Apple’s accurate hardware events have been punctuated by a touch of doom and gloom. It’s a tonal shift from the usual celebratory nature of these presentations — all by design, of course. The Apple Watch was the first to the party. Features like AFib readings and Fall Detection gave way to video testimonials from users who survived close calls thanks to the wearable.
At September’s Far Out event, the company introduced another feature that falls into the category of updates you’ll hopefully never need. Crash Detection for the iPhone and Apple Watch has since proven to be something of a misunderstood addition, due in part to the fact that it’s an extremely difficult one to test.
Last week, TechCrunch sat down with a pair of Apple executives for a conversation about the feature’s ins and outs. Vice president, Sensing & Connectivity, Ron Huang, and vice president, Worldwide iPhone Product Marketing, Kaiann Drance, answered some of our burning questions about Crash Detection, to provide us a better picture of what Apple’s latest safety brings to the table for iPhone and Apple Watch users.
The addition of the feature arrives in large part courtesy of a new Gyroscope and Accelerometer. “It’s mostly the G Force detection,” says Drance. It’s able to detect G Force up to 256 Gs. That was one of the key differences for the new accelerometers that the new watches and phones have.”
Huang adds, “It started off with our fundamental understanding of what is experienced during a crash. In these crashes, you see impact forces over 100 (Gs). We started around 256. Any time you try to increase that range, there are trade-offs, in terms of precision at the higher range and the power costs. It took the team a lot of work to build the sensors in this way.”
The new gyroscope, meanwhile, is designed to sense speed changes more quickly than the older versions. As for the myriad other ways in which the components are utilized on the devices, Apple says, “they provide the same great level of performance for other things like camera stabilization, playing games, etc.”
Ultimately, the gyroscope and accelerometer are just two of the sensor pieces here. The list also includes the GPS to determine that the user is traveling at high speeds, the microphone to monitor for the sounds of a crash and the barometer, which detects the change in pressure that occurs when airbags are deployed. Not all of the systems have to collect associated data to trigger the system. For example, if the car’s windows are down, the change in barometric pressure will be too subtle to impact the reading.
“There’s no silver bullet, in terms of activating crash detection,” says Huang. “It’s hard to say how many of these things have to trigger, because it’s not a straight equation. Depending how fast the traveling speed was earlier, determines what signals we have to see later on, as well. Your speed change, combined with the impact force, combined with the pressure change, combined with the sound level, it’s all a pretty dynamic algorithm.”
The system does, however, need to detect multiple data points at once, so simply dropping the phone in a moving car shouldn’t accidentally trigger the feature.
“I actually had a rear-end fender bender when I was in New York earlier,” says Drance. “My crash detection did not go off, because it’s just one of those minor things where you just get out of your car and keep going. That’s part of the sensor fusion and accuracy, because we don’t want to be doing a lot of false calls to 9-1-1 when they’re not necessary.”
The company notes that the feature isn’t specifically designed for something like — god forbid — a train crash, though it adds that other features like Fall Detection have been used for cases outside their initial design. “We think Crash Detection could potentially be that, too,” says Huang.
Bluetooth and Carplay are also used to determine that you’re in a car, though neither are strictly necessary for the feature. “On top of that, we added a lot of signals,” says Huang. “Whether it’s road noise or engine noise, we can see that. We can see that the Wi-Fi routers that you’re using are changing very rapidly — faster than if you’re walking or biking and so forth.”
Apple worked with a number of crash labs to gather the necessary data and perform real-world testing, in order to assure an acceptable level of efficacy for the feature. It’s intentionally difficult to trigger outside the intended scenario, so you don’t accidentally call emergency services. That also goes for if your phone accidentally falls from the mount while driving, or even a less severe crash.
“We put iPhones in many different places throughout the car — on the dummies and the car itself and mounts and so forth,” says Huang. “And then we collect all of the raw sensor data coming from these devices during such a crash. We put cameras inside and outside the cars, as well, so from the footage, you can time the real impact, what the pressure sensors see when the airbag goes off in slow motion. We’re able to look at data in high fidelity. We also look at DATA from the Department of Transportation or the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) to understand what kinds of crashes are the leading causes of injuries.”
The company didn’t offer an exact number of car crashes that were required to create the final dataset, but did imply that it was more than “dozens” and added that “thousands” of its own devices were used in the process. Apple says such real-world crashes are difficult to simulate, particularly ones that can check off the necessary boxes.
It’s easy to see how the system might be the most valuable to drivers in rural areas. After all, getting into a crash in a more populated area significantly increases the chances of someone nearby being around to report the accident. In a more remote area — especially in the case when it’s a one-party crash involving an object like a tree — the feature could be a potential lifesaver.
However, much like bystanders, wireless signals can be harder to come by in such areas.
“Just like any 9-1-1 call, we would attempt to dial it first over your network. If your network is not available, we will try to route to any other available carrier, even if it’s not the carrier that you have with your SIM. When there’s no coverage, this will be linked to the emergency SOS via satellite feature. If you happen to get into an accident like that, and there’s absolutely no coverage where you are, we will still try to connect via satellite through the emergency SOS capability.”
Asked whether there are any differences in accuracy between the phone and watch, Apple only says “they’re both very accurate.” Huang adds, “There are differences. Watch is on your wrist, and the kind of impact you see on your wrist during a crash will be very different. There are those differences, but, for example, barometer is very similar with the iPhone and Watch. So there are differences based on how the devices are used, placed or worn.”
The feature is available for iPhone 14 and 14 Pro models, along with the Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra.
Apple offers a deeper dive into crash detection by Brian Heater originally published on TechCrunch
Apple has been trying to rely less on China due to US government pressure. While BGR has been reporting that the Cupertino company is trying to diversify its supply chain from China to India, Taiwan, and other Asian countries, it seems Apple has another reason to keep doing that. A report indicates that the company’s plans to use China’s YMTC chips have been put on hold due to US political pressure.
According to Nikkei Asia, Apple will no longer use memory chips from China’s Yangtze Memory Technologies Co (YMTC) in its products.
The publication explains that “the move comes amid the latest round of US export controls imposed against the Chinese tech sector and is a sign that Washington’s crackdown is creating a chilling effect down the supply chain.”
In March, it was reported by Bloomberg that Apple was considering for the first time adding a Chinese flash storage maker to its supplier roster:
The iPhone maker is now testing sample NAND flash memory chips made by Hubei-based Yangtze Memory Technologies Co., [sources] said, asking not to be identified discussing private deliberations. Apple’s been discussing the tie-up with Yangtze, owned by Beijing-backed chipmaking champion Tsinghua Unigroup Co., for months though no final decisions have been made.
At that time, the publication already brought up a few reasons why this could be an issue for Apple in the long term:
Tying up with Yangtze could open Apple to criticism back home given ties between Washington and Beijing are fraying over China’s ambiguous stance on the Ukraine war as well as American efforts to contain its technological ascent. U.S. lawmakers have long railed against the way Beijing champions and subsidizes local industry.
Apple wanted to use YMTC chips because they are at least 20% cheaper than those of its leading rivals, according to supply chain executives. While the Cupertino company thought about using these chips for the Chinese market, one source told Nikkei Asia that Apple was considering “eventually purchasing up to 40% of the NAND flash memory needed for all iPhones” as YMTC is government-subsidized.
The publication says that geopolitical pressure and criticism from US policymakers led Apple to change course as Washington put YMTC on the “Unverified List,” meaning the company will likely not be able to use these chips outside the Chinese market.
More Apple coverage: Here are the latest Apple plans to shift iPhone and Mac productions outside China
More Top Deals from BGR
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Apple is edging ever closer to the release of macOS Ventura, and has provided developer beta testers with a tenth build of the operating system.
The freshest betas can be pulled from the Apple Developer Center by developers signed up for the test program, or as an over-the-air update for devices already running beta software. Public betas typically appear a short time after the developer versions, and are downloaded through the Apple Beta Software Program website.
The eleventh beta build is number 22A5373b, replacing 22A5365d.
Final public versions of macOS Ventura are expected to arrive sometime in October. Apple also released beta builds for older operating systems containing similar security patches found in macOS 13. Those beta versions are macOS 11.7.1 and macOS 12.6.1, which will presumably be released alongside macOS 13.
New features included in macOS Ventura include Stage Manager app management and multitasking, Live Captions for video, Finder and System Settings changes, Spotlight updates, Continuity Camera that turns an iPhone into a webcam, Passkeys, and upgrades to Messages, and Safari, Photos, among other alterations.
AppleInsider, and Apple itself, strongly advise users avoid installing betas on to "mission-critical" or primary devices, as there is the small chance of data loss or other issues. Instead, testers should install betas onto secondary or non-essential devices, and to make sure there are sufficient backups of important data before updating.
Apple has typically reserved its biggest and best smartphone experiences for the iPhone Pro Max line. In particular, if you want the largest display and the longest battery life of any iPhone, you usually have to pony up for Apple's top-shelf device. That changes this year with the introduction of the Apple iPhone 14 Plus ($899), a new handset in the iPhone lineup that brings you the big-screen experience at a slightly lower price. While we believe the iPhone 14 Pro Max ($1,099) and its powerful new features are worth the extra money (as well as our Editors' Choice award), the iPhone 14 Plus is a respectable alternative with only a few drawbacks at a more budget-friendly price.
Apple sort of pulled a 180 with the iPhone 14 Plus. Over the last few years, the iPhone lineup has included a vanilla model, a miniature version of the vanilla model, and then the Pro and Pro Max models. This year, Apple nixed the mini, likely due to poor sales, in favor of the Plus, a larger variant of the vanilla iPhone 14 ($799) in the same way the Pro Max is a bigger version of the Pro ($999). Before now, the only way to get the largest iPhone was to go with the Pro Max. The 14 Plus gives big-iPhone lovers a more affordable option.
The iPhone 14 Plus measures 6.33 by 3.07 by 0.31 inches and weighs in at 7.16 ounces. It's noticeably bigger than the iPhone 14 (5.78 by 2.82 by 0.31 inches, 6.07 ounces), but just about even with the iPhone 14 Pro Max in terms of dimensions (6.33 by 3.05 by 0.31 inches) if not weight (8.47 ounces). Competing devices in this category include the Google Pixel 6 Pro (6.45 by 2.99 by 0.35 inches) and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (6.43 by 3.07 by 0.35 inches).
Despite being a wholly new iPhone, the 14 Plus shares every bit of its design with existing family members. Apple's hardware is the best in the business. The company's Ceramic Shield protects the display and is fitted into an aluminum frame that is flat along the side edges. Similar phones from Google and Samsung rely on Corning Gorilla Glass Victus for protection. The iPhone 14 Plus meets the IP68 rating for protection from dust and water. It can handle submersion or a running faucet should you happen to muck it up. You can pick from Blue, Midnight, Purple, (Product) Red, or Starlight, the same colors available for the smaller iPhone 14. Apple sent us the Purple model, and we must say that it's the most subtle version of purple we've ever seen—most of the time the phone comes across as white. According to iFixit, the iPhone 14 Plus is more repairable than the Pro range thanks to a new interior design and removable rear panel.
