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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

Apple iPhone XS and XS Max launch: Will UAE customers upgrade as initial prices and pre-order details are revealed?

Customers will be able to pre-order 2018's new iPhone XS and XS Max from September 14 while pre-orders for iPhone XR will begin on October 19

The iPhone XS, left, and XS Max. AP Photo
The iPhone XS, left, and XS Max. AP Photo

It comes in gold, silver and space grey and you can drop it into a filled bathtub without fear.

Apple’s latest iPhone, the XS, also has a 14.7-centimetre screen that grows to 16.5cm with the XS Max. Both also have face ID technology for greater security.

There is a new formulation of its glass screen, the most durable ever for a smartphone, with organic light-emitting diodes for sharper display.

The highly anticipated unveiling of the new products from the American technology company yesterday also included a video featuring a woman running to Apple HQ through all manner of obstacles with a suitcase under her arm, to the theme of Mission: Impossible.

This paved the way for chief executive Tim Cook to arrive on stage, channelling all the vibes of Apple’s late founder, the legendary Steve Jobs, who became renowned for these annual events.

“iPhone X changed the history with 98 per cent customer satisfaction rate,” Mr Cook said. “Now we are taking it to the next level with iPhone XS. It is by far the most advanced iPhone we have ever created.”

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Read more:

Apple announces three new iPhones: Here's what you need to know

Apple Watch takes a steer towards health

Apple iPhone launch event 2018 - as it happened

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Apple also introduced a lower-priced version of the phone, the Xr, in funky colours.

The Apple Watch Series 4 is redesigned and re-engineered to help users stay connected and manage their health in new ways.

While retaining the original design, the fourth-generation Apple Watch’s display is over 30 per cent larger and seamlessly integrates into the thinner, smaller case, while the new interface provides more information with richer detail.

It comes with an electrical heart rate sensor that can take an electrocardiogram (ECG) using the new ECG app.

“We’re thrilled Apple Watch has become an essential part of peoples’ lives,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer.

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Consumers in the UAE, where smartphone penetration is up to 99 per cent as per Statista, want a noticeably better experience from the new iPhones.

“The Middle East is one of the significant markets for smartphone manufacturers and Apple will be certainly looking forward to offer best experience through its new iPhones,” Roberta Cozza, research director with Gartner’s personal technologies team, told The National.

“Apple is clearly not after increasing market share but it will certainly try to win hearts with cutting-edge technology and immersive features.

“Features-wise, we can’t expect something really breakthrough but it all depends on how it engages the consumers of this region.”

Mandy Singh, a freelance animation expert, who has been using iPhones for more than six years, said she would need a compelling jump in the user experience to buy one of the new devices.

“I spent Dh4,600 on buying Apple X and now certainly need a very strong trigger to go for an upgrade,” Ms Singh said.

“I am specifically looking for the new iPhone that will come with 6.5-inch screen and a revamped Siri.”

Apple also introduced 512GB memory in its new iPhone. Samsung had introduced the same memory in its latest Galaxy Note 9, which was launched last month.

“The UAE is one of the important markets for smartphones,” said Abbas Ali, managing editor of TechRadar Middle East.

“Many trends are being set here. It’s all about experience and today’s consumer is very discerning. He only needs the best when it comes to smartphone.”

iPhone XS and XS Max will be available in 64, 256 and 512GB capacity starting at Dh4,229 and Dh4,649, respectively. While iPhone XR will be available in 64,128 and 256GB models in white, black, blue, yellow, coral and red starting at Dh3,179.

Customers will be able to pre-order iPhone XS and XS Max from September 14 and pre-orders for iPhone XR will begin on October 19, but so far Etisalat and du have been coy on the details.

In the third quarter of 2018, which ended on June 30, Apple posted an increase in revenue of 17 per cent from the same three months last year.

Global sales accounted for 60 per cent of the quarter’s revenue.

It was Apple’s best June quarter ever, and fourth consecutive quarter of double-digit revenue growth.

Key products and UAE prices

iPhone XS
With a 5.8-inch screen, it will be an advance version of the iPhone X. It will be dual sim and comes with better battery life, a faster processor and better camera. A new gold colour will be available.
Price: Dh4,229

iPhone XS Max
It is expected to be a grander version of the iPhone X with a 6.5-inch screen; an inch bigger than the screen of the iPhone 8 Plus.
Price: Dh4,649

iPhone XR
A low-cost version of the iPhone X with a 6.1-inch screen, it is expected to attract mass attention. According to industry experts, it is likely to have aluminium edges instead of stainless steel.
Price: Dh3,179

Apple Watch Series 4
More comprehensive health device with edge-to-edge displays that are more than 30 per cent bigger than displays on current models.

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