AS IT HAPPENED: Apple launches new iPhone, Apple Watch models

Updated 13 September 2018

AS IT HAPPENED: Apple launches new iPhone, Apple Watch models

CUPERTINO: 19:45 - And there we have it. Tim Cook brings an end to the launch of the brand new iPhone models and Apple Watch. Don't forget, those of you in Saudi Arabia and the UAE will start receiving yours from Sept. 21, with Oman and Bahrain getting shipments a week later.

19:30 - We have a "New Phone Alert"... Apple has announced its third new iPhone - the iPhone XR. It is made from aerospace grade aluminium, and has more durable glass. It will come in six colours - white, black, blue, coral, yellow, red. It has a fantastic-looking LCD display too...

19:25 - Good news for business/leisure iPhone fans - the iPhone XS has dual-Sim capability. This will mean you can use two phone numbers on the same iPhone at the same time. 

This dual-Sim capability will require support from carriers - which Apple says it is working on...

19:15 - Now for the important part - for most of us, anyway - what is the camera like? The new dual camera system on the iPhoneXS has a 12 mega-pixel-wide-angle and 12 mega-pixel telephoto camera, with an improved True Tone flash. The photos do look beautiful, in fairness...

19:05 - We are now being treated to gaming and sporting sides of the new iPhone. All very impressive technical detail and lovely images. Three players took to the stage to play an arcade shooter game at the same time, from three different phones.

Apple have got these product launches nailed down, that's for sure. It is addictive viewing, I can tell you...

18:55 - The important, behind-the-scenes changes to this phone are led by the inclusion of the A12 bionic chip. Both the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max will have them. 

It is 50 per cent more energy efficient and faster than previous processor, with apps loading 30 percent faster. The A12 Bionic chip has an 8-core design - allowing it to run more advanced machine learning. Apple calls this a "breakthrough" and says performance is "unmatched."

18:50 - Apple’s facial recognition system, Face ID, is now even faster than ever before. All you have to do is look at your phone to unlock the device, and view notifications. Apple confirms it is the most powerful facial recognition system in any smartphone on the market.

18:45 - Now, we're on to the 5.8 inch and 6.5 inch, 3.3 million-pixel iPhone XS...a man called Phil is letting us know all we need to know about the "most beautiful phone Apple has ever created."

The screen is almost edgeless, and both the front and back are made from durable glass.  It comes in three finishes of gold, silver and space grey, and they are all protected with IP68, meaning they’re water resistant and dust proof.

18:40 - So, to summarise, the key features of the Apple Watch Series 4 include: Larger display, 2x faster performance, louder speaker, fall detection, can take ECGs and 18-hour battery life...and will be available in the UAE on September 21 on Etisalat...

18:30 - Best news for normal consumers like you and me, is that the battery life of the Apple Watch Series 4 will be 18 hours, with GPS life around about 6 hours - "perfect for marathons or long bike rides" we are told...

18:20 - The back of the Apple Watch is made from black ceramic and sapphire crystal, and allowed radio waves to pass through the front and back - improving cellular reception. It can even tell when you have had a fall or when your heart-rate is too low. The first ECG product to be available to consumers over-the-counter. Believe it or not... 

18:15 - Apple Watch Series 4 is revealed, a bigger screen with minimal changes to the case size. More information, in more detail on a redesigned watch-face. Speakers have been improved, meaning you can hear "Siri even louder" and "phonecalls evern clearer."

Apple are really plugging the "health and fitness" angle so far...

18:10 - Tim Cook reveals, in a very enthusiastic opening monologue, that Apple is about to shift its two billionth device. Impressive stuff. Stick with us through the back-slapping, we will be revealing product details soon...

18:05 - Tim Cook arrives on stage, and we're ready to go...

18:00 - We are currently being treated to a Mission Impossible-themed pre-event video. Very amusing...

Apple are ready to launch their newest iPhone models at their Cupertino headquarters. Follow us live for all the latest updates...