Operating an iPhone is simple thanks to the plain arrangement of controls. The combo power/screen lock button is perched on the right edge, while the volume buttons and ringer switch are on the left. The dated, proprietary Lightning port is centered on the bottom, in between round drilled holes for the mic and bottom-firing speaker. Now that the EU has officially mandated that devices adopt USB-C by 2024, it's likely that next year's iPhone will move to the more common connector for charging.
The entire range of US iPhone 14 models lacks a physical SIM card tray, including the 14 Plus. US buyers will need to activate the embedded eSIM via their carrier of choice and use software to move service from phone to phone. International buyers will still be able to grab an iPhone 14 Plus with a physical SIM card.
Last, with no fingerprint reader, you need to rely on Apple's Face ID to secure the phone, which is swift most of the time. Only the iPhone SE ($429) retains a physical fingerprint reader.
Okay, maybe spending $899 on an iPhone 14 Plus doesn't necessarily count as a "budget" purchase, but the 6.7-inch screen of the 14 Plus matches the size of the 14 Pro Max screen for $200 less.
The Super Retina XDR OLED packs in 2,778 by 1,284 pixels, for a density of 458ppi. It offers a two-million-to-one contrast ratio with 800 nits brightness (typical) and 1,200 nits peak (HDR). It's incredibly sharp and bright, with excellent color and tone. I had no trouble at all seeing the screen outside during the day.
As with the smaller iPhone 14, the screen's refresh rate is stuck at 60Hz. The 14 Pro and Pro Max offer variable refresh rates that run from 1Hz to conserve power to 120Hz for extra-smooth performance. More importantly, plenty of competing Android devices in this price range (including the Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G and Moto Edge) have adopted screens at 90Hz, 120Hz, and even 144Hz. Apple should have used faster screens for the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus, though we know it had to leave room for differentiation from the Pro models somewhere.
As it stands, one of the biggest differences between the standard and Pro lines is the Dynamic Island. Namely, the iPhone 14 Plus doesn't have the Dynamic Island at the top of its display while the Pros do. The Dynamic Island displays enriched notifications and controls for select live activities, such as listening to music or running a timer. Instead, the 14 Plus carries over the unsightly notch that houses the Face ID and TrueDepth camera module. Nearly every other phone in the market has moved away from the notch, and it's past time Apple does the same.
Finally, the iPhone 14 Plus lacks the always-on display (AOD) of the Pro models. The AOD, a feature that's been available to Android devices for years, allows Pro owners to view the time, date, weather, and other information when their iPhone is at rest.
So in summary, while the iPhone 14 Plus display offers the same real estate and resolution of the Pro Max, it lacks the faster refresh rate, Dynamic Island, and always-on display.
One of the iPhone mini's great failings is battery life. You can only cram so much lithium ion into such a small chassis and that means the tiniest iPhone is limited when compared with its larger stablemates. In fact, we recommended the standard iPhone 13 over the mini for this reason alone. Now, the situation is flipped.
The iPhone 14, with its 3,227mAh battery, did well in our rundown test, lasting 15 hours 30 minutes, or about 30 minutes longer than the iPhone 13. The iPhone 14 Plus has a 4,325mAh battery that pushes through much longer. It tallied 18 hours and 30 minutes, or just 30 minutes shy of the 14 Pro Max's 19-hour marathon. (Our battery test involves streaming YouTube over Wi-Fi with the display brightness set to the maximum.) In this same test, the Pixel 6 lasted for 23 hours, and the Galaxy S22 ran for just nine hours.
The bottom line here is that the 14 Plus offers about three hours more up time than the standard iPhone 14, which could be the deciding factor for some buyers.
Wired charging speeds are limited to 20W with an appropriate charger. It took the 14 Plus 35 minutes to reach a 50% charge and about 90 minutes to recharge fully. Google's and Samsung's flagships charge only slightly faster, though some devices, such as the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G, can recharge fully in as little as 35 minutes using proprietary charging tech.
Wireless charging is held to a maximum rate of 15W with a MagSafe-compatible wireless charger or just 7.5W with a typical Qi wireless charger. The MagSafe charger needs more than two hours to fully recharge the 14 Plus battery.
The iPhone 14 Plus employs last year's A15 Bionic processor rather than the newer A16 Bionic found in the 14 Pro and Pro Max. The A16 drops from a 5nm process to a 4nm process and has one billion more transistors, along with a faster GPU and other gains. The A15, meanwhile, is the same chip used by the iPhone 13 Pro, which means it has six CPU cores, five GPU cores, and 16 Neural Engine cores. The phone has 6GB of updated LPDDR5 RAM. As you might expect, benchmark results are statistically identical between the 14 and 14 Plus.
The 14 Plus reached 1,745 and 4,866 for the Geekbench 5 single- and multi-core tests, respectively, where the iPhone 14 hit 1,753 and 4,734 and the iPhone 13 hit 1,721 and 4,629. The Pro and Pro Max put up better scores on the same test (1,874 and 5,445, respectively), but that's not surprising. The Google Pixel 6 and its in-house Tensor processor scored much lower on Geekbench 5 at 1,021 and 2,813, while the Samsung Galaxy S22 and its Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 delivered 1,232 and 3,433.
Results across other benchmarks include 3,026 for 3DMark, 945 for Geekbench ML, 51fps for GFXBench Aztec Ruins, and 976.5 on the web BaseMark test.
With 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB of available storage, you'll have more than enough room on the iPhone 14 Plus for all your apps and media. There's no expandable storage.
The phone doesn't run quite as fast as the Pro or Pro Max, but it doesn't need to. It still outshines the entirety of the Android universe in day-to-day smoothness, speed, and performance—including on heavy-duty games such as Genshin Impact.
Each of the iPhone 14 devices includes an updated and powerful set of radios that set a high bar for competing Android phones.
On the cellular front, the 14 Plus supports a wide range of 5G bands and is compatible with the 5G networks of most US providers. We tested the device on AT&T's network and experienced reliable connections throughout the duration of our time with it. On speed tests, the 14 Plus maxed out at 78Mbps for downloads and 17Mbps for uploads, which equals what we saw when testing an AT&T model of the 14 Pro Max in the same location. More importantly, those are the same numbers PCMag calculated are the national average for 5G performance on AT&T's network in its Best Mobile Networks report.
When it comes to Wi-Fi, the 14 Plus reached maximum download speeds of 664Mbps over a Wi-Fi 6 network with uploads hitting 263Mbps. At the network's edge, the phone managed to hold on with a speed of 3.51Mbps, matching the marks of other phones tested in the same spot.
The Bluetooth 5.3 radio gives the iPhone 14 Plus a leg up on some competing phones, as it allows the handset to use less power and maintain more consistent connections with devices such as wireless headphones. Further, the iPhone supports AAC, Apple Lossless, FLAC, and Spatial audio.
Combining the earpiece speaker with the bottom-firing speaker creates stereo sound, though the bottom speaker delivers a bit more oomph. Music and other media sounds good at normal listening volumes. The Knife's "Silent Shout," our bass test track, sounded punchy and clean. Dialing the volume all the way up, though, leads to distortion that impacts sound quality.
Test voice calls made over AT&T's network were clean and free of hissing or background noise. The earpiece offers plenty of volume to hear calls in a variety of locales.
The 14 Plus carries over the new Crash Detection and Emergency SOS via satellite features to assist in accidents and incidents.
Crash detection uses upgraded sensors and signal processing to determine if the phone (and, presumably, its owner) is involved in a car crash. When it does, the 14 Plus will automatically call first responders and predetermined emergency contacts to provide your location.
The Emergency SOS via satellite tool takes advantage of specialized internal antennas to patch through to Globalstar satellites. When it makes a connection, which can only happen when and where cellular and Wi-Fi coverage is completely unavailable, it will allow for simple communications for conveying basics such as location. Apple will launch this service in November.
The 14 Plus has the exact same camera arrangement as the iPhone 14, which means there are two cameras: one standard and one ultrawide. There's no telephoto camera for optically zooming in on subjects—that's a feature you have to pay Pro prices (or buy a competing Android phone) to get. You can, however, zoom digitally.
The phone's primary camera has a 12MP sensor (26mm equivalent), and opens the aperture to f/1.5, a slight improvement over the iPhone 13, that lets more light reach the sensor. The ultrawide camera also has a 12MP sensor (13mm equivalent) at f/2.2, with a horizon-scanning 120-degree field of view. This is carried over from the iPhone 13. Apple's Photonic Engine, new for the 14 line this year, examines every pixel in the ISP before rendering the final picture.
Typical daytime photos look good. They feature sharp focus, accurate color, and plenty of contrast. I didn't see any white balance issues, though some of the images are oversharpened—something we've witnessed across the iPhone 14 family.
Indoor photos taken under fluorescent lights are as good as you're going to get for such environments.
The nighttime shots I snagged look good for the most part, but more noise is evident than in photos from the other iPhone 14 cameras.
As for selfies, the iPhone 14 Plus includes the same improved TrueDepth camera found on the other iPhone 14 models. It has a 12MP sensor at f/1.9 and autofocus. I was pleased with the selfies I took, which were clean and accurate. For some buyers, this may be the most important improvement to the iPhone 14's cameras.
Action mode is the latest tool in Apple's arsenal of video features. This mode crops video from 4K to 2.8K and adds stabilization along the way to clean up your action videos without forcing you to use a tricky gimbal. It works very well. The iPhone 14 Plus has one of the finest video cameras available at this price point.
Photography is a subjective art, with beauty often lying in the eye of the beholder. Some people may prefer the photographic looks created by Google's Pixel phones or Samsung's Galaxy devices, but there's no question the iPhone 14 Plus gives you an easy-to-use camera that consistently works well.
There are a lot of factors to weigh when considering the iPhone 14 family. There's a clear line separating the standard iPhone 14 and 14 Plus from the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. The latter two include higher refresh rates, lose the notch in favor of the Dynamic Island, and add always-on displays for more visible notifications. Moreover, they upgrade to the A16 Bionic processor and tout a telephoto lens for sharper close-up photos and videos. We think these features are generally worth the $200 premium separating the tiers, but the 14 and 14 Plus are more than enough device if you're upgrading from an iPhone 11 or 12. Further, the iPhone 14 Plus, with its longer-lasting battery and roomier display, is a clear step up from the standard iPhone 14. Many buyers choose the phone with the biggest screen they can afford, and the iPhone 14 Plus is here to fill that need.
Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro? When you’re investing in the best video editing software for you, it’s an important decision - both offer first-class editing tools for beginners and professionals, for the home or studio in different ways.
A lot relies on how you’ll use the video editor. Adobe Premiere Pro is a gold-standard, used across the film & TV industry - in our 5-star review, we reckoned, the software earned it's reputation as one of the best video editing software tools for professionals looking to create "an effective movie-making workflow.”
The latest version of Final Cut Pro, meanwhile, has seen dramatic, accurate improvements. And it continues to evolve - albeit under pressure from top industry editors who want to see more productions using Apple’s flagship video editor.
During our time with Final Cut Pro, we found it “an incredibly powerful piece of video editing software. It’s been around for a while now, and might not be evolving as fast as some would like, but it’s very stable, and the more accurate features help it remain a worthy contender.”
