Live from the Steve Jobs theater, 9/12/2018

No surprises, no new Macs.

In a relatively subdued product introduction Apple unveiled, as expected, a new Apple Watch and three new iPhones. There are now five iPhones for sale at starting prices ranging from $449 to $1,099. If there are to be new Macs, they will come later this year.

Below: My live-blog, all times Pacific.

9:15 a.m. Seated, with Wired’s Steve Levy immediately to my left and Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman two to my right. Hope they can’t read my screen.

10:00 If Tim Cook comes onstage and there is no wi-fi, does he make any news?

10:04 Throat clearing with pictures of new stores. About to ship 2 billionth iOS device. How the world has changed, the moments of our lives, etc.

10:06 Starting with Apple watch. Big applause from the Apple staffers. Jeff Williams takes stage, rather than the guy from Microsoft. Rundown of what the watch already does, focus on health.

10:10 Watch is as 9to5Mac leaked it. 30% larger screen area. New watch face can handle 8 complications.

10:14 VERY low energy so far. The only excitement coming from the fake applause by staffers in the front.

10:17 Watch can now detect falls, based on unusual wrist trajectory and impact detection. Will send emergency call if it detects no movement for a few minutes. Cool.

10:19 New heart health features: Rate too low, irregular rhythm, electrocardiogram. Some genuine excitement for the last one.

10:22 Support by the AMA represented by its president, Ivor Benjamin. Cleared by the FDA. A “de nova” clearance, that is, the first of its kind. Very trippy graphics in this version of WatchOS. De rigor pitch for Apple-standard privacy protection. Feature wrap-up.

10:29 Cue the Jony Ive video. His volume is too loud; the design is nice on the eyes, but he’s hurting my ears.

10:31 Pitching the finishes. Top of the line seems to be the gold stainless with Milanese loop.  Hermes stuff. Tepid applause. Starts at $399, $499 with cellular. Series 3 $279. Pre-order Friday, available Sept. 21. Watch OS 5 available 9/17

  • APPLE WATCH Press Release here.

10:34 Tim could not be more excited, he says. Video too loud.

10:35 Now, iPhone. Taking iPhone X to the next level. The most advanced iPhone we have ever created. (They can say that every year; they better.) Shows the images we have already seen. iPhone Xs.

10:38 Phil Schiller takes the stage. Most beautiful iPhone we have ever made. (tepid applause). Most durable glass (tepid applause). Two sizes. 5.8, 6.5 inch, as leaked. Rattles off the specs.

10:41 iPhone 10x Max, as predicted. Lots of talk about game play. Music videos.

10:43 FaceID backgrounder. Cool tech, but we got this last year. What’s new: Faster algorithms, faster secure enclave. Claims most secure facial ID ever in a smartphone.

10:55 A12 bionic. Industry first 7 nm chip (that’s a huge breakthrough) 6.9 billion transistors. Goes through the specs core by core. This is actually a big part of Apple’s advantage over its competitors. 5 trillion operations per second. Woman engineer out front to show what you can do with the A12 bionic, Siri shortcuts, Core ML (9X faster, 1/10 the energy). AR on A12 Bionic with ATKit, AR QuickLook. (Isn’t that amazing, cue the applause). Three developers to show what can be done “in just a short amount of time” (they do this every time there’s a new chip or OS).

10:55 Blades. Homecourt. Atli Mar (?)

11:04 Phil Schiller is back to talk about the cameras. Lots about what the A12 Bionic does for the camera. “Capable of doing 1 trillion operations a second on every photo you take.”  Smart HDR. Takes like 9 photos at once and then merging for the best results. (Drinking game: count Phil’s “incredibles” “excitings” and “beautifuls”). Apple loves bokah. Adjust the depth of field after you shoot. Really cool slider!

11:13 New era of video. 4 mics. Auto focus, autoexposure, etc.

11:15 Battery life. 30 min longer on Xs, 1.5 hours on Max. (!) Bandwidth, dual sim, dual standby, eSIM technology (someone in audience says YES!, to Phil’s laughter).