 


No more spending excuses for Merkel as investment bottlenecks ease

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures at her arrival for the government’s ‘Open Door Day’ in Berlin on Sunday Sam sit fuga. Et laut ute odi cum as elit. (Reuters)
Updated 16 min 45 sec ago

No more spending excuses for Merkel as investment bottlenecks ease

  • German leader urged to boost public investment by taking on new debt Sunducim velessunt alis plabore sernatur

BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has fended off growing calls for more fiscal stimulus by citing the slow outflow of existing federal funds — but data suggests the money is indeed being used up as local authority bottlenecks gradually clear. With Europe’s largest economy on the brink of recession and borrowing costs at record lows, Merkel has faced pressure at home and from abroad to ditch her pledge to target balanced budgets and instead boost public investment by taking on new debt.
Merkel and her conservatives say Berlin has already earmarked billions of euros in investment for schools, nurseries and hospitals but that local authorities have spent only a fraction of this windfall.
But this excuse seems no longer valid: Figures from the Finance Ministry show that towns and municipalities are now tapping the federal government’s funds more actively, suggesting that planning and labor bottlenecks are easing.
Of €3.5 billion ($3.9 billion) earmarked in a municipal infrastructure fund for investment in schools, nurseries and hospitals (KInvFG I), local authorities have applied for nearly €3.4 billion, the data showed — roughly 96 percent of the overall amount on offer.
The fund was created in 2015 and initially meant to last until 2018. Due to the slow initial take-up, it was then extended to 2020.
Of another €3.5 billion put aside by the government in 2017 for school renovations (KInvFG II), authorities so far have tapped €2.4 billion, or 69 percent.

HIGHLIGHTS

• German towns tap into federal funds more actively.

• Improved outflow raises pressure to provide more money.

• Coalition parties at odds over debt-financed stimulus.

“As you can see, the program is running very well,” a Finance Ministry spokeswoman said, adding that the take-up had jumped by nearly €2 billion over the past 12 months.
“The figures show that there is planning progress in most federal states and that financially weak municipalities welcome the financial aid from the federal government,” she added.
The improved flow of funds is important for Germany, where heavily indebted towns and municipalities historically manage a large chunk of public spending and many citizens are annoyed by run-down local infrastructure and closed public facilities.

Austerity
Years of austerity linked to the national debt brake — a constitutional amendment introduced in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008/09 to rein in public debt — have led to pent-up public investment needs in towns and municipalities worth a combined €138 billion, data from KfW Research shows.
“Towns and municipalities have been structurally underfunded for more than 20 years. They were forced to cut staff,” Gerd Landsberg, managing director of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, told Reuters.
“That partly explains the initial problems with the slow take-up of federal funds — it takes time to hire new staff and get the ball rolling,” Landsberg explained.
The latest figures show, however, that authorities are overcoming those staff-related planning bottlenecks, meaning most of the money should be used up soon, he said.
Landsberg called on the government to provide more funding lines and improve the design of its programs.
“Short-term investment funds alone do not provide sufficient planning and personnel security. We must secure the financial strength of towns and municipalities in the long term.”
Like Merkel and her conservatives, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz of the jointly governing, center-left Social Democrats (SPD) has shown little appetite so far to ditch the balanced budget goal and boost investments through new debt.
Eckhardt Rehberg, the chief budget lawmaker in Merkel’s conservatives, is also sticking to the line that billions of euros still sit unused in various special-purpose funds.
“The debate about debt-financed investment programs misses the point. The problem is not a lack of money, but the sluggish outflow of funds,” Rehberg said.
Authorities must hire more staff, cut red tape and speed up planning and approval procedures, he said. “In addition, the construction sector has already reached its capacity limit, which means it can hardly cope with more demand,” Rehberg added.
Nevertheless, members of both the SPD’s own left wing and of the Greens, an increasingly strong opposition party, are pushing for a fiscal U-turn. Even the influential BDI industry lobby group, traditionally close to Merkel’s conservatives, last week called for a debt-financed fiscal stimulus package.
Cansel Kiziltepe, a lower house SPD lawmaker specializing in finance, said Merkel and the conservatives should stop blaming local authorities and rethink their insistence on incurring no new debt in their budgets, a policy goal commonly known as the “black zero.”
“Especially in times of economic weakness and in light of improved outflow of funds, it’s high time to say goodbye to the fetish of the black zero,” Kiziltepe told Reuters.