Our pick for best video editing software overall would be Premiere Pro. But there’s no right or wrong answer. It’s about finding the software for editing videos your way. That matches the machine you use, and fits your creative flow.
We pitted Adobe Premiere Pro vs Final Cut Pro to see the similarities and differences of two top video editors, so you can choose the one that’s best for you.
For more post-production tools, we've delved into the best free video editing software and the best video editing apps.
In the Premiere Pro vs Final Cut Pro debate, the real question is: are you running Windows or macOS?
Adobe Premiere Pro is a video editor for PC and Mac.
Final Cut Pro is only available on Mac.
That gives Mac owners a genuine choice between the two tools.
We've also rounded-up the best alternatives to Adobe Premiere Pro for Windows and Mac.
A great user interface is easy to navigate and intuitive to use - and, as you’d expect from premium tools, both Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro deliver outstanding designs.
Adobe Premiere Pro may feel a bit more overwhelming to novice editors. Because it’s built for professional use, there’s a lot going on at first glance - but like all Adobe products, the interface isn’t really as complex as it first appears. It doesn’t take long to master, and once you know where to find the right tools and how to use them, it starts to feel like child's play.
One accurate update to Adobe’s premium video editor introduced the Essentials and Vertical Video workspaces. These simplified workspaces are streamlined for general editing and editing in the 9:16 aspect ratio, placing all key tools within easy reach in a logical left-to-right order.
Apple Final Cut Pro has also seen accurate updates - but none introduced major interface upgrades. Maybe that’s no bad thing. Part of Final Cut Pro’s charm is the beginner-friendly UI, making it relatively painless to upgrade from the consumer-level free video editing software Apple iMovie.
In our review, we found “FCP’s simple interface hides a powerful and stable video editing package.”
Ultimately, in terms of Premiere Pro vs Final Cut Pro, the fact is both offer differently styled but excellent editing experiences.
Workflows will be unique to you. It’s about choosing the best software for editing videos your way - a way that just clicks.
If you’re already engaged in the Adobe or Apple ecosphere - for example, you or your business use Photoshop for your social media marketing or iCloud for your cloud storage - then it makes sense to stay within that sphere. It’s usually more cost-effective, and there’s no need to learn a whole new system, so productivity won’t take a hit.
Both video editors offer excellent editing experiences. Premiere Pro’s workflow is as seamless as you’d expect from the industry-standard, ideal for heavy workloads. The latest version has a new focus on importing media. A redesigned import window now places your clips front and center. Selecting these and clicking Import then adds them to your sequence in a new project.
Although these settings can be changed, in our view, “getting right down to working with your clips in their native format will be what people choose to do. This removal of potentially unnecessarily complex tweaking is most welcome.”
Apple’s video editor offers a similarly fluid workflow. We found it much easier to get started, but feels best for lighter editing work. It’s also seen a lot of bug squishing, improving the experience further and “we can state with confidence that glitches that frustrated us back in 2020 no longer reared their nasty little heads. We remember random glitches with rendering on export, for instance, that really were a deal-breaker. These have disappeared.”
Performance is always a factor when choosing a video editor.
We found Premiere Pro is fast and stable (though not as fast as Apple’s software when exporting and rendering). Final Cut Pro now matches Adobe in stability, feeling robust under use.
We discovered “the app very rarely crashes. When it does, you’ll be glad for the software’s automatic saving feature that means that most of the time, you can relaunch FCP and get back to work without having lost a single cut.” However, we still think, “it’s about time things felt stable enough that you don’t have to worry about it at all.”
With both tools supporting Apple silicon on M1 machines, there's also the promise an even further performance boost.
According to Adobe, HEVC exports “are faster with macOS 12 on M1 Macs. Hardware encoding is now enabled for DCI 4K and 8K HEVC exports, resulting in significantly faster performance.”
And Apple continues to Excellerate performance, efficiency, and stability on Macs with Apple silicon. “Working with Apple’s Silicon does speed up processes,” we found.
A lot comes down to the type of machine you’re using, so we’ve even rounded up the best video editing computers and best video editing laptops to power up performance.
When it comes to tools in the Premiere Pro vs Final Cut Pro showdown, both are extremely well-matched. But then, both are aimed at those who want professional results. That includes 8K support and the now metaverse-inspired 360-degree editing for virtual reality.
Adobe regularly updates Premiere Pro, adding new features and refining existing ones. In a accurate update, new styling tools came into play, letting you add multiple shadows to text layers.
It also saw the launch of the new transcription option, an automatic speech-to-text tool that we raved about at the time. Not only does Premiere Pro now automatically transcribe and caption videos in 14 languages, you can even search clips for a specific word or phrase.
Apple has come under fire for leaving Final Cut Pro to apparently fester - resulting in an open-letter from editors desperate to see the video editing software take a central role in film & TV productions.
However, in accurate months, Apple has rolled out a raft of new updates and features that keeps it relevant for editors new and old. It even dropped the controversial X from its name. Apple Final Cut Pro X is vanquished.
Both video editors also use artificial intelligence to simplify the workflow. Adobe’s AI Sensei is built into the Adobe stack, but will be most familiar to creatives making quick, accurate edits in Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere Pro.
One cool tool we found for Adobe's AI was Remix, which retimes songs to fit your video. Traditionally, this can be a time-consuming process. So, we tested the capabilities with an original track (just to make sure the AI had some work to do). It took just a few seconds. And sounded great.
Apple’s FCP AI helps you adjust color corrections, and detects and fixes duplicate clips. The The AI voice isolation tool will be welcomed by anyone looking to Excellerate audio quality, as it cleverly strips back background noises.
It also features AI-based effects. Using the comprehensive object tracking tool, you can now drag effects onto the preview screen, apply the effect to a specific area, and let the robots do the legwork. While the AI recognises certain objects, like buildings, we found it excelled at facial recognition.
For iPhone 13 owners, the launch of the video editor’s new Cinematic Mode will be especially interesting, as it lets you film, pull focus and track focus on your phone. You can then manually handle the f-stop, just as you would with any other camera.
“Changing it over time is just a matter of keyframing the effect,” our review noted. “It’s not perfect, of course. That’s due to the algorithms used to separate the subject from its background. But, under the right conditions, being able to play around with your footage in this way can lead to very impressive results.”
As you’d expect, each video editing software plays best with the company’s other products.
Premiere Pro works flawlessly with other Adobe tools. Notably, it works great with Adobe After Effects - “a visual effects powerhouse” and our pick for best VFX software (you’re free to use any of the best Adobe After Effects alternatives, too). However, there’s no integrated visual effects in Premiere Pro, so if you’re a motion graphics designer or compositor, you’ll need to introduce a secondary tool into the mix.
Final Cut Pro integrates perfectly with iMovie, ideal if you’re using the simplified video editor for rough cuts or concept work. It’s also ready for Apple Motion, which is an efficiently designed special effects app.
The visual effects tool might lack the power of After Effects or Autodesk’s animation and 3D modeling software Maya. But we thought it was “a lot more accessible to less-experienced VFX artists. Among its features are advanced color correction and a useful set of tools for designing and animating text.”
Adobe Premiere Pro supports almost all common audio and video formats - see the full list here (opens in new tab) - which gives you great flexibility over your projects when importing files. Export file types (opens in new tab) are just as extensive with Adobe Media Encoder, with the added ability to also directly export ProRes, XML, and more.
Apple Final Cut Pro is similarly versatile when it comes to supported import (opens in new tab) and export (opens in new tab) file types. All major media formats can be used, such as HEVC, H.264, DV, and MPEG.
Premiere Pro, like most Adobe tools, is only available through a monthly or annual subscription that must be maintained to receive the latest updates and features.
The standalone video editing app costs from $20.99 / £19.97 a month. The Creative Cloud All Apps subscription, which includes over twenty tools like After Effects. Photoshop, and Lightroom, starts at $54.99 / £51.98 a month.
Final Cut Pro is available for a one-off payment of $299.99 / £249.99. This gives you access to all future updates and features, big and small. The same is true of iMovie and Apple Motion, too, so there’s no on-going costs when editing video with Apple products.
It’s not just a case of Premiere Pro vs Final Cut Pro - there are a lot of excellent video editing software out there for a range of skill-levels and uses.
Top picks include DaVinci Resolve - a Hollywood-level tool that “may look overwhelming at first glance as it’s so full featured, but that’s because it contains pretty much everything you need to catalog, organize, edit, alter, and composite your video project.”
Another free alternative is Lightworks from LWKS. The editing software offers basic tools for casual editors, with advanced features tucked behind a subscription or perpetual license paywall.
For budget video editors with serious power, CyberLink PowerDirector and Pinnacle Studio are surprisingly easy to use considering the high-end features on offer.
If you’re looking for video editing software for beginners, and want to stay in the same stable, Apple iMovie is a good alternative for novice creatives. It's a basic but one of the best video editing software tools that's free and user-friendly.
Meanwhile, Adobe has Premiere Elements (available for a one-off fee) and free video editor app Premiere Rush, available on mobile and desktop.
When deciding which is best, Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro, it really comes down to platform, ecosystem, budget, use, and experience.
Both are intensely powerful video editors - and if you’re running a Mac, you have the luxury of choosing between the two. If you’re on Windows, you can only get Premiere Pro or look for alternatives.
If you’re part of the Apple or Adobe ecosystem already, you’ll likely be most comfortable using the company’s own video editing software. It makes the learning curve less severe, and can possibly save money.
Money: that’s arguably the most noticeable difference between Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro. Adobe subscription vs Apple’s one-time fee. Select the video editor that best meets your budget.
Make a decision based on your needs - both now and in the future. If you’re a big, media-heavy company, Premiere Pro will likely meet all your needs. Smaller businesses and sole creators may be better served by Final Cut Pro.
But, really, it comes down to experience - how it fits into your creative workflow. And that’s entirely subjective. So, it’s worth seeing how to download Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro, trying them out, discovering which one works for you.
When testing top video editing software like Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro, we’re looking for fluid interfaces and professional results. Our reviewers are steeped in years of editing experience, and thrilled by new features, tools, and updates that make using the software easier for consumers.
User experience is critical. Under clear instruction, creatives should be able to intuitively navigate the video editor app and start building projects - friction-free. In our experience, both tools offer outstanding experiences centered around the user.
With premium video editors like those from Adobe and Apple, we also look how well they ‘play’ with other tools. We expect high-powered performance - users shouldn’t have to worry about software crashes or footage that stutters on export.
See how we test, review, and rate on TechRadar.
In this podcast, Motley Fool senior analyst Fool Jim Gillies discusses:
Plus, Motley Fool producer Ricky Mulvey talks with best-selling author Blake Crouch about gene modification, as well as a future that may be closer than most people imagine.
To catch full episodes of all The Motley Fool's free podcasts, check out our podcast center. To get started investing, check out our quick-start guide to investing in stocks. A full transcript follows the video.
10 stocks we like better than Apple
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Chris Hill has positions in Apple. Jim Gillies has positions in Apple. Ricky Mulvey has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long March 2023 $120 calls on Apple and short March 2023 $130 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
This video was recorded on Sept. 28, 2022.
