Apple unveils a cheaper iPhone as part of its new line-up

Apple has unveiled a new Apple Watch with built-in ECG and trio of new iPhones aimed at every pocket size and purse.

Those after the latest and greatest iPhone should be pleased with the two new premium models featuring Super Retina OLED displays. The iPhone XS is 5.8 inches (14.7cm) while the iPhone XS Max is a gigantic 6.5 inches (16.5cm). That makes it Apple's biggest and most expensive iPhone to date.

While they still have the same stainless steel frame, glass sandwich design, dual camera set-up as and advanced facial recognition technology as the iPhone X (this is after all an S year when looks don't change much), there's still plenty that's new.

They both feature a new A12 Bionic chip (four-core GPU, six-core CPU and neural engine).

"It's the smartest and most powerful ever in a smartphone," said Phil Schiller, vice president of worldwide marketing. He went onto to explain that it's able to process 5 trillion operations per second and make everyday tasks feel easier. For example, apps will launch up to 30 percent faster.

Phil Schiller shows off the Apple iPhone XR.
Phil Schiller shows off the Apple iPhone XR. Photo credit: Reuters

The new chip has also allowed for Face ID to be improved so it's faster and more secure.

"What the team has achieved is truly breakthrough," said Mr Schiller.

There's improved performance for the camera.

"It is a remarkable new dual-camera system. 12MP wide-angle camera, 12MP telephoto camera, improved True Tone flash."

The CPU and neural engine can work together to do detection of people's faces and bodies and it allows for facial landmarking so it can recognise where the eyes are and do instant red-eye reduction.

There's also a feature called smart HDR which merges several photos together to bring up the highlights, and a feature which adjust the depth of field on a photo after a photo has been taken (which is new for Apple but not for other manufacturers).

Battery life has also been improved. The iPhone XS gets up to 30 minutes longer battery life than the iPhone X while the Max gives an extra hour-and-a-half more.

The devices come in a fancy new gold colour as well as silver and space grey.

The XS and XS Max will have 64GB, 256GB and 512GB models, with prices starting at $1899 for the XS and $2,099 for the XS Max.

The cheaper iPhone XR

It is the new low-cost 6.1-inch iPhone XR is the device that's really excited Apple fans, who've been put off upgrading by the high price tags of recent years. Many will see this as actually affordable and it could end up the real star, helping to increase iPhone unit sales, which have been flattening recently.

It has a 6.1-inch (15.5cm) screen and uses a radical display technology called Liquid Retina Display, which has a bigger display than the iPhone 8 Plus.

The display lacks 3D Touch and only has a single lens camera, as opposed to the double-lens cameras on the higher-end iPhones. It's edges are also aluminium as opposed to stainless steel. 

It comes it a range of cool colours and sizes -  64GB, 128GB and 256GB. Prices start at $1399.

Apple Watch Series 4

The new iPhones weren't the only stars of the show today. Apple Watch hasn't had the blockbuster sales some might have expected since its launch in 2015, but it's currently the number one best-selling watch in the world.

"Apple Watch has become an intelligent guardian for your health,' said Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer.

Today he unveiled an Apple Watch with a new edge-to-edge display and a brand new watch face with eight special functions.

"Everything about it has been redesigned and re-engineered," he said. "It all starts with a stunning new display. We pushed the screen right to the edges and curved the corners to perfect match the shape of the watch."

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, introduces the new Apple Watch.
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, introduces the new Apple Watch. Photo credit: Reuters

In fact, the screens are over 30 percent larger. Every part of the UI has been designed to take advantage of the larger screen.

It's also thinner, has a faster chip, all-day battery life and new health-tracking features.

There's a new accelerometer and gyroscope on the watch and better tracking. One of the really cool features is that Apple Watch can now detect a fall.

But it's the advanced heart monitoring functions that really make the new Apple Watch stand out. It can send a notification if your heart rate appears to be too low. It can also detect an irregular rhythm suggestive of atrial fibrillation. But that's not the best part - in addition to the optical heart sensor, it's also got ECG built in.

"This is the first ECG product offered over the counter directly to consumers. ECG measures the electrical activity of the heartbeat and it's used to diagnose certain heart diseases and other conditions."

The new Apple Watch is supported by the American Heart Association.

"Capturing meaningful data about a person's heart in real time is changing the way we practice medicine," said Dr Ivor Benjamin.

Apple has also received clearance from the FDA. Both of the features will be available to US customers later this year and Apple says its working hard to bring them to customers around the world.

Apple Watch S4 comes in gold, aluminium, space grey aluminium, steel and space black steel and will fit current bands.

It's available from September 21. Watch OS5 will be available from September 17.