper level.
Meta’s Ray-Ban smart glasses
Shipping from October 17th at £299, the new generation of Meta’s Ray-Ban smart glasses is set to redefine how we experience reality.
These cutting-edge glasses incorporate a Meta AI assistant, enabling users to seamlessly stream their real-world experiences directly to Facebook and Instagram.
Gone are the days of mere photo capturing. These glasses deliver real-time immersion.
Quest 3: The ultimate mixed-reality experience
Meta’s Quest 3 headset, slated to be available from October 10th, takes mixed reality to new heights.
With a starting price of £500, it’s positioned as the best value in the VR industry, challenging Apple’s higher-priced Vision Pro headset.
Wearers can enjoy virtual experiences while maintaining a connection to the real world, thanks to a live video feed.
Meta also introduced generative AI into its arsenal. This AI innovation can generate both text responses and lifelike images, adding an exciting element of creativity to user interactions.
Zuckerberg’s presentation at the Meta Connect conference, the company’s first in-person event since the pandemic, showcased Meta’s commitment to making cutting-edge technology accessible and affordable to everyone.
By combining celebrity personas with AI chatbots and delivering immersive tech experiences, Meta is forging a path towards a more interactive and entertaining digital future.
WATCH: Google search engine shows off creative doodle to celebrate 25th anniversary
Over 25 years ago, a unique concept for an internet search engine that would classify and rank web pages was developed by two Stanford University students during a brainstorming session in their dorm.
BackRub, initially a startup, transformed into Google, a globally influential company with products like Gmail and Search used by billions, while its co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin ranked among the world’s richest people.
While Google Inc was incorporated on September 4, for more than a decade the company has celebrated its birthday on September 27 with unique doodles displayed on its search engine.
However, this year, Google Inc decided to take a “walk down memory lane” and showcased a series of creative different doodles, including doodles of previous logos, to mark this special occasion.
This year’s Google Doodle comes with a GIF that shows the term ‘Google’ going through a series of transformations before finally transforming to ‘G25gle’.
The tech giant said that it was using this day as a “time to reflect” while being oriented towards the future.
“Today’s Doodle celebrates Google’s 25th year. And while here at Google we’re oriented towards the future, birthdays can also be a time to reflect. Let’s take a walk down memory lane to learn how we were born 25 years ago,” Google wrote in its blog.
Google was founded by Sergey Brin and Larry Page in the late 90s, who met in Stanford University’s computer science program.
They shared a vision to make the World Wide Web more accessible, working tirelessly from their dorm rooms to develop a better search engine prototype.
“As they made meaningful progress on the project, they moved the operation to Google’s first office — a rented garage. On September 27, 1998, Google Inc was officially born,” according to the blog.
Furthermore, the company emphasised that much has changed since 1998, but also said that its mission has remained the same which is “to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”.
Thanking users for “evolving with us over the past 25 years,” Google added, “We can’t wait to see where the future takes us, together”.
Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, celebrated the company’s birthday by reflecting on its journey in a note last month.
He looked back on the company’s role in technology transformation, and its future path while thanking users, employees, and partners for their contributions to Google’s success.
He also praised the constant innovation challenge and commended the dedication of past and present Googlers.
In his note, Pichai also noted the importance of innovation and adaptation, acknowledging that the once extraordinary technology quickly became ordinary as the boundaries continued to be pushed, NDTV reported.
Apple sends iPhone 12 update to French authorities to address radiation concerns
French authorities have received a software update from Apple for its iPhone 12 in response to concerns about radiation levels, according to a source at the French digital ministry.
The update is currently under review as a potential solution to the radiation issue. France had recently suspended the sale of iPhone 12 devices after tests revealed breaches of radiation exposure limits.
Apple had initially contested these findings, asserting that the iPhone 12 complied with global standards as certified by multiple international bodies. However, the company later decided to issue a software update to align with the testing methods used in France.
Apple’s decision to provide the software update came after France threatened to seek a product recall if the company did not take action. The update aims to address the specific concerns raised by French authorities regarding radiation levels.
While the World Health Organization has not established adverse health effects caused by mobile phones, the radiation warning in France was based on test results that differed from those conducted in other countries. Industry experts have emphasised that there are no safety risks, as regulatory limits are set well below levels associated with harm.
The software update for the iPhone 12 is a routine measure taken by Apple to address specific issues or improve device performance. It is part of the company’s ongoing commitment to providing software updates for its products. Apple users typically receive notifications for eligible software updates, which they can then install.
French authorities and regulators in other countries are closely monitoring the situation, and Italian authorities are awaiting the outcome of France’s deliberations before making a decision.
The software update is expected to bring the iPhone 12 into compliance with the radiation exposure limits specified by French testing methods. Apple has not issued an official statement regarding the update at the time of this report.
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