Chris Hill: We've got a closer look at Apple and a future that may be closer than you think. Motley Fool Money starts now. I'm Chris Hill, joining me today, Motley Fool senior analyst Jim Gillies, thanks for being here.
Jim Gillies: Thanks for inviting me.
Chris Hill: Apple has reportedly told suppliers to scrap pre-existing plans to increase production of the iPhone 14. According to a report in Bloomberg, demand for the new iPhones is not as high as previously anticipated. On a day when the overall market is up, Jim, shares of Apple are down more than 3% on this report. I think you and I had the same reaction to this news, it made us both smile.
Jim Gillies: It did. I will fully admit my reaction to Apple being down 3, 4% this morning on a production cut is, oh no, oh terrible. I'm being a little bit facetious of course, but the line from Battlestar Galactica, the reimagined series is, "All of this has happened before. All of this will happen again." I look at it a little bit like that. We have seen production shortfalls on prior Apple iPhone model or maybe the iPad wasn't selling as well as iPod. At one point I remember a couple of quarters where they blamed iPad for sales below what some analysts wanted. The stock gets smacked around. Then you take a longer-term, say 15 year. Go look at the 15-year stock chart because the iPhone was introduced in 2007-something. You're going to get one of the prettiest up into the rights you're ever going to see. I have very fond memories of the fourth-quarter of 2018. You may not remember off the top of your head, Chris, but I wrote a column about this in the last week of 2018 and I called it the column, the 2018, the year no one made money.
Because I went through and basically interest rates had gone up, so bond prices had gone down. I know interest rates not to the extent we're currently. Bonds went down, stocks went down, gold went down, silver went down, crypto went down. Of course here in Canada, the big news of 2018 was the legalization of marijuana. In 2018, pot stocks went down for Canadian. So in one of them were the bigger buy the rumor, sell the news style of investing events. Yet in the final quarter of 2018, where Apple suffered a profit warning, a slowdown of production warning much like this, I just smiled like you said, because you were staring at here is the preeminent cash-generating story of our generation. It was trading at 10 11 times cash flow. Now, we are not trading, Fools, we are not trading at 11 times cash flow today. We are in fact trading at about 21 times free cash flow, which is decent, yet also probably not a multibagger.
In short order as it was in 2018 at 10 times cash flow, even today's price of Apple, is still well more than a triple if you were a buyer at the end of 2018, early January 2019, which is not bad for the largest publicly traded company in the world to have done in in just over three years. But yes, the 14, sounds like they are going to have less uptake than they perhaps thought they were. I'm still willing to bet, and I'm doing so with my own money. I'm willing to bet that five years from now, number of iPhones they're selling is higher. Five years from now, cash flow generating from it is higher and five years from now, the number of shares outstanding will be lower and the dividend will be higher. So the further it falls, I'm all flat out stated, I hope Apple, 4% is nothing, Chris, I want 24%. Knock Apple to it. Let's go.
Chris Hill: They're still aiming to produce 90 million phones, which is in line with what they produced last year. Not that I've seen a lot of this type of commentary this morning. But these are the situations where you will get some commentary in the financial media about the ripple effect for Apple's suppliers. Whenever I hear that, I just think, who do you think is in charge of this relationship? Do you think it's the suppliers or do you think it's the largest company in the world by market cap? I think it's Apple.
Jim Gillies: Yeah, go back to your, what is it? The Porter's five forces, the competitive analysis from business school. The bargaining power here, Apple has it firmly under lock and key. So there might be some ripple effects, but again, I think this is a case of what is your investing mindset. Boy, right now everything is really negative, almost crushingly so. Historically though, again, the end of 2018, Q4, I write an article in 2018, the year no one made money. Apple is a quadruple from the buyout price you were paying them. Again, it was a better relative valuation thing otherwise. But it is during times when the world sucks investing-wise, that you will make your best investments historically speaking. Now, look, have the rest of your financial life ideally together. If you're running around 50K in credit card debt, stay out of the investing world. If you're looking to buy a house, please keep that money nice and safe. Look, there's some things Putin's going a little squirrelly with his stuff. I don't have, what's a guy -- I don't have a meteorite plan, I don't have a specific plan for if something truly negative happens.
I'll deal with that on that day because I don't care what your emergency fund or how much cash you have set or how you have your financial life set up. If Putin launches a broader war in Europe, we will deal with that when it comes. But in the, assuming that the crazy volatile world of the stock market is, as it ever has been with alternating periods of despair and euphoria, we are in one of the former right now. Certainly, the markets are not happy. I'm just going to say, if you've got cash on the sidelines at a time when the markets are not happy, when the news is almost overwhelmingly pessimistic, that is a great time to start adding to your investments, even if you're just an index fund investor. Especially if you got a free trading account, dribble some money in the index funds, find some companies that you know and you like, you're willing to hold for five years. I am an Apple shareholder. I have added to Apple many times over the years. We'll see where I am in terms of how far this goes down and if I have a window that I'm allowed to trade and maybe I'll add. But these are the times you want to be an investor, even though it doesn't feel like it.
Chris Hill: Jim Gillies, always great talking to you. Thanks for being here.
Jim Gillies: Thank you.
Chris Hill: When we want to talk about the future, we like to check in with industry analysts, but sometimes we like to mix it up and talk with a science fiction writer. That's where the motley part of our show comes in. Ricky Mulvey caught up with Blake Crouch, author of Upgrade, a sci-fi thriller about gene modification that's set in the near future. While he writes about science fiction, Crouch believes this story is about a future that is actually very close.
Ricky Mulvey: Writing a book takes years, you've been involved in dark matter in some capacity, I believe, since 2014, so why take the dive into genetic engineering, CRISPR, or in your book, Scythe?
Blake Crouch: Well, what I've been doing lately with my work realized recently is taking well-worn sci-fi tropes and putting my spin on them. There's been no scarcity of multiverse stories since sci-fi started getting written or time-travel stories, which Recursion basically is. The big next one for me seem to be genetic engineering. What else is more relevant to the times that we're living in what it means to be human? That's what I'm looking for when I start thinking about what my next book might be is what is this: A, something that genre may have done, things that's done well, and B, what is the emerging tech that is relevant to our lives in our world right now. Nothing seems more relevant to me than the gene modification potential that CRISPR affords us.
Ricky Mulvey: In my mind it's straight, it is a phase change for humanity in line with what the atom bomb and the internet. Do you see it in a similar way? Is that why it's more relevant to you than most other topic?
Blake Crouch: Not similar. Unless we end up destroying ourselves with nuclear weapons, which is entirely possible, CRISPR genetic modification maybe not in our lifetime, but maybe in our lifetime is the greatest invention of humanity, period. There's literally nothing. What's bigger? It's wizardry, it's rewriting our own DNA. It's magic.
Ricky Mulvey: You've mentioned in other podcasts that you see two paths for genetic engineering and your book touches on it. What do you think those two paths are and how do you think we avoid the darker one?
Blake Crouch: We avoid the darker one by talking about it, by making the public aware of it. When this book really started, when I was doing some press for Dark Matter and I was on Science Friday and said he knew what my next book should be and he was like have you heard of CRISPR? I'd heard of it, but I really didn't have a full awareness of what it was and this would have been back in 2016. I definitely didn't have enough of an awareness to try to just wing it on Sci Fri. I think that a lot of people still don't really know what it is. I think your average person. "Yeah, it's like gene modification, it's like what they do in the movie sometimes, it's like limitless."
I think it is a real responsibility of scientists, of tastemakers, of entertainers to help educate the public about this stuff because there's such a distrust from the masses I think right now with regards to scientists. I think some of that is the hangover from the way that COVID was rolled out. I understand why it was rolled out that way. I don't think it was a conspiracy, I think it was an evolving situation. People had no idea what was happening and they were reacting in real time. But the public wants science to be exact and accurate and I think there's a little bit of a distrust there. I think that the public needs to be made aware that this technology exists that right now we can edit, it's technically illegal. Embryos can be edited right now. It's highly illegal, but it can happen. This exists.
Ricky Mulvey: It's already happened. Scientists in China, I believe, edited embryos to essentially be less susceptible to getting HIV.
Blake Crouch: Exactly. Successfully and it also weirdly lowers the longevity. People aren't sure why, but that's the thing. You get an added benefit but there is a takeaway and what these are we don't know. It's not one-to-one, it's so unbelievably complicated.
Ricky Mulvey: You researched genetic engineering quite a bit and it is, there is a heaviness with talking about it that makes it intimidating. You worked with a scientist named Michael Wiles. From my understanding, he really pushed you to even go further with what CRISPR could do. How did he do that? What were your conversations with him like?
Blake Crouch: I've had subject matter experts on all my books, but I've never needed one so much and so involved as with this one because the sciences and you punch in and out of it, it's on every page. I would send them a manuscript he would redline it. What I would basically say is, "Hey, this is what I want to happen." Here's the thing. When you're a writer and you want professional scientists to weigh in your stuff, typically what they do is they try to pull you back because they want it to be accurate, they don't want you to break the test tubes. But the stuff with CRISPR is so potential laden and I found the complete opposite was the case here. Dr. Wiles was always like, "Oh, let's go bigger here. Oh no, it could actually do this." The things I didn't even realize we're already doing. It was the complete opposite of almost every other experience I've had.
Ricky Mulvey: There's possibilities where we have tiny pink gorillas, we can change our bone density possibly with CRISPR. You can even edit genes essentially to replace painkillers, to edit the sense of the pain we feel. That's the one where I see the second-order effects being particularly optimistic and dangerous.
Blake Crouch: Yes.
Ricky Mulvey: What are some of the possibilities right now from CRISPR that we're close to that you're excited about or that you're mixed on? That might be a better way of putting it.
Blake Crouch: Well, I'm really excited about the cancer treatments. I think that's hugely exciting. It's obviously a horrific disease and if that could be targeted not through chemo which often kills the subjects as much as what we're trying to eradicate. That could be a massive win and it could also be a win that gives the public a comfort level with this technology. There's still a huge backlash against like GMOs. There's a real hurdle to overcome. We can't even agree to eradicate polio still apparently. You're going to sell the public on rewriting their DNA you can imagine the conspiracy memes that are going to emerge out of this. I think knocking down cancer will be a huge win.
Ricky Mulvey: For me, it would be through epigenetics as my understanding, but you can affect the way that one experiences pain. The clinical application of that would be, hey, let's say you have a surgery. We're going to make a temporary change to your genome so you don't feel pain and then that way we don't have to prescribe you painkillers.
Blake Crouch: That's right.
Ricky Mulvey: The optimistic river of that is that, great, fewer opioids. But there's also the pessimistic part of my mind is that now you have a way of making it so people don't feel pain. I think there might be second-order effects to that that we don't know and what we don't know is what scares me about that. When you hear about a lot of these applications, I was wondering if there was one that was sticking in your mind where you felt extraordinarily mixed on.