11:18 Summary of the iPhone Xs, Xs Max, A12 Bionic, Camera, Video, Gold finish, “and so much more…”

11:19 Former EPA head Lisa Jackson to talk about the environment. Now 100% carbon neutral. Now trying to eliminate need to mine new material from the earth. Recycling. Last longer. Material innovations. Recycled tin in logic board. prevents mining of 10,000 tons of tin ore in a single year. Recycled plastics. 35% in speaker. Cover frame etc. Apple GiveBack. Daisy can disassemble 9 different kinds of iPhones.

11:24 Schiller back to intro low-cost iPhone. To reach as many customers as we can. One more iPhone. Cure the video. Colors! Sound! Flying rectangles! iPhone Xr. Aluminum. 6 colors, including Product Red. LCD display edge to edge. Sort of. “Liquid Retina” display. Bigger display than 8 Plus in smaller format. Same FaceID as iPhone Xs. No 3D touch, but it does have haptic touch. A12 Bionic. Single camera system, yet has portrait mode. Battery life: 1/5 hours more than iPhone Plus.

11:34 Jony Ive video, too loud!

11:38 AAPL is down 1.34% so far today.

Prices: Starts at $749, ship Oc.t 26

iPhone Xs starts at $999

iPhone Xs Max starts at 1,099 pre-order Friday, ships 9/22

Now price ranges from $449 for iPhone 7

11:40 Tim Cook returns. HomePod updates. How Siri shortcuts. New update for TVOS. Dolby 4K blah blah. OS updates available 9/17. Mac OS update 9/24.

11:43 Cook does the close. “What a great morning.” Summary. Thanks staff. And that’s a wrap.

11:53 Apple share price still falling

live steve jobs


  1. John Konopka said:

    The new Watch is fantastic. It is clear Apple has high hopes for this. At the shareholders meeting in February the video was about the Watch.

    Getting FDA approval for two features is huge. This is just the beginning. I can imagine many more health sensors yet to come. Some may be on the watch band or strapped to your body some and will communicate to the Watch with BT.

    I was a little disappointed with the president of the AHA. I wish he would have given us a tiny tutorial about how they will use the ECG feature.

    The new, lager face is very cool.

    I’m not much of an iPhone user (I use my iPad all day) but the new phones look very good. The A12 silicon is amazing. The first computer I used was a box of boards based on 7400 series logic chips with 16k words of core memory.

    The presentation itself seemed a bit chaotic, lacking in narrative. Maybe that was because they had so much to jam into the allotted time. They could have demoed the fall feature of the Watch and the walkie-talkie feature. Put someone on the beach in Santa Cruz and swap sound bites for a minute.

    They should have given us more context for the A12. In the past they would show charts of performance back to the original iPhone. The 8 core neural net computer sounds fantastic and I’m sure they worked really hard on it. I’d like to hear more details.

    I’m hoping we get another presentation for Macs and iPads. It was sad that Mojave got thrown in as an afterthought.

    September 12, 2018
  2. David Emery said:

    No Macs? Meh. I’m not interested in watches, and nothing really exciting on the phones.

    September 12, 2018
    • David Emery said:

      Thanks to the rest of you for showing me what’s important on the phone and watch announcements.

      And more knowledgeable people than I have suggested there might be a Mac event later this year. An event focused on the Mac might well be A Good Thing, as the entire product line needs some TLC.

      September 12, 2018
  3. Fred Stein said:

    This will sink in over time. Males age 12 to 30 will want the Xs and Max for gaming. They will lie, do homework, bag groceries, blackmail their parents, or even get a real job to get it. The Xr hits a price point with a whole lotta pixels.

    The Watch with lower entry price for the 3 and the fantastic features of 4 will be coveted by both the younger (than 30) and the older (than 60) demographics.

