Today’s the day! Apple finally announced its redesigned, $1,000 10th anniversary iPhone X with no Home button and big beautiful screen. There’s also the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, a new Apple Watch with LTE, and a new 4K Apple TV.
THE IPHONE X
Just as we expected, the iPhone X (pronounced iPhone 10) is here with a full screen and no Home button. Its “Super Retina Display” is an OLED display with a resolution of 2436 x 1125 and a pixel density of 458 pixels per inch.
Since the Home button is gone, you can wake up the iPhone X either by picking it up or tapping on the screen. To access the Home screen, simply swipe up on the lock screen (just like you might do on a number of Android phones). For activating Siri, you can either use the always-on “Hey Siri” hot word or you press a button on the side that will trigger it.
As rumored, the iPhone X will use facial recognition—Apple calls it Face ID—as opposed to a fingerprint sensor. The iPhone X’s front-facing camera array now includes an IR floodlight and camera to invisibly illuminate and photograph your face even in the dark. Using a map of your face created by a series of hundreds of dots that map your facial topography, Apple uses machine learning to make sure the phone recognizes your face.
Facial recognition has existed on other phones before—to questionable results. But fingerprint sensing was also shoddy before Apple introduced Touch ID, imitations of which were then adopted by Android phones. When it comes to the strength of this feature, Apple says the odds of another person being able to unlock your phone with their face is one in a million. Face ID will also work with Apple Pay, so it seems like Apple is pretty confident in the security of the tech.
As a bonus, this same facial recognition tech also allows you to create faciallytracked animated emojis, and the depth-sensing front-facing camera will let you take “Portrait Mode” photos from the front-facing camera.
The iPhone X also has a new backside camera array that includes a 12 MP sensor and lenses of two different apertures, which allows the phone to take two pictures at once and then combine them computationally to simulate effects like “Portrait Mode” that are practically possible only with much larger lenses.
The iPhone X also has wireless charging using the Qi standard, and Apple claims the iPhone X will last at least two hours longer than the iPhone 7 does, though, of course, your results may vary. Apple also teased a wireless charging mat dubbed “Airpower,” which is designed to be able to wirelessly charge an iPhone, an Apple Watch, and an AirPods case all at once. A convenience (especially since we don’t know how much an Airpower pad will cost just yet), but one that could make getting ready for bed just a little bit easier.
And yes, the money rumors were correct. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will be available on Sept 22, with prices starting from $1,148 (64GB, without contract) for iPhone 8 and from $1,308 (64GB, without contract) for iPhone 8 Plus. Pre-orders start from Friday (Sept 15).
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THE IPHONE 8
As expected, given the leaks, Apple has announced the new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus with a glass back. That’s not just a matter of style; this change allows for wireless charging.
The iPhone 8 also sports a new camera with a 12 MP sensor and optical image stabilization—which helps you control for shaky hands— on both the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone 8. Previously that feature was only on the larger phones. This year, the camera trick that’s exclusive to the Plus is a feature called “Portrait Lighting” which uses the Plus’s dual cameras and some computational tricks to simulate different lighting effects in real time.
The iPhone 8 also sports a brand new Apple-made processor, the A11 Bionic. And while you may be hard-pressed to appreciate more processing horsepower during day to day life, this chip will make it easier for apps to start implementing advanced computational features like live augmented reality.
Augmented reality is still nascent tech, but Apple appears intent on pushing it hard. A few of the apps demoed on stage included an app that lets you point your phone at the sky and see constellations mapped over it, and even an AR-focused multiplayer game.