Blake Crouch: I'm mixed on all of it because the human genome is such a miracle of complexity. It literally adapted over billions of years to combat external stimuli to survive and to work as a system. It would be us going into the source code of something like the Call of Duty and just changing a few of those ones and zeros, it's not like that, it's not actually ones and zeros. But for the metaphor, I'll go with it. The whole thing just crashes because it's so interconnected. Gene systems are not one-to-one, there's not a pain gene that we can just up or down regulate. It's 40 or 50 or 800 different genes and gene networks all working together to regulate how we experience it. The thing that's really holding us back at this point from truly mastering genome manipulation is really processing power because you need a computer. The same time we have a computer that's powerful enough to really game out our genome and to map genotype to the way it expresses. At that point, you will also have the computing power probably to solve all other things and probably invent super intelligence. It's going to be like a threshold moment.
Ricky Mulvey: Well, I think it's not just processing power, it's also stakes in the case of a lot of CRISPR treatments, you're making a permanent change to one's genome. It's not like you get a do-over I think if you screw up.
Blake Crouch: That's right. Well, there's a couple of layers of editing and the one that's really off-limits is embryonic, it's like editing human zygotes. But that's where the changes are much easier to make and much more long-lasting, to do somatic changes to adults. It's adult specimens. It's really difficult, we're already well on down the path. Yes, some things can be changed but I never read terrible sci-fi, "Oh, we're using gene modification to change the way our face looks." That's actually not the way it works. A lot of times when these experimental gene therapies are attempted out at the somatic level, there are millions of unintended consequences. Again, just complexity. We are far more complex than the most advanced quantum annealing processor that exists out there. We're a biological machine and we definitely don't have the expertise or the understanding to know how each gene system truly expresses in what we see when we we're walking around looking at our fellow human beings.
Ricky Mulvey: You and John Scholes, you have something in common when you write about fake meat in the future and that's that it's never going to taste as good as the real thing. Is that artistic license on your part or do you not imagine a future where let's say a lab-grown steak passes the meat Turing test?
Blake Crouch: The meat Turing test, I love that. I don't know, maybe it will be proved wrong, but I think it's like the uncanny valley of tastes. It's not going to taste exactly the same, I just feel like it won't. I don't feel like it's going to be the matrix when Neo is sitting there, not Neo, but the guy who turns and say, I can't tell. I know it's different but I know it's not real but just tastes through. I just don't think that's going to happen but who knows?
Ricky Mulvey: Blake Crouch, his day job, he writes philosophical thrillers. His latest book is Upgrade. Thank you for coming on Motley Fool Money.
Blake Crouch: Thanks so much, everyone.
Chris Hill: As always, people on the program may have interest in the stocks they talk about and The Motley Fool may have formal recommendations for or against, so don't buy or sell stocks based solely on what you hear. I'm Chris Hill, thanks for listening. We'll see you tomorrow.
Apple creates new features for their iPhones and iPads every year. They are constantly pushing the limits of what you can do in the palm of your hand. The release of iOS 16 in particular promises all-new personalization options, deeper intelligence, and an improved way to communicate and share data. iPhones and iPads are therefore essential tools that we use every day, and it's no surprise that many of us think of ourselves as Apple connoisseurs.
Be that as it may, your Apple devices might still have a few tricks up their sleeves. In fact, we're willing to bet that there are a bunch of additional features you had no idea existed. As such, have scoured the internet (and our iPhones and iPads of course) to bring you a list of the best apps and settings that may Excellerate your everyday mobile experience.
Back Tap is a hidden gem that allows Apple users to run shortcuts by simply double-tapping or triple-tapping the back of their iPhone. The possibilities are endless, but to name a few, you can turn the torch on, mute your sound, or activate the camera.
The double-tap and triple-tap functions can also be assigned to one or both of these options. If you'd like to use only one shortcut, then that's perfectly fine. However, you can multi-function your taps so they perform different shortcuts altogether. A favorite of ours is setting double-tap to scroll down, and triple-tap to scroll up. It makes browsing so much easier!
How to set up Back Tap on an iPhone (via Apple):
To confirm Back Tap is working, test it out and see if your iPhone responds. In some circumstances, your iPhone's protective case may prevent this feature from working correctly.
We've all been in that situation where we provide our iPhone to a friend and hope they don't swipe too far. If you're like most of us, who want to keep our embarrassing selfies a secret, the new iOS 16 improves upon the hidden photo feature.
In the past, your hidden folder could be accessed if your iPhone was unlocked. Third-party apps could also potentially show your hidden photos if they had an image picker. But now, Apple has made vast improvements with iOS 16, as users can now lock their pictures and videos with Face ID.
In other words, before gaining access to your confidential material, authentication will always be required no matter what.
How to hide photos or videos on iPhone and iPad (via Apple):
How to locate hidden photos and videos on iPhone and iPad:
How to unhide hidden photos or videos on iPhone and iPad:
The display on your iPad and iPhone emits blue light, which can keep you up at night. On top of that, the brightness of your display can also be stressful on your eyes if you're using your device in a dark room.
Night Shift is a setting that automatically adjusts the colors of your display to a warmer color, providing a more comfortable experience for your eyes, and potentially improving your sleeping pattern.
Night Shift uses your iPad and iPhones clock to determine when it is sunrise and sunset. The display becomes more yellow in the evening and returns to normal in the morning. What's more, you can also set custom times for Night Shift, or have it on throughout the day.
How to enable Night Shift on iPhone and iPad (via Apple):
If you enjoy darker and warmer colors you can also enable Dark Mode on your iPhone and iPad. This feature is a favorite amongst those who are often in low-light environments. Simply open your Settings, select Display & Brightness, and under Appearance, tap Dark.
Would you like to get instant measurements of anything around you? Well, if you don't have a tape measure nearby, the Measure app can provide you the dimensions of any object located 2 to 10 feet from your iPhone and iPad.
The Measure app automatically detects the dimensions of rectangular objects, while also giving you the option to manually set the start and end point of an item. The next time your friend claims to be "6 foot 4," ask them to pose for a photo!
How to manually measure dimensions with iPhone and iPad (via Apple):
How to automatically measure a rectangular object with iPhone and iPad:
You don't need third-party software to record your iPhone or iPad screen. Apple has a built-in screen recorder that can not only capture your screen but also your voice via the microphone. So whether you're recording an instructional video, or saving the final moments of your "Clash of Clans" game, Apple's got you covered.
It's important to note that the built-in recorder on your iPhone and iPad is hidden by default. You'll therefore have to add it to your Control Center first.
How to add screen recording to the Control Center (via Apple):
How to screen record on iPhone and iPad:
To record your voice, tap and hold the Record Button and ensure the Microphone icon is now red. To stop the recording, open your Control Center again, and tap the Record Button. Your screen recordings will be located in the Photos app.
For those interested in creating presentations and guides, the screen record option is also available on MacBook. There are more customization options such as recording a selected portion of your screen only.
iPad now offers the option to split screen two apps side-by-side. This is an excellent feature for those wanting to work efficiently by comparing different sources at the same time. For example, you could have your Notes app open while you browse Safari for information to write down.
Alternatively, you could also browse Twitter and have your Spotify playlist open on the side. The possibilities are endless, and it's a welcomed change from switching between apps and pausing what you're currently busy with.
How to split screen and multitask on iPad (via Apple):
Apple also gives you the choice to open the same app twice and apply the split screen feature. For instance, a student might want to open multiple Notes to compare various documents.
How to split screen the same app:
How to exit the split screen:
Did you know that you can watch videos in sync over a call? Using the FaceTime app in addition to the SharePlay screen sharing feature, users can stream movies and TV shows together. Everyone will have access to the playback controls, so you'll be able to play, pause, rewind, or fast-forward the video together!
How to watch movies and TV shows together over FaceTime (via Apple):
The movie or TV show will now stream to everyone on the call. The great part about SharePlay is that as you're watching the video together, the volume will automatically adjust while you talk. This creates an amazing environment for watch parties and live commentaries.
SharePlay isn't limited to videos though, you can also listen to music together via Apple Music. The steps are pretty much the same as above, with the ability to control playback and follow along to a song with time-synced lyrics.
Instead of typing, voice dictation writes down your thoughts while you speak. It is available for many apps that use the Keyboard function on your iPhone and iPad. This comes in handy as a student if you'd like to jot down notes, or, as a business professional replying to emails on the go.
In terms of how accurate voice dictation is, well that depends on the clarity and speed of your voice. You will also need to learn the punctuating and formatting commands to properly structure your work. Nonetheless, it's much faster than typing and a blessing for hands-free enthusiasts.
How to enable voice dictation on iPhone and iPad (via Apple):
How to use voice dictation on iPhone and iPad:
Voice dictation will underline words that it isn't sure of. You can tap the word and make corrections if necessary. Additionally, you can also replace entire sections by selecting the text, and tapping the Microphone Button again.
To change the language input of voice dictation, you will need to hold down the Microphone Button and select your preference. You can find an extended list of punctuation and formatting commands in Apple's iPad user guide.
Nothing is worse than the fear of misplacing your iPhone. Did it fall out of your pocket on the way home, or, is it hiding between your bed sheets? Whatever the case may be, our usual instinct is to ask someone to call our phone. But what if nobody is home, or the battery has died? Fear not, iPhone 11 and later models now have the ability to be found via the Find My app.
Enable Find My on your iPhone (via Apple):
If your iPhone still has battery life, you can locate it using an Apple Watch or iPad. On an Apple Watch, swipe up, and tap the phone icon with sound waves. Your iPhone should emit a noise even in silent mode. If you're using an iPad, open the Find My app, select your missing device, and tap Play Sound. If your battery has died, the final solution is to check the last known location.
How to find your iPhone if the battery has died:
AirDrop is the easiest way to send files from one Apple device to the other. This means it works interchangeably between iPhones, iPads, and Macs. What makes AirDrop unique is that it isn't a confusing transfer method like Dropbox or cloud storage. There's no unorganized shared folder.
AirDrop uses Bluetooth so the transfer is immediate and takes a few seconds. No internet connection is required as Apple uses a peer-to-peer network. If you're looking to transfer multiple files with ease, AirDrop is the way to go!
How to use AirDrop (via Apple):
If the AirDrop user is not in your saved contacts, you will find them under Other People as a potential list of recipients. The recipient will then be prompted with an AirDrop notification asking them to accept or decline the file.
If you want to protect yourself from unwanted AirDrops, you can open your Control Center, and hold down the Wi-Fi icon. Tap AirDrop and choose whether to disable AirDrop, restrict to contacts only, or make yourself visible to everyone.
The iOS Weather app has come a long way. You'll still find the weekly temperature forecast, but accurate updates now incorporate the ability to have severe weather alerts sent directly to your iPhone and iPad. Depending on the climate you're living in, the Weather app's real-time notifications include hurricanes, tornados, heat waves, flash floods, rain storms, and more.
This feature is available in the United States, and most European regions, but has yet to be released worldwide. Users can opt for weather alerts in their current location, or add additional locations.
How to turn on severe weather alerts for your location on iPhone or iPad (via Apple):
How to turn on severe weather alerts for other locations using your iPhone or iPad:
You should now receive live notifications for severe weather alerts in your location or selected area. If you'd like to remove alerts in the future, you can do so by turning off the Weather app Notifications setting.
If you're on the go, finding a nearby printer to scan your documents can be a problem. However, if you're an iPhone or iPad user, you can scan, sign, and send documents within a few seconds. iOS goes beyond taking a picture, the built-in Notes app feature creates a professional-looking document that can be combined with multiple pages into a single PDF file.