    The real story is the A12 Bionic chip and likewise all the technology in the Apple Watch. Apple’s moat got deeper and wider. No one else matches the tech inside these devices. The technology is the main reason Apple is #1 in both cell phones (the X) and watches world wide. All their competitors, with smaller unit volumes, will not be able to catch up with Apple’s technology innovations. The moat will get wider.

    Apple Watch will slowly nibble away at other wearable categories like health and fitness trackers. There are industrial wearable niches and elder care applications to be subsumed into Apple Watch. Apple is very active in clinical trials, a $65B business.

    September 12, 2018
    • Gregg Thurman said:

      The real story is the A12 Bionic chip

      As powerful as the A12 is, it does get one to thinking (again) that there is an A-Series processor in Mac’s future.

      September 12, 2018
  4. Gregg Thurman said:

    Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong on the iPhone lineup. Didn’t get the models correct, didn’t get the pricing correct.

    For me though, the news is what these new models are going to do to iPhone ASP.

    Last December there were 15 iPhone models differentiated by age, screen size and amount of memory. There were only 13 the year before that. The one of (no consideration for actual distribution) ASP for the 15 was $702. Apple reported ASP of $796.

    This December there will be 18 models in the iPhone lineup differentiated by age, screen size and amount of memory. The one of (no consideration for actual distribution) ASP has increased to $843 (~20% YoY increase). I’m thinking actual ASP will be around $900 (~13% YoY increase).

    What I see most important is the future of the iPhone lineup. As these new models filter down, pushing older iPhones out of the lineup, the number of available models will increase to 28 by FY2021 with a one of ASP of $1,025, and a potential actual ASP of $1,100. Apple is really pushing the envelope here.

    Applying my revised iPhone ASP to my December quarter revenue estimate I get revenue of $108.894 Billion and $5.90 EPS. I haven’t tried to calculate the impact of the new Apple Watch (ECG) on Other Products revenue, but I imagine it will be significant.

    Somebody mentioned getting to $300 a little quicker with today’s announcements. With my EPS revision and a 21 multiple (justified with the jump in revenue and EPS), AAPL gets to $290 by April 2019. Cash flow is going to increase enabling greater share buybacks. FY2019 is going to be a ride and a half.

    As a side note: It doesn’t appear that Apple is concerned about tariffs, not with these prices. October earnings/guidance is going to be exceptionally interesting.

    September 12, 2018
    • Gregg Thurman said:

      I missed the announcement that the SE has been discontinued. Besides reducing the number of iPhone models available to 17, it increases December quarter one of ASP from $843 to $872.

      The iPhone Xr is going to be a big seller, even so, I think actual ASP is going to be very, very close to $900.

      September 12, 2018
      • David Drinkwater said:

        I don’t follow your “orthography”: “one of”. Is that “one off”?

        And the “(no consideration for actual distribution)” written that way really seems to kill what you are saying. Perhaps I am being dense, but … what are you trying to say?

        September 12, 2018
        • Gregg Thurman said:

          “One of” = I averaged the price of “one of” each model. In doing that I made no effort to estimate the number of units sold by model, of the total units sold.

          You aren’t being dense, sometimes when I write I’m thinking a paragraph down the page and don’t explain things well : )

          September 13, 2018
          • David Drinkwater said:

            Ah, I see. Well, the challenge is obviously that the distribution *does* end up mattering.

            I guess we could pour back over earnings statements, we could look at ASPs to see what people have “typically” bought in past quarters, but we can just as easily make WAGs that are just as good as the pundits’ (or better). I think most folks won’t be opting for the smallest available memory (although 64 GB probably can work pretty well), and Apple cranks up the margins on its memory, just by putting it in an iPhone housing. And that iPhone Maximus Meany (sic) is, in spite of a mind-bending sticker, still pretty mind-bending.

            512 GB? That’s what’s in my laptop! Yikes.

            And on writing, yeah. I’ve got many colleagues who describe my writing as “dense”. The purpose of that is to answer questions and show thought process before I have the answer the questions I get when they don’t read for content. 😉

            September 13, 2018

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