How to scan a document with your iPhone or iPad (via Apple):
How to sign and send documents with your iPhone or iPad:
Read this next: 12 Hidden iMessage Features You Need To Know About
As Sharon Horgan’s black comedy Bad Sisters airs its final episode on Apple TV, viewers will be missing it already.
The murder mystery follows five sisters, their villainous brother-in-law and the investigation into his death. The series helped to showcase Dublin to a worldwide audience, but did you pay close enough attention?
Here are eight questions to test your knowledge of the show.
Indo Bad Sisters Quiz
Compiled by Seoirse Mulgrew
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The first major deviation from Apple's go-to formula, the Apple Watch Ultra is a great compromise for anyone who wants something rugged on their wrist but is wholly committed to the iOS ecosystem. The durable build, upgraded battery life, handful of advanced tracking sensors, and safety features make this the first Apple Watch to tempt everyone from triathlon competitors to backcountry campers. It won't replace dedicated dive watches and isn't quite feature-packed enough for extreme outdoor adventurers, but it's a phenomenal start down that path.
The Apple Watch Ultra treads new waters. With an enormous display and a rugged build, as a smartwatch and a fitness companion, it’s remarkable. As a dedicated adventure watch, it still has some ground to make up. Find out more in our Apple Watch Ultra review.
About this Apple Watch Ultra review: I tested the Apple Watch Ultra over a period of seven days. It was running watchOS 9.0.1. It was connected to an iPhone 11 Pro Max throughout the testing period. The unit was purchased by Android Authority for this review.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
The Apple Watch Ultra represents the company’s first real foray into the adventure market. With an oversized, titanium build, a beefed-up Digital Crown, a 49mm flat sapphire glass lens, and a fluorescent orange Action button, this is Apple’s biggest departure from the sleek design users have come to know. However, where the watch perhaps wanes in elegance, it absolutely gains in display and durability. Built to last in more ways than one, the watch also delivers an estimated 36 hours of juice per charge, with a Low Power mode that will eke out an additional 24 hours.
To tempt athletes and outdoor enthusiasts, the single-size device packs all the best of Apple’s ecosystem. Under the very durable exterior lives an electrocardiogram (ECG), blood oxygen (SpO2) monitor, heart rate sensor, fall and Crash Detection capabilities, and a temperature sensor for detailed period cycle and sleep tracking. If you find yourself in a jam on the trail, the Ultra also houses a dual speaker that can broadcast an alert siren that can be heard up to 180 meters away. Meanwhile, the new dual-band GPS aims to keep you from getting lost in the first place.
Where the Apple Watch Ultra wanes in elegance, it absolutely gains in the display and overall durability.
Other Apple Watch Ultra highlights include Precision Start for pinpoint fitness tracking, added data fields during workouts, and a new Wayfinder watch face that capitalizes on the wearable’s big and beautiful display. The Ultra is also water-resistant at depths of up to 100 meters, and a new dedicated diving app even displays the water temperature and users’ underwater time. Back on land, the Ultra offers Compass Backtrack functionality so hikers can find their way back to personalized waypoints.
Of course, all of these features come at a cost. Pricing for Apple’s premium device starts at a princely $799. LTE cellular data support is baked in as standard, but that’s still a difference of $300 compared to the base LTE-enabled model for Apple’s regular flagship timepiece, the Apple Watch Series 8. If you choose to add a data plan to the watch, you will need to pay your provider an additional cost. However, you can also opt-out and use the device without cellular data.
Available Watch Ultra bands include the Alpine Loop in orange, green, or Starlight, the Ocean Loop in Midnight, white or yellow, and the Trail Loop in yellow/beige, blue/gray, or black/gray. While the Ocean Loop comes in a one-size-fits-all offering, the Trail Loop comes in small/medium or medium/large. The Alpine loop is available in small, medium, or large. You can grab an Apple Watch Ultra from Apple Stores and other major retailers.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
Unboxing the Apple Watch Ultra is like opening a king-size Reese’s cup, complete with an orange wrapper for the model I tested. I love chocolate and peanut butter, and yet there is an immediate concern that I may have too much of a good thing. But while I sometimes regret excessive candy, the excessiveness of this device absolutely works.
For starters, nothing about the watch earns the Ultra moniker more than its sheer size and build quality. The titanium case comes in just one size and lands at a whopping 49mm — 4mm larger than the biggest Watch Series 8 model and the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. It’s also more durable than ever, boasting an IP6X dust resistance rating and MIL-STD 810H certification. For underwater use, it’s EN13319 certified for diving and has increased water resistance to WR100 (water pressure up to 100 meters/333 feet). In other words, it’s built to last. The case sides also form a lip around the face, further protecting the flat sapphire crystal covering the display. Throughout my testing, I wore the watch while biking, bouldering, diving, and on multiple hikes and runs. I also wore it while working on my roof, chopping down palm leaves, and installing a new toilet. At no point did it dent, scratch, or show any sign at all of wear or tear.
The Apple Watch Ultra earns its name with a substantial bump in size, durability, and brightness.
I also wore the watch to bed every single night, and it never felt too heavy or cumbersome. In fact, after my initial first impression (and trepidation), the size really grew on me. The bigger, brighter display offers ample room for data-heavy watch faces, and practicing text is a dream. The brightest Apple Watch yet, the Ultra’s always-on display also delivers 2,000 nits at its max setting. That’s twice as high as every other Apple Watch and the difference shows. When you want to tone it down, you can simply spin the Digital Crown to activate Night Mode for low light settings.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
Speaking of the Digital Crown, it too received a glow-up. Considerably larger, it now shares a guard with the familiar old side button. This button is also raised from the case for easier use with gloves. These are welcome design tweaks, but the real star is an all-new Action button. Found on the opposite side of the device, the Ultra’s added button can be programmed to perform specific actions such as adding a Waypoint or beginning a workout. A long press opens emergency features including Siren, Compass Backtrack, and Emergency Call.
The new Action button broadens the Ultra's usability and offers plenty of potential to third-party developers.
The Action button is large for ease of use, but it doesn’t have a guard around it. More than once, I was unpleasantly surprised to find I pressed it accidentally. It’s also painted orange, so if construction zone chic isn’t your vibe, you’ll want to play down the button’s impact (as in, don’t pair it with the orange Alpine loop as pictured in this review). That said, it’s a handy addition to the user experience. For the first week of this review, I set mine to automatically start a running workout. Eventually, I changed it to launch the waypoint screen as I moved to test the Ultra on more hikes. It’s highly customizable, and as third-party apps add support for the button, it will only become increasingly useful.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
So far, I’ve only gotten my hands on the Alpine Loop, which Apple sells in orange, green, and Starlight. Like the device in general, my initial take on this strap was that it wasn’t for me. It seems to scream “hardcore adventurer” and I don’t typically advertise my hiking interest (I like people to be surprised to see me at the top of a mountain). Once again, though, I underestimated it, and by the end of my testing period, I forgot I didn’t originally like this pick. The Alpine band is comfortable, reliable, and very easy to size adequately with its intricate loop system. The band also doesn’t feel soggy or weighed down after a dip in the ocean or a round of dirty dishes.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
Underneath the exterior upgrades, the Apple Watch Ultra features a few more key upgrades including an Apple S8 chipset and a new body temperature sensor. Addressing the chipset first; the device is snappy and runs apps smoothly without any lag. In general, it offers the same steadfast user experience as the Series 7, which isn’t surprising considering it’s based on the same 7nm process and has the same core architecture as the S7 system-in-package (SiP). Meanwhile, the temperature sensor is an exciting addition. It allows for more detailed cycle tracking and sleep tracking, while also opening the door to more health-tracking possibilities in the future. We’ll get more into that in the next section.
Finally, an Apple Watch that will last more than a day on a single charge.
Of course, both the temperature sensor and the S8 SiP are also available on the Apple Watch Series 8. What really sets the Ultra apart is a more than 75% larger battery. Apple claims the Ultra provides 36 hours of regular use between charges. I consistently found that I easily exceeded Apple’s estimates, getting more than 40 hours from each charge. That included daily GPS workouts and multiple nights of sleep tracking. To stretch battery life, the Watch Ultra also offers a Low Power mode that should get users about 15 hours of GPS use. In this mode, I found a one-hour workout only used about 5% of the battery, again suggesting that Apple’s claims are conservative.
When you do empty the tank, the Ultra also taps into Apple’s fast-charging technology. According to the company, it charges from zero to 80% in about an hour and will reach a full charge in just 30 minutes more. I found these estimates slightly generous, with the reality being about 10 minutes longer — just slightly longer than the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
A number of useful new health and fitness additions on the Apple Watch Ultra aren’t unique to this device. watchOS 9 brought advanced training tools to all eligible devices, including heart rate zones, running power, and multisport support for triathletes, plus more detailed sleep tracking, improved heart rate variability data, and a lot more — you can read all about them right here. Paired with ever-improving sensors and algorithms, all of these additions elevate Apple’s lineup, especially for athletes.
That said, a few features are only available on this premium model, and the first of those is Depth, a new dive app that takes advantage of the Ultra’s water resistance. The Depth app automatically starts when you submerge your Apple Watch Ultra in water, be it a lake, ocean, bathtub, or otherwise. Once below the surface, the screen displays your current time and depth, your maximum depth, the water temperature, and the amount of time you’ve been underwater. It also initiates Water Lock, which disables any accidental touch inputs while submerged.
While screen taps won’t register, the display itself is plenty visible underwater. The images above show two dives with contrasting conditions. The left image represents a dive with crystal-clear visibility and shows a bright, legible screen. The right image shows murkier conditions during which fish just a meter away were obscured. However, the Depth app still shines bright and legible.
Overall the Depth app is fun for introductory stats, but very simplistic and best suited for snorkeling and recreational swims rather than scuba diving. Apple is poised to add Oceanic Plus this fall to bring more complexity to its dive data, but the app has not yet been released. While I can’t fully weigh in on Oceanic Plus or the Watch Ultra’s long-term credentials as a bonafide dive computer substitute without testing it, the lack of air tank integration in particular isn’t a promising sign. As it stands, it’s likely the Ultra will be sufficient for beginners but not serious divers.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
For those without sea legs, the Ultra has a lot to offer land dwellers as well. As mentioned, the native Workout app now opens to a thoroughly revamped experience with the added ability to customize sessions. Users can also view additional data pages for more mid-workout insights. In short, Apple is moving in on Garmin‘s wheelhouse. Thanks to watchOS 9, runners can now access stats for Vertical Oscillation, Stride Length, and Ground Contact Time as well as Running Power. Perhaps most importantly, Apple finally added triathlon support with a multisport mode for auto-switching between exercise types.
However, as software updates, all of these fitness features are also found on the Series 8, so why do you need the Ultra? First, in addition to the Ultra’s extended battery life, these updates are necessities for an Apple Watch to make sense to serious athletes. You can’t exactly market to distance runners without detailed training metrics, and you certainly won’t win anyone from Garmin’s camp with a meager 18 hours of use per charge. The Ultra is an impressive attempt to address both of Apple’s past shortcomings. Additionally, the Ultra’s considerable display allows you to view more metrics at a time so you can train more effectively.
To further sway the active crowd, the Ultra also offers Precision Start. Buried in the settings menu, this feature lets you open a workout without beginning it immediately. Instead of a three, two, one countdown, the workout opens to a stagnant workout screen with a GPS status icon. Once your heart rate and GPS signal lock on, you can start the workout with the Action button or by swiping right and tapping start.
If you are a casual runner, you likely won’t be terribly impressed by Precision Start, but for performance athletes, accuracy is everything. The ability to verify that heart rate and GPS are recording before beginning a run or ride is a great addition, especially considering both of those two metrics are very reliable on this device.
The Apple Watch Ultra's GPS tracking outshines its competitors.
Heart rate data on the Apple Watch Ultra is very accurate. Aside from the inconsistencies we ran into when reviewing the Series 7, Apple Watches have proven very reliable at recording both resting and active heart rate data. The Apple Watch Ultra is no exception. Throughout the review, I compared the device to my Polar H10 chest strap, and the watch consistently performed exceptionally. This included interval workouts where the Ultra matched the chest strap’s peaks and valleys perfectly.
On to GPS, the Ultra offers precision multiband location tracking, utilizing both L1 and L5 frequencies. For context, a number of dedicated GPS watches, including the Garmin Fenix 7, offer L1 and L5 frequencies and are well renowned for their accuracy. Multiband GPS tracking ensures greater data accuracy in settings like city streets lined with tall buildings or trail runs with significant tree coverage. In both such scenarios, the Apple Watch Ultra outperformed comparable devices during my tests. In the image above, for example, you can see how the Ultra nailed my route, tracing the existing sidewalk almost perfectly. The Garmin Fenix 7, on the other hand, shows me seemingly dodging traffic with a few inaccurate dips into the road.
I also took the Apple Watch Ultra hiking in densely forested areas. The watch locked on consistently and accurately recorded my routes. The second GPS image above shows an out-and-back hike I completed specifically to test the Ultra’s backtracking feature. The route recorded by my Apple Watch follows the real trail relatively well, but the real kicker is how both devices tracked my behavior at the trail’s turnaround. While I did wander around a bit taking photos, I absolutely did not walk the path of a small child’s scribbling as the Fenix 7 recorded.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
On that note, one feature directed at adventuring Apple users is the updated compass app and all its accompaniments. Most notably, these include the option to add personal waypoints plus a moderately useful Backtrack feature. I say moderately useful because the feature doesn’t include an onscreen map or turn-by-turn navigation. Instead, you’ll have to Lewis and Clark your way home with a compass and breadcrumb trail. You can either use the overly simple trail (pictured above) to navigate back the way you came or tap one of your waypoints to determine its compass heading.
If you a) are a nerd for navigation or b) thoroughly enjoy labeling, then setting waypoints is likely up your alley. Apple allows users to assign each waypoint a title, color, and simple icon. Since these waypoints carry over from one hike session to the next, accuracy is key. I highly suggest you spend a considerable amount of time fussing over whether beach access should have a fish or a sailboat icon to the very real frustration of your indifferent hiking partner.
The Apple Watch Ultra is kitted out for hobbyists, but dedicated hikers and divers may want to wait to see if updates elevate the experience before purchasing.
Waypoints are fun and Backtrack is great in a pinch, but this is an area where the Ultra seems to be setting the stage rather than debuting a final performance. Compared to the navigational tools found on devices from the likes of Garmin or Coros, this isn’t a fully-fledged hiking companion. Here’s hoping Apple will add hiking basics like offline topographical mapping, turn-by-turn navigation, and other common features in the future. Considering the updated compass is also available on the Series 8 and the increased screen real estate Apple has to work with, I’d like to see a lot more Ultra-worthy hiking features elevate this device through software updates.
The Ultra and Series 8 also share a new temperature sensor for more advanced sleep tracking and deeper insights into cycle tracking. Both watches measure your wrist temperatures throughout the night. In the morning, Apple presents your results in the Health app as an average from your baseline temperature. This data can be used to garner insight into your overall health. Additionally, Apple uses wrist temperature data in its cycle tracking to estimate the date ovulation most likely occurred. It does so by detecting an individual’s biphasic shift, a temperature increase that typically occurs after ovulation. While these predictions are only retroactive for now, it’s likely Apple will continue to expand its cycle tracking suite.
Apple diving into temperature data on behalf of those who menstruate is a big win. While the Fitbit Sense, Fitbit Sense 2, and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 series all pack temperature sensors, none of these devices do anything with the data in terms of cycle tracking at the time of this writing.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
As a smartwatch for everyday use, the Apple Watch Ultra absolutely delivers. Everything that Apple already does well — seamless iPhone and Apple ecosystem integration, third-party app support, Siri, NFC digital payment support, and more — is all here. On an even bigger and brighter screen, daily use is straight-up enjoyable. Texts, notifications, and menus are substantially easier to navigate and even photos are easy to review. If anything, I found myself wishing I could do even more smartphone-like tasks on my wrist via the large touchscreen.
In addition to its increased screen size, the Apple Watch Ultra also features a three-microphone combination for better voice call quality and a second speaker that improves the volume of phone calls and Siri responses. This means if you like to take calls from your wrist, that communication is now clearer than ever, even out in the elements.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
That same additional speaker helps the Ultra emit an 86-decibel siren in case of emergency. If you aren’t sure how loud 86 decibels is, the answer is very loud. Especially if you decide to test it in a grocery store so your partner knows to find you in the produce section, as I did. It’s also quite an irritating noise that starts as a distress pattern and then switches to an SOS pattern. Once activated, it will play until it’s manually stopped or the watch dies.
In addition to indoor settings, I tried out the siren on a few hikes and the unnatural pitch definitely stands out. According to Apple, it can be heard up to 180 meters away. It’s easy to imagine how it would help others locate you in an emergency. However, on one hike overlooking the ocean, the siren didn’t cut through the sound of nearby crashing waves as much as I would have expected. As earsplitting as it sounds indoors, I actually think it could benefit from being even louder for outdoor activities.
The siren also isn’t the Ultra’s only safety feature. Like the Apple Watch Series 8 and iPhone 14, the Ultra features all-new Crash Detection. If the watch detects a serious accident, it will automatically contact emergency responders after 20 seconds of inactivity. I didn’t experience any crashes (or ride any roller coasters) during my testing, but it is very easy to understand the value of this new safety feature. The watch also carries over Fall Detection from past generations for added security on trail runs and other treks.
|Apple Watch Ultra|
LTPO OLED Retina
Dimensions and weight
Apple S8 with 64-bit dual-core processor
45 min to 80% charge
USB-C magnetic fast charging cable
Case materials and colors
L1 & L5 GPS/GNSS
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz and 5GHz
LTE bands: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 25, 26, 39, 40, 41, 66
iOS 15 or later
Apple Watch Ultra
Louder speaker • Large battery • Extensive features
An advanced health tracking watch and a top-in-class GPS performance.
The Apple Watch Ultra has a large sapphire glass display, which is nominally bigger than the one in the regular Series 8. It also has an additional button on the side (the Action Button), a larger and louder speaker, and LTE connectivity comes with every model, plus a larger battery than any Apple Watch ever. The Ultra comes with a host of features for athletes. Rock climbers, SCUBA divers, hikers, and other folks who are looking for a smartwatch that can help them track intense workouts and also keep them safe will find a lot to love about the Ultra.
Hands down, the Ultra is the most advanced Apple Watch yet. It offers everything that’s great about the Series 8, but in a more durable shell with a bigger battery and more features than ever. The oversized, flat display is beautiful, the Action button is helpful, and the battery life is commendable. For the average Apple user, it’s a very expensive, very reliable iPhone companion. If you aren’t an aspiring Ironman competitor or a deep-sea enthusiast, the Ultra’s shortcomings on the adventure front will likely go unnoticed.
For casual outdoor enthusiasts already drinking the Cupertino Kool-Aid, it’s a home run — a stellar smartwatch and a reliable enough companion for core health and activity tracking, all in one device. For everyone else, the Apple Watch Ultra is a luxurious oddity. All in all, it lands somewhere between a rugged smartwatch and an intermediate multisport device. A number of its headlining features align the Watch Ultra with the best activity-focused watches from Garmin, Polar, or Coros, and it’s certainly clear Apple is shooting its shot. However, dedicated GPS watches offer heaps more training and recovery insights.
The Apple Watch Ultra falls somewhere between rugged smartwatch and entry-level multisport device, and for many, will either be too little or too much.
With a Garmin Fenix 7 ($699.99 at Amazon), data-driven users can access tons of stats in the Garmin Connect app plus analysis via features like Body Battery and Health Snapshot. If an attractive screen is a priority, Garmin’s Epix 2 ($899) is basically a Fenix 7 with an AMOLED display. Both also aid hikers with Topo Active Maps and other comprehensive navigation tools. Most importantly, they last for weeks (not just days). The Ultra has plenty of potential but falls short on the battery, mapping, and data analysis fronts. Another obvious alternative for serious athletes is the Coros Vertix 2 ($699 at Amazon), which supports offline mapping and boasts showstopping battery life.
Don’t miss: Apple Watch vs Garmin
That said, iOS users who weren’t planning to capitalize on the Ultra’s niche features anyway can still save a few hundred dollars by taking the more traditional smartwatch route. The Apple Watch Series 8 ($399) is a very powerful smartwatch with both a temperature sensor and Crash Detection. For non-iPhone users, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro ($449.99 at Samsung) is the best Wear OS smartwatch with a premium build as well as some introductory navigation features. Neither of these alternatives offers the same level of durability as the Ultra, but are good options for those strictly looking for a solid smartwatch with a relatively robust health and activity tracking suite.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
When it comes to a comprehensive smartwatch experience, Apple leads the pack. Generation after generation, the company pushes out wearables with unmatched app support and an intuitive day-to-day experience. Each year, specs Excellerate organically while the sleek build changes nominally. The Apple Watch Ultra, however, represents the company’s first major departure from this tried and true formula.
With a significantly altered profile, an added Action button, and souped-up specs, the Ultra heads in a decidedly new direction, all while building on an already rock-solid foundation. Rather than a useful iPhone companion, the Ultra stands as a valuable tool all on its own. The build is reliable in all feasible environments, the safety features are laudable, and the basic dive and hike-specific features are likely to impress hobbyists. For road warriors, watchOS 9 brings a number of improvements to fitness tracking, and the GPS performance is among the best in the business.
As a first attempt to woo the adventure crowd, the Apple Watch Ultra shows a lot of promise.
Sure, this first generation feels like Apple dipping a toe into a more advanced fitness market. Dedicated adventurers aren’t quite getting the perfect smart-multisport-hybrid watch they’d perhaps hoped for. However, with continued software support and tweaking, it’s very easy to imagine Apple catching up quickly to the very best in the field. At present, it already outperforms all other multisport devices in terms of smartwatch features and everyday usability, it just has some ground to make up in the adventuring arena. Apple is going to need to fan the flame to win over more serious explorers, but the Ultra shows a spark that could lead to a bright future for its elite smartwatch line.
Unfortunately, like every other Apple Watch model, the Apple Watch Ultra remains exclusive to iPhone users and will not work with Android phones.
The Apple Watch Ultra has a WR100 water-resistance rating for withstanding water pressure at 100 meters under ISO standard 22810:2010. It is also EN13319-compliant for diving.
Yes, the Apple Watch Ultra is compatible with Family Setup.
Apple claims on-wrist operating temperatures from -4°F to 131°F (-20°C to 55°C).
Yes. Among the many watchOS 9 upgrades, Apple added deeper insights to its sleep tracking including sleep stage tracking.
The Apple Watch Ultra features more durability than the Series 8 as well as an Action button and other specs. Find out more about the specifics in our comparison guide.
Yes, you can add music to the Watch Ultra via the Apple Watch app on an iPhone. Alternatively, Apple Music subscribers can add music via the Music app on the watch itself.
Apple's top-of-the-line earbuds promise better sound, but a new noise-canceling mode raises questions
By Allen St. John
Apple has updated its top-of-the-line earbuds. While the name remains the same, the new $249 AirPods Pro are distinctly different.
They’re more water-resistant, and the harder-to-lose case can be powered up with a MagSafe or Qi-certified wireless charger. The sound quality, according to Apple, is significantly better, too, thanks to the addition of a new amplifier and long-excursion driver, the element that actually delivers the sound to your ear. And the company further claims the new model’s enhanced active noise canceling mode can be twice as effective as that on the first-gen Pros.
So should you run out to buy them? That depends on a few things.
All of those features more or less delivered on their promises during my evaluation. On the other hand, a new variable noise canceling mode called Adaptive Transparency, which is supposed to attenuate the volume of loud noises, didn’t quite work as expected.
I requested a press sample from Apple to get an early look at the earbuds’ new features. As always, Consumer Reports will be buying a pair of AirPods Pro through normal retail channels for the testing done in our labs and this story will be updated with our testing results. The model is now available at Amazon, Apple, Best Buy, Target, and other retailers nationwide.
Apple’s AirPods earbuds have been a commercial success from the very beginning, and with good reason. The design is sleek—the downward-facing white stems quickly became something of a fashion icon—and Apple eliminated the pain point of some early wireless headphones with easy pairing, especially with iPhones and other Apple devices.
But in our labs, the early AirPods fared less well. Our testers didn’t provide the original Air Pods a recommendation, for example, summing up the sound as "a bit boomy, grainy, and dry." The first-generation AirPods Pro fared better, earning a Very Good rating for sound quality on top of an overall recommendation, though the model doesn’t rank among the very top scorers in our ratings of noise-canceling wireless earbuds.
Do the new Pros perform even better than their predecessors? Here’s what we learned after spending a few days with them.
When I removed the second-gen Pros from Apple’s ubiquitous compact white box, they looked quite similar to the previous-gen Pros. The earbuds and charger are about the same size, and the earbuds even use the same silicone tips. If you and someone else in your house keep a pair of the previous-gen AirPods Pro on the kitchen counter, you might take advantage of Apple’s free emoji engraving service to help make it clear whose case is whose.
Ultimately, the similarities are a good thing, because the previous-gen Pros are a well-designed product. The earbuds themselves are quite lightweight and comfortable enough that I found it easy to forget I was wearing them, though your experience may vary. Apple also added new extra small ear tips so the second-gen Pros will fit more consumers.
While the white hard plastic charger—which looks a lot like the case for the base AirPods on steroids—feels a little utilitarian for a high-end product, it is compact and easy to use. And whatever it lacks in style, it adds in some smart functionality. It now has a tiny speaker in the bottom so that you can ping it with the Find Me function that has helped to find countless iPhones. The case is now also splashproof and sweatproof like the earbuds themselves. And along with the option of wireless charging, Apple claims the next-gen Pros have a longer battery life, including a full 30 hours with Active Noise Canceling on, which is 6 hours better than their predecessor.
The case for the new AirPods Pro is now water-resistant and adds a speaker for a Find Me function.
The expanded Touch Control feature lets you not only advance to the next track, cycle through the various noise canceling modes, and access Apple’s Siri digital assistant by swiping or squeezing the stem, but also adjust the volume. While I prefer real buttons for these kinds of controls, the new volume control is a useful upgrade over the Siri-controlled volume on the previous-gen Pros.
On the sonic front, the model receives a new H2 chip, an upgraded amplifier, and larger, high-excursion drivers. Our testers will soon put the buds through the paces in our audio lab and report back on the results. But even though my ears have been spoiled with some very-high end headphones like my own Audeze LCD-3s, I enjoyed listening with the AirPods Pro. While my untrained ear detected a distinct family resemblance to the older model, the differences—like a quieter background and fuller bass—seemed like improvements.
The latest-generation AirPods Pro (right) have new drivers and electronics that promise better sound than the original Pros (left).
The thing that truly differentiates the Pros from the base model AirPods is the noise canceling tech, and like the previous-gen Pros, the new model has three distinct modes. The first is passive noise canceling. That’s the surprising amount of isolation provided by the silicone ear tips even without an electronic assist. (Note that while the eartips on the regular AirPods do offer some level of noise reduction, they don’t seal the same way as the Pros.)
The second is active noise canceling, which produces an out-of-phase sound pattern that essentially cancels out sound waves from the world beyond the buds. Apple says the noise canceling in the new earbuds is up to twice as effective as that in the previous generation, which received an Excellent rating from our testers.
We will certainly test that claim, but informally, I heard a real difference. The noise canceling in the previous gen Pros made the room feel noticeably quieter, as if you had turned off an air conditioner, but the new Pros take that up a notch. I find them to be almost eerily quiet, evoking the spooky, hear-your-own-heartbeat silence of a university reference library during finals week.
While that profound silence is refreshing on its own, it also enhances music, especially delicate acoustic tracks. When I cued up "Mining for Gold" by Cowboy Junkies, hearing the reverberations in the big old Toronto church where "The Trinity Session" album was recorded, complete with its noisy heating system, gave me you-are-there goosebumps. Note that unlike some other earbuds, there’s no way to adjust the level of active noise canceling on the Pros, so you’re stuck with that dead quiet if you keep the feature turned on.
Next, I tried the new Pros out while mowing the lawn. My red mulching Toro provided a good test for how the earbuds handle sustained loud noises. I used the decibel meter function on an Apple Watch Series 8, which uses its microphone to measure outside noise as well as how much the AirPods are attenuating that noise. My mower measured around 86 decibels (dB), which is unpleasantly loud (and reason enough to wear foam earplugs). It’s also somewhat above the 80 dB level where Apple (through warnings on the Apple Watch and the company website) suggests you use hearing protection or move to a quieter place.
In passive mode (with the noise canceling off), the Pros reduced the noise level to a very tolerable 67 dB. Switching to full noise cancellation all but silenced the mower for me, reducing the roar of the engine to a quiet chug. However, according to the Apple Watch, it only reduced the sound pressure level to around 62 dB. In short, the well-fit silicone tips did most of the work of actually attenuating the noise, but the improved noise canceling reduced my perception of the lawnmower’s clatter.
The third and final noise-canceling setting is Adaptive Transparency and that’s where things get interesting. The previous-gen Pros have a Transparency mode that pipes in sounds from the outside world so that some background noise can still reach you. I found that the new Adaptive Transparency mode worked well when I popped into a store and wanted to have a quick interaction with the cashier without removing or muting the buds. It helped me stay safe while walking on a busy street, too; I played my Miles Davis playlist, while still remaining aware of traffic.
In the new AirPods Pro, the adaptive part of Adaptive Transparency is supposed to reduce the level of loud noises—like a passing siren—bringing them down to an 85 dB threshold set by Apple, which is slightly higher than the ceiling recommended on the Apple Watch. When I gave this mode a try, it didn’t work as well as I had expected. Since I couldn’t summon a siren on command, I used my dog, Rugby. When a stranger comes to the door, her bark can register over 100dB for a fraction of a second, according to the Apple Watch. The active noise canceling modes reduce those peaks to around 75dB. In Adaptive Transparency mode, however, the loudest peaks still registered 107dB, even though the Watch indicated the AirPods had reduced the level.
In a press briefing, Apple suggested that Adaptive Transparency mode can also be used to reduce the volume at, say, a live concert. To reproduce that situation at home, I played one of my favorite songs, "This Year" by The Mountain Goats, on my own Edifier S1000DB speakers much louder than I normally would, at about 90 dB. In the active noise canceling mode, the AirPods Pro attenuated the volume to as low as 58 dB. However, when I switched to Adaptive Transparency, I saw continuous readings as high as 91 dB. When I completed this brief evaluation, my ears were ringing.
Bottom line: The AirPods Pro earbuds are a consumer product, not one designed specifically for hearing protection, so don’t rely too heavily on the noise-canceling tech, even the relatively robust active and passive modes. On its website, Apple warns that long-term exposure to sounds over 80 dB "can lead to permanent damage."
When I asked Apple to comment on my experience, the company explained that it views 85 dB as a general threshold to ensure that environmental noise sounds natural when the noise-canceling tech is reducing noise spikes. When the external noise is at higher decibel levels, the AirPods Pro will see more attenuation, the company said.
For more context, I consulted Brian Fligor, a board-certified pediatric audiologist and president of Tobias and Battite Hearing Wellness in Boston, Massachusetts. The good news, he said, is that a few milliseconds of the dog barking or a few minutes of high-volume Mountain Goats music is unlikely to damage my hearing permanently.
"It’s a matter of the dose," he says. And while super-loud noises like jet engines and firearms can be dangerous even for super-short durations, our ears can withstand a very brief noise spike like a dog’s bark. The concern, he says, could come when a consumer listens to high-volume sounds for hours at a time, assuming that a device like the AirPods Pro offers more hearing protection than it actually does.
That’s a good question, especially when you may be able to save some money by choosing the first-gen model, which will likely go on sale in the days ahead.
I’ll come down in favor of the new ones, though it will be a qualified recommendation. The latest Pros are a little better in a lot of ways. The new case makes them easier to charge, harder to lose, and harder to damage if they get wet. The sound quality isn’t transformed but it does seem better, though we’ll leave the final verdict to our lab testers.
And the improved active noise canceling mode is worthwhile, not only for the way the deeper silence allows you to tune out the world, but the way it helps you tune in to your favorite music. All of that seems like it’s worth the extra $75 dollars over the previous-gen models.
But after my conversation with Dr. Fligor, I’d caution you to use AirPod Pros with care. I suggest starting with the Ear Tip Fit test on the iPhone app to make sure the buds are sealing properly. As for Adaptive Transparency mode, it’s fine for tamping down the sound of traffic on Fifth Avenue. But for hours at a loud concert? It makes sense to bypass the Adaptive Transparency mode in favor of the greater attenuation of passive noise-canceling mode. Or even just a set of foam earplugs from the drug store.
What about non-Apple options? If you’re entrenched in the Apple ecosystem, you’ll likely love the no-brainer pairing with an iPhone, a MacBook, or an Apple Watch. But if you’re into Android, you might check out other top-performing earbuds like our top-rated Sony WF-1000XM4, the budget-priced Sennheiser CX Plus, or the Beats Fit Pro.
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